A brief of history of the Jonang Lineage
Because of the three different levels of disciples, Buddha Shakyamuni turned the wheel of Dharma three times. The first was the wheel on the four noble truths; the second was the wheel on the absence of characteristics and the third was the wheel on clear discrimination. The lineage holders of the practice lineage of the definitive meaning of Madhyamika <middle way> that was belonged to the last Dharma Wheel and later spread into Tibet are called Jonangpas. Madhyamika, one of the three famous traditions in the land of snow, the Great Perfection, Mahamudra and Madhyamika, is consisted of Empty of Self and Empty of Other. The latter, the great Madhyamika of the ultimate definitive meaning, the tenet that reveals the true existence of primordial wisdom that sees all phenomena, encompassed by imputed and relative subject and object, are not truly existed and to see the non-dual of the two perfect establishments has been coming down in two lineages, sutra lineage and Tantra lineage.
First, our historical Buddha, the fully enlightened one turned the wheel of Dharma three times because of the disposition and interest of different disciples. The lineage of the great Other Empty Madhyamika <Uma Shandong Chenmo> of the ultimate definitive meaning that was imparted in the last turning of the wheel, came down from Buddha the fully enlightened one and then through Lord Maitreya, the glorious Arya Nagarjuna, Arya Asanga and his brother and others, then it came down successively to Mahasidha Shavaripa, the great Maitriopa, Ghawa Drapa, Khachewa Jongney Shiwa and Brahmin Sajana These masters illuminated the Great Other Empty Madhyamika <Uma Shandong Chenmo>of the ultimate definitive meaning in India, the land of Aryas. In the land of snow, some translators and Panditas < great scholars> translated these teachings into Tibetan. The ones who upheld this tenet purely are Gzi Lotsawa Gawe Dorje, Tsanrig Kawoche Drimed Shereb, Latodpa Tarma Tsondu, Tolpa Nyan Yeshi Chungnay, Jatod brother Chang Chup Kyab, Shonu Chang Chup, Kyitonpa MolamTsutrim, Jomden Rigpe Raldri and Kyiton Jamyang. In this way it came down without interruption to Kunchen Tolpo, the Dharma King of the three realms and he is the one that made the tradition of the Great Other Empty Madhyamika <Uma Shandong Chenmo> of the ultimate definitive meaning flourishing.
Second, its Tantric lineage
On the 15th of the 3rd month of lunar calendar in the next year after the incomparable son of Shuddodana attained full enlightenment, at the glorious stupa that was piled up with white rice, he displayed the great Mandala of cosmos with miraculous power, and surrounded by a retinue of numberless Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Heroes and Sky Goers and the assemblies of Gods, Nargas, Yakshas and Elemental Spirits <Jongpo> and also numberless fortunate human beings from nine hundred sixty million cities in the north side of river Sita, he gave the complete teachings of the glorious Kalachakra Tantra and entrusted them to Vajrapani. For a while, these teachings remained in Shambhala only and did not spread to other human worlds. In Shambhala, King Dawa Zangpo wrote down all of them into scriptures. He imparted extensive Tantric teachings to assemblies of beings there enabling many to attain the supreme accomplishment. After that the seven great Dharma Kings and others like Rigden Jampal Drakpa promoted them in Shabhala In The North until the time of Rigden Gyalka. It was during the time of Rigden Gyalka that they spread into the land of Aryas < India>. This was because the great saint Tushabpa Chenpo went to Shambhala with miraculous power and met Rigden Gyalka in person. Among many Tantric teachings like the teaching of Kalachakra, some of them he memorized and some of them he brought to India as scriptures. He himself mainly focused on meditation and passed away in rainbow body. His student Shri Bhatra and Shri Bhatra’s student Nalantra made these teachings became pervasive on this earth.
The way these teachings spread into Tibet.
Kache Banchen Dawa Gonpo, a direct student of Nalanpa came to Tibet three times. He gave the entire empowerment of Kalachakra, and translated by Dro She Rab Dra, he gave the teachings of Kalachakra Tantra and many other teachings such as the trilogy of Commentaries by Bodhisattvas. Then they were promoted gradually by the great accomplished masters such as Lama Lhaje Gonpa, Lama Droton Namtsek, Drupchen Yumo Mikyod Dorje, Saychok Dharmey Shora, Khepa Namkha Odser, Kyama Tulku Jobum, Semo Chewa Namkha Gyaltsen, Jam Serwa Sherab Odser, Kunchen Choeku Odser (1214-1292) and became known as Jordruk <the six practices>. In 1243 Shang Kunbang Thuje Tsondu was born. From many masters such as Kunchen Choeku Odser, he received more than seventeen different kinds of pure explanatory teachings and pith instructions on the six limbs of Kalachakra practice. By adopting these pith instructions into his own practice, he attained the state of accomplishment. As he was invited, in 1294 he went to a place called Jonang of Jomo Nakman Gyalmo founded a monastery there. Since then the lineage that was called Jordruk <the six practice > became known as Jonang. His student was Chang Sem Gyalwa Yeshi (1257-1320). The student of Chang Sem was Khetsun Yonden Gyatso (1260-1327). These three masters became known as the three first Lamas of Jonang. As it was prophesied in the scriptures like the Sura of the Great Drum and the Ushnishavijayi Tantra, Kunchen Jonangpa Sherab Gyaltsen, the direct student of Khetsun Yodan Gyatso, was born in 1292 in the town of Kayori to his father Yeshi Wangchuk and mother Tsultrim Gyan. At the age of eleven, he took monastic vows from Khen Tsultrim Odser and received the name Sherab Gyaltsen. He studied and mastered the great treaties such as Paramita <perfection>, Pramana <science of valid cognition> and Abhidharmakosha <treasury of Abhidharma> under teachers like Lama Kyitonpa. He went to almost all the monastic universities in Utsang <the central Tibet> and became perfect in all the three fields of giving teaching, debating and writing that he gained the title ‘Kunchen’ <all knower >. He studied and practiced accurately under Khetsun Yotan Gyatso and more than thirty other great Dharma masters that he gained the realization of the ultimate meaning of both Sutra and Tantra. His writings expressing his special views on the meaning of Sutras and Tantras spread everywhere and it drew debates from most of the scholars then as it was beyond their intellectual scope. However, these debates vanished like snow flakes landing on surface of an ocean that it became an indisputable tenet. Because of the request of many spiritual masters, he composed around ten volumes of teachings such as the Ocean of Definitive Meaning. He turned the wheel of Dharma extensively by combing Sutra and Tantra to numberless disciples. His activities for the welfare of Buddha Dharma and sentient beings like this were carried not only in Tibet, in other places like China and Mongolia, his activities gave the impression that the Victorious One himself was on the earth again. Then at the age of seventy, on the 6th date of the 10th month in the year of Female Metal ox, he passed away into Dharmadhatu <the ultimate sphere of reality>.
Then the lineage came down successively without interruption through Kunchen Chenpo’s direct student the manifestation of Bodhisattva Kshitigarbha Chokley Namgyal, Nyaponpa Kunga Pal, Drubchen Kunga Lodroe, Jamyang Kunchok Sangpo, Khedrup Namkha Choe Kyong, Padchen Namkha Palsang, Lochen Radna Bhada, Jetsun Kunga Drolchok, Khenchen Long Rig Gyatso and to Jetsun Taranata, the manifestation of Shri Chakrasamvara. During the time between 1575 and 1634, Jetsun Taranata or Kunga Nyingpo became an ornament of Great Madhyamika of the Ultimate Definitive Meaning. Since the age of 1, he had repeatedly said “I am Lama Drochok”, and based on the prophecy of the previous reincarnation, he was recognized as the reincarnation of Jonang Jetsun Kunga Drolchok and was enthroned in Choelong Changtse. He studied and practiced the teachings of both Sutra and Tantra under the tuition of some great teachers like the great master Khechok Champa Lundrup and the great abbot Khenchen Longrig Gyatso that he became one of the greatest Dharma teachers. He founded the Jonang Monastery and had numberless students. There are forty volumes of teachings that he translated and composed. With great kindness, he preserved and promoted the teachings of all the traditions of Jonang, Nyima, Kagyud, Sakya, Gedhan and others impartially so that the rays of the light of his activates shone on the entire land of Tibet, China and Mongolia. Then the lineage came down unbrokenly through his successors, such as Kunga Rinchen Gyatso, Khedrup Lodroe Namgyal, Chalongpa Ngaawang Trinley and to our root teacher, the one with three kindness of bestowing empowerment, imparting teachings and granting pith instructions. So this tradition, the doctrine of the definitive meaning, is continuously spreading and flourishing in all the places in the world today.