Gelek Rimpoche

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Gelek Rimpoche
Gelek Rinpoche.jpg
Gelek Rinpoche, October 2014
Religion Buddhist
Nationality Tibetan
Born (1939-10-26)26 October 1939
Lhasa, Tibet
Died 15 February 2017(2017-02-15) (aged 77)
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Senior posting
Title Lama

Kyabje Gelek Rimpoche (Tibetan: སྐྱབས་རྗེ་དགེ་ལེགས་རིན་པོ་ཆེ།Wylie: skyabs rje dge legs rin po che/) was a Tibetan Buddhist lama who was born in Lhasa, Tibet on 26 October 1939. His personal name was Gelek; kyabje and rimpoche are titles meaning "teacher" (lit., "lord of refuge") and "precious," respectively. He was a tulku, an incarnate lama, of Drepung Monastic University, where he received the scholastic degree of Geshe Lharampa, the highest degree given, at an exceptionally young age.

Gelek was a nephew of the 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso. He was tutored by many of the same masters who tutored the current (14th) Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso.

In 1959, Gelek fled to India from Tibet and gave up monastic life. He was one of the first students of the Young Lamas Home School. He is the founder and president of Jewel Heart, "a spiritual, cultural, and humanitarian organization that translates the ancient wisdom of Tibetan Buddhism into contemporary life."[1]

Beat-poet Allen Ginsberg was among the more prominent of Jewel Heart's members. Ginsberg met with Gelek Rinpoche through the modern composer Philip Glass in 1989.[2] Allen and Philip jointly staged benefits for the Jewel Heart organization.

Gelek Rinpoche died on 15 February 2017 in Ann Arbor, Michigan after undergoing surgery the previous month.[3]


  • Good Life, Good Death: Tibetan Wisdom on Reincarnation, Riverhead Books, 2001, ISBN 1-57322-196-1
  • The Tara Box: Rituals for Protection and Healing From the Female Buddha (with Brenda Rosen), New World Library, 2004, ISBN 1-57731-461-1


  1. ^ "Art and Impermanence". Rubin Museum of Art. Archived from the original on October 8, 2007. Retrieved 2013-08-18. 
  2. ^ "Lifeline". Allen Ginsberg dot org. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved 2013-08-18. 
  3. ^ "Security Check". Retrieved 2017-02-16. 

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