The Treasury of Lives

The Zhabdrung Karpo incarnation line, one of the most important incarnation lines in Amdo, was named for Tsoknyi Gyatso, the Third Dalai Lama’s emissary to Mongol royal families. The line was established in the early seventeenth century when Lodro Gyatso was recognized by the Fourth Panchen Lama, Lobzang Chokyi Gyeltsen, as the Second Zhabdrung Karpo. He founded Magur Namgyel Ling, a Geluk monastery, which became the seat of the incarnation line.




The First Zhabdrung Karpo, also known as the First Lamo, served as the Third Dalai Lama’s emissary for the Mongol royal families in the Kokonor area and exercised administrative power over a large territory offered to him by the Mongol khans in Amdo. The Zhabdrung Karpo line of incarnations went on to become one of the most important lamas in Amdo.

Lodro Gyatso was the Second Zhabdrung Karpo, a Geluk incarnation line in Amdo. He founded Magur Namgyel Ling in Chentsa.

Ngawang Tenpai Gyeltsen was the Third Zhabdrung Karpo, and important Geluk incarnation line based in Amdo. He established Lamo Dechen Monastery, which became the main seat of the line.

Lobzang Tubten Gelek Gyeltsen was the Fourth Zhabdrung Karpo, a Geluk line of incarnations based in Amdo. Like his previous incarnation he was charged with the political administration of a large territory in Amdo.

The Fifth Zhabdrung Karpo, Khetsun Gyatso was a student of the Seventh Paṇchen Lama. Little is known of his life.

Ngawang Chokdrub Tenpai Gyeltsen was the Sixth Zhabdrung Karpo, a line of Geluk incarnations based in Amdo. He studied at Kumbum with the Third Jamyang Zhepa.

Gendun Tenzin Norbu, the Seventh Zhabdrung Karpo, was an important twentieth-century Geluk hierarch of Amdo. Involved in regional governance, he witnessed the end of the Qing and the establishment of the Chinese Republic.