Kudung Chorten of Geshey Geduen Rinchen consecrated

By Rinzin Wangchuk, Kuensel Online, May 25, 2005

Timphu, Bhutan -- The Kudung of the 69th Je Khenpo, His Holiness Geshey Geduen Rinchen, was installed in the Kudung Chorten which will now be kept as the Machhen (inner sanctum) of the Rangjung Lhakhang in the Utse of Tashichhodzong.

His Majesty the King and the royal family, the prime minister and the council of ministers, the chief justice, the speaker of the National Assembly and the senior government officials attended the consecration of the Kudung Chorten performed on May 21 by His Holiness the Je Khenpo, the senior lopons, and the dratshang monks.

The Kudung of Geshey Geduen Rinchen was taken out on May 18 from the Zhabdrung lhakhang in the Utse of Tashichhodzong where he had been in temporary residence since 1999, and the face was painted gold.

The 12.3-foot Kudung Chorten is made of sandal wood, encased in silver and gold, and adorned with jewels like zees (cat?s eye), turquoise, corals, pearls, and other precious stones. Costing about Nu. 15 million it took 25 craftsmen two years to construct the chorten which represents the highest quality in traditional architecture.

According to a spokesman for the central monk body, the Kudung Chorten represents the deep reverence that the people had for His Holiness Geshey Geduen Rinchen.

His Holiness Geshey Geduen Rinchen passed away in Thimphu on April 18, 1997. The Kudung had, since then, remained intact in the meditation position.

?We have been extremely fortunate to have witnessed such an extraordinary phenomenon and been blessed by this sacred kudung of Geshey Geduen Rinchen,? said the Secretary of Dratshang Lhentshog, Dasho Sangay Wangchug. ?It is a precious symbol of the well being of the dharma in Bhutan.?

Geshey Geduen Rinchen, who was born in a cave near Taktshang lhakhang in 1926, was widely known and respected as a scholar and writer. Many described him as one of the greatest religious writers of modern times. In Bhutan he is revered, not only for his spiritual guidance for the well being of the nation and the people, but for his contributions to the development of the religious institutions in the country and the spread of the dharma.

After studying the Zhungchen Chusum (13 Great Expository Texts) at the Nimalung Monastery in Bumthang Geshey Geduen Rinchen, at the age of 30, went to Tibet to specialise in the Uma (Middle Path) philosophy and the Jamchhoe Denga (Asangha?s commentary on the philosophy of the Precedence of the Mind). Having mastered all the 13 Great Texts he was awarded the title of Geshey, the highest qualification in Buddhist studies.

He then undertook the three-year retreat (Losum Choesum) at Taktshang monastery and followed by another three years at Kuengacholing in Paro. Subsequently, during a 10-year tenure as the principal of Tango Shedra, Geshey Geduen Rinchen wrote the Gyue-Tagpa-Nyi, a commentary on the practice of Tantra in Buddhism, and the Dechog-Tsa-Gyue, a commentary on meditation practices focussing on Dechog (chakrasamvara).

As the Principal of the Phajoding Shedra between 1979 and 1985, he wrote another commentary on the Uma-Jugpa and on Gue-Lama, one of the texts of the Jamchhoe Denga, expounded by the Acharya Asanga (Lopon Thongme).

Geshey Geduen Rinchen?s contributions to Bhutan?s literary heritage exceeded 11 volumes including numerous commentaries on the different precepts of the Sothar (Pratimoksa), Jangsem (Bodhisattva), Sangag (Vajrayana) and on the Sutras as well as the Tantras.

He also authored a history of Buddhism in Bhutan and historical volumes on the Zhabdrungs, Desis, Je Khenpos, the hereditary monarchs, and the Bhutanese saints.

He became the 69th Je Khenpo on March 29, 1990, and retired into a life of meditation and prayer on May 3, 1996.