His Holiness the Ninth Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa Rinpoche
Spiritual Leader of Buddhism in Mongolia
Spiritual Leader of the Tibetan Buddhist Jonang Tradition
His Holiness Khalkha Rinpoche in his previous lives held the position of spiritual and temporal leader, which was the same position in Mongolia that His Holiness the Dalai Lama once held in Tibet.
His Holiness Khalkha Rinpoche was the spiritual head of Buddhism in Mongolia. He was also the spiritual head of the Jonang Tradition which incorporates monasteries located in Tibet, India, Nepal and Russia.
His Holiness Jetsun Dhampa Dorje Chang Jampel Namdrol Chokyi Gyaltsen Chogni was born in Tibet in 1932 amid wonderous, auspicious signs in the northern area of Lhasa called Tramsigkhang, to his father Lobsang Jampel and mother Yangchen Lhamo. At the time of his conception, the 90th Gaden Tripa, Jampa Chodrak, through his miraculous powers, saw that the mother had conceived such a special child and the following morning he went to visit her. When he prostrated three times and offered a khatak, the mother became very frightened, but he explained that it was the child in the womb to whom he was prostrating, saying that this child was to be extremely beneficial to the Gelug tradition, and then he gave the name Sonam Dargyay to the unborn baby.
Later, when His Holiness Khalkha Rinpoche was a young child, he went to see Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche Dechen Nyingpo, who gave him the name Sonam Tenzin Dargyay. When Kharak Yong Dzin Chok saw the young boy he knew without a doubt that this child in a previous incarnation had been one of Je Rinpoche Lama Tsong Khapa’:s disciples, by the name of Jamyang Choeje, who had founded Drepung Monastery. Later the Nechung Oracle of Tibet also confirmed that this three-year-old boy was the authentic incarnation of Jamyang Choeje and like “a jewel of the sky” (Namkhai Norbu), which was a secret code name for the founder of Drepung Monastery.
A little later Radreng Rinpoche (Reting) also confirmed the four-year-old boy was the real incarnation of the Eighth Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa Rinpoche counting from Rangjung Yeshe Dorje Ney (First incarnation). The present Khalkha Rinpoche is the 28th incarnation, but the Ninth after Taranatha (b.1575 AD). (The Eighth Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa was the spiritual head of the Gelugpa lineage of Tibetan Buddhism in Mongolia and held the same position as religious and secular leader in Mongolia that the Dalai Lama held in Tibet).
In 1952, at the age of 21, he left Drepung Gomang Monastery for Takten Monastery. He stayed there until the 1959 invasion of Tibet, after which he was forced into exile in India, staying at Wolung near Darjeeling. While there, he approached Pema Cholin Rinpoche to request guidance in studying poetry, grammar and the arts.
After many years of dividing his time between North India and South India, at the age of 67, His Holiness the Dalai Lama asked Rinpoche not to spend his time like this, and to carry the name of his previous life. HHDL, along with the Department of Religious Affairs, organised his enthronement, which took place in Dharamsala in 1998. The following year, at the age of 68, he travelled to Mongolia — where (in preceeding lives) he was originally from — for a second enthronement on the previous Khalkha Rinpoche’s throne in Mongolia.
His Holiness Khalkha Rinpoche has visited many countries including Japan, Canada, the US, Mongolia, Russia, Australia and Taiwan, giving teachings to people who have a previous connection with Khalkha Rinpoche and those who wanted to study Buddhism, greatly benefiting all those people.
His passing away on 1st March 2012 is an immeasurable loss.
You can find out more about His Holiness’s life and see other photos at www.jetsundhampa.com.