His Holiness the 103rd Gaden Tripa, Head of the Gelug School, Passes Away
The 103rd Gaden Tripa, His Holiness Jetsun Lobsang Tenzin, the spiritual head of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism, has passed away at the age of 80, the Central Tibetan Administration announced. Rinpoche had recently been admitted to the intensive care unit of Max Hospital in New Delhi after several months of illness.
“We deeply regret to inform everyone that the 103rd Gaden Tripa Kyabje Jetsun Lobsang Tenzin Rinpoche passed away at 11:45pm on 21 April 2017,” Geshe Lharampa Atuk Tseten and Ven. Gowa Phendey, both of whom are members of Tibetan parliament-in-exile and represent the Gelug tradition, said in a statement on Saturday. “He has been taken ill since last few months and breathed his last in Max Hospital in [New] Delhi last night,” they said, urging followers to perform special prayers. (Central Tibetan Administration)
His Holiness Kyabje Sharpa Chojey Jetsun Lobsang Tenzin, a noted scholar, was born in 1937 in Yara village in eastern Tibet, southeast of Yagra Tsem Monastery. At the age of nine he joined the monastery, where he received his basic education, before traveling overland to Lhasa to attend Drepung Loseling Monastic University. Here he received teachings from a number of renowned spiritual masters, including Venerable Khensur Pema Gyaltsen, Shakor Khen Rinpoche Nyima Gyaltsen, Kyabje Denma Lochoe Rinpoche, and Tehor Gen Lobsang Dhondup. He also received teachings from His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
In 1959, Rinpoche followed His Holiness the Dalai Lama into exile in India, where he continued his studies and in 1964 he received full ordination from the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala. Rinpoche then served the new Drepung Loseling Monastery in various capacities, and in 1982 was awarded the Geshe Lharampa degree after passing the Karam, Lopon, and Lharampa examinations. He joined Gyuto Tantric Monastery to undertake advanced tantric studies in 1983, before becoming Chief Umse (chief disciplinarian) of Drepung Tsokchen and Loseling Monastery from 1987–89.
In 1990, His Holiness the Dalai Lama appointed Rinpoche to the office of Lama Umse (assistant abbot) of Gyuto Monastery and in 1993 promoted him to 119th abbot of the monastery. In 2003, Rinpoche was formally enthroned as Sharpa Choeje at Ganden Monastery, before returning to Drepung Monastery. In October last year, His Holiness the Dalai Lama appointed Rinpoche as the 103rd Gaden Tripa, the most senior position in the Gelugpa tradition. In March, His Holiness the Dalai Lama visited Rinpoche before beginning his recent tour of northeastern India.
“With profound sadness, I, on behalf of all Tibetans, pray that Kyabje Jetsun Lobsang Tenzin Rinpoche will be reborn and carry forward his mission to spread the teachings of Lord Buddha and His Holiness the Dalai Lama,” said Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay, head of the Central Tibetan Administration. “May he be reborn in Tibet, the land of snow.”
The Gaden Tripa is an appointed office, rather than a reincarnation lineage, that is awarded in a hierarchical progression based on merit every seven years. The first Gaden Tripa (1409–19) was Je Tsongkhapa (1357–1419), the founder of the Gelug school. Ganden Monastery has two abbots, the abbot of Gaden Shartse and the abbot of Gaden Jangtse. The Gaden Tripa is automatically appointed from one of the two Chojeys on an alternating basis.
The Gelug school is the newest of the four main schools of Tibetan Buddhism, the other schools being the Nyingma, Kagyu, and Sakya.
103rd Gaden Tripa Kyabje Jetsun Lobsang Tenzin Rinpoche Passes Away (Central Tibetan Administration)
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