Ven. Lobsang Gyatso was born in 1928 in a small village in eastern Tibet. He became a monk at the age of eleven, and later traveled to central Tibet to study at Drepung Monastery. After fleeing Tibet during the 1959 Tibetan Uprising, Gen Lobsang Gyatso, or “Gen la” as he was known at the Institute, eventually moved to Mussoorie to serve as a religious teacher at the Central School for Tibetans.
In 1973, after being appointed by His Holiness to establish the Institute, he re-located to Dharamsala, India. After some difficult early years the Institute became one of the success stories of the Tibetan exile community. In 1991, Gen la expanded upon the already-successful work of the Institute with the founding of a new branch at Sarah, the College for Higher Tibetan Studies. Under his guidance, the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics and the College for Higher Tibetan Studies developed into uniquely valuable Tibetan educational institutions, offering integrated studies in both traditional Tibetan disciplines and modern subjects.
While the establishment of the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics and the College for Higher Tibetan Studies at Sarah is the work for which Gen la will be best remembered, he was also an accomplished writer.
A selection of Gen Lobsang Gyatso’s publications:
- Harmony of Emptiness and Dependent-Arising, Paljor Publications, 1992.
- The Four Noble Truths, Snow Lion Publications, 1994.
- Bodhicitta: Cultivating the Compassionate Mind of Enlightenment, Snow Lion Publications, 1997.
- Memoirs of a Tibetan Lama by Gyatso, Lobsang (1990) Paperback, Snow Lion Publications, 1998.
- Tsongkhapa’s Praise for Dependent Relativity, Wisdom Publications, 2012.
A Tibetan patriot, meditation master, and unswerving follower of the Dalai Lama, Gen la emerged as a fearless social critic, and a deeply spiritual man. On 5 February 1997, Gen Lobsang Gyatso and two of his assistants were brutally murdered in Dharamsala.1
Ven. Lobsang Gyatso’s Reincarnation
In 2006, His Holiness the Dalai Lama officially recognized a young boy from the Ladakh region of India as the reincarnation of Gen Lobsang Gyatso. The boy, Tenzin Tseten Rinpoche, was born on May 14, 2001 in the Ladakhi city of Leh, to a Zanskari father, Gain Chand, and a Tibetan mother, Kalsang Yangkey.
When news that the boy might possibly be Gen la’s reincarnation reached Dharamsala, two representatives from the Institute of Buddhist Dialects, Assistant Director Geshe Kalsang Damdul and the late Director’s nephew, Ven. Lobsang Yeshi, traveled to Ladakh to investigate. Both monks had been close to Gen la and were fully satisfied with their investigation, which left no doubt that the boy was the right reincarnation.
After His Holiness the Dalai Lama confirmed and sanctioned the reincarnation, Tenzin Tseten Rinpoche was brought to Dharamsala along with his parents. He was enthroned – as Tsen-nyi Khentul Tenzin Tseten Rinpoche – in a ceremony at the Tsuglagkhang, the main Tibetan Buddhist temple in McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala, on June 6, 2009.
Guests at the enthronement included the Tibetan Prime Minister and cabinet members, secretaries of various departments, heads of government and non-governmental organizations, heads of monasteries, heads of schools, and thousands of monks, nuns and Tibetan lay people. Relatives of the late director Gen Lobsang Gyatso and the relatives of the young reincarnated Rinpoche’s parents also attended the ceremony.
Tenzin Tseten Rinpoche is now studying at Drepung Loseling Monastery in southern India.