(TibetanReview.net, Feb05’20) – With Kyabje Kathok Getse Rinpoche having passed way before completing his three-year term, Kyabje Dzogchen Rinpoche declining to accept the role in the beginning of last year and Kyabje Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche also not accepting the role just recently, the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism will now be headed by the Nyingma Monlam Organizing Committee which organizes the tradition’s yearly annual prayer festival.
The Nyingma tradition did not have an overall head as such until Kyabje Dudjom Rinpoche was urged to assume that role after Tibetans fled the Chinese occupation of their homeland in 1959. It was headed by a number of distinguished lineage holders in the Nyingma tradition until Kyabje Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche.
In 2018, at the twenty-ninth Nyingma Monlamin Bodh Gaya, it was decided that the representational headship of the Nyingma tradition should be held by the six-major Nyingma Monasteries in this order: Kathok, Dzogchen, Shechen, Mindroling, Dorje Drak, and Palyul. A senior Lama from each monastery was to hold that position for a term of three years.
Kyabje Kathok Getse Rinpoche was the first to hold that position under the new arrangement. After his untimely passing away, Kyabje Dzogchen Rinpoche declined to accept that role after it was decided during the Jan-Feb 2019 Nyingma prayer festival event.
During this year’s prayer festival, the thirty-first, Kyabje Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche was urged to accept that role in keeping with the 2018 arrangement. However, he too has declined, saying that with continued appointment of a ‘head of the tradition’ there comes a danger that it may bring more harm than benefit to the Nyingma lineage.
He has suggested that there was no need to appoint a Head of Tradition. He has noted that the Nyingma Monlam involved all Nyingmapa organisations and the head of the Nyingma Monlam Committee was already engaged in virtuous activities for the benefit of beings and the teaching of the Buddha. He therefore felt it appropriate for the head of that committee to assume the role of the Nyingmapa head.
And the committee has decided to accept his suggestion.