Gendun Gyatso (dge 'dun rgya mtsho) was born in 1476 in the Tanak area of Tsang. He was born to a family of yogic practitioners who had forged a connection to his predecessor the first Dalai Lama, and also had a strong historic connection with Samye Monastery, where an ancestor was an abbot. His paternal grandfather, a Shangpa Kagyu lama named Lama Donyo Gyeltsen, was a disciple of the Sakya patriarch Namkha Neljor (nam mkha' rnal 'byor, 1388-1469/70) and founder of the Sakya monastery Tanak (rta nag). Donyo Gyeltsen’s son, Kunga Gyeltsen (kun dga’ rgyal mtshan, 1432-1481), a disciple of Gendun Drub, was Gendun Gyatso’s father. His mother was Kunga Pelmo (kun dga' dpal mo, d.u.), considered to be a reincarnation of the consort to the Kagyu master Gotsangpa (rgo tsang pa, d.u.). Gendun Drub was born when his father was forty-five years old. He wrote in his autobiography that at the moment of his birth he faced the direction of Tashilhunpo (bkra shis lhun po) and smiled. His birth name was Sangge Pel (sangs rgyas 'phel).