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LES BRÈVES
Serthar’s Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok dead at 67

jeudi 8 janvier 2004


Highly Respected Tibetan Buddhist Teacher Dies in Chengdu

A highly respected Tibetan Buddhist teacher, Khenpo ("Abbot") Jigme
Phuntsok, died this morning at about 9:30 AM local time at a military
hospital in Chengdu, China. He was 67.

Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok had been hospitalized on December 29th due to a heart
ailment. His body is already being transported to Serthar Buddhist
Institute near Serthar town, Karze Prefecture in Eastern Tibet in Sichuan
Province.

Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok founded the Serthar Buddhist Institute in 1980,
which, at one time, housed more than 8,000 religious practitioners,
including ordained and lay students of diverse nationalities, and also a
large number of Chinese students. The Institute became one of the largest
and most popular Buddhist learning centers in Tibet or China.

Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok was born into an illustrious religious family of
nomads in the Dhok region of Kham in 1932. At the age of two, Terton
Wangchuk and Tashul Lama of the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism
recognised him as the reincarnation of Terton Lerab Lingpa (1852-1926)-or
Sogyal Rinpoche- a close spiritual and personal friend of the 13th Dalai
Lama. Khenpo first studied under an uncle, a renowned scholar-lama at
Nubsur Monastery, and was schooled in Dzogchen (the Great Perfection
teachings). At an early age of 14, he sought monk ordination from Khenchen
Sonam Rinchen, Abbot of Drakdzong Monastery. At 18, he remained at Dzatoe
Changma Retreat Centre where he studied under the guidance of many renowned
teachers, practised meditation and lived as a hermit for six years. He was
ordained a bikshu (a fully-ordained monk) at the age of 22, and at 26
founded a retreat centre, Senggey Yangtsung, in Amdo.

Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok was a hugely popular religious figure. In 1980, he
established the Serthar Buddhist Institute as a non-sectarian study centre
with less than 100 students. Serthar Institute (known locally as Larung
Gar) later expanded to a spiritual oasis for over 8,000 monks, nuns and lay
students.



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