Rngog blo ldan shes rab

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PeopleRngog blo ldan shes rab


རྔོག་བློ་ལྡན་ཤེས་རབ་
Ngok Lotsāwa Loden Sherab(1059 - 1109) 

Ngok Lotsāwa was nephew of Ngok Lekpai Sherab, the founder of Sangpu Neutok, and not only carried on the teaching activities of his uncle but raised the fame and prestige of Sangpu to new heights. He was important not only to his own Kadam lineage, but to the development of Tibetan education in general. Ngok Lotsāwa, working with the Kashmiri paṇḍita Sajjana, produced the sole-surviving translation of the Ratnagotravibhāga, the central text of buddha-nature theory in Tibet. His commentary on the text is said to have initiated the "analytical" exegetical tradition.

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On the topic of this person

Philosophical positions of this person

  • "rNgog considers the RGV to be a Madhyamaka work, and hence its teaching to be definitive. His position is made clear in the introductory passage of the rGyud bla don bsdus, where RGV is identified as a treatise that explains sūtras of definitive meaning (nītārtha), whereas the other four treatises of Maitreya (i.e. Abhisamayālaṃkāra, Mahāyānasūtrālaṃkāra, Madhyāntavibhāga, and Dharmadharmatāvibhāga) are listed as treatises that explain sutras of provisional meaning (neyārtha)." Kano, K., Buddha-Nature and Emptiness, p. 249.

"...both Ngok and Chapa argue that sentient beings do not have tathāgata-essence on the basis of the first reason because they do not have the purified enlightened body of a buddha, rather they have the potential to achieve an enlightened state. However, they agree that sentient beings have the tathāgata-essence from the perspective of the second reason, which is that such-ness is indivisible or nondual. As Ngok states, 'That both a tathāgata and ordinary beings have tathāgata-essence is actually the case.' The first reason is true only for enlightened beings, but only designated for ordinary beings; the second reason applies to both enlightened beings and sentient beings. Therefore, the two Kadam masters argue that sentient beings do not have the tathāgata-essence from the perspective of either the first reason of the resultant essence or the third reason of the causal essence. Rather it is the second reason that becomes the central point for establishing the link between enlightenment and sentient beings. It is the middle reason that shows that sentient beings and tathāgatas are the same in their ultimate nature. In other words, the only thing that sentient beings have in common with enlightened beings is the ultimate nature of their minds."
Wangchuk, Tsering, The Uttaratantra in the Land of Snows, pp. 17-18.

"rNgog considers the RGV to be a Madhyamaka work, and hence its teaching to be definitive. His position is made clear in the introductory passage of the rGyud bla don bsdus, where RGV is identified as a treatise that explains sūtras of definitive meaning (nītārtha), whereas the other four treatises of Maitreya (i.e. Abhisamayālaṃkāra, Mahāyānasūtrālaṃkāra, Madhyāntavibhāga, and Dharmadharmatāvibhāga) are listed as treatises that explain sutras of provisional meaning (neyārtha)." Kano, K., Buddha-Nature and Emptiness, p. 249.

"These two traditions of rngog and btsan were respectively called the "analytical tradition" (thos bsam gyi lugs) and "meditative tradition" (sgom lugs)."Kano, K., Buddha-Nature and Emptiness, p. 242.

  • "As to the interpretation of Buddha-nature, on the other hand, Sajjana and rNgog hold different views, for Sajjana equates Buddha-nature with the luminous mind, which is not empty, while rNgog equates it with emptiness." Kano, K., Buddha-Nature and Emptiness, p. 239.
  • According to Brunnhölzl, he also equates it with the ālaya-consciousness: "Moreover, Ngog equates “dhātu” not only with the tathāgata heart (as in RGVV) but also with the ālaya-consciousness (maybe influenced by the Laṅkāvatārasūtra). Obviously, this creates a considerable tension with his definition of the tathāgata heart as emptiness, but he does not resolve it..." Brunnhölzl, K., When the Clouds Part, p. 66.
  • "A number of later Tibetan works, and several modern scholars as well, define his position as Svātantrika-Madhyamaka... We cannot yet be sure whether rNgog himself was conscious of this divide, even if later Tibetan traditions often presuppose rNgog's knowledge of it. Śākya-mchog-ldan, for instance, in assigning rNgog to a third position of Madhyamaka neither Svātantrika nor Prāsaṅgika, presumes that rNgog knew of both schools." Kano, K., Buddha-Nature and Emptiness, p. 228.
  • "rNgog lo is known to have actively taught and commented on the “Three Svātantrika Treatises of Eastern India” (rang rgyud shar gsum), namely the Satyadvayavibhaṅga of Jñānagarbha, the Madhyamakālaṃkāra of Śāntarakṣita, and the Madhyamakāloka of Kamalaśīla, which formed the textual foundation of the Svātantrika Yogācāra-Madhyamaka synthesis, among whose proponents rNgog lo may be counted. Kramer, R., The Great Tibetan Translator, p.10.
  • "rNgog's strategy here is to appeal to the destinction between the Two Truths..." Kano, K., Buddha-Nature and Emptiness, p. 271.

Other names

  • རྔོག་ལོ་ཙཱ་བ་ · other names (Tibetan)
  • ལོ་ཆེན་བློ་ལྡན་ཤེས་རབ་ · other names (Tibetan)
  • rngog lo tsA ba · other names (Wylie)
  • lo chen blo ldan shes rab · other names (Wylie)
  • blo ldan shes rab · other names (Wylie)
  • Ngok Lotsāwa · other names
  • Ngok Loden Sherab · other names
  • Lochen Loden Sherab · other names
  • Loden Sherab · other names

Affiliations & relations

  • rngog lo tsA ba legs pa'i shes rab · familial relation
  • Kadam · religious affiliation
  • Rin chen bzang po · teacher
  • Sajjana · teacher
  • Parahitabhadra · teacher
  • shes rab 'bar · student
  • gro lung pa blo gros 'byung gnas · student
  • Zhang tshe spong chos kyi bla ma · student
  • rin chen nam mkha' rdo rje · student
  • rin chen grags · student