The Fifth Zhiwa Lha, Lobzang Dondrub Gyatso

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The Fifth Zhiwa Lha, Lobzang Dondrub Gyatso b.1800 - d.1863

Name Variants: Chamdo Trirab 26 Lobzang Dondrub Gyatso; Lobzang Dondrup Gyatso

The Fifth Zhiwa Lha, Lobzang Dondrub Gyatso (zhi ba lha 05 blo bzang don grub rgya mtsho) was born in 1800, the iron-monkey year of the thirteenth sexagenary cycle, in Wangkar, in the Drayab region (brag gyab kyi mnga' khul wang dkar). His identification as the Fifth Zhiwa Lha was confirmed through use of the Golden Urn in front of the Jowo in the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa by the regent of the Ganden Podrang, Tatsak Pelden Tenpai Gonpo (rta tshag 08 dpal ldan bstan pa'i mgon po, 1760-1810).

Brought to Chamdo Jampa Ling, the seat of his previous incarnations, Lobzang Dondrub Gyatso was given his basic education, subsequently moving to Lhasa to enrol in the Sera Monastic University for further studies. There he received teachings, transmissions, initiations, and empowerments on various tantric deities from a number of masters, and grew to became a renowned scholar in philosophy and tantric master.

In 1847 the Eighth Pakpa Lha, Lobzang Jigme Pelden Tenpai Nyima (blo bzang 'jigs med dpal ldan bstan pa'i nyi ma, 1795-1847), who was then serving as the twenty-fifth abbot of Chamdo Jampa Ling, passed away, and Zhiwa Lha received an appointment letter to the abbacy of the monastery and to the responsibilities of secular leader of Chamdo region from the Qing Daoguang Emperor.

Lobzang Dondrub Gyatso's fourteen-year tenure at Jampa Ling is remembered as a peaceful and stable. He appointed as his successor the Ninth Pakpa Lha, Ngawang Lobzang Jigme Tenpai Gyeltsen ('phags pa lha 09 ngag dbang blo bzang 'jigs med bstan pa'i rgyal mtshan, 1849-1900), in 1862. The following year, at the age of sixty-four, in the water-pig year of the fourteenth sexagenary cycle, he passed away.




Anonymous. 1986. Bod kyi lo rgyus rig gnas dpyad gzhi'i rgyu cha gdams bsgrigs. Beijing: Mi rigs dpe skrun khang. Vol. 9, pp 198.

Byams pa chos grags. N.d. Chab mdo byams pa gling gi gdan rabs. Chamdo: Chab mdo par 'debs bzo grwa par btab, pp. 372-373, 521.


Samten Chhosphel
July 2010