The Second Jamyang Zhepa, Konchok Jigme Wangpo

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The Second Jamyang Zhepa, Konchok Jigme Wangpo b.1728 - d.1791

Name Variants: Gola ; Jamyang Lekshe Trengwai Lodro; Jamyang Trinle ; Konchok Jigme Wangpo; Kumbum Tri 30 Konchok Jigme Wangpo; Labrang Tri 11 Konchok Jigme Wangpo; Lago; Ngawang Gyeltsen ; Ngawang Jamyang Trinle Gyeltsen

The Second Jamyang Zhepa, Konchok Jigme Wangpo ('jam dbyangs bzhad pa 02 dkon mchog 'jigs med dbang po) was born in a noble family at a place called Dechen Drampa Nang (sde chen gram pa nang) in southern Amdo in 1728, the earth-monkey year of the twelfth sexagenary cycle. Sources also have Gumpa Nang (gum pa nang) as the name of his birth place. His father, Ngawang Namgyel (ngag dbang rnam rgyal), was the leader of the Chentsa (gcan tsha) region. His mother was named Namkyi (gnam skyid). According to sources, a lama named Khacho Drubchen (mkha' spyod grub chen) recognized the child as the reincarnation of the First Jamyang Zhepa, Jamyang Zhepai Dorje('jam dbyangs bzhad pa 01 'jam dbyangs bzhad pa'i rdo rje, 1648-1721/1722), but apparently he was not taken seriously.

At the age of five, at Tongkhor Monastery (stong 'khor), he was granted the lay vows of upāsaka (dge bsnyen) by Tok Norbu Gyeltsen (tog nor bu rgyal mtshan, d.u.), and, the following year, he was given primary vows (rab byung) by Choje Dondrub Gyatso (chos rje don grub rgya mtsho, d.u.) who gave him the name Ngawang Gyeltsen (ngag dbang rgyal mtshan). At the age of seven Ngawang Gyeltsen was taken into the care of his paternal uncle, Tongkhor Rinpoche Sonam Gyatso (stong 'khor rin po che bsod nams rgya mtsho, d.u.). Sonam Gyatso gave him the names Gola (sgo bla) and Lago (bla sgo) and gave him teachings. His maternal uncle Kuzhang Lodro Gyatso (sku zhang blo gros rgya mtsho, d.u.) taught him reading and writing, grammar, and related topics. Upon gaining good command over the language he served as secretary to his uncle Sonam Gyatso, from whom he received novice vows (dge tshul) at the age of thirteen and the name Jamyang Trinle ('jam dbyangs 'phrin las).

In 1743, at the age of sixteen, Jamyang Trinle was brought to Labrang Tashikhyil and formally identified as the reincarnation of the first Jamyang Zhepa. His enthronement was sponsored by a powerful Mongolian ruler, the Tendzin Wangchuk (bstan 'dzin dbang phyug, r. 1736-1752), who donated a new golden roof for the main assembly hall, Tosam Ling (thos bsam gling) and a silver Kangyur to mark the occasion. There he began his education, studying logic Abhisamayālaṃkāra, Madhyamaka, Abhidharmakośa, Pramāṇavārttika and Vinaya, the major subjects of the Geluk monastic curriculum, under about a dozen of teachers including Yingrol Ngawang Tendzin (g.ying rol ngag dbang bstan 'dzin, d.u.), Rabten Gyatso (rab brtan rgya mtsho, d.u.), and Rongwo Megen Choje (rong bo me rgan chos rje, d.u.). He also received teachings and empowerments on the four sections of tantra and Yamāntaka, Cakrasaṃvara, Guhyasamāja from a number of tantric masters including the First Rongwo Khenchen Gendun Gyatso (rong bo mkhan chen 01 dge 'dun rgya mtsho, 1679-1765), Lobzang Tashi (blo bzang bkra shis, d.u.), and the First Ngakrampa, Drubwang Tobden Gyatso (sngags rams pa 01 grub dbang stobs ldan rgya mtsho, 1696-1759). In addition to the monastic subjects he also studied Sanskrit phonology, poetry, composition, astrology, and so forth.

At the age of twenty-two, in 1749, at Gonlung Monastery, Jamyang Trinle was granted the vows of full ordination (dge slong) by the Third Changkya Rolpai Dorje (lcang skya 03 rol pa'i rdo rje, 1717-1786) who named him Konchok Jigme Wangpo Yeshe Tsondru Drakpai De (dkon mchog ’jigs med dbang po ye shes brtson 'grus grags pa'i sde).

In 1752, at the age of twenty-five Konchok Jigme Wangpo travelled to U-Tsang and matriculated in Drepung Gomang Monastery ('bras spungs sgo mang grwa tshang) where he furthered his studies in the five traditional subjects and obtained the title of Kachupa (dka' bcu pa) after the traditional examination at Sangpu (gsang phu). During about eight years study, he also received a great deal of commentarial teachings on tantra, initiations and empowerments, transmissions, and esoteric instructions from many highly prominent lamas that included the Seventh Dalai Lama Kelzang Gyatso (ta la'i bla ma 07 bskal bzang rgya mtsho, 1708-1757), the Sixth Paṇchen Lama Lobzang Pelden Yeshe (paN chen bla ma 06 blo bzang dpal ldan ye shes, 1738-1780), and the Thirty-second Sakya Trichen Kunga Lodro (sa skya khri chen 32 kun dga' blo gros 1729-1783). At Drepung his scholarship earned him the title Great Scholar of Amdo (mdo smad mahA paN Di ta).

In 1759 Konchok Jigme Wangpo returned to Amdo. He was enthroned as abbot of Gonlung at the age of thirty-six in 1763 and then Kumbum (sku 'bum) in 1765, at the age of thirty-eight.

In 1763 he established the department of Kālacakra at his main seat of Labrang. He also introduced the courses in Sanskrit Phonology, Astrology and Astronomy.

Beginning in 1769, at the age of forty-two, Konchok Jigme Wangpo spent about two years in Mongolia and China. Much of his travels were dedicated to developing patronage relationships by giving empowerments and other ceremonies. During the period he visited Wutai Shan in Shanxi that is considered as the earthly abode of Mañjuśrī in China to get teachings on tantra from the Third Changkya Rolpai Dorje. Over the course of his cultivation of Mongolian and Manchu powers he was given the titles Jasagh, meaning Administrative Officer, and Nominhan, meaning Dharmarāja. In 1776 these relationships bore considerable fruit; after giving an initiation at Urga he received the territory of Khotse in return. That same year he was given Ngawa, in southern Amdo, for the support of Labrang, and he established what would become an important Geluk monastery there, Ngawa Gomang (sgo mang). Some sources have it that the monastery was established in the final year of his life, 1791.

He returned to Labrang in 1772. Upon his return he introduced the religious dance of wrathful deities following the tradition of Tashilhunpo, and also gave teachings on both sutra and tantra such as Lamrim and commentarial lectures on tantric texts.

In 1784, at the age of fifty-seven, Konchok Jigme Wangpo established a medical school at Labrang, and he then travelled to U-Tsang and visited Sera, Drepung, and Ganden, Samye, Reting, and other monasteries in U. In Tsang he visited Pelkhor Chode (dpal 'khor chos sde), Tashilhunpo (bkra shis lhun po), Sakya Takten (sa skya rtag brtan), Zhalu (zhwa lu) and others. Wherever he went he collected rare religious texts totaling over three thousand volumes, which he had copied and in some cases printed; he ultimately donated over ten thousand volumes of texts to Labrang's library.

In 1786 he returned to Labrang. He gave empowerment on Mitra to an audience of about five thousand devotees.

At the age of sixty-one, in 1788, Konchok Jigme Wangpo gave recitation-transmission of the complete teaching-texts of Tsongkhapa at Kumbum Monastery. That year, with the patronage of local Mongolians, built the Golden Temple (gser khang chen mo), dedicated to Maitreya. He also built a silver reliquary of Tongkor Sonam Gyatso at Tongkhor Monastery and a statue of Maitreya at Nangra (snang ra). In 1789 he was enthroned as the abbot of Jakhyung Tekchen Shedrub Ling (bya khyung theg chen bshad sgrub gling).

Konchok Jigme Wangpo introduced courses and established schools for tantric studies in Amchok Monastery (a mchog dgon), Tashi Gepel (ri khrod bkra shis dge 'phel), Meshulkarpo Shong (dme shul dkar po gshong), Mugegon (dmu dge dgon), and Dzoge Kar-nying (mdzod dge sgar rnying). He also headed and maintained nearly forty monasteries including Tso-Gyakhar-gar (gtsos rgya mkhar sgar), Chozong (chos rdzong), Chotenshar (mchod rten shar), Ngonpotang (sngon po thang), Kangtsai-gon (rkang tsha’i dgon), and Gemo (sge mo).

According to some sources, the Second Jamyang Zhepa was responsible for the introduction of the Nyingma ngakpa community at Labrang. It sems that once, when the monastic community had fallen into factionalism, he had a vision in which Padmasambhava told him that if the monks would recite the Pema Katang (padma bka' thang) the fighting would end.

Among the disciples of Konchok Jigme Wangpo were the Sixty-second Ganden Trichen Lobzang Monlam (dga' ldan khri rabs 62 khri chen blo bzang smon lam, 1729-1798); Longdol Lama Ngawang Lobzang (klong rdol bla ma ngag dbang blo bzang, 1719-1994); Akya Yongdzin Yangchen Gawai Lodro (a kyA yongs 'dzin dbyangs can dga' ba'i blo gros, 1740-1827); the Third Tukwan, Lobzang Chokyi Nyima (thu'u bkwan 03 blo bzang chos kyi nyi ma 1737-1802); the forty-fourth throne holder of Labrang, Lobzang Konchok (bla brang khri 44 blo bzang dkon mchog d.u.); the twenty-fourth throne holder of Labrang, Konchok Gyeltsen (bla brang khri 24 dkon mchog rgyal mtshan1764-1853); the Fifth Takpu, Lobzang Chokyi Wangchuk (stag phu 05 blo bzang chos kyi dbang phyug, 1765-1792); the thirty-sixth abbot of Kumbum, Lobzang Tenpai Nyima (sku 'bum khri 36 blo bzang bstan pa'i nyi ma, d.u.); the twenty-eighth throne holder of Labrang, Konchok Gepai Lodro (bla brang khri 28 dkon mchog dgyes pa'i blo gros, 1773-1837/38); the twenty-sixth throne holder of Labrang, Jigme Gyeltsen (bla brang khri 26 'jigs med rgyal mtshan, 1773-1850); the sixteenth throne holder of Labrang, Jigme Lungrik Gyatso (bla brang khri 16 'jigs med lung rigs rgya mtsho 1748-17780); the fifteenth throne holder of Labrang, Sonam Wangyel (bla brang khri 15 bsod nams dbang rgyal 1726-1793); the seventeenth throne holder of Labrang, Dondrub Gyatso (bla brang rgyud pa khri 17 don grub rgya mtsho 1745-1787); and the Second Zamtsa, Jigme Namkha (zam tsha 02 'jigs med nam mkha' 1768-1821).

He composed works on a variety of subjects that include hagiography, philosophy, Buddhist cosmology, sādhāna, casting divination with help of dice and so forth; his collected works run to over twelve volumes.

In 1791, on the twenty-eighth of the tenth month of the year of iron-pig in the thirteenth sexagenary cycle, Konchok Jigme Wangpo passed into nirvana at the age of sixty-four in Kado-dong Marnar (ka mdo gdong dmar snar).

Lobzang Tubten Jigme Gyatso ('jam byangs bzhad pa 03 kun mkhyen blo bzang thub bstan 'jigs med rgya mtsho, 1792-1855) born in Rebkong in Amdo was identified his reincarnation and the Third Jamyang Zhepa.




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Samten Chhosphel
June 2011