A new kamby lama, the most senior Buddhist monastic in the Tuva Republic, was elected at Tsechenling Buddhist temple in the Tuvan capital, Kyzyl on 4 October. Gelek Natsyk Dorju (Sergek Olegovich Saryglar) was appointed as the Ninth Kamby Lama of the Tuvan people.
Tuva’s Eighth Kamby Lama, Jampel Lodoy, passed away from health complications related to COVID-19 on 23 June in the Tuvan capital Kyzyl.* He was enthroned on 29 November 2019 and served as kamby lama for just seven months.
Since 1997, the supreme lama of the Buddhist republic has been elected on a democratic basis, holding the position for a term of five years. The decision to hold the election was made at a meeting of the Ydyk Khural (Sacred Assembly), which is the representative body of the kamby lama administration. The election was attended by 98 Buddhist priests and representatives of public Buddhist organizations in Tuva. There were initially four candidates for the position of kamby lama, two of whom later chose to withdraw from the election. Gelek Natsyk Dorju won the majority of the votes by secret ballot. The enthronement ceremony is planned for November.
The 24th Pandito Khambo Lama Damba Badmayevich Ayusheev, the head lama of the Buryat people and of the Buddhist traditional Sangha of Russia, and Telo Tulku Rinpoche, the head lama of the Kalmyk people and honorary representative of the Dalai Lama for Russia, Mongolia, and the members of the Commonwealth of Independent States, both sent letters of congratulations to the Administration of the Kamby Lama of the Republic of Tuva.
Gelek Natsyk Dorju was born in Tuva and studied for five years at Ivolginsky Datsan in Buryatia, one of the most important Buddhist monasteries in the Russian Federation. From the third year of his education, he became a headman of the Tuvan khuuraks (novice monks) in Ivolginsky Datsan and a representative of the kamby lama of Tuva. In 2015, he received a geshe degree (doctorate in Buddhist philosophy). In recent years, Gelek Dorju has served at Tsechenling Buddhist temple.
At the time of publication, Russia had reported 1.25 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 22,137 deaths, with just over one million people reported to have recovered. Tuva, which has a population of some 320,000 people, has recorded 8,020 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 85 deaths.**
* Kamby Lama of Tuva Dies from Health Complications Related to COVID-19 (Buddhistdoor Global)