By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, 4 FEB: Kyabje Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche, a noted Nyingma master, has declined the position to head the Nyingmapa Tradition of the Tibetan Buddhism at a meeting of the Nyingma Monlam Organization Committee in Bodh Gaya. The position is historically held by distinguished lamas in the Nyingmapa school of Tibetan Buddhism, having approved by its inner circle.
In 2018, at the 29th Nyingma Monlam, it was decided that the head of the Nyingma tradition should be jointly held among the six-major Nyingma monasteries in this order: Kathok, Dzogchen, Shechen, Mindroling, Dorje Drak, and Palyul; with a senior lama from each monastery holding the position for three years. As per this decision, a request was made to Kyabje Kathok Getse Rinpoche to assume the role of head of the Nyingma Tradition, which he accepted but passed away before the completion of his tenure. The title then passed to Kyabje Dzogchen Rinpoche who declined to assume the role.
Two years later, at the 31st Nyingma Monlam, repeated requests were made to Kyabje Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche to accept the position. Rinpoche replied that “with the insistence of a continued appointment of a ‘head of the tradition’, there is a danger that it may bring more harm than benefit to the Nyingma lineage”. Rabjam Rinpoche went on to say that there isn’t a need to appoint a Head of Tradition. He suggested that as the Nyingma Monlam involves all Nyingmapa organizations, and as the appointed head of the Committee is already engaged in activities concerning the benefit of beings and the teaching of the Buddha, it would be adventitious if they would assume the duties previously undertaken by the lineage head.
The committee has decided to implement the suggestions made by Rabjam Rinpoche. The organization committee, in addition to its work and commitment to the welfare of beings, “will also take the responsibility to continually select and request high lamas and responsible individuals from the various Nyingma institutions to lead the Monlam Committee and act in accordance with the above.”