Gedun Drub, 1st Dalai Lama

Gedun DrubGedun Drub (Wylie transliteration: Dge-‘dun-grub), also spelled Gendun Drub and Gedun Drup (1391 – 1474) is retrospectively considered to be the first in the line of reincarnated Dalai Lamas of Tibet. Gedun Drub was a student of Tsongkhapa (Btsong-ka-pa). His birth name was Pema Dorje.

Gedun Drub was born in a cowshed as the son of nomadic tribespeople, and raised as a shepherd until the age of seven. After this he was placed in Nartang (Nar-thang) monastery, and by the middle of his life he had become one of the most esteemed scholar-saints in the country.

Some of the most famous texts Gedun Drub wrote were:

  • Sunlight on the Path to Freedom, a commentary on Abhidharma-kosha
  • Crushing the Forces of Evil to Dust, an epic poem on the life and liberating deeds of Buddha Shakyamuni
  • Song of the Eastern Snow Mountain, a poem dedicated to Je Tsongkhapa (Btsong-ka-pa)
  • Praise of the Venerable Lady Khadiravani Tara, an homage to the Goddess Tara

Glenn Mullin’s collection of translations of Gedun Drub’s commentaries is a good start to learning more about the writings and teachings of this prolific and important Tibetan Buddhist teacher.

Preceded by:
beginning of the line
Reincarnation of the Dalai Lama Succeeded by:
Gedun Gyatso
buddha monk

buddha monk