Fourth Jetsun Dampa (1775-1813)

“Protectors of Loseling’s scholars, including Dorje Shugden, come here.”

As mentioned earlier, Jaya Pandita was an important Khalkha Mongol figure, yet one of his contemporaries who eclipsed his own importance was his teacher, the first Jetsun Dampa (1635-1723) blo bzang bstan pa'i rgyal mtshan.1 The Jetsun Dampa was one of the most important reincarnation lineages (starting with official recognition at the time of the Fifth Dalai Lama), as he was recognized by Khedrup Lobsang Tenzin Gyatso (1605-1643) as the reincarnation of Taranatha, the founder of the Jonang sect.2 His longer reincarnation lineage includes Pandita 'bar ba'i gtso bo and the Mahasiddha Krishnacharya. The first Jetsun Dampa was a student of the First Panchen Rinpoche, Lobsang Chokyi Gyaltsen.3

The Jetsun Dampas, especially the first, have played a critical role in the establishment of the Gelug sect in Mongolia. Not only that, he served as an important figurehead to Mongolian submission to the Qing Empire in the tumultuous wars that began in 1688 between the Khalkha and Oirat Mongols under Galdan. According to one account, this war began when the seat of the Jetsun Dampa was placed at the same height as the representative of the Dalai Lama, at which time the Oirat Khan Galdan took this as disrespect for the Dalai Lama and attacked Khalkha.4 From the biography of Kanjurwa Khutughtu (of Inner Mongolia):5

The First Jetsundamba khutughtu, together with many of the great princes of Khalkha, met with the Emperor K’ang-hsi to recognize his suzerainty and gain his protection from their enemies. As a result of this turning point in our people’s history, many great monastic temples were built under the patronage of the emperor and given special designation.

The Jetsun Dampa is primarily honored by the Khalkha Mongols, yet is recognized in importance by other Mongol ethnic and regional groups. The biography Kanjurwa Khutughtu further explains:6

Our people commonly never refer to the Jebtsundamba khuthughtu by this title. Instead we use the term Ar Boghda, ar meaning “back,” the Mongolian equivalent of “outer,” and implying “Outer Mongolia,” and boghda meaning the Holy One. Everyone knows of the two great incarnations of Tibet, the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Boghda. We see the Ar Boghda as the supreme incarnation of all Mongolia, and indeed he was the supreme incarnation in all of Mongolia, more particularly Outer Mongolia.

A series of reincarnations of the Jetsun Dampa were recognized, with special rules imposed by the Qing Dynasty:7

According to Manchu policy he could not be a native Mongolian incarnation. But, the last great Ar Boghda was indeed Mongolian in his feelings, just as myself, for he had been raised there and was entirely surrounded and greatly influenced by many important Mongolian lamas in Urga.

The fourth reincarnation of Jetsun Dampa, blo bzang thub bstan dbang phyug (1775-1813)8 is apparently the first Mongolian to have written texts propitiating Dorje Shugden. A history book called Rosary of White Lotuses, describing the establishment of Tibetan Buddhism in Mongolia, says:9

He was born in U, in the Wood Female Sheep Year of the Do (= 13th) Rabjung (= 1775). He respected the Royal Father and Son (= the Dalai and Panchen Lamas) and other sages and siddhis on top of his head. His mind eagerly accepted the ocean of Sutras, Tantras, and other teachings. He made many images, books and chortens, set aside a large capital for offerings, and the virtues of his white deeds defy all descriptions. In particular, he set up colleges of debates and meditation. Himself, day and night, he never departed from the three activities of listening, concentrating and meditating. In short, he observed all the Vinaya vows, worked the three wheels of teachings and meditations, opened the ocean of mandalas, and thus performed great deeds for the ever widening spread of the faultless system of Riwo Gadenpa [Gelug sect]. At the age of 39, in the Water Bird Year (= 1813), he departed in peace during a visit to Five-Peaked Mountain.

This timeframe—the end of the 18th century—corresponds with the initial widening of incorporation of Dorje Shugden into the Gelug sect. As will be shown, many important Gelug lamas of this time began writing various rituals to Dorje Shugden. However, in comparison one unique aspect of the Fourth Jetsun Dampa’s torma offering described below begins with allusions to Shambhala, as the Jetsun Dampa is regarded as the reincarnation of Taranatha, a Kalachakra adept in the Jonang sect of Tibet. Moreover, the Fourth Jetsun Dampa was one the key importers of the Kalachakra to Mongolia. According to ethnologist A. M. Pozdneev:10

In 1806 he set up a special datsang for the school of Doinkor [Kalachakra]; this was the so-called Dachin-kalbain-sume, in which many other khurals based on the principles of Doinkor as well were performed, starting in 1807... Moreover, being devoted to the task of developing Duinkor, the Gegen decorated the temple of Dachin-kalbain-Sume, gilding its roof, and in its courtyard he established his personal residence.

This is a short summary of his vast activities. Also in 1808, he departed for Amarbayasgalant monastery. Then he started construction on two Tsanid temples at Khuree.11 Dorje Shugden is one of the main protectors of Amarbayasgalant monastery, and the remains of the Fourth Jetsun Dampa were kept here.12 Thus, he worked diligently to establish monasteries. The short torma offering translated below was included in the ritual cycles of these colleges founded by the Fourth Jetsun Dampa. It is included in the catalog of Lobsang Tamdin’s be bum introduction.13

Om, glorious deity of Shambhala,
Three world’s ruler Red Faced One,14
Protectors of Loseling’s scholars,
Including Dorje Shugden come here.

Pleasing, harmony producing samaya substances,
Especially mansions, red and white tormas,
A mountain of flesh and bones as vast as the ocean,
Including all objects of desire I offer.

Partaking with enjoyment, study, listening, meditation,
Virtues of theory and practice, please increase.
Increase favorable conditions, remove unfavorable conditions,
Assist us on the path of wisdom and compassion.
For the monks possessing the three trainings, may there be auspiciousness.

As for this, it was written by Thubten Wangchug Jigme Gyatso when this college was first founded. It seemed like there was a verse missing from this, later in the female fire bird year [most likely 1861] when the college’s liturgies were being recompiled, the peerless, kind master Yongzin Noyon Han named Manjugosha added the verse “Virtues of theory and practice, please increase.

Like most short propitiations to Shugden, there is no reference to Panchen Sonam Dragpa in this except perhaps indirectly through the reference to Drepung Loseling. However, the association between the two became apparent and literal soon afterwards in Mongolia.

1 TBRC Person RID: P5779.

2 E. Gene Smith ; edited by Kurtis R. Schaeffer. (2001). Among Tibetan Texts: History and Literature of the Himalayan Plateau. Boston: Wisdom Publications, p. 122.

3 E. Gene Smith ; edited by Kurtis R. Schaeffer. (2001). Among Tibetan Texts: History and Literature of the Himalayan Plateau. Boston: Wisdom Publications, p. 122.

4 Pozdneev (1971-1977), pp. 330-331.

5 Hyer, Paul and Sechin Jagchid. (1983). Mongolian Living Buddha. Albany: State University of New York Press, p. 55.

6 Hyer, Paul and Sechin Jagchid. (1983). Mongolian Living Buddha. Albany: State University of New York Press, p. 160.

7 Hyer, Paul and Sechin Jagchid. (1983). Mongolian Living Buddha. Albany: State University of New York Press, p. 160.

8 TBRC Person RID: P5778.

9 Dharmatala (1987). Rosary of white lotuses: Being the clear account of how the precious teaching of Buddha appeared and spread in the great Hor country. Wiesbaden: O. Harrassowitz, pp. 345-346.

10 Pozdneev (1971-1977), p. 356.

11 Pozdneev (1971-1977), p. 356.

12 Don Croner's World Wide Wanders Part 2: Mongolia, Selenge Aimag, Amarbayasgalant: “Formerly there were three temples here dedicated to Zanabazar, Dorje Shugden, and the Eighth Bogd Gegen. These were destroyed in the late 1930s.”

13 'Jam mgon rgyal ba'i bstan srung rdo rje shugs ldan gyi 'phrin bcol phyogs bsdus bzhugs so (1992), pp. 30-31.

14 This refers to mdung dmar can: Red Vaishravana or Jamsran.