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Dalai Lama Recognizes US-Born Boy as Highest Ranking Lama in Mongolia

Jampel Gyatso, the 10th Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa, participates in a ceremony with the Dalai Lama on 8 March. From

His Holiness the Dalai Lama has recognized an eight-year-old boy from the United States as the third-most-important leader in the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism. The young boy, Jampel Gyatso, has been revealed as the 10th Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa (also known as the Jebtsundamba Khutughtu), continuing a lineage of rebirths that dates to 1635 CE with the birth of Öndör Gegeen Zanabazar, the First Jebtsundamba Khutughtu. The lineage also holds the title Bogd Gegeen, noting their status as the highest-ranking lamas in Mongolia.

Jampel Gyatso was born in the US and holds dual US and Mongolian nationalities. His parents are Altannar Chinchuluun, a university mathematics professor, and Monkhnasan Narmandakh, a national resources conglomerate executive. One of the boy’s grandmothers, Garamjav Tseden, is a former Mongolian member of parliament.

The Dalai Lama, 87, recognized Jampel Gyatso during a ceremony in Dharamsala, India, on 8 March.

 “We have the reincarnation of Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa Rinpoche of Mongolia with us today,” the Dalai Lama said during the ceremony, which was attended by 5,000 monks and nuns, and 600 Mongolians, according to media reports. “His predecessors had a close association with the Krishnacharya lineage of Chakrasamvara. One of them established a monastery in Mongolia dedicated to its practice. So, his being here today is quite auspicious.” (Times Now, The Independent)

Before the ceremony, the lineage had remained uncertain after the previous Jebtsundamba Khutughtu, Dorjee Chang Jampel Namdrol Choekyi Gyaltsen, died on 1 March 2012 at the age of 80.

Gyaltsen was born in Lhasa in 1932 and educated at Drepung Monastery and Gomang College. In his twenties he joined the tens of thousands of Tibetans who fled Tibet for India. There he stayed in Darjeeling and Mysore with family before serving as a community lama for nearly 10 years in Madhya Pradesh.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the return of religious freedom in Mongolia, His Holiness the Dalai Lama recognized Gyaltsen as the spiritual head of the Gelug school in Mongolia. While he remained based in Dharamsala, near the Dalai Lama, Gyaltsen visited Mongolia, where in 1999 he was conferred the title “The Protector of Beings of the North and Leader of all the Buddhist Schools,” and was enthroned at Ertini Jowo Monastery in a grand ceremony. He also visited other countries, including Canada, Japan, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, and the US in his role as the spiritual leader of Gelug Buddhists in Mongolia.

Dorjee Chang Jampel Namdrol Choekyi Gyaltsen (1932 –2012). From

The 10th and current Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa is expected to follow a similar trajectory, including lengthy study and practice before undertaking most of his duties as a spiritual leader. Buddhism is the largest and the official religion of Mongolia, practice by some 53 per cent of the population, according to 2010 census data.

Read more

Dalai Lama Names 8-Year-Old US-Born Mongolian Boy 3rd Highest Leader in Buddhism (Times Now)
Dalai Lama anoints US-born Mongolian boy third highest leader in Buddhism: Report (India Today)
US child named reincarnation of Buddhist spiritual leader by the Dalai Lama (The Independent)
The Battle for Tibetan Buddhism Will Be Decided in Mongolia (World Politics Review)
Obituary: His Eminence the Ninth Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa (Central Tibetan Administration)
Preliminary Procedures for the Chakrasamvara Empowerment (His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet)

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