Nalanda Tradition – The 17 Nalanda Masters

Nalanda Tradition  – 17 NALANDA MASTERS, Dalai Lama refers often to these.

Nalanda Monastic University  – lasted for 700 years, from the late 5th C.E. until 1203.

Nalanda Monastic University
 was the greatest center of Buddhist learning in India’s glorious past. With 30 000 monks and nuns including 2 000 teachers living, studying and practicing there, there was no other educational institute that could compete Nalanda – for 700 hundred years. Established in the late 5th century C.E., the institution survived until being destroyed in 1203 by Muslim invaders. In 1204 the last abbot of Nalanda fled to Tibet.

Nalanda’s renown as a center for higher learning spread far: it attracted students from Greece, Persia, China, and Tibet. Although Buddhism was naturally the central focus of study, other subjects including astronomy, medicine (Ayurveda), grammar, metaphysics, logic, philosophy of language, classical philosophy, non-Indian philosophy and so forth were all regularly studied.

Chinese pilgrims who visited Nalanda in the 7th century C.E. give detailed accounts of the physical premises and activities in their travelogues. For example, they describe three nine-story buildings comprising the library that housed millions of titles, in hundreds of thousands of volumes, on a vast variety of topics.  See “UNESCO World Heritage Site” .


Nagarjuna (c. 2nd century C.E.)
The Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way, probably the single most analyzed, commented upon and discussed philosophical treatise in Buddhism’s history
Aryadeva (c. 3rd century C.E.)
Asanga (300-390 C.E.) and his disciple and half-brother,
Vasubandhu (c. 4th century C.E.). The Treasure of KnowledgeAbhidharmakosha
Buddhapalita (470-550 C.E.)
Bhavaviveka (500-578 C.E.)

Chandrakirti (600-650 C.E.)
The founder of the Middle Way Consequence school, often regarded as the highest Buddhist philosophical explanation of reality.
Further developed by Je Tsongkhapa (1357-1419 CE)

Dignaga (6th century C.E.)
Dharmakirti (600-660 C.E.).
Shantarakshita (725-788 C.E.) – the first scholar from Nalanda invited to Tibet.
Haribhadra (700-770 C.E.)
Vimuktisena (c. 6th century C.E.)
Kamalashila (c. 8th century C.E.)

Shantideva (c. 8th century C.E.)
Atisha (980-1054 C.E.)  – wrote Lamp for the Path, text that has served as the basis for Lamrim – The Graduated Path to Enlightenment.
Further developed by Je Tsongkhapa (1357-1419 CE) – Lamrim.