The Eighty Mahasiddhas of the Mother Tantra : The Sacred Art of Tibetan Thangkas
Author: Tsadzin Lopon Geshe Monlam Wangyal
TSADZIN LOPON GESHE MONLAM WANGYAL PUGYALWA is from the Pontsang clan which originated from the Dong Lineage. The first Pontsang clan was from Kham, Chamdo, Tibet. The clan had many great masters who were meditators and practitioners of Dzogchen, such as Lama Kunga Tsultrim, Lama Rinchen Tenzin, Pontsang Thekchok Rinpoche, and Khandro Tshuga Rinpoche. The Pontsang clan had seven generations of great artists whose religious art and paintings followed the ancient traditional Tibetan artistic canon. Lopon Monlam Wangyal started learning the Tibetan language at the age of seven and he was schooled at home by his grandfather, Pontsang Takla, for eight years. He was taught thangka painting by his uncle, Pontsang Lodoe Gyurme (also a monk) who was a highly skilled and well known artist of his time. After his uncle’s passing, he learned from another famous artist called, Dhondo Tsering Yomphel, who is Yongdzin Lopon Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche’s uncle.
At the age of eighteen, Tsadzin Lopon Monlam Wangyal became a monk at Thongdrol Ritro Monastery in Kham, Tibet. In 1992, he went to India and studied the Yungdrung Bon Sutras, Philosophy, Astrology, Tibetan Grammar, and Poetry at Menri Monastery. In 1997, he came to Nepal and studied the Tantras, Dzogchen, Mandala Painting, Tibetan Medicine, and Tibetan History at Triten Norbutse Monastery. He has acquired knowledge on the Sciences of Buddhists learning, took responsibility of Disciplinarian/Gekhod, and Librarian for ten years after which he was honored with the title of “Tsadzin Lopon”.
Tsadzin Lopon painted the Yungdrung Bon thangkas and did research projects that culminated in a book published by the Osaka Museum of Japan. He also painted several Bon Mandala thangkas and has written a book, “Mandalas of the Bon Religion”, in collaboration with the Osaka Museum of Japan. Some of the thangkas he painted can be seen in the Osaka Museum. Tsadzin Lopon has painted seven thangkas and the illustration for the cover of Mr. Loel Guinness’ book, “Rainbow Body”.
In 2013, he went to Mongolia for a conference of the International Association of Tibetan Studies (IATS) and in the same year he went to Korea to attend the 8th International Congress on Traditional Asian Medicine (ICTAM).
Tsadzin Lopon began painting these Eighty Thangkas of the Great Accomplished Ones of antiquity, Drubthob Chenpo/Mahasiddhas, in early 2009 and completed them in 2014. The main objective behind these paintings is to give a clear and simple explanation of their true meaning in a new and original way to facilitate comprehension and understanding.