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Pal Sakya



Can you identify these people?

Black and white photo of lamas

On this old photograph you see a gathering of 48 Tibetans (I haven't numbered the persons behind 21, 31 and 32). Do you know their names?

What follows is a list of names I got in e-mails after posting the above question in the Tibetan Buddhism newsgroup. Where there is a questionmark the author indicated that he/ she is not absolutely sure. Please e-mail me any corrections/ additions.




Sa-skya Khen-po Sang-gyay Ten-zin


Dze-may Rinpoche (b.1927), author of the "Timely Shower" which re-started the Shug-den controversy in the 1970s


Maybe number 9 is Kalsang Rinpoche?


Nyi-ma Gen-tsen (sp?), teacher to HHDL for Tsong-kha-pa's "Essence of Eloquence"


name unknown, Dre-bung Go-mang Geshe


Kyabje Gelek Rinpoche, spiritual leader of Jewel Heart?


Ngawang Thondup Narkyid, the co-author with Melvin Goldstein of the big red "English-Tibetan Dictionary of Modern Tibetan," and collaborator in the "Fluent Tibetan" language course out of the University of Virginia. He is currently the biographer of HH the Dalai Lama, and works in HH's office in Dharamsala. After careers as an official in the Potala in the 1940s and as a "young communist" in Beijing, he became a guerrilla after the 1959 Lhasa Uprising and made his way to India, then eventually to the University of Michigan where he received a Masters degree in Linguistics. He has travelled and taught extensively.


Could be Tulshik Rinpoche one of the spiritual masters of HHDL.


Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche


Kalu Rinpoche


Drukpa Tuksey Rinpoche, important Drukpa Kagyu master


Khunu Rinpoche?


name unknown, Abbot emeritus of Gan-den Jang-tsay


Ban-gor (sp?) Rinpoche


Sha-gor Ken-dru (sp?), currently not a monk; living in Switzerland


His Holiness Taklung Matul who was the previous Lineage Holder of Taklung Kagyu.The present one is now residing in dharamsala. Taklung Matul is the lineage holder from Marthang the biggest Taklung Monastery. This picture is confirmed by HH Taklung Matul himself (the present one).


Dra-yap Gyam-gön (sp?), currently not a monk; living in Paris?

A Gelug lama Dagyab Kyabgön Rinpoche who now is living in Germany and is a teacher of Chödzong ( ).


Ser-kong Tsen-shap Rinpoche


Dre-bung Loseling Abbot, Pe-ma Gen-tsen


Abbot of Gan-den Shar-tsay


Abbot of Se-ra May (se ra smad)


Abbot of Drebung Go-mang, "Lo-sang"


HH Dudjom Rinpoche


HH the 16th Karmapa


HH the Sakya Trizin


HH the Dalai Lama


senior tutor Ling Rinpoche


junior tutor Trijang Rinpoche


Kirti Rinpoche, currently? working in HHDL Religious Affairs office; assistant to Kirti Tsen-shap Rinpoche


A-lak Jik-may Rinpoche


Kushok Bakula, who is sometimes called the head lama of Ladakh, at one time (currently) ambassador to Mongolia

Some loose ends...

"...remember it said that Mindroling Tichen Rinpoche was in it...."

"I thought that one of the figures with a white beard might be Zong Rinpoche, but I can't be sure."

Several people suggested the picture was taken in 1959 or 1960. Any opinions?

Christopher J Fynn had some remarks that seem very well informed, so I quote him here:

I'm absolutely certain #19 is Kalu Rinpoche - since he once pointed himself out to me on a another copy of this picture. 32 must be someone else.

I think the picture was taken in about 1960 in Musorrie or Dalhousie. I remember Kalu Rinpoche saying there was some attempt by one of the Dalai Lama's brothers & Trijang Rinpoche to merge all the Tibetan traditions into one big (Gelugpa dominated) school at the meeting where this photo was taken. HHDL was eventually persuaded by HH Karmapa and others that this was not a good idea.

I suspect #45 is Kushok Bakula who is sometimes called the head lama of Ladakh - he was later the Congress MP for Ladakh and recently the Indian Ambassador to Mongolia.

The picture is arranged in order of rank with the most important ranking lamas in the front row and heads of sub-schools /important tulkus / senior geshes & teachers behind them.

The majority of the lamas in the picture are almost certainly Gelugpa I'm sure you will find the lamas who were the heads or senior teachers from the major colleges of Sera Drepung and Ganden at the time. Other Gelug lamas likely to be in the picture include: Serkong Rinpoche (1914-1983), Zimey Rinpoche (b. 1927 d. ?), Song Rinpoche (1905-1984),

I'm not sure if HH Sakya Dagchen would be there since he moved almost immediatly to Seattle in 1960 - if he is there he wouldn't be wearing monks robes since he traditionally dresses like Sakya Trizin. It is quite likely that the Sakya lamas HE Choje Trichen and Luding Khen Rinpoche (head of the Ngor sub-school of Sakya) are. There maybe some senior Sakya Khenpos in the picture.

Minling Trichen may not be in the picture - he arrived quite late from Tibet and was very ill in Kalimpong for several years after he arrived. If he was there he would be wearing a chuba not monks robes. The most likely Nyingma lamas to be in the photo are: Dzonang Rinpoche Padma Norbu Rinpoche and the previous Chokling Rinpoche. If the picture was taken before the last Dzongsar Khyentse died he my be there also but I can't find him.

#20 is Drukpa Tuksey Rinpoche who was the head of the main branch of the Drukpa Kagyu sect at the time. I expect Taklung Martrul, then head of the Taklung Kagyu tradition is also there. Drikung Kyabgon (head of the Drikung Kagyu) would not be there since he did not escape from Tibet until 1975 there was probably another representative of the Drikung Kagyu school there though I can't think who it would have been. Other Kagyu Lamas who may be in the picture are: Nenang Pawo Rinpoche, Khenpo Norayang


Hope this helps

Christopher J Fynn

On 25 September 1999 Paul Hackett wrote:

In the 1968 edition of HHDL's _The Opening of the Wisdom-Eye_ there are 24 unnumbered pages of B&W photos in the preface to the book. In them is a alternate view of that same photo. I scanned it and you can get it here.

It is taken from the opposite side as the other photo, so may provide additional help with identification. The full citation to the published version is:

His Holiness Tenzin Gyatsho the XIVth Dalai Lama of Tibet, _The Opening of the Wisdom-Eye, and the History of the Advancement of Buddhadharma in Tibet_ Bangkok: The Social Science Association Press of Thailand, 2511/1968.

Laurent Deshayes wrote:

The photo of your Who's who web site has been taken in 1963 at Dharamsala for the meeting of the religious in exile. The picture sent by Paul Hackett (quoted from His Holiness Tenzin Gyatsho the XIVth Dalai Lama of Tibet, _The Opening of the Wisdom-Eye, and the History of the Advancement of Buddhadharma in Tibet_ Bangkok: The Social Science Association Press of Thailand, 2511/1968) has been taken probably by Abdul Wahid Radhu, a ladakhi trader who wrote his memories, published in French under the title Caravane Tibétaine, Editions Peuple du Monde, Paris, 1991. I am a disciple of the late Nenang Pawo Rinpoche. It may be the lama between number 21 and 8. But, in 1963, he was in Varanasi. As the Nenang Pawos are of great importance for the Karma-Kagyu lineage, maybe he made a trip to Dharamsala for the meeting.

Dechen Yeshe Khandro wrote on 2 January 2003:

Highly possible No. 8 is Dze May rinpoche instead of no. 7

Ta Chieh Deng Pa wrote in December 2003:

17 is Thakpa Tritul Rinpoche, ex Sera Mey abbot, lives in Kalimpong now. One of leading elders of Mera monastery and FPMT.

Behind 31 is Tongkhor Rinpoche; passed away in Kalimpong; his reincarnation is in Sera Mey.

35 is Khen Rinpoche of Kalimpong Tharpa Choiling gompa, ex abbot from Ganden, Tibet.

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