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The Sixth Zamtsa Sertri, Kelzang Lungrik Gyatso

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The Sixth Zamtsa Sertri, Kelzang Lungrik Gyatso Pelzangpo (zam tsha gser khri 06 skal bzang lung rigs rgya mtsho dpal bzang po) was born in the Ngulra (dngul rwa) area in the region of Upper Lingkar (gling dkar stod) in Amdo, in 1901, the iron-ox year of the fifteenth sexagenary cycle. His father was called Zopa (bzod pa) and his mother was named Lhamo Kyi (lha mo skyid).

At the age of four he was identified as the reincarnation of the Fifth Zamtsa Sertri Kelzang Jigme Namkha (zam tsha gser khri 05 skal bzang 'jigs med nam mkha', 1875-1899). The identification was done in 1904, on the eleventh day of second month of the wood-dragon year by the Fourth Jamyang Zhepa Kelzang Tubten Wangchuk ('jam dbyangs bzhad pa 04 skal bzang thub bstan dbang phyug, 1856-1916). The origin of the line of Zamtsa Sertri incarnations was the Fifty-fifth Ganden Tripa Trichen Ngawang Namkha Zangpo (dga' ldan khri pa 55 khri chen ngag dbang nam mkha' bzang po, 1690-1750).

At the age of eight, in 1908, he was granted the vows of primary and novice monks (rab byung and dge tshul) by Konchok Tendzin Gyatso (dkon mchog bstan 'dzin rgya mtsho, d.u.) who most likely named him Konchok Lungrik Gyatso. He was given training in monastic life and education, gradually commencing his studies in Abhisamayālaṅkāra, Madhyamaka, Abhidharmakośa, Pramāṇavārtika and Vinaya, the five major subjects of the Geluk monastic curriculum, under the tutorship of Geshe Amchok Sungrab (dge bshes a mchog gsung rab, d.u.). This was presumably in Labrang Tashikhyil monastery in Amdo.

At the age of fifty-three, Kelzang Lungrik Gyatso travelled to Lhasa on pilgrimage, in the autumn of 1953, the water-snake year in the sixteenth sexagenary cycle. After making offerings and prayers in Lhasa, he visited the monasteries including Sera, Drepung, and Ganden where he made abundant offerings and serious prayers, and celebrated and enjoyed the following New Year in Lhasa.

Subsequently he left Lhasa to return and arrived in Damzhung ('dam gzhung) in May or June 1954. There he fell ill. Gathering those in his retinue he said, “I will definitely do the customary tasks if you wish to leave before me; or, if you wish to return home, you may do so.” His followers understood this to be an announcement of their lama's imminent death, and one, Tsomo Serkho (gtso mo gser kho), requested the lama to arrange for his death before his own; Tsomo Serkho died after a couple of days due to a mild flu. Thereafter, the lama advised the remaining people of the group to return home and join their family and to keep them happy.

Kelzang Lungrik Gyatso then composed a few verses in the praise of the ancient dharma kings and ministers of Tibet and also some verses of prayers. Thereafter, from the twenty-first of the fourth or fifth month of the wood-horse year, 1954, the lama restricted access to his room and sat in a deep meditation, soon passing into nirvana.


He is known to have composed additional works, but none were carved into blocks and are no longer extant, with only the verses of praise surviving.

Lobzang Namkha Gyeltsen (blo bzang rgyal mtshan) born in Tso-ngon region in Amdo in 1982 was identified as his reincarnation and the Seventh Zamtsa Sertri by a group of six prominent lamas including the Sixth Jamyang Zhepa Lobzang Jigme Tubten Chokyi Nyima ('jam dbyangs bzhad pa 06 'jam dbyangs blo bzang 'jigs med thub bstan chos kyi nyi ma, b.1948) and the Sixth Gungtang, Jigme Tenpai Wangchuk (gung thang 06 'jigs med bstan pa'i dbang phyug, b.1926).


Bstan pa bstan 'dzin. 2003. [[Chos sde chen pod pel ldan ‘bras spungs bkra shis sgo mang grwa tshang gi chos ‘byung chos dung g.yas su ‘khyil ba'i sgra dbyangs. Dpal ldan ‘bras spungs bkra shis sgo mang dpe mdzod khang, pp. 344-346.

Skal bzang thogs med. 2005. Rje 'jam mgon rgyal ba gnyis pa'i lung rtogs kyi bstan pa rin po che'i srog shing dam pa dga' ldan khri thog nga lnga pa khri chen nam mkha' dpal bzang po'i 'khrungs rabs rim byon gyi rnam thar nyung ngur bkod pa rnyog ma bgrung bar byed pa'i snying nor. Lhasa: Mi rigs dpe skrun khang, pp. 207-212.

Samten Chhosphel January 2011