Jetsun Tāranātha

This page is for posts, articles and translations about Jetsun Tāranātha (1575-1634), also known as Drölwé Gönpo (sgrol ba’i mgon po) and Künga Nyingpo Tashi Gyaltsen Palzangpo (kun dga’ snying po bkra shis rgyal mtshan dpal bzang po) was one of the most amazing and accomplished Tibetan Buddhist masters of the Jonang, Shangpa Kagyu and Rime traditions. Greatly revered by Buddhist masters of all the major Tibetan Buddhist lineages, such as the 19th Century Rime masters, Nyingma Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo and Kagyu Jamgon Kongtrul the Great, Tāranātha was a highly accomplished scholar, translator, historian and practitioner. Tāranātha’s works on Kālacakra are still widely used today within the Jonang tradition and practitioners of Dro Kālacakra. As I discovered when translating some of these texts, Jamgon Kongtrul copied his Kālacakra texts word for word in his Treasuries! For more on his lifestory, see his online bio by Dr. Cyrus Stearns at Treasury of Lives.

Texts and Translations

Supplication to the Kālacakra Lineage by Jetsun Tāranātha

Tāranātha’s Commentary on the Heart Sutra

Lion-Faced Ḍākinī sadhana

The Explicit and Hidden Aspects of Tāra: A Commentary on the Twenty-One Tāras‘ by Jetsun Tāranātha

Innate Kālacakra: Instruction Texts and Recitations

Meaningful to See’: Guidance on the Profound Path of the Vajra-Yogas by Jetsun Tāranātha

Vajrasattva: Guiding Instructions by Jetsun Tāranātha and Bamda Gelek Gyatso


The ‘vajra descent’ and ‘authentic completion stage’: the 8th Karmapa and Tāranātha on the meaning of ‘vajra’; and ‘non-conceptual primordial awareness’ in A Hundred Blazing Lights

New Translation: Jetsun Tāranātha’s ‘The Ornament of Madhyamaka Empty-of-Other

Love is the water of compassion’: Tāranātha on the ‘four immeasurables’ in ‘A Hundred Blazing Lights’;

Tāranātha and his Indian tantric master Buddhaguptanātha

Jetsun Tāranātha on the meaning of ‘three confidences’

Today the parinirvana of Jonang master, Jetsun Taranatha (1575-1634)

Jetsun Tāranātha and the Shangpa Kagyu

Kālacakra as the ‘ultimate pinnacle’ of all the tantras: Jetsun Tāranātha and 8th Karmapa, Mikyo Dorje

Public Lecture on Tāranātha’s Commentary on Heart Sutra now available online

Tāranātha on the Benefits of Love and the Four Immeasurables

Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, Tāranātha and Nyingma lineage texts on Kālacakra

The meaning of ‘innate’ (lhan skyes) in generation stage Kālacakra

A Hundred Blazing Lights: Tāranātha on the meaning of ‘profound’ and ‘exceptional devotion’ in the ‘profound path of vajra-yogas

Tāranātha on Vajrasattva: the nature of karma, the four ‘opponent powers’ and the necessity of purification in ‘A Hundred Blazing Lights

Necessary Qualities of a Vajrayana Master by Tāranātha

The 8th Tai Situpa, Tāranātha, Shentong and the Golden Stupa at Sherab Ling





Here is a recent short video teaching on Jetsun Tāranātha by Jonang lama, Khentrul Rinpoche:

Further Reading

  • David Templeman, Taranatha’s Life of Krsnacarya/Kanha, Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, 1989
  • David Templeman, ‘Memories of a Past Life’, in Religions of Tibet in Practice, edited by Donald S. Lopez Jr., Princeton University Press, 1997
  • Jo Nang Taranatha, The Origin of the Tara Tantra, translated and edited by David Templeman, Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, first published in 1981, revised edition 1995.
  • Lama Chimpa, Alaka Chattopadhyaya and Debiprasad Chatterji, Taranatha’s History of Buddhism in India, Delhi : Motilal Banarsidass, 1990
  • Taranatha, The Essence of Other Emptiness, Snow Lion, 2007
  • Taranatha, The Golden Rosary of Tara, Shang-Shung Edizioni, 1985
  • Taranatha, The Life of Padmasambahava, Shang Shung Edizioni, 2005
  • Taranatha, The Seven Instruction Lineages, translated and edited by David Templeman, Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, 2002
  • Taranatha’s commentary on the Heart Sutra – A study, translation and critical edition by Adele Tomlin, Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, 2017.
  • Taranatha the Historian, by David Templeman, The Tibet Journal, Vol. 6, No. 2 (Summer 1981), pp. 41-46 (see: