An Urgent Appeal from the Abbot "Massive Landslides Hit Ancient Tawang Monastery"

Lineage of Abbot

The khenpo is the most important religious leader of the monastery and of the region. Khenpos act not only as abbots but also as dPon-slobs (teachers). The line of khenpos follow in the list bellow :

1. Merag Lama Lodoe Gyatso

He died the year after he completed the construction of the monastery- on the eight day of the seventh month of Water Dog year (A.D.1682). The stupa sKu gdung ‘bum pa was built in his memory; and the day on which he died is commemorated by holding a sadhana puja of Deity Vajrabhairava.

2. Tsona Khanpo Nawang Tshultrim

O Tsona wa! You illuminated the dark land of barbarians. O Great Abbot, the Lord of the sun! We pray to you.

This is taken from the prayer of the Khenpo line.

3. Kyormo-lung Khenpo Nawang Norbu 4. Chongye Khenpo Nawang Norbu

He put into written record the monastery's discipline (bca'yig) approved by Desrid Sangye Gyatso and the sixth Dalai Lama; although the prayers and the other monastic routines the bca'yig commands had already been in place since the time of Lama Lodoe Gyatso.

5. Thonglen Kukye Lobsang Namgyal 6. Tsethang Khenpo Lobsang Tashi 7. Gomang Khenpo Lobsang Gyaltshen 8. Dechen Khenpo Jampa Deleg 9. Nedhong Zholpa Khenpo Khetsun Gyatso 10. Phyon-gye Khenpo Nawang Tobdhen 11. Tsethang Khenpo Sungrab Gyatso 12. Kyormo-Lung Khenpo Palzang Gyatso 13. Phyong-gye Khenpo Dragpa yarphel 14. Dagpo Chogtrul Kyabgon Kalsang Lhungrub Drakpa.

Due to his busy schedule, the fourteenth Khenpo, Dagpo Chogtrul Kyabgon Kalsang Lhungrub Drakpa, had to be away from the monastery. Thus, he appointed Shogtshan Yeshe Dragpa as the Vajra-acharya to teach the monks in his absence. From then on, the post of Vajra-acharya continued to exist; and thus each Khenpo has a Vajra acharya to assist him in the teaching activities. Na-med jinpa Dragpa, Lopon Nyima, Mangam Lopon Monlam Gyatso and so forth- a line of Vajra Acharya- came into being. Also, the list includes : Gelong Lek Sangye (still alive but retired), Gyamthong Rinchen Tshering, Mirba Phunshog ( still alive ), Paidar Gelong Tshultrim Ozer, Dharmagang Gelong Dam-Ngag, Lumla Gelong Yeshe Jinpa, Bomba Gelong Lungten Norbu, Khetpa Gelong, Lama Tsoknye and Lama Kelsang Norbu, (the present Vajra-charya).

After this Khenpo until 1950, the Abbots of this monastery were appointed from the Loseling Dratsang of Drepung monastery. Khen-Rinpoche Monlam Dragpa was the Abbot of this monastery in the year 1847; Gadhen Serkong Dorjee-chang in the year 1948; after him was a certain Gyalrong geshe from Loseling Dratsang. Aside from these three, I have not been able to find informations on the khenpos of the monastery in this period. If more information is found I will update this list.

Following the suggestions of the Indian leaders, the khenpos were appointed from Tawang monastery itself. Following is the line of the Khenpos;

1. Mirba Gelong Nawang Phuntshog 2. Phomang Gelong Gedun Rabgye 3. Muk to Gelong Lobsang Rabyang 4. Greng Khar Gelong Lobsang Sherab

In the year 1968, the people of Tawang requested the Dalai Lama through the Government of India to send a Lama with the "bla sprul "status to this monastery. The request was granted by sending Serje Rikya Rinpoche, who became the throne holder of this monastery on the seventh july of 1968. He introduced a regular course on Lamrim, and planned to open a school for the young monks, but he passed away suddenly on the fifth day of the tenth month or Fire Dragon year ie. 1976). After him, Loling Dhenma Gyalsey Tulku and Tengye Rinpoche (1997 to may 2008, from Sera jeh monastery) were appointed Khenpo of this monastery. Guru Tulku Rinpoche is the actual Abbot of Tawang monastery (since june 6, 2008).