Khedrup Norsang Gyatso
Khedrup Norsang Gyatso (1423–1513), a well-known scholar and adept of the fifteenth century, was a student of the First Dalai Lama and a principal teacher of the Second Dalai Lama. Though belonging to the Geluk school of Tibetan Buddhism, Norsang Gyatso is recognized as a seminal figure in the promotion of a syncretic approach—between the Geluk and Kagyü schools—to the teachings and practices of mahamudra. Along with Phukpa Lhundrup Gyatso, Norsang Gyatso is credited also with the founding of the highly influential Phuk school of Tibetan astronomy and astrology. Because of his dedication to intensive meditative practice for more than four decades as a wandering hermit, Norsang Gyatso came to be revered by the Tibetan tradition as a great meditator and teacher, and he is included among the lineage masters of many important practice traditions, including the lineage of Kalachakra.
Books, Courses & Podcasts
Ornament of Stainless Light
The premiere volume of Thupten Jinpa’s thirty-two-volume Library of Tibetan Classics series, inaugurated to coincide with the Dalai Lama’s conferral of the initiation rite of Kālacakra in Toronto in April 2004.
The Kālacakra, or “wheel of time,” tantra likely entered Indian Mahayana Buddhism around the tenth century. In expounding the root tantra, the Indian master Puṇḍarīka, one of the legendary Kalkī kings of the land of Shambhala, wrote his influential Stainless Light. Ornament of Stainless Light is an authoritative Tibetan exposition of this important text, composed in the fifteenth century by Khedrup Norsang Gyatso, tutor to the Second Dalai Lama.
One of the central projects of Kālacakra literature is a detailed correlation between the human body and the external universe. In working out this complex correspondence, the Kālacakra texts present an amazingly detailed theory of cosmology and astronomy, especially about the movements of the various celestial bodies. The Kālacakra tantra is also a highly complex system of Buddhist theory and practice that employs vital bodily energies, deep meditative mental states, and a penetrative focus on subtle points within the body’s key energy conduits known as channels. Ornament of Stainless Light addresses all these topics, elaborating on the external universe, the inner world of the individual, the Kālacakra initiation rites, and the tantric stages of generation and completion, all in a highly readable English translation.