Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Teacher (Lama)

བླ་མ། 喇嘛
(item no. 91664)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1500 - 1599
Lineages Sakya, Ngor (Sakya) and Buddhist
Material Metal
Collection Private
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Person

Interpretation / Description

Konchog Palden (1526-1590 [p785]): the 12th Ngor Abbot and the 16th Shalu Abbot.

Konchok Pelden (dkon mchog dpal ldan) was born at Sakya in 1526. His father, Lamo Dar (lha mo dar) was the younger brother of the tenth Ngor abbot Konchok Lhundrub (dkon mchog lhun grub, 1497-1557). Konchok Pelden's mother was a member of Ngorchen Kunga Zangpo's (ngor chen kun dga' bzang po, 1382-1456) family lineage. His childhood name was Tseten Dondrub (tshe brtan don grub).

At age thirteen, Konchok Pelden went to Ngor Evam Chodan (ngor e waM chos ldan) where he took monastic vows with Konchok Lhundrub and Gelek Shenyen (dge legs bshes gnyen, d.u.). At sixteen he went to Dreyul Kaytsel ('bras yul skyed tshal) a Sakya monastery in Tsang. During his time there he completed a course of study in philosophy with Kunkyen Sherab Ozer (kun mkhyen shes rab 'od zer, d.u.) the monastery's abbot. Konchok Pelden stayed at Dreyul Kaytsel until he was twenty-four years old.

He spent the next five years studying, primarily with Konchok Lhundrub. His teachers also included the eleventh Ngor abbot Sanggye Sengge (sangs rgyas seng ge, 1504-1569), Konchok Gyeltsen (dkon mchog rgyal mtshan, d.u.), and Konchok Gyatso (dkon mchog rgya mtsho, d.u.). Konchok Pelden is recorded to have been a diligent and accomplished student.

In his thirties he became one of the principal teacher at Ngor. The eleventh abbot Sanggye Sengge passed away in 1569 and Konchok Pelden was selected to take over the throne. As abbot, he gave teachings in locations other than Ngor as well. For instance, a ruler from Dzongkar (rdzong dkar) invited Konchok Pelden to come teach there, and along the way Konchok Pelden stopped to give teachings in various monasteries and lay communities. And at Dreyul Ketsel monastery, where Nawang Drakpa Gyeltsen (ngag dbang grags pa rgyal mtshan, b. 15th c.) had invited him, Konchok Pelden taught while seated on the throne of the monastery's founder Jamchen Rabjampa (byams chen rab byams pa, d.u.).

In 1579 Konchok Pelden relinquished the Ngor throne temporarily to Drangti Namkha Pelzang (brang ti nam mkha' dpal bzang, 1532-1602). He gave the new abbot instructions in the presence of Jangpa Tashi Topgyel (byang pa bkra shis stob rgyal, c.1550-1603) and Sharchen Jampa Kunga Tashi (shar chen byams pa kun dga' bkra shis, 1558-1603) who would eventually become the fourteenth Ngor abbot. When Namkha Pelzang was ready to be enthroned, a master from the Tsedong (rtse gdong) family lineage and the twenty-fifth Sakya throne holder Sonam Wangpo (bsod nams sbang po, 1559-1621) came to Ngor to meet with him.

Konchok Pelden then went to Sakya Tsedong Labrang (rtse gdong bla brang) where he stayed for three years. In 1583, he returned to Ngor and resumed the position of abbot. Soon after, in response to an invitation from Cho Ozer (chos 'od zer, d.u.) Konchok Pelden traveled to Tanag Tubten Namgyel monastery (rta nag thub bstan rnam rgyal) and taught from the throne of Gorampa Sonam Sengge (go rams pa bsod nams seng ge, 1429-1489). In 1587, when Sonam Wangpo came to Ngor to receive teachings from Konchok Pelden, he gave empowerments to the assembly at Ngor as well as those visiting from Sakya. As abbot he also commissioned a set of golden tangkas.

In addition to those already mentioned, his students also included Kunga Sonam Lhundrub (kun dga' bsod nams lhun grub, 1571-1642) and Kunga Delegs Tashi Drakpa Gyeltsen (kun dga' bde legs bkra shis grags pa rgyal mtshan, 1549-1588).

When Konchok Pelden passed away in 1590, Drangti Namkha Pelzang oversaw his funeral arrangements.

Dominique Townsend has a PhD in Tibetan Studies from Columbia University and is currently teaching at Barnard College.

Secondary Images
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