Karma Gardri Style Brought to India by Gega Lama Gega Lama (1931-1996) was born in the small village of Rinchen Ling in the district of Upper Lingkar, Eastern Tibet. At the age of eight he began studying Tibetan calligraphy with Lama Drontsay, and at eleven years of age he entered the monastery of Chokor Namgyal Ling at Tsabtsa, where he studied Buddhist doctrine, dance, painting and music. Gega Lama’s first painting teacher was Lama Chokyong, and the young student was immediately and intensely drawn to this medium. In the year, 1947, at sixteen years of age, Gega Lama sought out the greatly respected painting teacher, Thangla Tsewang. By the age of twenty-two, Gega Lama was recognized as an artist in his own right. The following is a passage from the introduction to Gega Lama’s book, “Principles of Tibetan Art” written in September, 1981 , in which he tells of his journey out of Tibet. In 1956, Jamgon Payma Drimay (a highly respected lama of that area) foresaw the coming oppression and persecution by the communist forces of those who would not flee to India or go into hiding, and acting on his advice I went into hiding. In 1959, when I came to India, I was forced to leave behind my books, offering utensils, images, and so forth, together with most of my painting manuals and diagrams, and was only able to carry a small portion of my possessions. Not realizing at that time whether or not there was a need for these traditions in India, I put aside my efforts due to my lack of confidence, until the Buddhist teachings began to wax like the moon as interest in them spread throughout the countries of the world. This demonstrated to me the continuing need for these systems of learning, and I searched to locate the necessary manuals and diagrams. In 1965, I studied with the artisan Damcho, learning the art of casting images, vajras, bells, and so forth in bell-metal and bronze. While engaged in these pursuits of painting and sculpture, I was approached by many people from different backgrounds for instruction, and had also committed myself to providing several of my own students with the complete diagrams. In this way Gega Lama faithfully carried the art of Thangka painting from Tibet to India. During his many fruitful years in India he rebuilt the invaluable body of diagrams and methods necessary to the painting of Tibetan Thangkas, and taught many devoted students, including his son Tharphen Lingtsang.