Lama Zopa Rinpoche seated on the throne in front of a large statue of Lama Tsongkhapa, celebrating Losar with Kopan monks, Kopan Monastery, Nepal, February 2017. Photo by Ven. Lobsang Sherab.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche described the special qualities of Lama Tsongkhapa’s teachings in a 2010 letter to a student. Lama Tsongkhapa was a great Tibetan Buddhist scholar, saint, and teacher of the fourteenth century who founded the Gelug school. 

“Lama Tsongkhapa’s teachings have everything to achieve full enlightenment. Especially clear are the most important points of sutra and tantra,” Rinpoche explained. “With Lama Tsongkhapa’s teachings, there is clear understanding, easy, quick realizations, and one makes less mistakes. You should know that you are extremely fortunate to meet Lama Tsongkhapa’s teachings and practice them. It is extremely important to practice Lama Tsongkhapa Guru Yoga. This way you will be able to meet Lama Tsongkhapa’s teachings in future lives.”

He emphasized a key feature of the teachings: “Lama Tsongkhapa’s teachings have unified sutra and tantra. … It is only with tantra that you can become enlightened in one lifetime.”

And he concluded by saying that, “To meet Lama Tsongkhapa’s teachings is extremely difficult.”

Statue of Lama Tsongkhapa at Buddha Amitabha Pure Land, Washington State, US, June 2015. Photo by Chris Majors.

This year Lama Tsongkhapa Day is December 12. Find resources and information about merit making while celebrating the parinirvana of Lama Tsongkhapa:

Read the full letter from Rinpoche here:

Lama Zopa Rinpoche is the spiritual director of the Foundation for the Preservation of Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), a Tibetan Buddhist organization dedicated to the transmission of the Mahayana Buddhist tradition and values worldwide through teaching, meditation and community service.