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H.H. the 9th Khalkha Jetsün Dampa (1933-2012)

Ninth Khalkha Jetsun Dampa Rinpoche

The Ninth Jebtsun Damba Khutughtu (January 6, 1933 – March 1, 2012) was the 9th reincarnation of the Jebtsun Damba Khutuktu, the third-highest lama in the Tibetan Buddhism hierarchy and the spiritual leader of the Geluk lineage among the Khalkha Mongols.  The Ninth Jetsun Dampa was renowned for twenty-three reincarnations. As an Indian for four times, Mongolian for four times and Tibetan for seventeen times according to a Jonangpa's source. Those twenty-three reincarnations include

the learned scholars and accomplished practitioners such as Indian Mahasiddha Krishnacharya, Nyingma Lama Rongzom Chosang,  Barom Kagyupa Dharma Wangchuk, Geluk Joamcho Je, Jonang Kunga Drolchok,m and Jonang Taranatha and so forth.

Although recognized as the reincarnation of the Bogd Khan in 1936, his identity was kept a secret by the Dalai Lama until 1990 due to the persecution of the Buddhist religion by the Mongolian People's Republic and did not reside in Mongolia until the final year of his life.


He was born as Jampal Namdol Chökyi Gyaltsen on the tenth day of the eleventh month of Water-Monkey year (6 January 1933) near the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa, Tibet. Six months after his birth, his parents separated and his mother left him in the care of his uncle who was a bodyguard of the thirteenth Dalai Lama. The thirteenth Dalai Lama died in December 1933, and Reting Rinpoche became Regent of Tibet until a new Dalai Lama was discovered and crowned. Because of the inability of the Mongolian lamas to proclaim the discovery of the ninth Khutughtu, Reting Rinpoche in 1936, recognized Jampal Namdol Chökyi Gyaltsen, then age four, as the reincarnation of the eighth Jetsun Dhamba Khutughtu, after the boy passed three sets of tests.


Due to the complex political situation, his existence was kept a secret. At the age of seven, he entered the Drepung Monastery, but because his identity was kept secret, he could not enter the Khalkha Mitsen but had to follow the life of a common monk. At age 25, he renounced his monastic vows and became a householder, took a wife and had two children. When the Dalai Lama escaped from Tibet in 1959, Jampal Namdol did also, fearing that his identity would be revealed and he would be killed or used by the Communists for propaganda.

At the age of 25, he gave back his monastic vows and went to stay at Ganden Phunstok Ling, established by his predecessor Taranatha. After four years, Khalkha Jetsun left Tibet and came into exile when China occupied Tibet in 1959. During his early years in India, he stayed in Darjeeling and Mysore with his family. In 1981, Khalkha Jetsun moved to Madhya Pradesh and stayed for almost 10 years serving as the community Lama in the locality.


In exile in India, he worked at various jobs, including in the Tibetan language section of All India Radio, and at Tibet House in New Delhi. His first wife died, and he remarried. In 1975, his family (now including seven children), moved to Karnataka. In 1984, Jampal Namdol visited Lhasa, and in 1990 the Dalai Lama issued a statement revealing the identity of the ninth Khutughtu. In 1991 the Dalai Lama performed an installation ceremony in Madhya Pradesh and in 1992 an enthronement ceremony in Dharmshala for the ninth Jebtsun Damba Khutughtu.


The Same year, the recognition was publicly announced and the enthronement ceremony was held on 13 January 1992. Since then, Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa moved closer to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and shifted his residence to Dharamshala, India.

After the collapse of Soviet Union and the new-found religious freedom in Mongolia, His Holiness the Dalai Lama gave an official recognition and acknowledgment of the Ninth Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa as the spiritual head of Buddhism in Mongolia through the Department of Religious Affairs (now the Department of Religion and Culture), Central Tibetan Administration in 1991.

In July 1999, while visiting Mongolia on a tourist visa, Jampal Namdol took part in an enthronement ceremony at the Gandantegchinlen Khiid Monastery in Ulaanbaatar. He continued to live in exile in India. In 2010 he came to Mongolia at the invitation of the Gandantegchinlin monastery and received Mongolian citizenship, but returned to Dharamshala afterward. Then he returned to Mongolia. In November 2011 he was enthroned as the head of Buddhists of Mongolia.

The 14th Dalai Lama has appointed the present Jebtsun Damba to develop the Jonang tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. On November 23, 2016, during a visit to Mongolia, the Dalai Lama announced his belief that the 10th Jebtsun Damba Khutughtu had been reborn in Mongolia and that a process for identifying him had begun.

 Rinpoche died on March 1, 2012, in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, after a prolonged illness. 

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