Slob Dpon

Tibetan Dictionaries > Blue Annals Terminology > Terms ra-la-sha-sa-ha-a > slob dpon

loppön (slob dpon) སློབ་དཔོན་

by Christopher Bell


  • Skt. ācārya
  • spiritual master
  • teacher
  • master


  • slob - teach, learn, train
  • dpon - chief, lord
  • "Lord of Teaching"

Loppön (Skt. ācārya) refers to a spiritual master, or monastic preceptor when regarding ordination. The Bod rgya tshig mdzod chen mo defines it as a teacher of good qualities, a spiritual guide with the virtue to benefit disciples spiritually and materially. (ཡོན་ཏན་སློབ་མཁན་དགེ་རྒན། ཤིང་བཟོ་བའི་ཐིག་ཤིང་ཨཙརྱ་རང་གི་སློབ་མ་ལ་ཆོས་དང་ཟང་ཟིང་གི་སྒོ་ནས་ཕན་འདོགས་པའི་དགེ་བའི་བཤེས་གཉེན། Dbyi sun 1998, p.3000)

Analysis of Pattern of Usage in The Blue Annals

The usage of this term in The Blue Annals is primarily as a special and high-ranking title for accomplished religious teachers. Thus, it is usually found at the beginning of a name or as part of a name. The term, and its Sanskritized equivalent "a tsa ra," are extremely prevalent in The Blue Annals and can be found everywhere in reference to important teachers. As such, the following is a small but significant sampling.

Citations in The Blue Annals

Roerich 1996, pp.68, 87, 103, 170, 341, 351, 475, 576, 680, 698, 954.

  • "bla chen po lha lde btsan bestowed on him the dignity of 'Chief Priest' (dbu'i mchod gnas) and of Vajrācārya (rdo rje slob dpon)." (R: 68)
  • "The ācārya dpal 'byor shes rab (The text has [Book II (kha), fol. 11b]: de la slob dpon dpal gyi 'byoz/ shes rab dag gis gsang pa yin/ The name is split in order to fit the verse.) heard this Doctrine from him." (R: 87)
  • "The Commentary on the 'dus phyi ma or "Later" samāja, ('dus phyi ma'i 'grel pa, a Commentary on the 'dus phyi ma, Kg. rGyud, No. 443; bu ston gsung bum, vol. XXVI [la], fol. 34b: le'u bco brgyad pa'i phyed kyi rtsa ba'i rgyud rdzogs pa man chad kyi 'grel pa slob dpon bi swa mitras mdzad pa) composed by bi shwA mi tra,…" (R: 103)
  • "Further, the 'ancient ācāryas' (slob dpon rnying ma pa, i.e. teachers of the 'Old' Tantras) taught that the teacher (of the doctrine) was Buddhagupta (sangs rgyas gsang ba), and that bi ma la was his disciple." (R: 170)
  • "After that gnags grags tshul, rgya ston bsod ring, dge brag pa, snye thang pa bkra shis seng ge, slob dpon blo rin, the ācārya bkra shis seng ge, sang grags, dgra gong ba dar ma seng ge, tshul rgyan pa, dbu rgyan pa and others succeeded him." (R: 341)
  • "In regard to the Kriya-Tantra (bya ba'i rgyud) and the Caryā-Tantra (spyod pa' rgyud), the exposition of the ācārya Buddhaguhya (slob dpon sangs rgyas gsang ba) was pre-eminent throughout the Period of the Early Spread of the Doctrine." (R: 351)
  • "He received the final monastic ordination in the presence of mal 'dul 'dzin pa who acted as upādhyāya, ye ses blo gros acting as karma-ācārya (las kyi slob dpon) and the younger brother of mal acting as Secret Preceptor (gsang ston)." (R: 475)
  • "spyan snga said to slob dpon bram ze: 'Blow the brass trumpet which you brought with yourself,' and he blew (the trumpet) emitting a loud sound." (R: 576)
  • "As his two elder brothers had died in their childhood, he was entrusted to the care of the ācārya zug ston, who used to protect children by his prayers (gso ba'i slob dpon). He was given the name of mgon po dpal." (R: 680)
  • "The Dharmasvāmin said to zhig po byang dpal: '0 ācārya ! Now lo sras (the tsheg should be placed after the word slob dpon) is not different from a monk!'" (R: 698)
  • "Because of this, I was afraid to become a teacher of the people of the Iron-Age (snyigs ma'i sems can gyi slob dpon)." (R: 954)


Dbyi sun. [1993] 1998. Bod rgya tshig mdzod chen mo. Beijing: Mi rigs dpe skrun khang.
Roerich, George N., trans. [1949] 1996. The Blue Annals. Parts I and II. Reprint, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass.