Tutored personally by the abbot he made rapid progress and from 1492 at 17 he was requested toteach all over Tsang, where thousands gathered to listen and give obeisance, including seniorscholars and abbots. In 1494, at 19, he met some opposition from the Tashilhunpoestablishment when tensions arose over conflicts between advocates of the two types of succession,the traditional abbatial election through merit, and incarnation. Although he had served for someyears as Tashilhunpo's abbot, he therefore moved to central Tibet, where he was invited to Drepungand where his reputation as a brilliant young teacher quickly grew. He was accorded all theloyalty and devotion that Gendun Drup had earned and the Gelug school remained as united as ever.
 This move had the effect of shifting central Gelug authority back to Lhasa. Under his leadership,the sect went on growing in size and influence and with its appeal of simplicity, devotion andausterity its lamas were asked to mediate in disputes between other rivals.Gendun Gyatso's popularity in Ü-Tsang grew as he went on pilgrimage, travelling, teaching andstudying from masters such as the adept Khedrup Norzang Gyatso in the Olklha mountains. Healso stayed in Kongpo and Dagpo and became known all over Tibet. He spent his winters inLhasa, writing commentaries and the rest of the year travelling and teaching many thousands ofmonks and lay people.In 1509 he moved to southern Tibet to build Chokorgyel Monastery near the 'Oracle Lake', LhamoLatso, completing it by 1511. That year he saw visions in the lake and 'empowered' it toimpart clues to help identify incarnate lamas. All Dalai Lamas from the 3rd on were found with thehelp of such visions granted to regents. By now widely regarded as one of Tibet's greatestsaints and scholars he was invited back to Tashilhunpo. On his return in 1512, he was given theresidence built for Gendun Drup, to be occupied later by the Panchen Lamas. He was madeabbot of Tashilhunpo and stayed there teaching in Tsang for 9 months.Gendun Gyatso continued to travel widely and teach while based at Tibet's largest monastery,Drepung and became known as 'Drepung Lama', his fame and influence spreading all overCentral Asia as the best students from hundreds of lesser monasteries in Asia were sent to Drepungfor education.
Throughout Gendun Gyatso's life, the Gelugpa were opposed and suppressed by older rivals,particularly the Karma Kagyu and their Ringpung clan patrons from Tsang, who felt threatened bytheir loss of influence. In 1498 the Ringpung army captured Lhasa and banned the Gelugpaannual New Year Monlam Prayer Festival started by Tsongkhapa for world peace andprosperity. Gendun Gyatso was promoted to abbot of Drepung in 1517 and that yearRingpung forces were forced to withdraw from Lhasa. Gendun Gyatso then went to theGongma (King) Drakpa Jungne to obtain permission for the festival to be held again. The