His personal name was Gelek; kyabje and rimpoche , are titles meaning "teacher" lit. He was a tulku , an incarnate lama of Drepung Monastic University , where he received the scholastic degree of Geshe Lharampa , the highest degree given, at the exceptionally young age of Known more famously for the Tibetans as Nyakre Khentrul Rinpoche, Rinpoche had been instrumental in reprinting many of the Geluk texts in the s, and also remained an important object of affection for both Kyabje Ling Rinpoche and Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche. Of course, his emergence as one of the great Tibetan teachers in the West has also been a source of inspiration for many. He was tutored by many of the same masters who tutored the current 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso.
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Gelek Rimpoche was born in Lhasa, Tibet, in He was recognized as an incarnate lama when he was 4 years old and went on to study at Drepung Monastery. He left Tibet for India in , and settled in the United States in He founded Jewel Heart International, an educational and cultural institute, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, which has since grown to include numerous chapters across the United States and internationally.
In a interview with Tricycle founder Helen Tworkov, Gelek Rimpoche spoke about his decision to come to America: For one thing, the transmission of the dharma is very important. Dharma does not belong to Tibet or Tibetans, dharma belongs to everybody.
The West, in particular, is in need of dharma because of the lifestyle, the pressure, the difficulties. Arrangements are forthcoming. Those wishing to leave a note of remembrance can do so on this page set up by Jewel Heart.
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As posted on his Facebook page: Kyabje Gelek Rimpoche , our dear teacher and friend, passed away this morning at 6 AM. We will keep him in our thoughts today and every day. Information regarding arrangements will be posted on the Jewel Heart International Facebook Page as we receive it and we ask you to respect the privacy of his immediate family at this time. Poet Allen Ginsberg was also a member of the community. In noting his passing, Roshi Joan Halifax offered this tribute, surely among the first of many to come: Beloved Gelek Rinpoche has gone beyond…….. With his passing, we remember that life is so fragile, so brief. We have little time to awaken in perfect unselfishness.
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Rinpoche received the Lharampa Geshe degree at the exceptionally young age of He was a good friend of the late Lama Thubten Yeshe. Since then he has instructed Buddhist practitioners throughout the world and has established Jewel Heart centers in several countries. Mandala spoke to Rinpoche in February. Can you tell us something about your background? For example, who are you the incarnation of?
Tibetan Buddhist Lama Gelek Rimpoche Has Died
When Kalu Rinpoche was fifteen years old, he was sent to begin his higher studies at the monastery of Palpung, the foremost center of the Karma Kagyu school. He remained there for more than a decade, during which time he mastered the vast body of teaching that forms the philosophical basis of Buddhist practice, and completed two three-year retreats. At about the age of twenty-five, Rinpoche left Palpung to pursue the life of a solitary yogi in the woods of the Khampa countryside. For nearly fifteen years, he strove to perfect his realization of all aspects of the teachings and he became renowned in the villages and among the nomads as a representative of the Bodhisattva path.