Khenpo Kunzang Palden

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Khenpo Kunzang Palden

Khenpo Kunzang Palden (མཁན་པོ་ཀུན་བཟང་དཔལ་ལྡན་, Wyl. mkhan po kun bzang dpal ldan) (c.1862-1943)[1], or Kunpal (མཁན་པོ་ཀུན་དཔལ་) for short, also known as Gekong Khenchen Kunzang Palden[2] or Tubten Kunzang Chökyi Drakpa, was a great scholar of the Nyingma tradition, and a close disciple and biographer of Patrul Rinpoche. He was born in Dzachukha valley, in Kham and was ordained as a monk by Khenpo Yönten Gyatso of Dzogchen monastery. After receiving the transmission from Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo and the fifth Dzogchen Rinpoche, he became one of the great holders of the Longchen Nyingtik lineage. He was also an important student and biographer of Mipham Rinpoche. He taught at Gekong Monastery of Dzachukha and was the first teacher at the shedra of Kathok monastery, where he was assisted by Khenpo Ngawang Palzang (Khenpo Ngakchung). He left many important writings like The Stories of Vinaya and a commentary on Mipham Rinpoche's Beacon of Certainty. He is best known for his commentary on the Bodhicharyavatara, by Shantideva which is taught to this day in most shedras. He was the main teacher of Pöpa Tulku, and also taught Khunu Lama Tenzin Gyaltsen.


Among his students are:

Selected Writings

  • Drops of Nectar
  • A Vase of Nectar to Inspire the Faithful: A Biography of Patrul Rinpoche translated by Lama Chonam & Timothy Hinkle (Ashland: Light of Berotsana, 2018)


  1. Anyen Rinpoche comments: Although there is disagreement as to the year of his birth, I believe he was born around 1862 because he was a close student of Patrul Rinpoche, who passed away in 1888. If he were born in the 1870s as some sources indicate, he would have been too young to receive extensive teachings from Patrul Rinpoche
  2. Not to be confused with Derge Lama Kunga Palden, an important disciple of Orgyen Tendzin Norbu and teacher of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

Further Reading

  • Khenchen Kunzang Pelden and Minyak Kunzang Sönam, Wisdom: Two Buddhist Commentaries, Editions Padmakara, 1999
  • Kunzang Palden, The Nectar of Manjushri's Speech: A Detailed Commentary on Shantideva's Way of the Bodhisattva, Shambhala, 2007
  • Nyoshul Khenpo, A Marvelous Garland of Rare Gems: Biographies of Masters of Awareness in the Dzogchen Lineage (Junction City: Padma Publications, 2005), pages 476-479

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