H.E. the Ninth Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa
DHARAMSHALA, March 1: His Eminence the Ninth Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa Dorjee Chang Jampel Namdrol Choekyi Gyaltsen, the spiritual head of the Jonang tradition of Tibetan Buddhism and the spiritual head of Mongolia, passed away earlier today at 5.58am (IST) in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. He was 80.
The Central Tibetan Administration expressed deep sadness at the demise of Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa and convened a special prayer service to pray for his speedy reincarnation. As a mark of respect, offices of the CTA remained closed following the prayer service.
Born in 1932 in Trontsikhang, northern part of Lhasa to Lobsang Jamphel and Yangchen Lhamo, the Late Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa was recognised as the reincarnation of the eighth Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa by Reting Rinpoche, the regent at that time.
At seven, the Late Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa entered Gomang college of Drepung Monastery in Tibet and received Rabjung vows from Reting Rinpoche, following which he studied philosophy for the next fourteen years.
At the age of 21, the Late Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa left Gomang to engage in a series of Chod meditations, living the life of a yogi, while on pilgrimage to the holy sites of Tibet.
After the Chinese armed occupation of Tibet in 1959, the Late Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa left Tibet and escaped into exile in India.
During his early exile years, the late Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa stayed in Darjeeling and Mysore with his family and then moved to Phendeling Tibetan Settlement at Mainpat in Madhya Pradesh.
After the collapse of Soviet Union and the new-found religious freedom in Mongolia, His Holiness the Dalai Lama gave an official recognition and acknowledgement to the Ninth Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa as the spiritual head of Buddhism in Mongolia through the religious Department of Religious Affairs (now the Department of Religion and Culture), CTA in 1991.
In 1997, the Late Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa was enthroned as the spiritual head of Jonang tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.
The title, Khalkha (the largest district of Mongolia) Jetsun Dhampa (Lord of Refuge) was conferred by the Great Fifth Dalai Lama, who recognised the First Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa, a young tulku from Mongolia as the reincarnation of Taranatha. The Great Fifth Dalai Lama became the lineage lama of the First Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa, conferring on him all his lineage initiations, empowerments and the further teachings.