Author Topic: Gyalwa Ensapa  (Read 5998 times)


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Gyalwa Ensapa
« on: July 03, 2012, 12:32:35 PM »
This is a brief biography of Gyalwa Ensapa, the 3rd Panchen Lama as well as the author of Guru Yoga or Lama Chopa. He was famous for being able to attain enlightenment in just one lifetime with the aid of Guru Yoga. This is also the reason why I chose his name as my handle here in this forum :P. He is also one of our lineage masters, especially in Ganden Mahamudra.

Gyalwa Ensapa (1505 - 1566) was a great Kadampa master born in Ensa, at Hlaku near the Tsang River in Tibet. He achieved enlightenment in one brief lifetime like the famous yogi Milarepa. Unlike Milarepa, Gyalwa Ensapa achieved enlightenment without having to endure such hardship.

At a very young age Gyalwa Ensapa had a vision of the whole of samsara being a limitless fire blazing without end. From that time he developed the wish to become ordained. He took vows when he was 11 years old with Abbot Drakpa Dondrub of Chokor Uding Monastery. He felt nothing but revulsion towards every situation he saw in the world, while also feeling overwhelming compassion for every being. He met each one with the thought, “How can I rescue this poor being from the prison of uncontrolled rebirth in cyclic existence?”

Gyalwa Ensapa went to Pema Chan to practise samadhi (concentration). He practised in deserted foothills and isolated ravines and did not think about how long it would take nor about the tremendous effort that would be required. Before he was 21 years old he achieved the ability to remain in samadhi day and night. As a result, whenever he did any activity he experienced bliss.

Gyalwa Ensapa gave this teaching:

“When hearing, pondering and practising the Dharma one’s aim should be first of all to subdue one’s own mind. Then one should carefully investigate the path using stainless reasoning as an antidote to the defiling emotions.
“Moreover, anyone who claims to study the Dharma without thoroughly investigating all of the traditions of the Mahayana and who likes to bicker over the slightest points of language saying, ‘You say this, but I say that’ completely misses the point.”


Ensapa was known to have spent more than 20 years meditating in isolated caves near the Himalayan mountains. When he was a young boy Gyalwa Ensäpa received many visions of Buddha Shakyamuni. He also possessed natural clairvoyance and was able to know that people were about to visit his family even when they were still many days' journay away. Later, when he ordained as a monk, he was able to recite the entire Perfection of Wisdom Sutra in Eight Thousand Lines from memory, both in Tibetan and in Sanskrit. His fellow monks,who had never heard Sanskrit spoken, thought that he was possessed by spirits!

It can be very inspiring sometimes to read the stories of lineage masters before us who have already achieved perfection and I would like to share some of them with everyone.

Big Uncle

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Re: Gyalwa Ensapa
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2012, 02:20:01 PM »
This is a brief biography of Gyalwa Ensapa, the 3rd Panchen Lama as well as the author of Guru Yoga or Lama Chopa.

Dear Ensapa,
Lama Chopa literally means Guru Puja and not Guru Yoga as you have mentioned. They are two separate things altogether because in the Gelug tradition, Guru Yoga refers to Lama Tsongkhapa's Guru Yoga or better known as Gaden Lhagyama (Hundred of Deities of Tushita). This is a totally different puja when compared to the one you are talking about.

The other thing is, Lama Chopa was composed by the Panchen Losang Chokyi Gyaltsen, considered by some to be the first Panchen Lama while others consider him to be the 4th Panchen Lama. That means he is the incarnation after Gyalwa Ensapa. Check out what Lama Zopa has to say about Lama Chopa:-

Lama Zopa Rinpoche says in Lama Chopa:
The purpose of life is to free all sentient beings from suffering and lead them to peerless happiness, enlightenment, the cessation of all obscurations. The happiness of all sentient beings is our responsibility. But in order to work perfectly for all sentient beings, first we ourselves must reach enlightenment, and in order to do this we need to actualise the steps of the path to enlightenment, starting with guru devotion. All of this is contained in the practice of Lama Chopa, the Guru Puja, by Panchen Losang Chokyi Gyaltsen.

Therefore, please ensure that you get your facts straight before you post.   


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Re: Gyalwa Ensapa
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2012, 03:50:17 AM »
I read that around 75 of Gyalwa Ensapa's monks used to live at the Ensa Monastery. They were distinctive in being permitted to wear pandits' hats in debates  and pujas. Gyalwa Ensapa's body was also kept there. When he died, his body became very small, a cubit in height, while his head remained the same size.

Also, Dorje Shugden is not the only one being thought as a spirit  ;D When Gyalwa Ensapa was about 5 or 6 years old, he did not have many clothes, and had to wrap himself in blue cloth. At that age, he won a debate with a Sakya geshe, and the geshe was astonished, and thought that he was a spirit! When Gyalwa Ensapa recited some of the Eight Thousand Verse Perfection of Wisdom Sutra to him in Sanskrit, the geshe then washed his bowl and offered tea to Gyalwa Ensapa.  Imagine, at 5 or 6 years old!

The story above was highlighted in Chod in the Ganden Tradition: The Oral Instructions of Kyabje Zong Rinpoche.

If you have the chance, you should visit the Heart Shrine Relic Tour that is part of the Maitreya Project. Ensapa's relic is amongst them and was offered to Lama Zopa by a Taiwanese student. I have attached the picture below. The tour will be visiting North America and Europe soon.
(tour calendar here:


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Re: Gyalwa Ensapa
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2015, 06:12:39 AM »
Here's a wonderful translation of Ganden lineage yogis called Enlightened Beings by Janice D Willis. Gyalwa Ensapa's story is excellent!