Chennga Sonam Zangpo (1380 – 1416)

Chennga Sonam Zangpo (spyan nga bsod nams bzang po) received his upasika vows from Chennga Drakjangwa (spyan nga grags byang ba, d.u.), and novice with Drakdorwa (grags rdor ba, d.u.) and Tsulgyalwa (tshul rgyal ba, d.u.). He received teachings from Chennga Sonam Drakpa (spyan nga bsod nams grags pa, d.u.), and was initiated into the “four symbols” (brda bzhi) by Chogowa Tsultrim Zangpo (chos sgo ba tshul khrims bzang po, d.u.). He also received teaching from Tsongkhapa Lobzang Drakpa (tsong kha pa lo bzang grags pa, 1357-1419) and Sozangpa (bsod bzangs pa, d.u.). In the colophon to Tsongkhapa’s Ngakrim Chenmo (sngags rim chen mo) Sonam Zangpo is credited with encouraging its composition.

At the age of twenty-nine, in 1403, Sonam Zangpo assumed the abbacy of Densa Til (gdan sa mthil), receiving an exposition on the Kagyu teachings from Lachen Rinshonpa (bla chen rin gzhon pa, d.u.). He also taught Hevajra at Tsetang (rtses thang).

In 1415 he received final ordination from Tsongkhapa at Tashi Doka (bkra shis do kha), with Gyalzangpa (rgyal bzang pa, d.u.) and Kunga Gyaltsan (kun dga’ rgyal mtshan, d.u.) participating in the quorum.

He passed away at the age of thirty-seven.


Roerich, George, trans. 1996. The Blue Annals. 2nd ed. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidas, 588-589.

Alexander Gardner
December 2009


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