“THE JONANGPA AFTER TĀRANĀTHA: AUTO/BIOGRAPHICAL WRITINGS ON THE TRANSMISSION OF ESOTERIC BUDDHIST KNOWLEDGE IN SEVENTEENTH CENTURY TIBET”
MICHAEL R. SHEEHY
Though recent scholarship has shed light on the history of the early Jonangpa in Central Tibet during their formative period of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, and it is well-known that the tradition thrived until its downfall in the mid-seventeenth century, little attention has yet been given to the survival of the Jonang transmissions in Tibet from rJe btsun Tāranātha (1575-1635) onwards.
In fact, until recently, the Jonangpa were thought by many to have vanished in the mid-seventeenth century as a consequence of their demise under the
dGa’ ldan Pho brang government headed by the Fifth Dalai Lama Ngag dbang bLo bzang rgya mtsho (Ngawang Lozang Gyamtso, 1617-1682). This is the narrative that has dominated publications about them, driven by both Tibetologists as well as by Tibetans who live outside the remote valleys of Amdo in far eastern Tibet where the Jonangpa have lived for centuries.