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The 12th Guru Tulku Rinpoche

05 May,2022 05:04 PM, by: Tanuel Nonang
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All major religious traditions carry basically the same message that is love, compassion, and forgiveness. The important thing is they should be part of our daily lives.”— Dalai Lama.

On the 28th of March 2022, an abbot from Arunachal Pradesh made a national headline and brought laurels to the dawn-lit land of India. Through the hands of the Honourable President of India Shri Ram Nath Kovind, Guru Tulku Rinpoche of Arunachal Pradesh received the fourth highest civilian award of Padma Shri. He was awarded for his immense contribution to the field of spiritualism in the region. This is his story.

Buddhism has been one of the prominent religions that have influenced many of the indigenous communities of Arunachal Pradesh. Following the path of Lord Buddha, spiritual teachers like Guru Tulku Rinpoche have dedicated their time and devotion to the propagation of the religion and contributed a lot in disseminating spiritual words of peace and teachings of enlightenment and non-violence to the local populace. Guru Tulku Rinpoche is the 12th Abbot of Thubchog Gatsel Ling Monastery in Bomdila. He was born to Yab Lobsang Tshering & Yum Pema Choden on the 19th of October 1968 at Khamkharong in the West Kameng district of the state. Interestingly enough, just at the young age of five, he was believed to be the reincarnation of Late Thupten Kelden Rinpoche by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama himself! The late Thupten Kelden Rinpoche was the 11th Merag Lama. When Guru Tulku Rinpoche was about the age of seven, his traditional haircutting was carried out by Dalai Lama and was named Tenzin Kelden.

His initial journey in the path of spiritualism can be said to have started at the age of nine when he was ordained as a novice monk or a getshul. In the following years, at the age of twenty, he was ordained as a monk or a gelong during which he devoted his time studying at the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics for 13 years. To be proficient in his journey of spiritualism, Rinpoche was enrolled in the Drepung Monastic University of South India where he studied diligently and completed his Ph.D. studies in Buddhist doctrines. From there he took up the Mahayana tantric studies for the next five years to come. However, by 1998, he had already joined the office of His Holiness Dalai Lama wherein he carried on the work during the upcoming ten years of his life. In 2008, he was declared the abbot of the Tawang Monastery or the magnificent GadenNamgyalLhatse where he took care of the responsibilities placed upon his shoulders till the year 2016 when he stepped down from his position.

Representing Arunachal Pradesh, he was among the 128 awardees who received the prestigious honour of Padma Shri under the ‘spiritualism’ category, he was accompanied by Sadguru Brahmeshanand Acharya Swami from Goa who was also conferred on the same. Coming home, his well-wishers knew no bounds of joy for the achievement made and welcomed him with much enthusiasm and warm greetings. Guru Tulku Rinpoche is not just a spiritual teacher who propagates the Buddha’s teachings to the people. He is a prominent figure of principle and a great advocator of peace and non-violence. In a recently conducted felicitation programme at the ThubchogGatsel Ling (TGL) Monastery in April 2022, he appealed to the people to follow the path of peace and harmony. While stressing that every issue can be solved verbally, he also laid emphasis on the conservation of culture and tradition in the region. He was addressing the masses that came to greet him in the aforementioned programme which was conducted by the Bomdila Buddhist Society and the TGL Monastery. His story is not just an inspiration to all but it also stands to remind us that the world can be a beautiful place to live in if we uphold the existence of peace and harmony.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author's. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of The Critical Script or its editor.

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