Rinpoche identity to be investigated

Statesman News Service, Oct 13, 2005

KALIMPONG, North Bengal (India) -- Controversy has always dogged the Shabdrung Rinpoches, once religious leaders of Bhutan, especially after the late ninth Shadrung Rinpoche Naung Gigme, a member of the Drukpa Kargyud sect of Buddhism, was sent into exile in India in the early 1960s. He was based in Manali and in 2000 came to head Sanchen Dorje Gompa at Pedong, one of the oldest monasteries in the region.

<< The Shabdrung

The present reincarnation, who is all of two-years-old, will give his devotees in Pedong a “darshan” tomorrow before proceeding to Bhutan to face the reincarnation committee who will investigate his identity as the true Rinpoche.

The reincarnation committee bears the onus of verifying Jigdrel Ngawang Namgyel as the true embodiment of the Shabdrung Rinpoche. He was first identified and put forward by Urgen Thinley, himself a claimant of the title of Karmapa. Thinley has the approval of His Holiness Dalai Lama as the Karmapa.

The Rinpoche was secretly transferred to Bodh Gaya in December 2004 at the tender age of eighteen months because of a perceived threat to his life, allegedly from vested political interests in Bhutan.

By calling him back to Bhutan to check his identity, the reincarnation committee is sending out mixed signals. As a temporal leader, the Rinpoche will exercise great influence on citizens of Bhutan after many years of exile.

Sources have maintained that the Bhutan government now views Shadrung Rinpoche as a threat to their authority.

This is primarily because the Rinpoche is recognized by bodies and entities outside the sphere of the Bhutanese government, for instance the aspiring Karmapa, Urgen Thinley. Thus by calling the Rinpoche back after years of exile, the government is trying to put their stamp of approval on the Rinpoche as the temporal leader of the people.

The secretary of Delhi-based Shabdrung Rinpoche Charitable Trust, Lama Sonam Dorjee who will be accompanying the Shadrung Rinpoche, said. “We will head for Bhutan the day after tomorrow where the reincarnation committee will examine the tenth Shabdrung Rinpoche and we will return to Bodh Gaya on 23 October.”

About the Shabdrung

Perhaps the most dynamic era in Bhutanese history came in the 17th century with the arrival, in 1616, of Ngawang Namgyal, the great leader of the Drukpa school of Mahayana Buddhism.

Over the next 30 years Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal unified the country and established the foundations for national governance and the Bhutanese identity.

Starting with the Simtokha Dzong in Thimphu, the Shabdrung (meaning "at whose feet one submits") constructed important dzongs, monasteries, and religious institutions and firmly established Drukpa Kagyu as the state religion.

The Shabdrung also left as his legacy the dual system of government - the temporal and theocratic - with Je Khenpo (chief abbot) as the religious head and the temporal leader known as the Desi. This system took Bhutan to the turn of the 19th century, until the birth of the Wangchuk dynasty and establishment of hereditary Monarchy in 1907. After the rule of 54 Desis and 60 Je Khenpos, the Trongsa Penlop, Jigmi Namgyal, emerged as a strong leader and was succeded, in 1881, by his dynamic son, Ugen Wangchuk. It was Gongsar Ugen Wangchuck who brought the entire nation under his rule, ending generations of strife and conflict.

In 1907, a historic Assembly of the clergy, the official administration, and the people unanimously elected Gongsar Ugen Wangchuck as the first hereditary King of Bhutan.

Gongsar Ugen Wangchuck reigned until his death in 1926, and was succeeded by his son Jigme Wangchuck, who ruled the kingdom until 1952.

The reigns of the first two Kings were marked by political stability. It was the third King, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, who gently introduced the process of modernisation.

Known as the "Father of the Modern Bhutan", King Jigmi Dorji Wangchuck initiated planned development and thus began the dramatic changes in the quality of life of the people. He also enhanced the kingdom's global role, making Bhutan a member of the United Nations and other international organisations.

King Jigmi Dorji Wangchuck ruled from 1952 to 1972. In 1972, King Jigmi Singye Wangchuck became the youngest Monarch in the world. With a strong emphasis on preserving the rich religious and cultural heritage, the dynamic young Monarch then steered the kingdom through more than 20 years of development, towards the 21st century.

We Need Your Help to Train the
Buddhist AI Chat Bot
(Neural Operator for Responsible Buddhist Understanding)

For Malaysians and Singaporeans, please make your donation to the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB

The SWIFT/BIC code for RHB Bank Berhad is: RHBBMYKLXXX
Address: 11-15, Jalan SS 24/11, Taman Megah, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Phone: 603-9206 8118

Note: Please indicate your name in the payment slip. Thank you.

Dear Friends in the Dharma,

We seek your generous support to help us train NORBU, the word's first Buddhist AI Chat Bot.

Here are some ways you can contribute to this noble cause:

One-time Donation or Loan: A single contribution, regardless of its size, will go a long way in helping us reach our goal and make the Buddhist LLM a beacon of wisdom for all.

How will your donation / loan be used? Download the NORBU White Paper for details.

For Malaysians and Singaporeans, please make your donation to the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB

The SWIFT/BIC code for RHB Bank Berhad is: RHBBMYKLXXX
Address: 11-15, Jalan SS 24/11, Taman Megah, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Phone: 603-9206 8118

Note: Please indicate your purpose of payment (loan or donation) in the payment slip. Thank you.

Once payment is banked in, please send the payment slip via email to: editor@buddhistchannel.tv. Your donation/loan will be published and publicly acknowledged on the Buddhist Channel.

Spread the Word: Share this initiative with your friends, family and fellow Dharma enthusiasts. Join "Friends of Norbu" at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/norbuchatbot. Together, we can build a stronger community and create a positive impact on a global scale.

Volunteer: If you possess expertise in AI, natural language processing, Dharma knowledge in terms of Buddhist sutras in various languages or related fields, and wish to lend your skills, please contact us. Your knowledge and passion could be invaluable to our project's success.

Your support is part of a collective effort to preserve and disseminate the profound teachings of Buddhism. By contributing to the NORBU, you become a "virtual Bodhisattva" to make Buddhist wisdom more accessible to seekers worldwide.

Thank you for helping to make NORBU a wise and compassionate Buddhist Chatbot!

May you be blessed with inner peace and wisdom,

With deepest gratitude,

Kooi F. Lim
On behalf of The Buddhist Channel Team

Note: To date, we have received the following contributions for NORBU:
US$ 75 from Gary Gach (Loan)
US$ 50 from Chong Sim Keong
MYR 300 from Wilson Tee
MYR 500 from Lim Yan Pok
MYR 50 from Oon Yeoh
MYR 200 from Ooi Poh Tin
MYR 300 from Lai Swee Pin
MYR 100 from Ong Hooi Sian
MYR 1,000 from Fam Sin Nin
MYR 500 from Oh teik Bin
MYR 300 from Yeoh Ai Guat
MYR 300 from Yong Lily
MYR 50 from Bandar Utama Buddhist Society
MYR 1,000 from Chiam Swee Ann
MYR 1,000 from Lye Veei Chiew
MYR 1,000 from Por Yong Tong
MYR 80 from Lee Wai Yee
MYR 500 from Pek Chee Hen
MYR 300 from Hor Tuck Loon
MYR 1,000 from Wise Payments Malaysia Sdn Bhd
MYR 200 from Teo Yen Hua
MYR 500 from Ng Wee Keat
MYR 10,000 from Chang Quai Hung, Jackie (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from K. C. Lim & Agnes (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from Juin & Jooky Tan (Loan)
MYR 100 from Poh Boon Fong (on behalf of SXI Buddhist Students Society)
MYR 10,000 from Fam Shan-Shan (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from John Fam (Loan)
MYR 500 from Phang Cheng Kar
MYR 100 from Lee Suat Yee
MYR 500 from Teo Chwee Hoon (on behalf of Lai Siow Kee)
MYR 200 from Mak Yuen Chau

We express our deep gratitude for the support and generosity.

If you have any enquiries, please write to: editor@buddhistchannel.tv