Lhachog Sengge | Ngor Tradition | Lhachog Sengge: Commissioned Paintings
The Ninth Ngor Khenchen, Lhachog Sengge
Lachog Sengge, 1468-1535, (lha mchog seng ge) was born at Sakya in 1468. His father's name was Ponne Kunga Gyaltsen (dpon ne kun dga' rgyal mtshan) and his mother was Genyen Kunchog Bum (dge bsnyen kun mchog 'bum); she was a niece or granddaughter of Gushri Namkha Zangpo (gu shrI nam mkha' bzang po). His family was related to Ngorchen Kunga Zangpo (ngor chen kun dga' bzang po, 1382-1456), the founder of Ngor Evam Chodan monastery (ngor e waM chos ldan).
The child took novice vows at age eleven with the sixth Ngor abbot, the great master Gorampa Sonam Sengge (go bo rab 'byams pa bsod nams seng ge, 1429-1489) who named him Lachog Sengge. Gorampa gave Lachog Sengge teachings and a Hevajra empowerment, after which he experienced many visions in dreams. After taking his novice vows he lived and studied at Sakya Labrang Shar (sa skya bla brang shar).
From an early age Lachok Sengge was trained in foundational Madhyamaka teachings and given Hevajra practice instructions. In addition to Gorampa, Lachog Sengge studied closely with the eighth abbot of Ngor, Muchen Sanggye Rinchen (mus chen sangs rgyas rin chen, 1450-1524), who gave him extensive instructions, initiations, and empowerments in the Hevajra tantra. Lachog Sengge's teachers also included Sonam Lhundrub (bsod nams lhun grub, 1456-1532) who was a master from the Mustang area of present day Nepal; Konchog Pelwa (dkon mchog 'phel ba, 1445-1514), the seventh Ngor abbot; Konchog Sengge (dkon mchog seng ge, d.u.); Legpai Jungne (legs pa'i 'byun gnas, d.u.); and Dagchen Lodro Gyaltsen (bdag chen blo gros rgyal mtshan, d.u.).
From these masters Lachog Sengge received Vajrakīlaya and Yamāntaka [Vajrabhairava] empowerments, Lamdre instructions, as well as many other teachings. In general, many great teachers and yogis gave him instructions in different aspects of Buddhist teachings and ascetic practices. Biographical accounts indicate that his learning was vast. Due to his skills in practice and the fine quality of his mind he became widely known as an excellent practitioner. When he had accomplished a high level of study and practice from various great teachers, he began to teach at Chudu Norbuling (chu 'dus nor bu gling, possibly another name for mnyes thang rwa ba stod) and Ngor monastery.
Before passing away in 1489, Gorampa made several predictions about Lachog Sengge's future. He also established Muchen Sanggye Rinchen in his own monastic residence and ensured that in time he would be enthroned as abbot. After Gorampa passed away and his remains were cremated, it was said that there was a rain of flowers which Lachog Sengge gathered and put in a vase. He performed all the appropriate rites such as fire pujas, consecration and so forth. He took some of the master's bones to Tubten Dargye Ling monastery (thub bstan dar rgyas gling) in present-day Mustang and passed on Gorampa's teachings to the abbot there. He returned to Ngor and took over Muchen Sanggye Rinchen's previous residence, preparing to eventually become abbot himself.
Lhachog Sengge ascended to the abbot's throne of Ngor in 1516, serving for eighteen years as the ninth abbot, until the year before his death in 1534. In the course of his career Lachog Sengge did a great deal to develop and spread the Ngor tradition. He commissioned countless paintings, and is remembered as a great patron of the arts. His main students were Namkha Palzang (nam mkha' dpal bzang, 1532-1602), the thirteenth abbot of Ngor; Konchog Lhundrub (dkon mchog lhun grub, 1497-1557), the tenth abbot of Ngor; Sanggye Sengge (sangs rgyas seng ge, 1504-1569), the eleventh abbot of Ngor; and Deleg Shenyen (dge legs bshes gnyen, d.u.).
Mu bo. 2002. Gsung ngag rin po che lam 'bras bla ma brgyud pa'i rnam thar kun 'dus me long. Beijing: Mi rigs dpe skrun khang, pp.87-89.
Sangs rgyas phun tshogs. 1985 (17th c.) Dpal e waM chos ldan gyi gdan rabs nor bu'i phreng bzhes bya ba zhugs Dehradun: Sakya Center, pp. 16-20.
Sonam Dondrub (bsod nams don grub) lists a biography, in his catalog of Tibetan Histories (no. 2067). See Bsod nams don grub, Bod kyi lo rgyus dpe tho. 2000. Lhasa: Bod ljongs mi dmangs dpe skrun khang.
Jackson, David. 2010. The Nepalese Legacy in Tibetan Painting. Seattle: University of Washington Press.
Dominique Townsend, July 2010
[Extracted from the Treasury of Lives, Tibetan Lineages website. Edited and formatted for inclusion on the Himalayan Art Resources website. October, 2012].
Teacher and Patron of the Arts: The paintings below belong to various sets of paintings all commissioned by the famous 9th abbot of Ngor Monastery, Lhachog Sengge (1468-1535) [biographical information, TBRC P2509].