Gelek Rimpoche, Tibetan-born American Buddhist teacher, Died at 77

Kyabje Gelek Rimpoche was born on October 26, 1939, in Lhasa, Tibet and died on February 15, 2017

He was a Tibetan Buddhist lama.

Rimpoche’s personal name was Gelek; kyabje and rimpoche are titles meaning “teacher” (lit., “lord of refuge”) and “precious,” respectively.

Rimpoche 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.

He was a nephew of the 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso.

Rimpoche was tutored by many of the same masters who tutored the current (14th) Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso.

He fled to India from Tibet and gave up monastic life.

Rimpoche was one of the first students of the Young Lamas Home School, in 1959.

Rimpoche was the founder and president of Jewel Heart, “a spiritual, cultural, and humanitarian organization that translates the ancient wisdom of Tibetan Buddhism into contemporary life.”

The poet Allen Ginsberg, who does beat was among the more prominent of Jewel Heart’s members. Ginsberg met with Gelek Rinpoche through the modern composer Philip Glass in 1989.

Allen and Philip had collaborated for staged benefits at the Jewel Heart organization.

He died in Ann Arbor, Michigan after undergoing surgery the previous month