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English Phonetics Ratnarakṣita
Sort Name Ratnarakṣita

Tibetan calendar dates


Biographical information

Ratnarakṣita was one of the most popular scholar monks at the Vikramaśīla monastery in the last period of Indian Buddhism. According to Tāranātha,[6] he was most likely ordained in the Mahāsāṃghika school. Sometimes he is compared with his contemporary colleague, Śākyaśrībhadra. Although both of them are equally knowledgeable, Śākyaśrībhadra had stronger knowledge of the Pramāṇa, while Ratnarakṣita had a mastery of the Mantranaya (i.e. Vajrayāna). They evacuated to Nepal before their monastery was invaded by the Muslim army in 1203. Tāranātha also relates that Ratna- rakṣita prophesied this tragic incident two years in advance. After having moved to Nepal, he energetically taught many Nepalese and Tibetan disci- ples. Although his biography is still far from clear, his floruit could be placed in ca. 1150–1250, since Ratnarakṣita had already been one of the popular monks in the Vikramaśīla around 1200, i.e., the time of the end of this monastery, and also he taught Chag lo tsā ba (Dharmasvāmin) in 1226 in Kathmandu, Nepal.[7] After moving to Nepal, Ratnarakṣita seems to have been based there. Although it is said that he visited Tibet to teach, it is like- ly that he came back to Nepal and died there, since there is no record of his death in Tibet. (Kuranishi, "A Study on Scholarly Activities in the Last Period of the Vikramaśīla Monastery: Quotations in Ratnarakṣita's Padminī," 50)


6. SCHIEFNER 1963: 192(4–8).
7. Cf. ROERICH 1959: iv-v; 6; 54, NAKAYAMA 1994: 239–240.

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