Seventeen Nalanda Masters 那爛陀十七大師 / 十七大班智達

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Buddha Shakyamuni and the Seventeen Nalanda Masters

Seventeen Nalanda Masters — seventeen great Indian panditas who were associated with Nalanda monastery.

  1. Nagarjuna 龍樹,六莊嚴之一。
  2. Aryadeva 聖天,六莊嚴之一。
  3. Buddhapalita 佛護
  4. Bhavaviveka 清辨
  5. Chandrakirti 月稱
  6. Shantideva 寂天,二稀有之一。
  7. Shantarakshita 寂護 / 靜命
  8. Kamalashila 蓮花戒
  9. Asanga 無著,六莊嚴之一。
  10. Vasubandhu 世親,六莊嚴之一。
  11. Dignaga 陳那,六莊嚴之一。
  12. Dharmakirti 法稱,六莊嚴之一。
  13. Arya Vimuktisena 聖解脫軍
  14. Haribhadra 師子賢
  15. Gunaprabha 功徳光,二勝之一。
  16. Shakyaprabha 釋迦光,二勝之一。
  17. Atisha 阿底峽

In the colophon to a prayer addressed to these seventeen masters, His Holiness the Dalai Lama writes:

At this time, when the whole world has witnessed tremendous advancement in the fields of science and technology, but we are also greatly distracted by the hustle and bustle of our hectic lives, it is crucially important for all of us who follow the Buddha to develop faith based upon an understanding of the Buddha’s Dharma teachings. Therefore we should investigate them, by analyzing and inquiring with an unbiased and inquisitive mind. If we are to develop this faith that is supported by understanding, the outstanding works of the profound and vast traditions composed by the masters universally renowned as the ‘Six Ornaments and Two Supreme Ones’, as well as others such as Buddhapalita and Arya Vimuktisena are indispensable. With this in mind, I commissioned the painting of a thangka depicting seventeen of the most learned and accomplished masters of Nalanda, adding nine other masters from the profound and the vast lineages to the traditional thangka arrangement for the Six Ornaments and Two Supreme Ones.

Further Reading

  • The Dalai Lama, The Middle Way: Faith Grounded in Reason, Boston: Wisdom Publications, 2009, pp. 153-161

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