Samye Monastery

Episode 2.13 – The Second Dharma King

(Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Image of Samye Monastery, constructed in the late 8th century by Trisong Detsen)

Trisong Detsen is Tibet’s second Dharma King, those holy Emperors who devoted their lives to the promulgation of Buddhism in the traditional historiography. But how did the Tsenpo become a Dharma King? 

Before his reign, Buddhism in Tibet was on shaky ground. Even Songtsen Gampo was only a patron of Buddhism, not a true Buddhist. But Trisong Detsen was a Buddhist. He sponsored the construction of Samye Monastery, oversaw a Great Debate to settle doctrine in Tibetan Buddhism, and had his family educated in the faith. 

More than any king before him, Trisong Detsen was the reason Buddhism had a future in the country. And in today’s episode, we explore his role in that story. 

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