Khenchen Ngawang Chödrag

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mkhan chen ngag dbang chos grags, 1572-1641

Born in a small village near Sakya monastery, he entered Chökhor Lhünpo Gön (chos 'khor lhun po dgon) at age eleven. A year later he went to the Yangpachen (yang pa can) monastery of the Shamarpas, a Karma Kagyu establishment, where he proceeded to study logic, philosophy, vinaya and related subjects and commentaries under various teachers. At eighteen he went for exams at Sakya monastery itself and remained there to continue his studies. He eventually proceeded to Ngamring Ganden Jampa Ling (ngam rings dga' ldan byams pa gling), a Gelugpa monastery that had formerly been of the Sakyapa school. From Yongdzin Ludrub Gyatso (yongs 'dzin klu sgrub rgya mtsho) he received the Lamdre instructions. Other teachers under whom he studied were Jetsün Tāranātha (rje btsun tA ra nA tha, 1575-1635) and Müchen Sangye Gyaltsen (mus chen sangs rgyas rgyal mtshan). At age thirty-five, he ascended the throne of Yangpachen monastery and held the position for six years, teaching extensively. One of his most important teachers was Lochen Gyurme Dechen ('gyur med bde chen, 1540-1615), who singled him out as the inheritor of his Shangpa Kagyu transmission. He received especially detailed instructions and transmissions on the Six Doctrines of Niguma from him, and whatever other Shangpa transmissions Gyurme Dechen held, who was a descendant in the maternal lineage of Drubchen Thangtong Gyalpo (grub chen thang stong rgyal po, 1361-1485).

Among his students were Khenchen Ngawang Tenpe Dorje (mkhan chen ngag dbang bstan pa'i rdor rje); the fifteenth abbot of Ngor, Jamyang Kunga Sönam Lhündrub ('jam mgon kun dga' bsod nams lhun grub, 1571-1642); Tugje Chenpo Jikten Wangchug (thugs rje chen po 'jig rten dbang phyug); Dagchen Jampa Sönam (bdag chen byams pa bsod nams); Gönpo Sönam Chogden (mgon po bsod nams mchog ldan, 1603-1659); and Khechog Namgyal (mkhas mchog rnam rgyal), the tenth abbot of Tubten Namgyel Monastery; as well as Jamgön Amnye Zhab Ngawang Kunga Sönam ('jam mgon a nye zhabs ngag dbang kun dga' bsod nams, 1597-1659/1660). He passed away at the age of seventy, in 1641, and left writings which were collected in six volumes.

Primary Teachers

Primary Students

  • Khenchen Ngawang Tenpe Dorje
  • Jamyang Kunga Sönam Lhündrub
  • Dagchen Jampa Sönam

Primary Lineage