By Shyamal Sinha
The Nyingma tradition is the oldest of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism (the other three being the Kagyu, Sakya and Gelug). “Nyingma” literally means “ancient,”
Following the untimely death of the head of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism, senior Nyingma lamas have selected a successor to the position of the foremost figure of Nyingmapa sect, during the 30th Nyingma Monlam at Bodh Gaya, India that concluded today, sources said.
Principal authority of the Dzogchen lineage and the 7th Dzogchen Rinpoche Jigme Losel Wangpo has been selected the new head of the Nyingma on Jan. 15. The 54 year- old Tibetan Buddhist master is yet to accept the position as he was not present at the Nyingma sect’s foremost annual prayer gathering at Bodh Gaya, Voice of Tibet reported. Dzogchen Rinpoche will be the 8th head of Nyingma if he agrees to accept the position.
The former head of Nyingma, Kathok Getse Rinpoche passed away following an accident back in November 2018 in Nepal. According to reports, the accident occurred in a village near Kathmandu where he sat in retreat for months.
Last year, at the meeting of the representatives of the Nyingma schools, it was decided that the late Kathok Getse Rinpoche and five other Nyingma lamas will helm the sect as the supreme head of Nyingma tradition in a three-year tenure basis. The six major Nyingma schools are Kathok, Dzogchen, Sechen, Mindrolling, Dorje Drak and Palyul.
Dzogchen Rinpoche was born in Sikkim in 1964 and was recognised as the Dzogchen lineage holder by His Holiness the 4th Dodrupchen Rinpoche, Thupten Trinley Palzang and later confirmed by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.
He is trained extensively in both Gelug and Nyingma schools of Tibetan Buddhism. His training was personally overseen by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and has spent seven years at the latter’s Namgyal monastery here in Dharamshala and has earned the title of Rabjampa (Masters of Tibetan Buddhism) at only 19 years of age.
Dzogchen Rinpoche has studied under great masters including Dudjom Rinpoche, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and Trulshik Rinpoche, all of whom had previously helmed the position of the head of Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism.
The Nyingma tradition actually comprises several distinct lineages that all trace their origins to the Indian master Padmasambhava.