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Ladakh mourns passing away of Ladakh Chosrjay Togdan Rinpoche

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LEH: The passing away of Ladakh Chosrjay, Skyabje Togdan Rinpoche, is a great loss to the entire Ladakh region and also to his followers across the globe.
Besides being an accomplished spiritual leader, Rinpoche also played an active role in politics from the 1960s when he was elected as the first leader of the Ladakh Action Committee. Rinpoche was nominated as MLC from Leh in the late 1990s and later elevated as the Minister of State for Ladakh Affairs and Planning under Farooq Abdullah’s chief ministership in the National Conference (NC) government in the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir.
He served as an MoS untill September 2002 as he resigned from the post since Ladakh Union Territory Front (LUTF) was formed disbanding all political parties to struggle for UT status for Ladakh.
Ladakh Chosrjay Togdan Rinpoche is the spiritual leader of the Drikung Kagyu Tradition in Ladakh. The title Togdan means “endowed with realization”. The previous Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche Shiwai Lodro recognized the young boy as the incarnation of Togdan Tulku when he was only 18 months old.
The Togden tulku are believed to be the successive incarnations of the Indian Mahasiddha Hungchen Kara (Hungkara), one of the Eight Great Vidyadharas. The other Eight Vidyadharas include Nagarjuna, Manjushrimitra and Vimalamitra.
Rinpoche is also recognized as the manifestation of Nyang Tingdzin Zangpo, the Tibetan minister of religion in the 8th century, and a key figure in the establishment of Buddhism in Tibet. He was one of the few masters in history said to have attained the rainbow body, the highest achievement of Tibetan Buddhism’s Dzogchen practice. He was the first abbot of Samye monastery and the heart disciple of the great guru Vimalamitra.
He was born into a poor family of Konchog Tsultrim and Kelsang Dolma in 1939 in Durbuk, a small village situated 110 km east from Leh in Changthang (Lalok). Only a few months later the young boy lost his mother and was taken care of by his aunt. At the time of his mother’s death, the family goat gave birth to new offspring and Rinpoche could drink its milk.
In 1951, accompanied by his teacher Gegen Sonam, the young Rinpoche traveled through Sikkim over three weeks on horseback on his way to Drikung Thil Monastery in Tibet. There he started his training, receiving teachings from renown spiritual masters and completing many retreats.
In 1960s, he met his root guru H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche in Kalimpong and subsequently organised a great transmission of Rinchen Terdzod by Dudjom Rinpoche in Tso Pema in early 1967. Thereafter, he was appointed by Dudjom Rinpoche as his successor in transmitting this teaching. Having been recognized by the 36th H.H. Kyabgon Chetsang as the 9th Togdan Rinpoche, Rinpoche was given the leadership of the unbroken Drikung tradition in Ladakh. This included the responsibility for over 50 monasteries and the cultivation of the Drikung tradition in the region.
Rinpoche’s live achievements make him a model example for the dharma practitioner of the modern times; attaining excellence in both worldly and spiritual life.

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