The Treasury of Lives

A very important Geluk incarnation line with its primary seat at Labrang monastery in Amdo, one of the six great monasteries of Tibet, founded by the First Jamyang Zhepa, Jamyang Zhepai Dorje with the patronage of a Quoshot Mongolian ruler. Within the Geluk hierarchy, the incarnations of Jamyang Zhepa are superseded only by the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lamas. The Jamyang Zepas maintained religious and secular authority over Labrang and all of its territories. The line dates from the mid-17th century.



Jamyang Zhepai Dorje, the First Jamyang Zhepa, was a noted scholar and prominent Geluk lama, a self-styled defender of Geluk orthodoxy against syncretic and ecumenical trends in the tradition. A native of Amdo, he was educated at Drepung and Gyume monasteries, later serving as abbot of Drepung Gomang Monastery and composing most of the texts for its monastic curriculum. During his tenure he was a staunch supporter of Lhazang Khan and an opponent of Desi Sanggye Gyatso, the Fifth Dalai Lama's regent. Having gained fame in Lhasa, he returned to Amdo in 1709 and founded Labrang Tashikhyil, which grew to become one of the major Geluk monasteries in the Tibetan region. He later established a Tantric school there and also at Gonlung Jampa Ling.

Konchok Jigme Wangpo, the Second Jamyang Zhepa, was a prominent Geluk lama based in Labrang Tashikhyil in Amdo, a monastery that he significantly expanded. He was educated at Labrang and Drepung Monastery, and served as abbot of Kumbum, Jakhyung, and Labrang, where he established the Kālacakra College and a medical school, and introduced many new courses and ritual performances, including, according to some, the tradition of Nyingma tantric practice. He founded over forty branch monasteries, including Gomang, in Ngawa, and established schools for tantric studies in many monasteries. He cultivated relationships with numerous Mongol and Chinese sponsors, and spent over two years in Mongolia. He also travelled widely for a pilgrimage and text acquisition for two years in U-Tsang and also spent time in China. A prolific writer, his collected works runs twelve volumes.

Lobzang Tubten Jikme Gyatso, the Third Jamyang Zhepa, was the twenty-seventh throne holder of Labrang Monastery. He was a student of the Third Tukwan,  the Third Gungtang, the Eighth Dalai Lama, and the Seventh Paṇchen Lama, from whom he received ordination. He trained many disciples, including the Fourth Gungtang and the Fourth Tukwan. A skilled leader, he successfully ended multiple conficts in the region, effectively strengthening Labrang's independence during the waning of the Qing Empire.

Kelzang Tubten Wangchuk, the Fourth Jamyang Zhepa, was born in Derge and studied at Drepung Gomang. He served as throne holder of Labrang Tashikhyil from 1883 presumably until his death, and established Ganden Chopel Ling in 1903. In 1898 he went to Beijing to meet with the Guangxu Emperor.

Lobzang Jamyang Yeshe Tenpai Gyeltsen, the Fifth Jamyang Zhepa, was a prominent Geluk lama based at Labrang Monastery. He was appointed the president of the Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission by the Chinese Republican government in 1941.