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TaklungTsetrul-Rinpoche-Tibet-2015Dharamshala — The Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) and the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile expressed profound grief on the demise of His Eminence Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche, the spiritual head of the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism.

Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche passed away in the early hours of Wednesday, December 23 at the holy city of Bodh Gaya. He passed away in Bodh Gaya at the age of 89.

The Kashag of the Central Tibetan Administration led by Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay expressed its profound condolences and prayed for the quick rebirth of Rinpoche.

"I am extremely sorry to hear the demise of His Eminence Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche and offer my deepest condolences to all his followers and devotees. I hope our prayers comfort you and Rinpoche's blessings continue to guide us through eternity. May His Eminence be reborn soon," Sikyong, who is currently in Bylaukuppe, said.

The Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile said that it "shared deepest condolences to all the followers and devotees and offered prayers for his successful reincarnation."

His Eminence the 3rd Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche was born in 1926 to Namgyal Dorje and Dorje Dolma of Phunkhang household in central Tibet near the famous Yamdrok Lake. He was recognised as an incarnation of the great master Ngok Chöku Dorje by the 9th Dorje Drak Rinpoche Thubten Choewang, according to a report by the Central Tibetan Administration.

In 1931, when Rinpoche reached five years of age; he was invited to Taktlung Tse monastery and ordained as a novice monk. He was bestowed the title of Tulku Trinley Pal Sangpo by the former Dorje Drak Chusang Rinpoche. He was then placed under the tutelage of Ven. Geshe Kunsang at the monastery.

When he reached eight years of age, Rinpoche's dharma seat was shifted to Thubten Dorje Drak monastery where he took his renunciation vows from Minling Dorzin Namdol Gyatso Rinpoche.

Rinpoche received his full ordination (Gelong) vows from Khenchen Ngawang Khentse Norbu Rinpoche. After his full ordination, Rinpoche underwent a rigorous study under the guidance of numerous scholars and teachers to learn the many aspects of Buddhist scriptures and practice, particularly specialising in the Ngagyur Nyingma tradition.

At Dorje Drak, Rinpoche also served as the abbot (Khenpo) of the monastery for several years before returning to his original base Taklung Monastery to resume his spiritual service.

However, as circumstances worsened in Tibet after the Chinese occupation in 1959, Rinpoche escaped into exile via Bhutan to India. Rinpoche first reached Sikkim, where he was based for two years. Even under the hardship of the early years in exile, Rinpoche continued his study, going on to receive various sacred teachings and transmissions from the renowned teachers of the time including the great 16th Gyalwang Karmapa Rinpoche, Kyabje Dudjom Rinpoche, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche among others.

Since the original Dorje Drak monastery in Tibet was completely destroyed by Chinese forces, Rinpoche was instrumental in rebuilding the Dorje Drak monastery in exile to preserve and expand the teachings of the Nyingma lineage.

In 2012, Rinpoche became the Supreme Head of Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism after the demise of His Eminence Trulsik Rinpoche in 2011.

Rinpoche was based primarily at his monastery in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir for most of his life in exile.

A steadfast practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism, Rinpoche continued to give instruction, empowerment and transmission to everyone until his journey into parinirvana on 23 December 2015.

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