Gangchen Tulku Rinpoche

Lobsang Thubten Trinley Yarphel (Tibetan: གངས་ཅན་བློ་བཟང་ཐུབ་བསྟན་འཕྲིན་ལས་ཡར་འཕེལ་, Wylie: gangs-can blo-bzang thub-bstan 'phrin-las yar-'phel, 7 July 1941 – 18 April 2020), was the 5th Gangchen Tulku Rinpoche of Tibet. He was a Tibetan-Italian lama of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism.

Gangchen Rinpoche
Born(1941-07-07)July 7, 1941
Drakshu, Tibet
DiedApril 18, 2020(2020-04-18) (aged 78)
Verbania, Italy
ReligionTibetan Buddhism


The 5th Gangchen Tulku Rinpoche was born in Drakshu, a small remote village which was about 55 kilometers from the city of Shigatse in 1941.[1][2] His secular name was Wangdu Gyelpo. He was later recognized as the new incarnation Gangchen Sapen-la. He was enthroned at Gangchen Choepeling Monastery [it] at the age of five. When he was twelve years old, he received the “kachen” degree, Tashi Lhunpo's equivalent of the “geshe” degree. Later, he studied medicine, astrology, meditation, and philosophy in Sera Monastery and Tashi Lhunpo Monastery.[3][4]

After the annexation of Tibet by the People's Republic of China, Gangchen Tulku Rinpoche was imprisoned and forced to labor, before going into exile to India in 1963.[2][5] He continued his studies for the following seven years at Varanasi Sanskrit University in Benares. He received the Geshe Rigram degree from Sera Monastic University in 1970.[3] Gangchen Tulku Rinpoche took his first visit to Europe, before immigrating to Italy and taking up Italian citizenship in 1983. In 1989, he founded the Kunpen Lama Gangchen Institute in Milan, aiming to promote and preserve the Tibetan medicine tradition.

Gangchen Tulku Rinpoche was considered an important master of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition: he had adapted the teachings and techniques of meditation to the mentality of modern Western culture.[2] He also practiced Vajrayana, he considered Dorje Shugden as one of several protectors of the Gelug school, and thus came into conflict with 14th Dalai Lama. Since the 1990s, he had visited China several times. He was well treated by the Chinese government, and according to Dalai Lama's supporters, he was used as a tool for Chinese political propaganda against the Dalai Lama.[6]

Gangchen Tulku Rinpoche died from COVID-19 in Verbania on 18 April 2020, aged 78.[2]

See also


  1. ^ Lama Gangchen Rinpoche
  2. ^ a b c d "Morto per coronavirus a Verbania il Lama Gangchen Rinpoche: il monaco tibetano aveva 78 anni" (in Italian). 19 April 2020.
  3. ^ a b His Eminence Drubwang Gangchen Rinpoche
  4. ^ The Healing Lama: Lama Gangchen Tulku Rinpoche
  5. ^ "Biography of T.Y.S. Lama Gangchen Tulku Rinpoche". Archived from the original on 2013-02-11.
  6. ^ "路透社称凶天领袖刚坚"在中国享有重要人物的待遇"" (in Chinese). Radio Free Asia. 10 April 2016.