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Tsongkhapa and the Teachings of the Wisdom Tradition

David Reigle

Tsongkhapa (1357-1419) was the founder of the Gelugpa or “Yellow Hat” order of Tibetan Buddhism. This soon became the dominant order in Tibet, making Tsongkhapa Tibet’s most influential teacher. Not only was this great reformer the leading teacher of the known or exoteric teachings, but according to Theosophical sources, he was also the leading teacher of the secret or esoteric teachings, the Wisdom Tradition. Some of these hitherto secret teachings were brought out in the late1800s under the name Theosophy. We would therefore expect that allowing for the differences necessitated by a different audience, and for what in his time had to remain secret, the basic or core teachings of Theosophy would be the same as the basic or core teachings of Tsongkhapa. But they are not.No, Tsongkhapa specifically and pointedly denied the first and third of what were brought out in 1888 by H. P. Blavatsky as the three fundamental propositions of the Secret Doctrine.


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The foregoing article was written by David Reigle, and presentedas part of the program, “Theosophy’s Tibetan Connection,” at theAnnual Meeting of the Texas Federation of the Theosophical Societyin America, San Antonio, April 18-20, 2008.