Gorampa Sonam Sengge (Go-rams-pa bSod-nams seng-ge) was born 1429 in the Gowo (Go-bo) region of Kham in eastern Tibet and is considered one of the most influential and significant philosophers of the Sakya tradition, with writings that fill 13 large volumes.
By the age of ten, Gorampa had taken monastic vows and already at an early age impressed his teachers, Gowo Rabjampa Sherab Pelwa (Go-bo Rab-byams-pa Shes-rab dpal-ba) and Kachupa Jinzang (bKa’-bcu-pa Sbyin-bzang), with his outstanding intellect. By the age of nineteen, Gorampa had travelled to Nalendra Monastery (Na-len-dra dGon) in Central Tibet to pursue his monastic studies under the great Sakya teacher Rongton (Rong-ston Shes-bya kun-rig), who passed away a year after his arrival. Gorampa then fell ill in his early twenties, which prevented him from touring monastic institutions in the region as he had wished. Later, in 1453, Gorampa moved to Ngor Evam Choden (Ngor E-vam Chos-ldan) to study tantra under Ngorchen Kunga Zangpo (Ngor-chen Kun-dga’ bzang-po), from whom he received the full lamdre (lam-’bras) teachings twice, among many other tantric instructions.
At the age of 37, Gorampa founded Tanag Serling Monastery (rTa-nag gSer-gling) and later on, a second monastery called Tanag Thubten Namgyal (rTa-nag Thub-bstan rnam-rgyal). During his time at these monasteries, Gorampa wrote many of his most important works, such as Distinguishing the Views (lTa-ba’i shan-’byed), which was particularly critical of the philosophical views of some other scholars, including Je Tsongkhapa. This text became so influential among Sakya scholars, that the Tibetan government banned Gorampa’s works in Central Tibet during the time of the Fifth Dalai Lama, and it was only in the early 20th-century that the Thirteenth Dalai Lama gave permission for Gorampa’s texts to be studied again.
In 1483, at the age of 54, Gorampa was enthroned as the sixth abbot of Ngor Evam Choden, where he continued for several years to teach both esoteric and exoteric subjects, focusing on the lamdre teachings. After stepping down as abbot of Ngor Evam Choden in 1486, Gorampa returned to Tanag Thubten Namgyal, where he taught and wrote extensively until he passed away in 1489 at the age of 60.