The Second Amchok, Konchok Tenpai Gyeltsen b.1783 - d.1848
The Second Amchok, Konchok Tenpai Gyeltsen was born in 1783, the earth-sheep year of the thirteenth sexagenary cycle, in Choktse (cog rtse), Gyarong. His father, Ngarobum (nga ro 'bum), was said the minister of the Choktse king. His mother was named Namkha Chamo (nam mkha lcam mo).
When he turned three he received lay vows from Gungtang Tenpai Dronme (gung thang bstan pa'i sgron me, 1762-1823), and was recognized as the reincarnation of the First Amchok, Sonam Chopel (a mchog 01 bsod nams chos 'phel, d.u.) who earned his title, Amchok Lama, from the palace of the King of Amchok, into which he was born. (Amchok was a kingdom covering much of southeast Amdo.)
At the age of five he was enthroned at Karchen (dkar chen) monastery by Chojor Gyatso (chos 'byor rgya mtsho, d.u.), the brother of the First Amchok. There he started studying basic Tibetan writing and reading under the instruction of Loling Yeshe Yarpel (blo gling ye shes yar 'phel, d.u.) and he received numerous empowerments from Lobzang Yonten (blo bzang yon tan, d.u.). Soon after that, he was given novice monastic vows from Lobzang Chodrak (blo bzang chos grags), the second abbot of Karchen Monastery.
In 1813, at the age of thirteen, he went to Lhasa on pilgrimage and to further his education, stopping at Reting (rwa sgreng) and Taklung (stag lung) on the way. In Lhasa he matriculated at Shartse College at Ganden Monastic University (dga' ldan shar rtse'i grwa tshang), where for several years he studied the standard curriculum of philosophy and epistemology. While there he had an audience with the Sixty-sixth Ganden Tripa, Ngawang Nyendrak (dga' ldan khri pa 66 khri chen ngag dbang snyan grags, 1746-1824) and Shartse Choje Pabongkha Lobzang Chopel (shar rtse chos rje pha bong kha blo bzang chos 'phel, d.u.). During the Lhasa Monlam Chenmo he had an audience with the child Ninth Dalai Lama, Lungtok Gyatso (ta la'i bla ma 09 lung rtog gya mtsho, 1805-1815), and participated in Dharmakīrti’s teaching at the assembly hall with Trewo Choze (tre bo chos mdzad, d.u.).
Later he joined the solitary summer fasting at Sangpu Monastery (gsang phu) and gained the title of Kachuwa (dka bcu ba), equivalent of a Geshe degree. Before leaving for Tsang he received many oral transmissions from Ngawang Nyendrak. In Tsang, he had an audience with the Seventh Paṇchen Lama, Tenpai Nyima (paN chen bla ma 07, bstan pa'i nyi ma, 1781-1854) at Tashilhunpo Monastery (bkra shis lhun po).
After returning to Amdo, at Karchen monastery he studied poetry from Jamyang Gyatso ('jam dbyangs rgya mtsho, d.u.) and received teachings from a Lama Jampa (bla ma byams pa). At the age twenty two he visited Labrang Tashikhyil (bla brang khra shis 'khyil), where he again met the Third Gungtang, Konchok Tenpai Dronme (gung thang 03 dkon mchog bstan pa'i sgron me, 1762-1823), who gave him full ordination. He also received teachings from the Third Jamyang Zhepa, Konchok Jigme Gyatso ('jam dbyangs bzhad pa 03 blo bzang thub bstan 'jigs med rgya mtsho, 1792-1855), the Third Detri, Jamyang Tubten Nyima (sde khri 03 'jam dbyangs thub bstan nyi ma, 1779-1862), who was the thirtieth throne holder of Labrang; and Drawa Tutob (sgra ba mthu stobs, d.u.). He also received further instructions on poetry under the guidance of Jamyang Dechen ('jam dbyangs bde chen, d.u.).
At the age of twenty five, the water-sheep year, in 1823, Amchok Konchok Tenpai Gyeltsen began to establish a monastery at the command of Gungtang Tenpai Dronme. It is said that during construction a worker named Kunzang found a statue of a lion, giving the monastery its name, Jamyang Mawai Sengge Ling ('jam dbyangs smra ba'i seng ge gling), "sengge" meaning "lion." Kirti Geshe Lobzang Jampa (kirti dge bshe blo bzang byams pa, d.u.) was enthroned as the first abbot, Gomang Ngawang Tsultrim (sgo mang ngag dbang tshul khrims, d.u.) was charged with enforcing discipline (dge bskos), and Loling Geshe was put in position of chant-leader/head of education (bla ma dbu mdzad). Prominent teachers from Sera, Drepung, and Ganden monasteries were sent to help develop the monastery, and gradually different monastic colleges were established.
Among Konchok Tenpai Gyeltsen's prominent disciples were Geshe Sherab Gyatso (dge bshes she rab rgya mtsho, 1803-1875) from Labrang; Geshe Ngawang Chopel (dge bshe ngag dbyang chos 'phel, d.u.) from Drepung; Gangpa Tulku (sgang pa sprul sku, d.u.), and Gyamko Tuku (rgyam mkho sprul sku, d.u.).
At the age of forty nine, in 1846, Amchok Konchok Tenpai Gyeltsen made a visit to Labrang to supplicate to his teachers, and the following year, in 1847, he passed away. His writings were collected into two volumes.
Minyak mgon po. 1996. Gangs can mkhas dbang rim byon gyi rnam thar mdor bsdus. Beijing: Krung go'i bod kyi shes rig dpe skrun khang, pp. 659-664.
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- Historical Period