Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal

Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal

Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal

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Ngawang Namgyal (later granted the honorific Shabdrung, approximately at whose feet one submits) (; alternate spellings include Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel) (1594–1651) was a Tibetan Buddhist lama and the unifier of Bhutan as a nation state. In addition to unifying the various warring fiefdoms for the first time in the 1630s, he also sought to create a distinctly Bhutanese cultural identity, separate from the Tibetan culture from which it was derived.

Birth and enthronement at Ralung

Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal was born at Ralung, Tibet as the son of the Drukpa lineage holder Mipham Tenpai Nyima () (1567-1619), and Sonam Pelkyi Butri (), daughter of the ruler of Kyisho () in Tibet. On his father's side Ngawang Namgyal descended from the family line of Drogon Tsangpa Gyare (1161–1211), the founder of the Drukpa Lineage. In his youth Ngawang Namgyal was enthroned as the Eighteenth Drukpa or throne-holder and "hereditary prince" of the traditional Drukpa seat and estate of Ralung () and recognized there as the immediate reincarnation of the FourthDepending on whether or not Tsangpa Gyare is enumerated in the list of Gyalwang Drukchen incarnations, Kunkhyen Pema Karpo is either the fourth or the fifth Drukchen, and Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal or Pagsam Wangpo counted as the fifth or sixth. Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal's biography and some other Bhutanese & Ralung sources do not...
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