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Teacher: Muchen Sempa Chenpo

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Muchen Sempa Chenpo Konchog Gyaltsen Biography (TBRC P1034)

The Sakya master known as Muchen Sempa Chenpo Konchog Gyaltsen, the 2nd Ngor Khenchen, (mus chen sems dpa' chen po dkon mchog rgyal mtshan, 1388-1469) was born in the Mu (mus) valley of Tibet. His father was Konchog Zangpo (dkon mchog bzang po, d.u.) and his mother was Namka Kyong (nam mkha' skyong, d.u.).

When he was nine, Konchog Gyaltsen took monastic ordination with Wang Opa (dbang 'od pa, d.u.). At age fifteen he began to study the Prajnaparamita and Bodhicharyavatara with the teachers Lelung Kenpo Kunmon (gle lung mkhan po kun smon, d.u.) and Zur Chopa Changchub Sengge (zur chos pa byang chub seng+ge, d.u.). At age twenty he requested initiation into Chod (gcod) practice from Muchen Namka Naljor (mus chen nam mkha' rnal 'byor, d.u.). Soon afterwards, he joined Sakya monastery to train briefly under Yagtug Sanggye Pal (gyag phrug sangs rgyas dpal, 1350-1414) before the master passed away. At twenty-eight, Konchog Gyaltsen went to the Mugulung cave complex, a famous site for Lamdre (lam 'dre) transmission, where he studied the Tsema of Uyug ('u yug pa'i tshad ma) with Shonnu Gyalchog (zhon nu rgyal mchog, d.u.). At thirty-four, Konchog Gyaltsen underwent a course of study with Sheja Kunrig (shes bya kun rig, 1367-1449) in Namring (ngam ring) to clarify doubts that remained from his previous studies. The next year, he circumambulated Lhasa one hundred thousand times.

In addition to the masters mentioned above, Konchog Gyaltsen's teachers also included Paljor Sherab (dpal 'byor shes rab, d.u.), Kunga Pal (kun dga' dpal, d.u.), and most importantly, Ngorchen Kunga Zangpo (ngor chen kun dga' bzang po, 1382-1456), with whom he studied Chakrasamvara and Hevajra tantras, as well as the Six Unions of the Kalachakra tantra.

Konchog Gyaltsen helped Kunga Zangpo establish Ngor monastery in 1430. He taught there from the age of fifty-nine and took the throne as the second abbot in 1456, at the age of sixty-eight. It was during Konchog Gyaltsen's tenure at Ngor that the Lamdre teachings were divided into two ? Lobshe (slob bshad) and Tsogshe (tshog bshad). He lived and taught at Ngor until 1462, when he retired Mu Tenzin Pug (mus bstan 'dzin phug) where he resided and practiced until passing away in 1469.

Konchog Gyaltsen also founded Lingga Dewachen (gling dga' bde ba chen) monastery in 1437 and Musu Yama (mus su ya ma dgon) monastery in 1459.

Some of Konchog Gyaltsen's close disciples were Lodro Gyaltsen (blo gros rgyal mtshan, 1444-1495), who wrote his biography, Sonam Lundrub (bsod nams lhun grub, 1456-1532), Sanggye Rinchen (sangs rgyas rin chen, 1450-1524), Kunga Wangchug (kun dga' dbang phyug, 1424-1478), and Sonam Sengge (bsod nams seng ge, 1429-1489).

Konchog Gyaltsen's written works include the biography of Ngorchen Kunga Zangpo, and a biography of the Sakya master Palden Tsultrim (dpal ldan tshul khrims, 1333-1399), as well as works he compiled and edited on mind training or Lojong (blo sbyong).


Blo gros rgyal mtshan. Dkon mchog rgyal mtshan gyi rnam thar ngo mtshar phreng ba.

Dung dkar blo bzang 'phrin las. 2002. Dung dkar tshig mdzod chen mo. Beijing: China Tibetology Publishing House.

Grags pa 'byung gnas. 1992. Gangs can mkhas grub rim byon ming mdzod. Lanzhou: Kan su'u mi rigs dpe skrun khang, pp. 449-450.

Dominique Townsend, April 2010 [Extracted from the Treasury of Lives, Tibetan lineages website. Edited and formatted for inclusion on the Himalayan Art Resources website. April, 2010].

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