Genealogy of Kings of Derge

Literary Genres › History | Places › Tibet | Tibetan MastersJamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö

English | བོད་ཡིག

Genealogy of the Dharma Kings of Derge

by Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö

Oṃ svasti.

A god of clear light descended onto the summit of Zhakra Lhatsé and appeared as the human Gar Namtsa Druk. His lineage then continued with Gar Lakhyen Chenpo,[1] whose son was Gar Tongmé Trichak. His son was Gar Tongtsen (1), a shrewd chief minister,[2] whose son was Yönten Gyal (2). His son was Nyen Dembu (3), whose own son was Trizang Dumbu (4); he had two sons, the elder being Gar Amnye Gewa Pal (5). His son was Lharje Jampa Pal (6), who travelled to Kham and took up residence at Den Drakra in greater Ling. His son was Gar Palgyi Yönten (7), whose son was Palgyi Purbu (8). His son was Gar Palgyi Jungné (9), whose son was Palgyi Sherab (10). His son was Gar Palgyi Tashi (11), whose son was Palgyi Lama (12). His son was Pal Tashi Lama (13), whose son was Yönten Lama (14). His son was Sherab Lama (15), whose son was Changchub Lama (16). His son was Drakpa Gyaltsen (17), whose son was Könchok Gyaltsen (18). His son was Gendün Gyaltsen (19), whose son was Jampa Gyaltsen (20). His son was Yeshe Gyaltsen (21), whose son was Palgyi Jampa (22). His son was Palbum (23), whose son was Paldrak (24). His son was Palgyi Dorje (25), whose son was Palgyi Sönam (26). His son was Palgyi Tsemo (27), and it was at this point that the family moved to Demshö Demdo,[3] which appears to have been in the region of Samar.

Palgyi Tsemo's son was Gar Yeshe Zangpo (28), who had two sons. One of them, Sonam Rinchen, was Chögyal Pakpa's attendant and received an official seal from Qubilai Khan. His son was Ngul Guru (29) and from his time the heads of the family were appointed as chiliarchs.[4] Ngul Guru is said to have had nine sons. One was the chiliarch Dawa Zangpo (30) whose own son was Gyalwa Zangpo (31). His son was Pema Tensung (32), whose son was Karchen Changchub Bum (33). The latter had two sons, one of whom was Ngupa Chödor of Katok, who became a siddha and whose half-brother, Dechen Sonam Zangpo (34), travelled to Katok for his mother's funeral ceremony and then relocated to Chakra[5] in accordance with the siddha Chödor's prophecy. Since this great territory's ranks (sde) of senior ministers and their religious and secular policy were virtuous (dge), it acquired the name of Derge (sde dge).

Dechen Sonam Zangpo's son was Botar Tashi Senge (35), who was a patron of Tangtong Gyalpo and whose own sons were Lama Palden Senge and Gyaltsen Bum (36). The latter had four sons, including A-nga,[6] the father of Joden Namkha Lhunzang, who attained accomplishment through Bhairava, and Yagyal Pal. Yagyal Pal had three sons: Kunga Rinchen who created the lama residence and temple of Lhundrup Teng, Namkha (37) and Dorje Lhundrup. Namkha's son Lhuntub (38)[7] had six sons of his own. The first, the adept Kunga Gyatso, an incarnation of Rigdzin Gödem, was a Nyingma lama who studied under Sokdokpa, Jatsön and others. The third son, Lachen Jampa Puntsok, founded the great temple of Samdrup Tongdrol;[8] the fifth was Lama Lhasung; and the sixth, Lama Karma Samdrup, followed the Karma Kagyü and resided at Öntö. The second and fourth sons remained at the family estate; one of them, Lupel (39), had a son called Pönchen Kunga Puntsok. The other, Karma, had a son called Chemchok. Lupel also had a son called Orgyen Tashi (40) and an illegitimate son born to Kamza Lhugu, Trichen Sangye Tenpa, who was the incarnation of Chokro Luyi Gyaltsen (but note that some texts say he was the son of Orgyen Tashi.) Orgyen Tashi's sons were Lama Sönam Puntsok and Wangchen Gönpo (41). The latter's son was Chögyal Tenpa Tsering (42).[9] His sons were Trichen Lama Puntsok Tenpa alias Kunga Trinlé Gyatso and Lodrö Gyatso (43).[10] The latter's son was Sawang Zangpo (44),[11] whose own son was Tsewang Dorje Rigdzin (45),[12] Yabchen Serdung, whose heir was this dharma-king's brother's son Lama Sechung, and Damtsik Dorje (46) whose son was Palden Chimé Takpé Dorje (47).[13] His brother's son was Bagen, and his son was Dorje Sengé. His brother was Ngawang Jampal Rinchen, and his son Tsewang Düdul Jigdral Miyi Senge[14] is still alive today.[15]

The generations from the shrewd minister Gar down to the present are as enumerated above.

The first throneholder of Derge was Lachen Jampa Puntsok; the second was Lupel; the third was Pönchen Karma; the fourth was Tri Sangye Tenpa; the fifth was Lama Sonam Puntsok; the sixth was Tenpa Tsering; the seventh was Puntsok Tenpa; the eighth was Lodrö Gyatso; the ninth was Sawang Zangpo; the tenth was Dorje Tsewang, Dorje Rigdzin; the eleventh was Takpé Dorje; the twelfth was Dorje Sengé; and the thirteenth is the present Lhasé Rinpoche.

| Translated by Adam Pearcey with the generous support of the Khyentse Foundation and Tertön Sogyal Trust, 2020.


Tibetan Edition

'Jam dbyangs chos kyi blo gros. "chos rgyal sde dge'i gdung rabs" In 'Jam dbyangs chos kyi blo gros kyi gsung 'bum. BDRC W1KG12986. 4: 695–698. Bir, H.P.: Khyentse Labrang, 2012.

Secondary Sources

Kolmaš, Josef. A Genealogy of the Kings of Derge (sde dge'i rgyal rabs). Academia, Prague. 1968.

___ . "Dezhung Rinpoche's Summary and Continuation of the "Sde-dge'i rgyal-rabs"". Acta Orientalia Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae, 1988, Vol. 42, No. 1 (1988), pp. 119-152

Smith, Gene. 'Jam dbyangs mkhyen brtse'i dbang po'i gsum 'bum dkar chag gi mchan. TBRC W1KG9244. Delhi: s.n., 1971–1973. pp. 153–156

Version: 1.2-20240229

  1. mgar bla mkhyen chen po. Alternatively spelled 'gar bla mchan chen po.  ↩

  2. Gar Tongtsen Yulzung was a chief minister of King Songtsen Gampo.  ↩

  3. dem shod dem mdor. Possibly a typographical error. Dezhung Rinpoche has rme rdor (Kolmaš 1988: 128).  ↩

  4. stong dpon. Defined as the commander/ruler of a thousand men.  ↩

  5. chu gyen ded lcags ra  ↩

  6. a snga. Alternatively Ada (a sda). See Sonam Dorje, "The Third Derge King, Ponchen A-nga," Treasury of Lives, accessed August 28, 2020,  ↩

  7. The number 38 is missing in the original Tibetan but has been added here for the sake of clarity.  ↩

  8. at Lhundrup Teng.  ↩

  9. Tenpa Tsering (1676–1738) famously commissioned the printing of a new edition of the Kangyur, overseen by Situ Paṇchen Chökyi Jungne (1699/1700–1774), completed in 1733. See Sonam Dorje, "The Tenth Derge King, Tenpa Tsering," Treasury of Lives, accessed September 01, 2020,  ↩

  10. Text corrected; original reads Lodrö Gyaltsen (blo gros rgyal mtshan). Puntsok Tenpa (d. 1751) famously oversaw the editing of a new edition of the Tengyur, completed in 1744.  ↩

  11. alias Kundrup Dega Zangpo (1768–1790). On his wife, the powerful Derge Queen Tsewang Lhamo (d. 1812/1813), see Jann Ronis, "Derge Queen Tsewang Lhamo," Treasury of Lives, accessed September 01, 2020,  ↩

  12. alias Jampa Kunga Sangye (b. 1786), author of the Royal Genealogy of Derge (sde dge'i rgyal rabs).  ↩

  13. alias Tsewang Rigdzin. d. 1898  ↩

  14. 1915/1916–1942  ↩

  15. This statement indicates that the text was written before 1942.  ↩

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