Gaden Tripa Rinpoche graciously welcomed us into his humble abode, and blessed each member of our delegation. Then he took time to silently add his prayers into the Flame of Hope.
In 2017 His Holiness the Dalai Lama appointed Jangtse Choejey Kyabje Jetsun Lobsang Tenzin Palsangpo as the 104th Gaden Tripa as the head of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism. The Gaden Tripa ‘Holder of the Gaden Throne’ is the title of the spiritual head of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism. Je Tsongkhapa (1357–1419), who founded the Gelug school, was the first Ganden Tripa.
Kyabje Jetsun Lobsang Tenzin Palsangpo was born in Tibet in 1934, Rinpoche was ordained as a monk at the age of seven. Following His Holiness the Dalai Lama into exile in 1959, he entered Sera Je Monastery where he was enrolled into Tsangpa Khangtsen at the age of seventeen.
Following a rigorous study of the Buddhist philosophies, he obtained the highest honor of Geshe Lharampa degree in 1979 after debate examinations attended by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and other senior Buddhist scholars.
After receiving the Geshe Lharampa degree, he entered Gyume Tantric University and two years later became a master of discipline. Rinpoche also studied the esoteric teachings of the Mahayana tradition extensively while he was there at Gyume Tantric University.
The Gaden Tripa is an appointed office, not a reincarnation lineage. It occurs once every seven years (completion of term) or earlier (due to unforeseen events like death). The appointment is based on academic merit which is the basis of the hierarchical progression.
Although the appointment of Gaden Tripa is automatic, it is usually confirmed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama who publicly announces the appointment or nomination at the time of changeover.