Venerable Prof. Samdhong Lobsang Tenzin, the 5th Samdhong Rinpoche, was born on 5th November 1939 in Jol, Eastern Tibet. At the age of five, he was recognised as the reincarnation of 4th Samdhong Rinpoche and enthroned in Gaden Dechenling Monastery at Jol. He started his religious training at Drepung Monastery in Lhasa and completed his (Uma Nyinpa)- middle school of the Madhyamika School of Buddhism at the age of 12.

He fled to exile in the year 1959 after the Chinese invasion of Tibet. On 4th February 1960 he received the Bhiksu ordination from His Holiness the Dalai Lama as Upadhaya, His Eminence Yongzin Ling Rinpoche as Karmacharya, His Eminence Yongzin Trijang Rinpoche and twenty other monks as Sangha. The place where Rinpoche received the ordination was Moolgandh Hall, Bodh Gaya Stupa. From October 1961, he served as the religious teacher of Tibetan School in Shimla, and later becoming the acting principal of Shimla Tibetan School in 1963. Then again he worked as religious teacher of Darjeeling Tibetan school in 1964.

From 1965 to 1970 Rinpoche was the Principal of Dalhousie Tibetan School. He received his Lharampa Degree in the year 1968 and Ngagrimpa Degree in 1969. From 1971 to 1988 he was the Principal of Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies (CIHTS, Varanasi). From 1988 to 2001 he worked as the Director CIHTS. In 1990, he was a member of the Drafting Committee Constitution of the Future Polity of Tibet and Law for the exiled Tibetans.

From 1991 to 1995 he was specially appointed by His Holiness as one of the deputies of ATPD and later was unanimously elected as its Chairman. From 1996 to 2001 he was elected member of the Parliament from Kham province and also its Chairman.

In 2001, Rinpoche became the first democratically elected Kalon Tripa (Prime Minister), with an overwhelming majority support of nearly 85% of the total votes cast. He was Kalon for Security (September 2001-August 2006); Kalon for Information and International Relations (September 2001-March 2005); and Kalon for Home (March 2005-August 2006).

In 2006, Rinpoche was again elected as the Kalon Tripa for the second term. He is currently taking additional portfolio of Kalon for Homes and Kalon for Education.

In 2011, Rinpoche will transfer his political leadership to Dr. Lobsang Sangay.

Other References:

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