King Kanam Depa

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King Kanam Depa aka Powo Kanam Depa was the king of the Powo kingdom, in the southern-western part of Kham, and the paternal grandfather of Dudjom Rinpoche. His children includes:

According to Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal[1]:

Approximately two thousand years ago, the Tibetan king Drigum Tsenpo (the 8th in the line of the original rulers of Tibet) was assassinated by his minister Longam. The king three sons—Jatri, Shatri, and Nyatri—fled. Jatri settled in the Powo area and ruled as king. He and his descendants later came to be known as the Kanam Depa clan. They ruled Tibet’s southern-most regions, centered in Powo but including Pemakö and other valleys, for almost two thousands years. They subdued outlaws and extended their loving protection to the weak, thereby gaining a very special place in Tibetan history. They were dharma patrons mainly for the Nyingma and Kagyu schools and in particular for the great nyingma tertön Rigdzin Düddul Dorje, Taksham Nüden Dorje, and Tsasum Lingpa.

King Kanam Depa’s wife was Tsering Dolma, the sister of Dasang Namgyal Tsarong, who became the commander-in-chief of the Tibetan army[2].

According to Dundul Namgyal Tsarong, King Kanam Depa was involved in a conflict with Central Tibet[3]:

Tsering Dolma was married to Powo Kanam Depa. In the old days, marriages in Tibet were usually arranged by parents. Powo Kanam Depa was the chief of Powo District, which is close to the border of Assam (India). Kanam Depa was paying a nominal tax to the Tibetan Government, and he was more or less left to administer his district independently. During the Chinese trouble in Tibet between 1910 and 1912, he resisted the Chinese successfully, and thereafter, when the Dalai Lama came into full power, he refused to pay his taxes and did not allow government officials to enter his territories. Dasang Namgyal Tsarong’s plan was that Tsering Dolma’s marriage to Kanam Depa would bring about a settlement of the problem. He managed to invite Kanam Depa to Lhassa, and explained to him that it would be unrealistic and unsafe to remain in his old ways, advising him that his district should come under full control of the Government. He also said that if this proposal should come from him, Dasang Namgyal Tsarong would recommend that the Government grant an appropriate title and with estates for his livelihood. However, things did not materialize, and Kanam Depa left Lhasa with his party. Dasang Namgyal Tsarong then sent a special messenger asking them to come back again. The chief would not come, but Tsering Dolma returned to Lhasa safely. Soon, the Government sent a strong force to deal with the people of the Powo district. The people put up a great resistance, but eventually the chief Kanam Depa fled to the Indian border, where he died after an attack of dysentery.


  1. Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal, Light of Fearless Indestructible Wisdom: The Life and Legacy of H. H. Dudjom Rinpoche, Snow Lion 2008, page 61.
  2. Dundul Namgyal Tsarong, “In the service of his country, the biography of Dasang Damdul Tsarong, Commander General of Tibet”, Snow Lion, Ithaca, NY, USA, 2000, page 58.
  3. Op. Cit. page 58.

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