Kunga Rinchen (kun dga’ rin chen) was the son of Yagyel (ya rgyal), the fourth king of Dege. The was likely born towards the end of the sixteenth century. He had two brothers, named Namkha (nam mkha) and Dorje Lhundrub (rdo rje lhun grub). He is counted as the head of the family in its thirty-fifth generation.
Kunga Rinchen ordained and trained under a numbers of masters, including Sharchen Jampa Kunga Tashi (shar chen byams pa kun dga’ bkra shis, 1558-1603), the fourteenth abbot of Ngor Ewam Choden (ngor e waM chos ldan) in Tsang.
It is not clear why he was enlisted to rule the kingdom, becoming the first ordained member of the family to do so. During his administration he built the Zungdrel Temple (zung ‘brel lha khang) in Dege, which later provided the basis forLhundrubteng Monastery (lhun grub steng), commonly known as Dege Gonchen (sde dge dgon chen).
His nephew Lhuntub (lhun thub), his brother Namkha’s son, inherited the throne, although it was his nephew Sonam Puntsok (bsod nams phun tshogs, d. 1714), the fourth abbot of Lhundrubteng, who held real power.
Source: The Treasury of lives