Rinchen, Gendun

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Je Khenpo Gendun Rinchen(1926 - 1997) 

Gendün Rinchen was born in a small cave by the side of the path to Paro Tagtsang, so as a child he was nicknamed "Dragphugpa" (Cave Man).

At a young age he showed great interest in the Buddhist religion and at seven he received novice ordination at Tashichö Dzong in Thimphu and was given the name Gendün Rinchen.

When he was twenty-seven he travelled to Lhodrak Lhalung, center of the tradition of Padma Lingpa in Southern Tibet. There he studied the Thirteen great texts of Mahayana Buddhist Philosophy from Khatok Khen Rinpoche. At the age of twenty-nine he went to Drigung in Central Tibet where he studied classical Tibetan orthography, grammar and poetry; the works of Mipham Rinpoche and Khenpo Shenga and received many tantric teachings including those on the Mañjuśrīnāmasamgīti. Afterwards he went to Samye Monastery where he received the empowerments and instructions of the Rinchen Terdzö; the Nyingthig and Longchenpa's Dzödun from Dudjom Jigdral Yeshe Dorje.

After returning to Bhutan, he entered a three-year meditation retreat at the Tagsang Palphug hermitage, which was followed by another three year retreat he entered when he was forty at Kungachöling in Paro. From Lopon Sonam Zangpo, a disciple of Drubwang Shakya Shri, he received teachings on the Six Yogas of Naropa, Mahāmudrā, and so on.

For ten years he was the abbot of Tango Monastery where he wrote many commentaries on Buddhist philosophy, sutra and tantra.

In 1990 he was enthroned as the 69th Je Khenpo of Bhutan and subsequently travelled throughout the country giving religious teachings. At the age of 61 he resigned from the post of Je Khanpo and retired to a life of prayer and meditation at Jangchub Ding in Yangchenphug. In 1997, on the ninth day of the third month according to the Bhutanese calendar, he died sitting in a straight meditation posture. It is reported that his body remained sitting thus for more than a week or eleven days during which time his body remained flexible and showed no signs of decay.

His physical remains are now preserved in a gold and silver reliquary stupa in the Shabdrung Chapel of Tashichö Dzong, Thimphu. (Source: Wikipedia)

Library Items

Other names

  • བྲག་ཕུག་དགེ་ཤེས་ · other names (Tibetan)
  • brag phug dge shes · other names (Wylie)

Affiliations & relations

  • Drukpa Kagyu · religious affiliation