The Thirty-Fourth Ganden Tripa, Ngawang Chokyi Gyeltsen b.1575 - d.1629
Name Variants: Ganden Trichen 34 Ngawang Chokyi Gyeltsen; Ganden Tripa 34 Ngawang Chokyi Gyeltsen; Ngawang Chokyi Gyeltsen; Phenyulpa Ngawang Chokyi Gyeltsen; Salkhang Kukye Ngawang Chokyi Gyeltsen ; Takang Kukye Ngawang Chokyi Gyeltsen; Trichen Ngawang Chokyi Gyeltsen
The Thirty-fourth Ganden Tripa, Ngawang Chokyi Gyeltsen (dga' ldan khri pa 34 ngag dbang chos kyi rgyal mtshan) was born in Dar in Penpo ('pan yul mdar) in 1575, in the wood-pig year of the tenth sexagenary cycle. He was said to have clear recollections from the life of the Nineteenth Ganden Tripa, Ngawang Chodrak (dga' ldan khri pa 19 ngag dbang chos grags, 1501-1551) and he was identified as his reincarnation.
At a young age Ngawang Chokyi Gyeltsen began his study of sutra and tantra as well as common subjects such as grammar, poetry, composition, and so forth, becoming a respected scholar. Though not mentioned in his biography it can be presumed from his later service at the Gyume College (rgyud smad grwa tshang) that he had studied advanced tantra in this college after completion of his studies in the traditional philosophy and Vinaya in one of the seats of Geluk learning.
After completing his studies Ngawang Chokyi Gyeltsen served as an educator at Gyume College in Lhasa; he then joined Ganden Jangtse Monastery (dga' ldan byang rtse grwa tshang) and taught both sutra and tantra especially in accordance with the tradition of the Gyume College.
Ngawang Chokyi Gyeltsen was enthroned as the Thirty-fourth Ganden Tripa at the age of fifty-three, in 1627, the fire-hare year of the eleventh sexagenary cycle. He served the post for three years, until 1629, giving teachings on sutra and tantra. He also led religious activities, events, and festivals of Geluk tradition.
According to the hagiographical source of this lama, Trichen Ngawang Chokyi Gyeltsen offered Ganden Jangtse Monastery to the Fourth Paṇchen Lama, Lobzang Chokyi Gyeltsen (paN chen bla ma 04 blo bzang chos kyi rgyal mtshan, 1567-1662). He oversaw the construction of the golden roof of the Great Silver Reliquary (dngul gdung chen mo) at Ganden Monastery of Tsongkhapa Lobzang Drakpa (rje tsong kha pa blo bzang grags pa, 1357-1419), the founder of the monastery and the Geluk tradition; the golden roof was completed in 1629, just before his nirvana. The Great Silver Reliquary was later transformed into Great Golden Reliquary (gser gdung chen mo) by the Fiftieth Ganden Tripa, Trichen Gendun Puntsok (dga' ldan khri pa 50 khri chen dge 'dun phun tshogs 1648-1724).
At the age of fifty-five, in 1629, the earth-snake year of the eleventh sexagenary cycle, Trichen Ngawang Chokyi Gyeltsen passed into nirvana. Different sources offer slightly different dates.
Bsod gnam rgya mtsho and Nor bu sgrol dkar. 2000. Bstan rtsis ka phreng lag deb. Beijing: Mi rigs dpe skrun khang, p. 87.
Bstan pa bstan 'dzin. 2003. Chos sde chen pod pel ldan 'bras spungs bkra shis sgo mang grwa tshang gi chos 'byung chos dung g.yas su 'khyil ba'i sgra dbyang. Mundgod: Dpal ldan 'bras spungs bkra shis sgo mang dpe mdzod khang, pp. 78-79.
Dung dkar blo bzang 'phrin las. 2002. Dung dkar tshig mdzod chen mo. Beijing: Krung go'i bod rig pa dpe skrun khang, p. 2324, 2331
Grags pa 'byung gnas and Rgyal ba blo bzang mkhas grub. 1992. Gangs can mkhas grub rim byon ming mdzod. Lanzhou: Kan su'u mi rigs dpe skrun khang, pp. 434-435.
Grong khyer lha sa srid gros lo rgyus rig gnas dpyad yig rgyu cha rtsom 'bri au yon lhan khang. 1994. Dga' ldan dgon pa dang brag yer pa'i lo rgyus, grong khyer lha sa'i lo rgyus rig gnas deb 02. Lhasa: Bod ljongs shin hwa par 'debs bzo grwa khang, p. 66.
Sde srid sangs rgyas rgya mtsho. 1989 (1698). Dga' ldan chos 'byung baiDU r+ya ser po. Beijing: Krung go bod kyi shes rig dpe skrun khang, pp. 89-90.
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- Historical Period