The Sutra Lineage of Zhentong Madhyamaka

The definitive Zhentong view was first taught by Buddha Shakyamuni in the second and third turnings of the Wheel of Dharma, being transmitted only to devotees whose minds were considered ripe for these profound teachings. On the basis of these teachings, the Bodhisattva Maitreya, the regent of Buddha Shakyamuni, taught five great treatises:

  1. The Ornament of Clear Realization (Skt. Abhisamayalankara)
  2. The Ornament of the Mahayana Sutras (Skt. Mahayanasutralankara)
  3. Distinguishing the Middle from the Extremes (Skt. Madhyantavibhaga)
  4. Distinguishing Dharma and Dharmata (Skt. Dharma-dharmata-vibhaga)
  5. The Sublime Continuum (Skt. Uttaratantra Shastra)

These texts were transmitted to Asanga, a monk who beheld a vision of Maitreya after meditating in a cave for 12 years. The lineage was later carried by great Indian masters such as Vasubandhu, Saraha and Gangamaitri and others. It came to Tibet in the 11th century through the translator Zi Lotsawa Gawé Dorje and Tsen Khawoche Drimé Sherab, and was transmitted in an unbroken line to the omniscient Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen in the 14th century.

Lineage Masters