Atisa Invited To Tibet

Tibetan Renaissance Seminar > Atisa invited to Tibet

Atisa invited to Tibet

In the late 10th Century the Purang (and pro-Buddhist) kings Yeshe Öd and his nephew Changch’ub Öd sent a group of subjects to Kashmir to study. Their objective was to suppress the teachings of jorwa (union) and drölwa (liberation) and wanted the clerics to practice a more disciplined and non-Tantric way. They invited the Indian scholar Atisa to Tibet where he studied and would later combine the Mahayana teachings of prajna and bodichitta. This was the synthesis of shamanic teachings with a clerical approach. He authored his approach in the ‘Bodhipathapradipa’ (Light of the Path to Enlightenment), which indicates three stages of the Buddhist path. In it, he suggests that Tantric practice should only be undertaken after extensive sutta practice to insure the motivation and understanding of Tantra. The attitude of the Purang and his invitation to Atisa was an indication of the state looking for a way to subdue non-rational forms of Tantric practice. The state may have been more comfortable with an established celibate and sutta based monastic community rather than one based on Tantra. It is commonly held that Atsia was able to combine the two in his teachings.