About DGTL Monastery

Brief History Our Purpose Teachers H.H. Trijang Rinpoche H.H. Zong Rinpoche Kyabje Dagom Rinpoche Ven. Gonsar Tulku Rinpoche Kyabje Yongyal Rinpoche Contact Us Calendar Upcoming Events Support the monastery Adopt A Monk

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Teachers: H.H. Zong Rinpoche

Zongtrul Jetsun Losang Tsondu Thupten Gyaltsen, or Venerable Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, as popularly known to his innumerable ordained and lay disciples, was born in 1904 in Mangsang in the Kham province of Tibet. He entered Ganden Shartse Monastery at the age of twelve. The late HH Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche, who was then fourteen years old, helped the new incarnate lama by going with him through his first lesson in elementary dialectics; he was later to become his chief mentor.

At twenty five Zong Rinpoche entered the geshe examinations of the famous Lhasa Monlam ceremonies. He was extremely successful. The Great 13th Dalai Lama, who had been present during one of these examinations, remarked, "Zong Lama has studied excellently. He deserves the first or second rank Geshe Lharampa of this year." This would be followed by an equally successful examination at Gyuto Tantric College. After these crowning achievements, which marked the completion of his studies, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche's name as an accomplished scholar became firmly established.

Some months following his studies, Zong Rinpoche was appointed abbot of Ganden Shartse Monastery, the seat of which he held for nine years. His abbotship is still remembered for many remarkable achievements, among others, Ganden Shartse gained new heights of examplary monastic discipline (which he held closest to his heart) and scholarship. Also noteworthy was the definite improvement in the administrative structure of the monastery. In the aftermath of the suppression of his land in 1959, complying with repeated requests from his disciples, Zong Rinpoche left Tibet and sought asylum in India along with numerous survivors of the Chinese invasion. There, amidst many hardships, he gave his disciples a countless number of teachings, thus rekindling the flame of the Buddhist doctrine outside his country. Upon request from the newly established Government in exile, Zong Rinpoche thereafter became the principal of the newly formed Tibetan Teachers Training Program.

After his retirement from public life, as the years passed, his fame spread to many countries outside India. Invitations poured in requesting him to come to the West. Upon repeated invitations from many Western Dharma centers, he visited them on three occasions. These trips included visits to Britain, Switzerland, West Germany, Italy, France, Spain, the U.S., Canada and Austria.

Zong Rinpoche's ripe wisdom and penetrating insights on everything he taught touched his listeners to the core of their very being. Apart from all these facts, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche should be remembered primarily as the first Tibetan master to seriously bring his Western listeners face to face with the most profound aspects of Tibetan Buddhism.

To the profound grief of his Tibetan and Western students, Venerable Zong Rinpoche passed away on November 15th, 1984, without manifesting any signs of illness.

Shortly after his death, his new incarnation was found, recognized by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and enthroned at Ganden Shartse monastery in India. It is remarkable that one of the things the previous Zong Rinpoche did during his last visit to the United States was to buy a bag of children's toys. The present Zong Rinpoche is eleven years old. He is currently fully engaged in the study of sutra and tantra at Ganden Shartse Monastic University under the care of Khensur Lati Rinpoche.