The Fifth Jamyang Zhepa, Lobzang Jamyang Yeshe Tenpai Gyeltsen b.1916 - d.1947
Name Variants: Yeshe Tenpai Gyeltsen
The Fifth Jamyang Zhepa, Lobzang Jamyang Yeshe Tenpai Gyeltsen ('jam dbyangs bzhad pa 05 'blo bzang 'jam dbyangs ye shes bstan pa'i rgyal mtshan) was born in late 1916, the fire dragon year of the fifteen sexagenary cycle, in Tsema Drong (mtshe ma grong), one of eight small towns in the Litang region. His father was Gonpo Dondrub (mgon po don grub) and his mother was Guru Lhatso (gu ru lha mtsho). He had an elder brother named Lobzang Tsewang (blo bzang tshe dbang).
When the child was four years old, the Ninth Paṇchen Lama, Lobzang Tubten Chokyi Nyima Gelek Namgyel (pan chen bla ma 06 lo bzang thub bstan chos kyi nyi ma dge legs rnam rgyal, 1883-1937), identified him as the reincarnation of the Fourth Jamyang Zhepa, Kelzang Tubten Wangchuk ('jam dbyangs bzhad pa 04 skal bzang thub bstan dbang phyug, 1856-1916) and gave him the name Lobzang Jamyang Yeshe Tenpai Gyeltsen.
The following year, Yeshe Tenpai Gyeltsen was enthroned at Labrang Tashikhyil (bla brang bkra shis 'khyil), which the First Jamyang Zhepa, Jamyang Zhepai Dorje ('jam dbyangs bzhad pa 01 'jam dbyangs bzhad pa'i rdo rje, 1648-1721/1722) had founded in 1710 and which had since served as the monastic seat for his line of reincarnations.
At the age of six, Yeshe Tenpai Gyeltsen was granted the upāsikā (dge bsnyen) and primary (rab byung) vows by the Third Amchok, Jamyang Khyenrab Gyatso (a mchog 03 'jam dbyangs mkhyen rab rgya mtsho, 1849-1944), who would later give him many empowerments, initiations, transmissions, commentarial teachings, and esoteric instructions. Drakpa Gyatso (grags pa rgya mtsho, d.u.), a noted scholar in the monastery, served as his main tutor who taught him reading, writing, and oversaw his memorization of philosophical texts. In the meantime, Yeshe Tenpai Gyeltsen received novice vows (dge tshul) from Jigme Trinle Gyatso ('jigs med 'phrin las rgya mtsho, 1866-1948). In 1928, at the young age of thirteen, Yeshe Tenpai Gyeltsen drafted the constitution for a tantric college to be newly established.
That same year, he began his systematic studies in dialectical and philosophical topics under Drakpa Gyatso, his main tutor, and seven assistants. Commencing with the texts of primary dialectical topics, over the next ten years he gradually studied the great traditional texts on the five major subjects of the Geluk monastic curriculum in detail: Abhisamayālaṃkāra, Madhyamaka, Abhidharmakośa, Pramāṇavārttika and Vinaya. He received the designation of Hutuktu (an honorific of Mongolian origin with several ranks) and a golden seal from the Government of Beijing in 1933.
In 1936, at the age of twenty-one, Yeshe Tenpai Gyeltsen received the vows of full ordination (dge slong) from the Ninth Paṇchen Lama during a visit the later made to Labrang Tashikhyil, where he also granted the Kālacakra empowerment.
The following year he travelled to Lhasa, where, as customary to his incarnation line, he matriculated in Drepung Gomang College ('bras spungs sgo mang) and studied texts on Prajñāpāramitā under the tutorship of a Kangsar Tulku. He stayed for about three years, returning to Amdo in 1940.
In 1938, Yeshe Tenpai Gyeltsen was appointed the president of the Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission (sog bod u yon lhan khang) by the Chinese Republican government. Subsequently, he established schools and granted permission to put on cultural performances at his monastery in order to preserve Tibetan traditions.
Two of Yeshe Tenpai Gyeltsen's main disciples were Lobzang Tsultrim Gyatso (lha mo blo bzang tshul khrims rgya mtsho, d.u.) and Kelzang Jinpa Gyatso (skal bzang sbyin pa rgya mtsho, 1882-1954) who later founded Khyungritang Monastery (khyung ri thang dgon pa).
Yeshe Tenpai Gyeltsen passed away at the age of thirty-three in 1947, the fire-pig year of the sixteenth sexagenary cycle, presumably in Amdo. Under the instruction and sponsorship of the Chinese Republican government, Geshe Sherab Gyatso (klu 'bum dge bshes shes rab rgya mtsho 1884-1968), the vice-president of the Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission, and Tubten Zangpo (mkhan chung thub bstan bzang po, d.u.) constructed a stupa of enlightenment (byang chub mchod rten) in his honor.
Jamyang Lobzang Jigme Tubten Chokyi Nyima ('jam dbyangs blo bzang 'jigs med thub bstan chos kyi nyi ma), born in 1948, was identified as his reincarnation.
Dkon mchog rgya mtsho. 2005. Kun mkhyen chen po rje btsun blo bzang 'jam dbyangs ye shes bstan pa'i rgyal mtshan dpal bzang po'i rnam par thar pa dpag bsam ljon pa. Beijing: Mi rigs dpe skrun khang. TBRC W30466. Another edition of this text is: TBRC W2CZ6760
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. 46-48. TBRC W19801.
Rgya zhabs drung skal bzang dkon mchog rgya mtsho. 2005. Kun mkhyen chen po rje btsun blo bzang 'jam dbyangs ye shes bstan pa'i rgyal mtshan dpal bzang po'i rnam par thar ba dpag bsam ljon pa. Beijing: Mi rigs dpe skrun khang. TBRC 30466
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- Historical Period