The Fifteenth Ngor Khenchen, Kunga Sonam Lhundrub b.1571 - d.1642
Name Variants: Dorje Gyasog; Jamyang Kunga Sonam Lhundrub; Kunga Sonam Lhundrub Tashi Drakpa Gyeltsen Pel Zangpo; Ngor Khenchen 15 Kunga Sonam Lhundrub; Tsedongpa Kunga Sonam Lhundrub
Kunga Sonam Lhundrub (kun dga' bsod nams lhun grub) was born into the prestigious Sakya Khon and Tsedong (rtse gdong) families, the eldest of three sons. His mother was called Pelbu Tri (dpal bu khrid) and his father was Kunga Delek Tashi Drakpa Gyeltsen (kun dga' bde legs bkra shis grags pa rgyal mtshan, 1549-1588). His father was one of the principal students of the Twelfth Ngor Khenchen, Konchok Pelden (ngor mkhan chen 12 dkon mchog dpal ldan, 1526-1590). One biographical source recounts that when Kunga Sonam Lhundrub was born, he immediately spoke to his mother, suggesting that his physical health might be fragile and his lifespan short. His family thought it would be helpful for him to have an obscure, foreign sounding name. Thus, in childhood he was called Dorje Gyasok (rdo rje rgya sog).
At age nine the boy went to Ngor Evam Choden (ngor e vaM chos ldan) with his father. He took monastic vows with Konchok Pelden and Drangti Namkha Pelzang (brang ti nam mkha' dpal bzang, 1532-1602), the twelfth abbot of Ngor. They gave him the name Kunga Sonam Lhundrub Tashi Drakpa Gyeltsen Pel Zangpo (kun dga' bsod nams lhun grub bkra shis grags pa rgyal mtshan dpal bzang po). From Ngorchen Kunga Zangpo's throne, he gave the Mañjuśrī Arapanchana empowerment to the entire monastic assembly.
In 1594, the abbot of Nalendra monastery, Jampa Kunga Chodrak (byams pa kun dga' chos grags, d.u.) selected Kunga Sonam Lhundrub to take over the duties of abbot at Nalendra. Then, when the fourteenth Ngor abbot Sharchen Jampa Kunga Tashi (shar chen byams pa kun dga' bkra shis, 1558-1603) passed away, Kunga Sonam Lhundrub was installed as his successor. He also served as the abbot of Zhalu monastery (zhwa lu).
At Ngor, Kunga Sonam Lhundrub gave the Lamdre teachings four times. Many great masters received instructions from him, including the abbot of Tanak Tubten Namgyel monastery (rta nag thub bstan rnam rgyal) Jampa Rabten (byams pa rab brtan, b. 16th c.). His students also included Pelden Dondrub (dpal ldan don grub, 1563-1636), Nawang Kunga Sonam (ngag dbang kun dga' bsod nams, 1597-1659/60), Tashi Peldrub (bkra shis dpal grub, 1600-1671/2), Karma Tenkyong Wangpo (kar+ma bstan skyong dbang po, 1606-1642), Karma Puntsok Namgyel (kar+ma phun tshogs rnam rgyal, 1597-1632), and Tenpai Nyima (bstan pa'i nyi ma, 1567-1619). Besides the masters mentioned above, his principal teachers were Nawang Chodrak (ngag dbang chos grags, 1572-1641), and Sonam Wangpo (bsod nams dbang po, 1559-1621).
During his tenure as abbot, which lasted until around 1618, Kunga Sonam Lhundrub also commissioned several famous works of art. He passed away in 1642 when he was seventy-two years old.
Jackson, David. 1989. "Sources on the Chronology and Succession of the Abbots of Ngor E-wam-chos-ldan." Berliner Indologische Studien, vol. 4/5, pp 49-93.
Kun dga' blo gros. 1991. Sa skya'i dgung rabs gno mtshar bang mdzod kyi kha skong. Beijing: Mi rigs dpe skun khang.
Mu po. Gsung ngag rin po che lam 'bras bla ma brgyud pa'i rnam thar kun 'dus me long. 2002. Pe cin: Mi rigs dpe skun khang. pp. 110-113.
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 40-42.
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- Historical Period