Tsangnyön Heruka

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Tsangnyön Heruka (Tibetan: གཙང་སྨྱོན་ཧེ་རུ་ཀ་Wylie: gtsang smyon He ru ka "The Madman Heruka from Tsang", 1452-1507), was an author and a master of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism. Born in Tsang, he is best known as a biographer and compiler of the Life of Milarepa and The Collections of Songs of Milarepa, both classics of Tibetan literature.

Life

Tsangnyön Heruka was a nyönpa (Wylie: smyon pa) or "religious madman", whose eccentric ways of life were considered signs of spiritual realization. He was ordained as a śrāmaṇera, but at the age of 21 renounced his vows and trained under various tantric yogis from different schools.[1] His first teacher was Shara Rabjampa Sanggye Sengge (1427–1470) who conveyed to him the "Aural Transmissions" (snyan brgyud) of the Kagyu tradition.[2] Tsangnyön spent years in solitary retreat on Tsari in southern Tibet, which is the major sacred mountain retreat for the Kagyu school. He also studied the tantras in Pelkhor Chode Monastery in Gyantse for three years.

After Heruka left the monastery, he became a wandering yogi for the rest of his life, never staying in one place permanently. He was known to keep his hair long, carry a khaṭvāṅga and drink from a kapala. When local villagers saw his body covered in human ashes and blood with his hair adorned by human fingers and toes, they gave him the name 'Nyönpa' (madman). He later used the name Trantung Gyelpo (Wylie: khrag 'thung rgyal po) "King of the Blood-drinkers", "blood drinker" being the Tibetan name for the deity Heruka.[1][3] These eccentric ways were influenced by an Indian sect of yogis called Kapalikas or "skull-bearers", who practiced austerities as well as dressing in loincloths and human ashes and carrying symbols of the dakinis such as bone ornaments and skulls.[4]

Many monks questioned his behavior and way of dress but Tsangnyön was known to strongly defend his unconventional practice through rigorous argument and accurate quotations from scriptures. He became a famous teacher and gathered numerous followers, he was also a composer of religious songs. Tsangnyön was very influential with various Tibetan political leaders and he used his influence to mediate between warring factions.

In 1488 while staying at the pilgrimage site Lapchi Snow Mountain, Tsangnyön completed the Life of Milarepa, a biography of the Tibetan poet. It was one of the first texts that was produced through woodblock printing in Tibet and it quickly became a widely circulated text.[1] Tsangnyön's main goal seems to have been the promotion of the teachings of the early Kagyu masters.

In 1504, Ratnamalla, the king of Kathmandu, invited Tsangnyön Heruka to Nepal to restore the famous stupa known as Swayambhunath. Tsangnyön traveled to Nepal and completed the renovation within three months. In 1505, he compiled a biography and a song collection of Marpa Lotsawa.[2] He also completed his major life work, which was the collection of the aural transmissions of the Kagyu tradition. He died at the age of fifty-five in 1507 at Rechung-Puk north of the Yarlung Valley.[5]

Legacy

After his death three of his disciples wrote biographies of his life: Gotsangrepa, Lhatsun Rinchen Namgyel and Ngodrub Pembar. Kuntu Zangmo, Tsangnyön’s female companion, oversaw the printing of his songs, writings and a biography of his life.[5]

Additional reading

A recent publication that includes research on the Madman of Tsang is David M. DiValerio's (2015) The Holy Madmen of Tibet.[6]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Tsangnyön Heruka; Andrew Quintman; Donald S. Lopez, Jr. (2010). The life of Milarepa. New York: Penguin Books. p. Introduction. ISBN 978-0143106227. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Biography of Tsangnyön Heruka
  3. Larsson, Stefan (2012). Crazy for wisdom : the making of a mad yogin in fifteenth-century Tibet. Leiden: Brill. p. 129. ISBN 978-9004203938. 
  4. Beer, Robert (2003). The handbook of Tibetan Buddhist symbols. Serindia Publications. ISBN 1-932476-03-2, ISBN 978-1-932476-03-3 Source: [1]
  5. 5.0 5.1 Cuevas, Bryan J.; Stone, Jacqueline I., eds. (2011). The Buddhist dead : practices, discourses, representations (Paperback ed.). Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press. p. 219. ISBN 978-0824835996. 
  6. https://books.google.com/books?id=6XJpCQAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=the+holy+madmen+of+tibet&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiVsZLz28PVAhXC7YMKHde7AcIQ6AEIJjAA#v=onepage&q=the%20holy%20madmen%20of%20tibet&f=false

Historical people list

Historical people

Main subcategories of People are: Historical people - Living people - All people - People categories ... (Is a bio not here, or minimal?)

Masao Abe Robert Baker Aitken Ron Allen (playwright) B. R. Ambedkar Ananda
Balangoda Ananda Maitreya Thero Angulimala Aniruddha Mahathera Anuruddha Nauyane Ariyadhamma Mahathera
Aryadeva Asai Ryōi Assaji Atiśa Nisthananda Bajracharya
Benimadhab Barua Joko Beck Sanjaya Belatthiputta Charles Henry Allan Bennett Hubert Benoit (psychotherapist)
John Blofeld Bodhidharma Edward Espe Brown Polwatte Buddhadatta Thera Buddhaghosa
Acharya Buddharakkhita Marie Byles Ajahn Chah Rerukane Chandawimala Thero Channa
Chokgyur Lingpa Edward Conze L. S. Cousins Brian Cutillo 1st Dalai Lama
2nd Dalai Lama 3rd Dalai Lama 4th Dalai Lama 5th Dalai Lama 6th Dalai Lama
7th Dalai Lama 8th Dalai Lama 9th Dalai Lama 10th Dalai Lama 11th Dalai Lama
12th Dalai Lama 13th Dalai Lama Bidia Dandaron Alexandra David-Néel Marian Derby
Devadatta U Dhammaloka K. Sri Dhammananda Dharmaditya Dharmacharya Dharmakirti
Dharmapala of Nalanda Anagarika Dharmapala Dharmottara Dignāga Dōgen
Dongchu Dongshan Liangjie Khakyab Dorje, 15th Karmapa Lama Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, 16th Karmapa Rangjung Dorje, 3rd Karmapa Lama
Heinrich Dumoulin Düsum Khyenpa, 1st Karmapa Lama Dzongsar Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö Walter Evans-Wentz Family of Gautama Buddha
Frederick Franck Gampopa Gelek Rimpoche Gö Lotsawa Zhönnu-pel Gorampa
Maha Pajapati Mahapajapati Mahapajapati Gotami Rita Gross Gurulugomi
Phagmo Drupa Dorje Gyalpo Tsangpa Gyare Gendun Gyatso Palzangpo Jamgon Ju Mipham Gyatso Dolpopa
Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen Gyeongbong Han Yong-un Thich Nhat Hanh Walisinghe Harischandra
Eugen Herrigel Ernő Hetényi Marie Musaeus Higgins Raicho Hiratsuka Shin'ichi Hisamatsu
Hsuan Hua Huiyuan (Buddhist) Christmas Humphreys K. N. Jayatilleke 2nd Jebtsundamba Khutughtu
9th Jebtsundamba Khutughtu Jeongang Kadawedduwe Jinavamsa Mahathera Ken Jones (Buddhist) David Kalupahana
Dainin Katagiri Katyayana (Buddhist) Bob Kaufman Kaundinya Jack Kerouac
Bogd Khan Khema Ayya Khema Dilgo Khentse Dilgo Khyentse
King Suppabuddha Jamgon Kongtrul Kukkuripa Kumar Kashyap Mahasthavir Kunkhyen Pema Karpo
Drukpa Kunley Trevor Leggett Arthur Lillie Karma Lingpa Robert Linssen
Longchenpa John Daido Loori Albert Low Luipa Taizan Maezumi
Mahakasyapa Mahākāśyapa Mahamoggallana Mahasi Sayadaw Jyotipala Mahathera
Nagasena Mahathera S. Mahinda Gunapala Piyasena Malalasekera Marpa Lotsawa Peter Matthiessen
Maudgalyayana Maya (mother of Buddha) Maya (mother of the Buddha) Gustav Meyrink Edward Salim Michael
Milarepa Mingun Sayadaw Sōkō Morinaga Hiroshi Motoyama Mun Bhuridatta
Myokyo-ni Nagarjuna Nagasena Soen Nakagawa Bhikkhu Nanamoli
Matara Sri Nanarama Mahathera Nanavira Thera Nanda Naropa Nichiren
Kitaro Nishida Gudō Wafu Nishijima Nyanaponika Nyanaponika Thera Nyanatiloka
Thothori Nyantsen Ōbaku Toni Packer Padmasambhava Sakya Pandita
Paramanuchitchinorot Pema Lingpa Prajñāvarman Punna Rāhula
Thotagamuwe Sri Rahula Thera Walpola Rahula Paul Reps Caroline Rhys Davids Sonam Rinchen (Buddhist geshe)
Hammalawa Saddhatissa Kazi Dawa Samdup Chatral Sangye Dorje Ajahn Sao Kantasīlo Sariputta
Sayadaw U Tejaniya Seongcheol Seungsahn Shantideva Shavaripa
Sheng-yen Zenkei Shibayama Takamaro Shigaraki Silabhadra Sīlācāra
Shin Maha Silavamsa Śrāvaka Subhashitaratnanidhi Subhuti Suddhodana
Śuddhodana D. T. Suzuki Shunryū Suzuki Taklung Thangpa Tashi Pal The ten principal disciples
Tiantong Rujing Tilopa Chögyam Trungpa Tsangnyön Heruka Yeshe Tsogyal
Upali Uppalavanna Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo Xuanzang Yasa
Yashodhara Yasodharā Linji Yixuan Zanabazar Śāriputra

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