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Mune Tsenpo

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Prince Mune Tsenpo (Wyl. mu ne btsan po) or Mune Tsepo (mu ne btsad po) — the eldest of King Trisong Deutsen's sons, and his immediate successor as ruler of Tibet. His reign lasted less than two years during the late 790s, before he was poisoned by his own mother, Queen Tsepongza, on account of his unpopular Buddhist reforms, such as the equal redistribution of wealth. He was one of the five students who received the Vima Nyingtik teachings directly from Vimalamitra.

 Trisong Detsen hаd four sons: Mutri Tsenpo, Muné Tsenpo, Mutik Tsenpo, аnd Sadnalegs . The eldest son, Mutri Tsenpo, died early.

Trisong Detsen retired tо live аt Zungkar аnd handed power tо hіs second son, Muné Tsenpo, іn 797. Frоm thіs point there іs much confusion іn the various historical sources. Іt seems there wаs а struggle fоr the succession аfter the death оf Trisong Detsen. Іt іs nоt clear when Trisong Detsen died, оr fоr hоw long Mune Tsenpo reigned. The dBa' bzhed, а Tibetan historical text whіch may date bаck tо the 9th Century, claims thаt Muné Tsenpo insisted thаt hіs father's funeral be performed according tо Buddhist rather thаn the Bon rites.

It іs said thаt Mune Tsenpo wаs poisoned by hіs mother whо wаs jealous оf hіs beautiful wife.

 Muné Tsenpo (Tibetan: མུ་ནེ་བཙན་པོ་, Wylie: Mu-ne btsan-po) was the 39th Emperor of Tibet (r. ca. 797?-799?). This period of Tibetan history, towards the end, and after the reign of Trisong Detsen is very murky and the sources give conflicting stories and dates.

Mune Tsenpo is a Zhangzhung name meaning Namkha Tsenpo or 'Sky King'.

When Trisong Detsen retired (c. 797) to take up residence at the Nyugmakhar Palace (sMyug ma mkar) in Zungkhar (Zung mkhar), he handed power to the eldest surviving son, Muné Tsenpo.

Most sources say that Muné's reign lasted only about a year and a half, while many Western scholars believe this would have been too short and some have suggested he reigned from 797 to 804. The Deb-ston, however, records a reign of 17 years, but this has been attributed to a misreading of the Chinese accounts.

The dBa' bzhed claims that Muné Tsenpo insisted that his father's funeral be performed according to Buddhist rather than the Bon rites.

Tibetan sources say he tried three times unsuccessfully to ensure the equitable distribution of land and property; but each time the rich got richer and the poor got poorer.[5] He established four major places to worship the Tripitaka and the abhisambodhi.

After a short reign, Muné Tsenpo, was supposedly poisoned on the orders of his mother, Tsephongsa, who was jealous of his beautiful young wife, Queen Phoyongsa. After his death, Mutik Tsenpo was next in line to the throne.

However, Sadnalegs elder brother, Mutik Tsenpo, had been apparently banished to Lhodak Kharchu (lHo-brag or Lhodrag) near the Bhutanese border for murdering a senior minister, although some people believe he ruled for an indeterminate period. Whatever the case, the youngest brother, Sadnalegs, was definitely ruling by 804 CE.

Further Reading

  • Thomas Laird, The History of Tibet—Conversations with the Dalai Lama (London: Atlantic Books, 2006), pages 62-64.


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