New Head of Gelugpa Order

The following article is from the Winter, 1992 issue of the Snow Lion Newsletter and is for historical reference only. You can see this in context of the original newsletter here.

With the completion of his six-year term as Ganden Tripa, holder of the throne of Je Tsong Kha Pa, His Eminence Jampal Zhenphen of Ganden Jangtse Monastery was succeeded by Most Venerable Yeshi Dhondup, who assumed the post following a traditional enthronement ceremony on December 23, 1990 at Ganden Monastery, South India.

The formal head of the Gelgupa order, or Ganden Tripa, succeeds to the position after serving for twelve years either as Jangtse Choeje (Spiritual Minister of the North Point) or Shartse Choeje (Spiritual Minister of the East Point). Only Lharampa geshes of the highest degree are in line to succeed to these positions. The installation ceremony is customarily held at Ganden Monastery, which was established near Lhasa in 1409 by Je Tsong Kha Pa, founder of the Gelugpa Order of Tibetan Buddhism.

Born in 1911, Ven. Dhondup was admitted to a local monastery of Kham Mili, in Eastern Tibet. He mastered the basic courses of study and rituals at the monastery, and at age 16 he left for central Tibet to join Drepung Loseling Monastery. He studied the five major treatises of Buddhism at the feet of some ten eminent teachers of the time, pursuing the courses to completion. At age 42 he obtained his Geshe degree in high first position of Lharampa. Thereafter, he joined Gyuto Tantric College for advanced study and eventually became its abbot. Since coming into exile, Ven. Dhondup has been living in a hut in the hills of Mussoorie, devoting his time to meditation.

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