Biography of the Ninth Khalkha
His Holiness the Dalai Lama formally announced the existence of His
Eminence the Ninth Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa, Jampal Namdrol Chokye Gyalsten,
in September, 1991. Khalkha Jetsun Dampa is considered to be one of the
most revered teachers of the Kalachakra Tantra, the Tara Tantra, and
Maitreya, the future Buddha. All of these lineage teachings descend
directly to him from Taranatha, the great historian and Tantric
practioner (B. 1575 AD).
Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa has realised incarnations in all the lineages.
Prior to his incarnation as Taranatha, he was known as Jamyang Choje,
who helped to establish Drepung Monastery outside Lhasa. In the Nyingma
he was known Rongzong Lotsawa Chokyi Gaytsen; in the Kagyu Baromba
Dharma Wangchuk; in the Sakya lineage, he was known as Master Kunga
Drolchok. It was after this incarnation that he was to be reborn as
Taranatha. But at that time, the mother of Taranatha was still only a
young girl of fourteen; so instead, he took rebirth as the son of an
Indian king. He lived so, until he was fourteen years of age. At that
time, as he stood one day on the roof of the king's palace, his dakini
mother, whose name was Khadroma Yum Dorje Buka, appeared to him in the
sky and bade him come to her. He then took rebirth, as Taranatha.
Taranatha's work is of special interest with respect to the Tantric
period of Buddhism in India. Later, while teaching in Tibet, he
established Takten Phuntsok Ling Monastery, about three hours outside
Shigatse, which had 500 monks and many branch monasteries throughout
Tibet. At that time, Taranatha was said to have given the Kalachakra
initiation two or three times each year at his monastery, later renamed
Ganden Phunstok Ling. In his later years, it is said that Taranatha, who
was known for his great wit and humor, had joked during a teaching about
where he might take rebirth. It was said that a Mongolian student who
was present had spoken out and pleaded, "Oh, please come to Mongolia
next time!" It was said that this remark set up the conditions for his
Taranatha was his 14th notable reincarnation and directly preceded the
First Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa. As the 15th reincarnation, the First
Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa, became the head lineage lama of the many
monasteries throughout Mongolia.
The First Jetsun Dhampa, Tenpei Gyaltsen, Rangjung Yeshe Dorje, was
born the son of a king in Mongolia He was recognized at an early age to
be an incarnate lama and, at the age of fourteen, (ca. 1650), he made a
pilgrimage to Kumbum, the birthplace of Je Tsong Khapa. From there, he
travelled to Central Tibet to visit the Fourth Panchen Lama, Panchen
Losang Chogyen, and the Fifth Dalai Lama, Ngawang Losang Gyatso. It was
at this time that the Fifth Dalai Lama recognized the young tulku to be
the reincarnation of the saint Taranatha, who was greatly respected as a
chief lineage of all traditions with reincarnations going back directly
to Shakyamuni Buddha. Both the Fifth Dalai Lama and the Fourth Panchen
Lama then became Jetsun Dhampa's teachers and gave to him all the
initiations, oral transmissions and commentaries.
The title, Khalkha (the largest district of Mongolia) Jetsun Dhampa
(Lord of Refuge) was also conferred upon him at that time. He then
returned to Mongolia where he strongly established the Gelukpa school
throughout Mongolia and Central Asia.
Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa's close friendship with the Dalai Lama, this
lifetime, dates back to earlier years in Tibet, before 1959, when they
had shared tutors in their youth and remembered meetings, as well, for
play and family gatherings at Norbu Lingka.
Their present friendship continues the long tradition of close ties
that they have held historically. It was the Fifth Dalai Lama, Losang
Ngawang Gyatso, who recognized the First Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa as the
reincarnation of Taranatha when the young tulku first travelled to Tibet
from Mongolia, and who also became his lineage lama at that time,
conferring on him all his lineage initiations, empowerments and the
further teachings, as well as his present title.
The Sixth Dalai Lama recognized Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa as the emanation
of Chakrasamvara; as Vajrapani in the Tantric sense; and as Namkai
Nyingpo in the Bodhisattva sense. Later, during the time of the Seventh
Dalai Lama, the two took rebirth in the same family, making them blood
relatives as well.
The Thirteenth Dalai Lama and the Eighth Jetsun Dhampa extended their
bond of understanding into the temporal realm, by each exchanging
official documents of mutual recognition of the independence of both
Tibet and Mongolia, in 1911; and later, in 1913, by having their
representatives sign a treaty at Urga (now Ulan Bator) "declaring their
independence from China and agreeing to strengthen Tibeto-Mongolian
Both the First and the Eighth Jetsun Dhampa were said to have led very
exemplary lives, especially as dharma leaders in Mongolia and the
neighboring regions of Central Asia. The First had a very long life,
which added to his enduring influence as the head lama of the many
monasteries throughout the region. The Eighth's more worldly and
political influence was far-reaching and proved particularly effective
at the turn of the twientieth century, and into the years of great
turmoil and transition that marked outer Russia and inner China. While
the First through the Fifth had been fully ordained monks, the Sixth
through Eighth later married and took consorts. He guided his people
through the traumatic time of communist upheavel in Russia which finally
led to the absorption of Mongolia into the Soviet Union. The eventual
shutdown and destruction of the monasteries that followed led to the
virtual disappearance of Buddhism in Mongolia for over 60 years.
Thus, when the present Ninth Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa's incarnation was
recognized, at the age of four, by Reting Rinpoche, the Regent in Lhasa,
as well as other high lamas and the state oracles, his identity was kept
secret due to Stalin's influence and oppression in Mongolia. The country
vanished from sight, customs and traditions were buried and lost until
the five visits of the Dalai Lama in recent years; the last time was in
August 1995 when he gave the Kalachakra Initiation.
The Ninth Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa was born at Tromtsikang and then moved
to Shol, just below the Potala. His father, Lobsang Jampal, was from
Phenpo and his mother, Yangchen was from Kham. At the age of seven, he
entered Gomang College, Drepung Monastery, as a simple monk where he
studied philosophy for fourteen years, up to the level of Madhyamika. At
Gomang he studied primarily with a teacher from Mongolia named Geshe
Thupten Nyima. He received his dharma lineages from His Holiness the
His Holiness the Panchen Rinpoche, Gyabje Trijang Rinpoche, Gyabje Ling
Rinpoche, and Gyabje Lhatsun Rinpoche were his teachers in the Gelukpa
lineage. H.H. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche was his teacher in the Nyingma
lineage; Kalu Rinpoche was his teacher in the Kagyu lineage; and Sakya
Tenzin Rinpoche was his teacher in the Sakya lineage. At the age of 21,
he left Gomang College and Drepung to engage in a series of Chod
meditations, living the life of a yogi, while on pilgrimage to the holy
sites of Tibet.
At the age of 25, he gave back his monastic vows, and then went to stay
at Ganden Phunstok Ling, established by his predecesor Taranatha, until
the age of 29 when the Chinese invasion forced him into exile, along
with hundreds of thousands of Tibetans.
In India, he lived with his family in Darjeeling and Mysore, until
1981, and later in Madhya Pradesh in central India until 1990, quietly
serving as lama for the Tibetan community in exile throughout that time.
During this period of time Rinpoche did many meditations and gave public
teachings in the Tibetan settlements several times a year.
Then, in 1991, with the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the
new-found religious freedom felt in Mongolia, many Mongolian monasteries
sent their abbots and lamas and ministers to India to request inquiry of
the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala about the possible location of the Ninth
Khalkha Jetsun Dampa. Did His Holiness know where he was, who he is, and
could the Dalai Lama recognize him for the peoples of Mongolia?
It was at that time, through the Religious Office of the Tibetan
Government in Exile, that the Dalai Lama gave the official stamp of
recognition and acknowledgement of the Ninth Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa, the
spiritual head of Buddhism in Mongolia. He moved to Dharamsala to be
closer to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and in 1991, he was officially
enthroned as the Ninth Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa, amid great and joyous
H.H. Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa has founded the Takten Kalachakra Project as
an institute for the study of Buddhist Philosophy, the Kalachakra Tantra
and other aspects of the Vajrayana. The institute is located in
Dharamsala, the residence in exile of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. His
Holiness Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa came on his first North American tour
during the fall of 1994 and again in 1995. His current tour of 1998 and
early 1999 will take him to Hawaii, Canada, the United States.
His Holiness Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa
Takten House, Jogibara Road
Distt. Kangra, H.P., India