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Khon Konchog Gyalpo lifestory
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The Sakya Order of Tibetan Buddhism was founded in 1073, when Khon Konchog Gyalpo (a.k.a. Kön Gönqog Gyäbo), a member of Tibet’s noble Khön (Koin) family, established a monastery in the region of Sakya, Tibet, which became the headquarters of the Sakya Order of Tibetan Buddhism.
Khon Konchok Gyelpo ('khon dkon mchog rgyal po) was born in Yarlung Khardab (g.yar lung mkhar stabs) in 1034, although some sources have the birth year as 1024 (the wood mouse instead of the wood dog year).
He was a member of the Khon family, a descendent of Khon Liu Wangpo ('khon lu'i dbang po), who was one of the “seven men who were tested,” the Semi Midun (sad mi mi bdun), the first seven men to ordain under Śāntarakṣita in the eighth century.
His father was Shākya Lodro (shAkya blo gros), who may have been murdered by Ra Lotsāwa Dorje Drak (rwa lo tsA ba rdo rje grags, 1016-1198). His elder brother, Sherab Tsultrim (shes rab tshul khrim), a celibate layman, was a disciple of the Eastern Vinaya monk Zhuton Tsondru (zhu ston brtson 'grus).
The two brothers were heir to a long tradition of ritual systems dating from the early period of Buddhism in Tibet, but they decided that the efficacy of these teachings had declined, allegedly due in part to their being taught openly in violation of the tantric requirement of secrecy.
According to Sakya history, the formative event for Konchok Gyelpo's turning away from the Nyingma teachings was when he attended a ritual ceremony in which twenty-eight yogins were dancing the procession of the twenty-eight lunar mansions in propitiation of Nyingma deities.
The esoteric rite was being performed in an open marketplace, with horse races and commerce going on around them. Konchok Gyelpo asked his brother whether this was appropriate to publicly display such rites, and the later replied that indeed it was a shameful occurrence.
When this master died, he went to Drokmi Śākya Yeshe ('brog mi lo tsA ba shAkya ye shes, 992-1072) at Nyugulung (myu gu lung), who demanded a high fee for his teachings. Konchok Gyelpo accordingly sold familial land in Yarlung with which he bought seventeen horses.
Konchok Gyelpo further received the Cakrasaṃvara from Mel Lotsāwa Lodro Drakpa (mal lo tsA ba blo gros grags pa, d.u.), the Guhyasamāja from Go Lotsāwa Khukpa Lhetse ('gos lo tsA ba khug pa lhas brtsas), and the Tilaka tantras from Paṇḍita Prajñāgupta.
Based on the new ritual systems Konchok Gyelpo performed a second funeral services for his father and brother, who had passed away earlier, and built a stupa in their memory in Zhangyul Jagshong (zhang yul 'jag gshong).
Passing through the valley that would be later known as Sakya, he was impressed by its auspicious features, which included a mountain that looked like an elephant's trunk, earth a pele grey color, and good water sources.
Bla ma dam pa bsod nams rgyal mtshan. N.d. Bla ma brgyud pa'i rnam par thar pa ngo mtshar snang ba. In Bla ma dam pa bsod nams rgyal mtshan gyi gsung 'bum, vol. 3, 113 pages; pp. 25-30.
Gdams ngag byung tshul gyi zin bris gsang chen bstan pa rgyas byed. In Lam 'bras lob bshad, vol. 14, ff. 1-78.
Alexander Gardner July 2010
The following biography is fromthe Treasury of Lives, a biographical encyclopedia of Tibet, Inner Asia and the Himalaya. The biography is written by Alexander Gardner. http://www.treasuryoflives.org/biographies/view/Khon-Konchok-Gyelpo/6100