Reting Rinpoche

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Jamphel Yeshe Gyaltsen, 1938

Reting Rinpoche (Tibetan: རྭ་སྒྲེང་རིན་པོ་ཆེWylie: rwa-sgreng rin-po-che, ZYPY: Razheng) is the title held by abbots of Reting Monastery, a Buddhist monastery in central Tibet. The identity of the present Reting Rinpoche is contested.

History of the lineage[edit]

Historically, the Reting Rinpoche has occasionally acted as the selector of the new Dalai Lama incarnation. It is for this reason that most observers believe the Chinese government has tried to install a sympathetic figure in the position.[1]

List of Reting Rinpoches[edit]

  1. Ngawang Chokden (1677–1751)
  2. Lobsang Yeshe Tenpa Rabgye (1759–1815)
  3. Ngawang Yeshe Tsultrim Gyaltsen (1816–1863)
  4. Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenpai Gyaltsen (?)
  5. Jamphel Yeshe Gyaltsen (1912–1947)
  6. Tenzin Jigme Thutob Wangchuk (1948–1997)

Regency of the Fifth Reting Rinpoche[edit]

The fifth Reting Rinpoche, Thubten Jamphel Yeshe Gyaltsen (1911–1947; Tibetan: ཐུབ་བསྟན་འཇམ་དཔལ་ཡེ་ཤེས་རྒྱལ་མཚན་Wylie: thub-bstan 'jam-dpal ye-shes rgyal-mtshan), played a significant role in Tibetan history as the one-time regent of the present Dalai Lama. He was replaced in 1941 and subsequently is alleged to have organized an uprising against his replacement. He died in 1947 in the prisons of Lhasa's Potala, apparently the victim of poisoning.[2] A jailor also allegedly reported that his testicles were bound and beaten until he died of the pain.[3] Melvyn C. Goldstein report words from Tsepon W. D. Shakabpa who said many people said so, but an investigation was carried out by the Tibetan Assembly to check Reting's body. Shakabpa was member of the committee that also included Tsarong, Khenchen Lobsang Tashi, Gyetakba, as well as representatives from Reting and Sera Monasteries. Tsarong declared to the Assembly there was no evidence that Reting was strangled, there was no wound or anything.[4]

The episode exposed a number of the political dimensions of the religious hierarchy in Lhasa. Critics of the fifth Reting Rinpoche accused him of widespread corruption, and involvement with married women as a monk.[5] Defenders alleged that his imprisonment was partly the result of his attraction to the teachings of the Nyingma lineage, a politically sensitive orientation,[6] and that the case against him had been fabricated by the cabinet minister Kapshopa.[3]

His time as regent, imprisonment and death feature significantly in Martin Scorsese's 1997 film Kundun.

Sixth and seventh Reting Rinpoche[edit]

There were two claimants to the position of 6th Reting Rinpoche, one of whom has since died.[7]

Tenzin Jigme and his reincarnation[edit]

Tenzin Jigme Thutob Wangchuk was born in Lhasa in 1948. He was identified as the reincarnation of the fifth Reting Rinpoche in 1951 and enthroned in 1955. He was recognized by the Tibetan government. He stayed in Tibet when the Tibetan government went in exile in 1959 during the Tibetan diaspora.[7]

He died in 1997 and was succeeded by a reincarnation that was appointed by the Chinese government and not considered legitimate by religious authorities.[7]

Sixth Reting Hutukthu[edit]

Another candidate as sixth Reting Rinpoche carries his title as the sixth Reting Hutukthu. He claims that the Tibetan government continued to suppress the Reting lineage after the death of the 5th by appointing an illegitimate candidate and then abandoning him in Tibet.[8] He presently resides in an undisclosed location in India.

In an open letter to the Dalai Lama, Reting Hutuku claims that since the Dalai Lama's root Guru, Trijang Rinpoche, was a devotee of Dorje Shugden, "he succeeded in destroying the living tradition of Je Tsong Kapa." He asks that the Dalai Lama "swiftly liberate all those ignorant of the mistaken path they follow in believing there still exists a valid Gelugpa lineage."[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Control of Tibet a Question of Faith, January 19, 2000, from World Tibet Network News
  2. ^ Goldstein M., op.cit., Ch.14 - The Reting Conspiracy - Reting's Death, pp. 510-516.
  3. ^ a b Kimura, Hisao. Japanese Agent in Tibet: My Ten Years of Travel in Disguise. Serindia Publications. 202.[1]
  4. ^ Melvyn C. Goldstein, A history of modern Tibet, 1913-1951: the demise of the Lamaist state, p. 511-512
  5. ^ Marcello, Patricia Cronin The Dalai Lama: A Biography. Greenwood Press: 2003
  6. ^ Gyatso, Lobsang. Memoirs of a Tibetan Lama Snow Lion Publications. Ithica: 1998. Page 235
  7. ^ a b c World Tibet Network News (January 11, 2000) Beijing Discovers Another "Living Buddha" (AFP)
  8. ^ Open Letter to the 14th Dalai Lama, by the 6th Reting Hutuku,[2]
  9. ^ Open Letter to HH the 14th Dalai Lama (2006) by the 6th Reting Hutuktu, pp. 3, 4. Retrieved 2009-10-05.

External links[edit]

  • Further biographical info about the fifth Reting Rinpoche, Thupten Jampel Yishey Gyantsen.
  • Website purporting to be that of an India-based claimant to the title of 6th Reting Rinpoche. Many references to material on the so-called Reting Conspiracy can be found here.