Muchen Sempa Chenpo Konchok Gyeltsen

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Muchen Sempa Chenpo Konchok Gyeltsen b.1388 - d.1469

Name Variants: Konchok Dar; Konchok Gyeltsen; Muchen Konchok Gyeltsen; Muchen Sempa Chenpo Konchok Gyeltsen; Ngor Khenchen 02 Kongchok Gyeltsen; Sempa Chenpo Konchok Gyeltsen

The Sakya master known as Muchen Sempa Chenpo Konchok Gyeltsen (mus chen sems dpa' chen po dkon mchog rgyal mtshan) was born in the Mu (mus) valley of Tibet in 1388. His father was Konchok Zangpo (dkon mchog bzang po, d.u.) and his mother was Namkha Kyong (nam mkha' skyong, d.u.).

When he was nine, Konchok Gyeltsen took monastic ordination with Wang Opa (dbang 'od pa, d.u.). At age fifteen he began to study the Prajñāpāramitā and Bodhicaryāvatāra with the teachers Lelung Khenpo 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 Namkha Neljor (mus chen nam mkha' rnal 'byor, d.u.). Soon afterwards, he joined Sakya monastery to train briefly under Yaktuk Sanggye Pel (gyag phrug sangs rgyas dpal, 1350-1414) before the master passed away. At twenty-eight, Konchok Gyeltsen went to the Mugulung cave complex, a famous site for Lamdre (lam 'dre) transmission, where he studied the Uyuk tradition of logic ('u yug pa'i tshad ma) with Zhonnu Gyelchok (zhon nu rgyal mchog, d.u.). At thirty-four, Konchok Gyeltsen underwent a course of study with Sheja Kunrik (shes bya kun rig, 1367-1449) in Ngamring (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, Konchok Gyeltsen's teachers also included Peljor Sherab (dpal 'byor shes rab, d.u.), Kunga Pel (kun dga' dpal, d.u.), Yakton Sanggye Pel (g.yag ston sangs rgyas dpal, 1348-1414), Rongton Sheja Kunrig (rong ston shes bya kun rig, 1367-1449) and most importantly, Ngorchen Kunga Zangpo (ngor chen kun dga' bzang po, 1382-1456), with whom he studied Cakrasaṃvara and Hevajra tantras, as well as the Six Unions of the Kālacakra tantra.

Konchok Gyeltsen 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 Konchok Gyeltsen's tenure at Ngor that the Lamdre teachings were divided into two – Lobshe (slob bshad) and Tsokshe (tshog bshad). He lived and taught at Ngor until 1462, when he retired Mu Tendzin Puk (mus bstan 'dzin phug) where he resided and practiced until passing away in 1469.

Konchok Gyeltsen 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 Konchok Gyeltsen's close disciples were the Twenty-first Sakya Tridzin, Lodro Gyeltsen (sa skya khri 'dzin 21blo gros rgyal mtshan, 1444-1495), who wrote his biography, Lowo Khenchen Sonam Lhundrub (glo bo mkhan chen bsod nams lhun grub, 1456-1532), Muchen Sanggye Rinchen (mus chen sangs rgyas rin chen, 1450-1524), Kunga Wangchuk (kun dga' dbang phyug, 1424-1478), and Gorampa Sonam Sengge (go rams pa bsod nams seng ge, 1429-1489).

Konchok Gyeltsen's written works include the biography of Ngorchen Kunga Zangpo, and a biography of the Sakya master Pelden 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