The Twenty-Seventh Ganden Tripa, Sanggye Rinchen

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The Twenty-Seventh Ganden Tripa, Sanggye Rinchen b.1540 - d.1612

Name Variants: Ganden Trichen 27 Sanggye Rinchen; Ganden Tripa 27 Sanggye Rinchen; Sanggye Rinchen

The Twenty-seventh Ganden Tripa, Sanggye Rinchen (dga' ldan khri pa 27 sangs rgyas rin chen) was born in a nomad family in the grasslands of Lalo Dokde in Meldro (mal gror kla klo'i 'brog sde) in 1540, the iron-mouse year of the ninth sexagenary cycle.  At a young age he was admitted in the Nyakre Khangtsen of Shartse College of Ganden Monastic University (dga' ldan shar rtse nyag re khang tshan) where he was presumably ordained as a monk and studied the customary subjects of the Geluk monastic curriculum. It is also presumed that he studied advanced tantra in either Gyuto or Gyume College in Lhasa.

At the completion of his studies in philosophy and tantra, Sanggye Rinchen served as the abbot of Serme Monastery and as the sharpa choje (shar pa chos rje) in Ganden Monastery for three years. He then ascended to the Golden Throne as the Twenty-seventh Ganden Tripa in 1596, the year of fire-monkey of the tenth sexagenary cycle. Besides the regular duties of Ganden Tripa, he renovated the Yangpachen Temple in Ganden (dga' ldan yangs pa chen) Trichen Sanggye Rinchen served as the patron-lama to many monasteries in the region including Tankya (thang skya) and Pakmo Chode (phag mo chos sde).

While in office, Trichen Sanggye Rinchen was the victim of slander, specifically the accusation that he was a manifestation of an evil-spirit. The slander caused some disciples to lose faith, although it was later confirmed through a fairly practical logic that since no evil person could dare occupy the Golden Throne, Trichen Sanggye Rinchen must be innocent of the charge. Throughout he continued to carry out his obligations as expected. He served as the abbot in granting the vows of primary ordination (rab byung) to the Eighth Dalai Lama, Jampel Gyatso (ta la'i bla ma 08 'jam dpal rgya mtsho, 1758-1804).

After seven years on the Golden Throne, in 1602 Trichen Sanggye Rinchen retired from the post at the age of about sixty-four. He passed into nirvana in 1612, the water-mouse year, at the age of seventy-three. According to some sources he passed away at the age of seventy-seven. His reincarnation was identified and given the name Ganden Nyakre Tritul (dga' ldan nyag re khri sprul).





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Samten Chhosphel
October 2010