ལྷ་ལུང་བློ་བཟང་ཕུན་ཚོགས་ལགས་ཀྱི་ལོ་རྒྱུས། (དབྱིན་ཡིག)

ལྷ་ལུང་བློ་བཟང་ཕུན་ཚོགས་ལགས་ཀྱི་ལོ་རྒྱུས། (དབྱིན་ཡིག)

(lha lung pa blo bzang phun tshogs) was born in Lhasa on January 5, 1926. On his paternal side, his family descends from the ancient Lhalung (lha lung) family, whose origins are traditionally traced to the ninth-century figure Lhalung Pelgyi Dorje (lha lung dpal gyi rdo rje, ninth century), disciple of Padmasambhava (pad+ma ‘byung gnas) and assassin of King Langdarma (glang dar ma).

Lobsang Lhalungpa’s father, Gyeltsen Tarchin Lhalungpa (gyal mtshan mthar phyin, 19th c.), was a monk at Drepung Monastery (bras spungs dgon) who was appointed as the Nechung Oracle (gnas chung sku rten), the chief state oracle of Tibet, when he was just seventeen years old. A previous Nechung Oracle, Lhalung Shakya Yarpel (lha lung shAkya yar ‘phel), who held the position from 1856-1900, was Gyeltsen Tarchin’s uncle.1 In 1921 Gyeltsen Tarchin resigned as oracle, married, and eventually raised twelve children. Despite leaving that illustrious position, he maintained close connections with the Lhasa aristocracy, including with the Thirteenth Dalai Lama, Tubten Gyatso (ta la’i bla ma 13 thub bstan rgya mtsho, 1876-1933).

The Thirteenth Dalai Lama advised Gyeltsen Tharchin to steer his two sons towards monastic life with the goal of them both becoming monk-officials (rtse drung) of the Ganden Podrang government. When Lobsang was six years old his mother died in childbirth and his father soon remarried. According to Lhalungpa’s account in Tibet: The Sacred Realm, the family eventually grew to include an additional eight half-siblings, along with four children from his father’s first marriage.

One of Lhalungpa’s earliest memories was of the collective grief experienced by Tibetans in the wake of the Thirteenth Dalai Lama’s death in the winter of 1933, when he would have been about seven years old. He wrote in his book Sacred Realm that this was “the saddest event of my childhood” while the recognition of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama in 1939 was the “happiest event of my youth.”

After several years studying at a secular school in Lhasa, Lhalungpa, who was then eight, and his elder brother Jampa (‘byams pa), aged ten, found themselves bored with their studies.2 They then entered the Gyarong Khamtsen (rgyal rong khams tshan), of Drepung Loseling College (‘bras spungs blo gsal gling). Their father sponsored two of the feasts during the three-day admission celebrations that fed thousands of monks. This was followed by the brothers’ preliminary ordination during which they were tonsured, given robes, and granted their ordination names.

Although both brothers had been admitted to the monastery, their father preferred that they reside at home where they could complement their monastic training with intensive private instruction from lamas of various traditions who were regularly invited to the household.3 So, after several months at Drepung, Lhalungpa and his brother returned to Lhasa where they began studies at the Nyarongsha School (nyag rong shag slob grwa), which had been established in the 1920s on property donated by the Surkhang family (zur khang). At the age of twelve he and his brother began intensive studies under the guidance of a private tutor, Pemachok Pelzangpo (pad+ma mchog dpal bzang po, 1914-1963), a scholar from Tashilhunpo Monastery (bkra shis lhun po).

After three years of study, Lhalungpa’s brother and a cousin left to begin their careers as officials, while Lhalungpa continued his monastic training under a Loseling tutor. Having completed his studies of sūtra, he began tantric studies that included intensive practice; he wrote that his “urge for deeper knowledge of esoteric Buddhism and more comprehensive meditational exercises was strong.” But because he was slated to become a government official, he was no longer able to devote himself exclusively to advanced practice.

In 1940, at the age of sixteen, he began his career in government. Within a year, he was appointed to the Tse Yiktsang (rtse yig tshang), the Office of the Dalai Lama, located in either the Potala (po ta la) or Norbulingka (nor bu gling kha), depending on the season. Work consisted of writing documents and presenting petitions to the Dalai Lama and the Cabinet (bka’ shag). The office consisted of about thirty junior-level staff and four senior-ranking secretaries.

During his years as a monk-official, Lhalungpa continued formal Buddhist studies with a number of renowned teachers from various traditions. He would work diligently from morning, beginning with a tea ceremony that included Yiktsang staff, and in the afternoons return home where he would often find lamas conducting rituals. Because of his position in government he counted among his teachers preeminent Geluk masters of the twentieth century: the Ninety-Fourth Ganden Tri Lhundrub Tsondru (lhun grub brtson ‘grus, died 1949), the Third Trijang Rinpoche, Lobzang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso (khri byang 03 blo bzang ye shes bstan ‘dzin rgya mtsho, 1901-1981) and the Sixth Ling Rinpoche, Tubten Lungtok Namgyel Trinle (gling rin po che 06 thub bstan lung rtogs rnam rgyal ‘phrin las, 1903-1984). Lhalungpa fondly remembered his time with these teachers:

To me the three Rinpoches embodied all the qualities that make a Buddha, a fully enlightened being. While in their presence, I had a feeling not only of great elation, but often, during initiations, of losing my concrete sense of self and of merging into a state of higher awareness.4

From Ling Rinpoche, Lhalungpa received teachings on wrathful Mañjuśrī at Ling’s own Norbulingka residence. From Trijang Rinpoche, he received more regular teachings, as he also engaged in administrative work on Trijang’s behalf. In particular, Trijang Rinpoche gave him Lamrim (lam rim) teachings and Lojong (blo sbyong), or mind training, instructions. He was invited by Trijang Rinpoche to join a small group of advanced students to receive initiations into the three main tantras of the Geluk tradition, Guhyasamāja, Cakrasaṃvara, and Vajrabhairava. Upon completion, Trijang Rinpoche gave these students additional secret instructions intended to prepare them for intensive retreat.

He then engaged in a months-long retreat under the guidance of his grand uncle Gonsartse Rinpoche (dgon gsar rtse rin po che). During this time, Lhalungpa had the opportunity to meet with the Sixth Taktser, Thubten Jigme Norbu (stag mtsher 06 thub bstan ‘jigs med nor bu, 1922-2008), who was also a disciple of Gonsartse. The Sixth Taktser’s younger brother Tenzin Gyatso had recently been selected as the Fourteenth Dalai Lama (ta la’i bla ma 14 bstan ‘dzin rgya mtsho, born 1935). Following his period of retreat, he traveled to Shukseb Monastery (shug gseb dgon), where two of his relatives were residents at the nunnery headed by the famed female adept Shukseb Jetsun Choying Zangmo (shug gseb rje btsun chos dbyings bzang mo, b.1853/1865 – d.1950?/1951). Of his time with her he wrote:

I was able to spend a good deal of time listening to her and she really gave me many things… I have had many great teachers, but this woman lama, Jetsun Lochen Rinpoche, gave me tremendous insight into the spiritual life. I was interested in devoting myself wholly to meditation, but she said: “Right now stay where you are and carry on your studies and practices. After you have done this for some time you will achieve the inner realization.”5

Reflecting upon Jetsun Lochen’s influence on him in 1980, Lhalungpa said, “This woman was my chief teacher. I was fortunate enough to have many, but whatever my spiritual awakening and eclectic understanding, I owe to her.”6 During his time with Jetsun Lochen, he received various teachings and initiations and noted that she, like his father and uncle Gonsartse Rinpoche, urged him to continue studying the teachings of all Tibetan Buddhist traditions.

After about seven years as a monk-official based at the Dalai Lama’s office, Lhalungpa was given a new assignment to act as the Cultural and Educational Representative of the Tibetan Government in India. Part of this position included overseeing the education of young Tibetan students while they received schooling at Saint Joseph’s College in Darjeeling, Northern India. Saint Joseph’s College was founded as a Jesuit school in 1888  and became affiliated with Calcutta University in 1926. The intention was for these young people to be trained in administration, technology, diplomacy and pedagogy in India, so that they could return to Tibet with newfound skills that would hasten the country’s modernization. He was also responsible for making sure that they maintained their use and knowledge of Tibetan language and customs.

In August of 1947 Lhalungpa left Lhasa for India. After a tearful goodbye with his family, he readied himself to leave the courtyard on horseback when his hat fell off, traditionally considered a portent of bad luck. He later interpreted this to be a sign that he might never return to the Lhasa in which he was born and raised. He travelled with an official document sealed by the Dalai Lama’s regent, the Third Taktra Paṇḍita Ngawang Sungrab Tutob (stag brag paNDi ta ngag dbang gsung rab mthu stobs, 1874-1953). A letter from the Third Taktra certifying to Lhalungpa’s credentials remains in the possession of the Lhalungpa family. On the way to India, the group stopped at Drepung and then Nechung, where he had an uncle who was a senior monk. After enjoying performances by the Nechung monks, who were famed for their ability to perform folk opera, they journeyed on to the Tsangchu Valley (gtsang chu) passing through Chushur (chu shur), crossing the river at Chakzam (lcags zam), where they passed through the town of Peldi near Yamdrok Lake (yar ‘brog mtsho).

While the usual route to India would have taken them directly south, Lhalungpa wanted to first visit the Paṇchen Lama’s seat at Tashilhunpo Monastery (bkra shis lhun po) in Shigatse, and so they took a significant detour to the west. When they returned to the route south of Gyantse they intersected with Anagarika Govinda and Li Gautami, who were then on their way to Lhasa to study Buddhism. Govinda, originally from Germany, and Li from India, would become well-known Tibetan Buddhist converts and founders of an ashram in Northern India. The disparate travellers were all caught up in a dust storm and lodged together for a night in the same guest house.

Crossing into India, the group went through Sikkim to Kalimpong, and then finally reached Darjeeling. He recalled this period as being difficult, saying, “I had no friends, nobody, my teachers all lived in Tibet.” This sharply contrasted with his life in Lhasa that was rich with religious teachings underpinned by the support of his large, close-knit family. Furthermore, he knew no English and was initially unable to communicate with the staff at Saint Joseph’s. Nevertheless, he quickly settled into his new life in India. In 1949, Lhalungpa attended the World Buddhist Conference in Bodhgaya as a representative of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama.

At some point Lhalungpa renounced his monastic vows, though the exact year and circumstances remain unclear. In 1949, he married Diki Lhamo Dorji (bde skyid lha mo rdor rje), who was born in Darjeeling to a family of Tibetan and Bhutanese descent. Diki Lhamo’s father, L.M. Dorji, a Reader in Tibetan at Calcutta University, published one of the first Tibetan language textbooks in English. Diki and Lobsang Phuntsok had four sons; a first son died in infancy and was soon followed by Samphe (bsam ‘phel), born in 1950, Jigme Rigden (‘jigs med rigs ldan, 1953-1980), and Nawang Tenzin (ngag dbang bstan ‘dzin, b. 1956).

Over the next few years, he taught colloquial and literary Tibetan, as well as Tibetan history and Buddhism at St. Joseph’s to ten students, five monks and five lay youths.7 In 1950, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama was installed as head of state. In May 1951, the Seventeen Point Agreement, which ended Tibet’s independence, was signed in Beijing. In September 1951, the People’s Liberation Army marched into Lhasa. The rest of the 1950s was a period of uneasy coexistence between Tibetans and Chinese. As Lhalungpa learned of the dire situation in Tibet as a result of the Chinese occupation, he recalled feeling “spiritless.” Most of his family was still in Tibet, along with the Dalai Lama and most of the cabinet.

In the early 1950s, he was summoned back to Tibet by figures he assumed to be intelligence officers. Initially, he was ordered in writing to suspend his work at St. Joseph’s and return to Lhasa. When he chose to ignore the first message, he was contacted two more times, the last time in person. An official attempted to convince him that positive changes were taking place in Tibet, assuring him that he would be able to secure a good teaching position at a university. At this precipitous moment in his life, he was guided by his knowledge of the prophetic writings of the Thirteenth Dalai Lama, who just before his death articulated his concerns about how the so-called “Red Faith” would threaten Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism. His decision to remain in India was also informed by the teachings he had received while living with his grand uncle Gonsartse Rinpoche, who had lived and taught in Mongolia up until the 1921 Mongolian Revolution, from which Gonsartse fled.

Staying in India meant forsaking his connection to the Tibetan government under Chinese occupation, and the loss of formal employment. By 1953, informally organized Tibetan emigres had been meeting to discuss the situation in Tibet and determine what actions could be taken to bring international attention to their concerns; royals from Sikkim were also frequently involved in these talks. Lobsang Lhalungpa participated in these conversations. By this time he had learned English and in 1954 he established the Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Cultural Institute (ITBCI) with Dardo Rinpoche8 (dar mdo rin po che). Their efforts were intended to counteract the presence of a Chinese school in Kalimpong; though initially founded by the Nationalist government, by the early 1950s this school was managed by the communist government. ITBCI, still in operation today, was housed in a building owned by the Government of Bhutan where the Thirteenth Dalai Lama had once stayed; it was successful and attracted local Tibetan children who learned Tibetan language and customs.

Beginning in March of 1954, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama’s elder brother Gyalo Thondup ( rgyal blo don grub, b. 1928), Khenchung Lobzang Gyeltsen (mkhan chung blo bzang rgyal mtshan), and Tsipon Wangchuk Deden Shakabpa (rtsis dpon zhwa sgab pa, 1908-1989) began forming an anti-communist exile-based resistance group that would become known as Chenkhentsisum (gcen mkhan rtsis sum), the name being derived from the founding members’ epithets. In his diary, and in personal correspondence, the former finance minister and prominent historian of Tibet, Shakabpa refers to Lhalungpa as “Genla,” who, along with Dardo Rinpoche, was on the periphery of their group. He worked on cultivating connections with the press to highlight the Tibet issue. He worked with Tharchin Babu (mthar phyin ba bu, 1890-1976), publisher of the popular Tibetan language newspaper Tibet Mirror (yul phyogs gsar ‘gyur me long), to print stories in Tibetan that would be distributed in and outside of Tibet. For around one year Lhalungpa wrote and edited columns on issues related to Tibet, a subject which was considered too sensitive for coverage by the Indian press.9

During this tumultuous period, western scholars attempting to reach Tibet were stalled in northern India, unable to gain visas for travel into Tibet. Now living in Kalimpong, Lhalungpa interacted with many of these scholars, including some of the foremost Tibetologists of the time. To David Snellgrove, he taught spoken Tibetan and also collaborated on a translation of the classic work best known under the English title Words of My Perfect Teacher (kun bzang bla ma’i zhal lung). He also had a close association with George Roerich, working with him on annotations of Tsongkhapa’s Great Treatise on Tantra (snags rim chen mo) and translation into English of the Dunhuang Annals. Together, they co-authored Textbook of Colloquial Tibetan, which was first published in 1957 by the government of West Bengal; a second edition was released in 1972. Lhalungpa assisted Prince Peter of Greece and Denmark with anthropological research and also provided colloquial language instruction. He consulted and translated for Rene De Nebesky-Wojkowitz on work that was published as Oracles and Demons of Tibet in 1956. The author acknowledged Lhalungpa’s contribution in his foreword:

A considerable amount of highly interesting information regarding the selection, life, rites, etc. of oracles consulted by the Tibetan Government was received from Blo bzang phun tshogs, a “Peak Secretary” (rtse drung) of the Dalai Lama’s office and son of the former state oracle, rgyal mtshan mthar phyin.10

In 1956, Lhalungpa moved to New Delhi to serve as head of the Tibetan division of All India Radio, the national news service of India. The initiative was spearheaded by Indian Political Officer for Bhutan and Sikkim, Shri Apa Pant. As Chief Broadcaster, Lhalungpa supervised broadcasts in Tibetan that included news, commentary, radio plays, music, and special features. Diki Lhalungpa worked as an announcer on the broadcasts. The first broadcast was transmitted on December 15, 1956.11 In his capacity directing the Tibetan broadcasts, he worked closely with Indian officials; this experience and the government connections served him well when the Fourteenth Dalai Lama and thousands of Tibetans began arriving in India in 1959. Through the use of shortwave transmissions, his work at All India Radio was particularly significant in that it allowed Tibetans inside of Tibet to access world news.

In addition to his work at All India Radio, he was involved in the development of monasteries and secular schools within the exile communities as the various settlements began to take shape. Lhalungpa was a close friend of Amdo Gungtang Tsultrim, Secretary of the group of thirteen settlements in India, who was part of the movement to resist efforts to create unified administrations of Tibetan Buddhist and Bon exile communities. He was an advisor to a community of Bon adherents and helped them establish the Tibetan Bonpo Foundation (bod kyi bon po tshog pa), which was legally registered at the Lhalungpa residence in Delhi. Lhalungpa assisted in passing funds from relief groups in Europe directly to the Bon community. Members of this community recalled Lhalungpa’s assistance in having their organization formally registered; one member interviewed in 2016 noted that Lhalungpa was “non-sectarian and open minded.”12 Personal papers also confirm Lhalungpa’s role in distributing relief funds to communities led by the Forty-first Sakya Trizin (sa skya khri ‘dzin 41 ngag dbang kun dga’ theg chen dpal ‘bar, b. 1945), Khamtrul Rinpoche (khams sprul 08 don brgyud nyi ma, 1931-1980) and Chokling Rinpoche.

In 1968, Lobsang Lhalungpa met the Jesuit priest Thomas Merton during Merton’s travels in India. Harold Talbott, an American who was studying Buddhism in India, connected Merton to both Lhalungpa and the Dalai Lama during Merton’s travels. Lhalungpa acted as a translator while Merton engaged with monks in order to learn about the varieties of monasticism and the role of meditation. The Asian Journal of Thomas Merton recounts the visits he paid to eminent Tibetan lamas of the time and describes spending time with Lhalungpa and Diki in Delhi. They also dined together at the residence of the Canadian High Commissioner, James George. The American scholar of Tibet, E. Gene Smith, was also present.13 Lhalungpa later remarked that Merton was fascinated by what he learned about Tibetan Buddhist meditation techniques and was eager to develop a meditation project upon his return to America. Merton asked him whether he would be interested in participating as an advisor and translator; Lhalungpa agreed enthusiastically as he had already been thinking about relocating to North America and was excited by the prospect of continuing his practice overseas. This collaboration never came to fruition, as Thomas Merton died in Thailand just a short time after his travels in India.

In 1970, Lhalungpa emigrated to Canada, where he was offered a position at the University of British Columbia to teach Buddhist philosophy. After several years in Canada, he moved to the United States, where he continued his scholarship and also engaged with scholars and spiritual leaders from an array of traditions. He was among the speakers at The International Colloquium for World Religions, held at the Rothko Chapel in Houston, Texas in 1973. Esalen, the influential center on the California coast at Big Sur, known for its importance to the nascent New Age movement, planned a series of lectures in the summer of 1973, and invited Lobsang Lhalungpa to speak about the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. His lecture was compiled into an article and included in an edited volume entitled Sacred Tradition and Present Need. Professor Jacob Needleman, the opening speaker for the lecture series, would become a close friend. Needleman and several other Gurdjieff followers would later assist Lhalungpa while he translated The Life of Milarepa, one of Lhalungpa’s most well-known literary achievements, which was first published in 1977.

Beginning in 1976, he worked on translations of Buddhist texts under the auspices of The Institute for Advanced Studies of World Religions at Stony Brook University, New York. Having been personally urged in 1969 by Drukchen Tukse Rinpoche, Tsewang Gyurme (‘brug pa thugs sras tshe dbang ‘gyur med, 1917-1983), to translate Moonbeams of Mahāmudrā (nges don phyag rgya chen po’i sgom rim gsal bar byed pa’i legs bshad zla ba’i ‘od zer), the seminal Kagyu masterwork by Dakpo Tashi Namgyel (dvags po bkra shis rnam rgyal, 1512/1513-1587), Lhalungpa finally embarked on studying the monumental text. Permission to work on the text was also granted by the Sixteenth Karmapa, Rangjung Dorje (karma pa 16 rang byung rdo rje, 1924-1981). The Third Dezhung Rinpoche, Kunga Tenpai Nyima (sde gzhung rin po che 03 kun dga’ bstan pa’i nyi ma, 1906-1987) was advisor on the project; for two years the two scholars lived and worked at the private Long Island estate of Dr. C.T. Shen, President of the Institute for Advanced Studies. (Dezhung Rinpoche and Lobsang Lhalungpa first met in Seattle in 1972). The final work, Mahamudra, the Moonlight, Quintessence of Mind and Meditation, would eventually be published in 1986 by Shambhala, and revised and reprinted in 2006 by Wisdom Publications. During this period in New York, Lhalungpa divorced Diki, who remained in Canada. In 1980, he married Gisele Minke, a flight attendant for Pan American Airlines, who had also collaborated with photographer Ernst Haas.

In addition to his translation work, Lhalungpa wrote extensively throughout his life in both Tibetan and English. Tibet: The Sacred Realm contains Lhalungpa’s autobiographical accounts complemented by historical photographs. He also translated the autobiography of Gandhi into Tibetan under the title Bdag nyid chen po gan dhi’i rnam thar dang gsung rtsom gces bsdus,14 as well as Nehru’s letters. His Tibetan translation of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama’s autobiography, Freedom in Exile, was published in 2008.15 He also served as a consultant for projects at the American Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian. He acted as an onsite consultant to Martin Scorsese during the 1996 filming of Kundun in Morocco for which he was credited as a Technical Advisor.

After nearly three decades living outside of Tibet, in 1982, Lhalungpa travelled to Tibet with Gisele. During their travels he was able to reconnect with his family and visit his former home. His two siblings now lived in two rooms of the larger house, which was now shared with the members of their father’s second family. His elder brother Jampa, with whom he had studied closely, had been imprisoned for nearly two decades as a result of his class background and because of his involvement in the uprising of 1959. He was astonished by the stories of hardship told to him by relatives. The experience strengthened his resolve to contribute to the preservation of Tibetan language and literature in exile.16

In 1989, he moved to Santa Fe, finding comfort in a landscape that reminded him of Tibet. Lhalungpa was one of the first Tibetans to settle in the area, and over the years he welcomed many Tibetan families as they made New Mexico their new home. In 1991, when the Fourteenth Dalai Lama visited Santa Fe, Lobsang Lhalungpa acted as translator when His Holiness met with a group of Hopi Elders.17 In Santa Fe, Lhalungpa was also actively involved in working with AIDS and hospice patients, teaching them meditation techniques intended to ease them through the dying process. When he himself was diagnosed with stomach cancer, he engaged in yoga and meditative practices to counteract the side effects of chemotherapy, eventually making a remarkable recovery. In reflecting on this period of his life he said:

I always tell meditators, don’t think you are really taking something valuable from your active life—if you learn properly this way of meditation, you’ll come back to your active life with a little more stability. You’ll be calm, emotionally. When you are emotionally calm, your perception is clear.18

Shortly after his recovery from cancer, Lhalungpa met members of the local community who were eager to learn more about Tibetan Buddhism and meditation. He began to teach Buddhist concepts and practice, reviewing texts with a devoted group of students. In 2000, he and several of these students travelled to Bhutan to honor the Queen Mother, Ashi Kesang Choden (b. 1930), who granted the group an audience. (Lhalungpa had been close with the Bhutanese royal family from the time he had settled in northern India). Lhalungpa continued to teach, as often as twice per week, to groups of beginner and advanced students. Toward the end of his life he was working on a book on bodhicitta, as well as studying the works of Tsongkhapa.19

Lobsang Phuntsok Lhalungpa died on April 29, 2008 as a result of internal injuries sustained in a car accident caused by a drunk driver. A statement to his son, Samphe Lhalungpa, from the Fourteenth Dalai Lama was read during one of several memorials:

Your late father will be remembered for his pioneering role in establishing the first Tibetan language programme of All India Radio and for his dedicated life service to the promotion and preservation of our rich spiritual and cultural tradition. He also did much in helping Tibetan refugee communities at a very difficult time in their early years of exile. In his passing away, we have lost a great patriot and scholar.20




1 Gyeltsen Tarchin’s father was Kelsang, whose brother was the Nechung Oracle Shākya Yarpel. Shākya Yarpel recognized the Thirteenth Dalai Lama and was highly respected for his divinations.

 Lhalungpa’s personal papers refer to this school as Gowashar, which has not yet been identified. It is not mentioned on an official list of Lhasa schools or in other similar resources.

3 Dooling, DM. 1978. “Taming the Wild Horse: An Interview with Lobsang Lhalungpa,”  p. 49.

4 Lhalungpa, Tibet: The Sacred Realm, p. 30.

 Dooling, “Taming the Wild Horse: An Interview with Lobsang Lhalungpa,” p. 49.

6 Lhalungpa, “A Portrait of Tibet’s Great Woman Saint,”  p. 54.

7 Goldstein, A History of Modern Tibet. p. 153 fn 27.

8 Often spelled Thando

9 For additional detail on Lhalungpa’s involvement with Chenkhentsisum, see Goldstein’s A History of Modern Tibet Vol. 3, Chapter 5, and Paljor Tsarong, Melvyn Goldstein, and Lhalungpa Lobsang Phüntso,” Interview H: with Lhalungpa Lobsang Phüntso.” USA, 14 April 1994. Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, 1994. https://www.loc.gov/item/tohap.H0082/

10 De Nebesky-Wojkowitz, Oracles and Demons of Tibet, IX-X.

11 Goldstein, A History of Modern Tibet. Volume 3, p. 192.

12 Interview by Ugyan Choedup of members of the Bonpo settlement in India.

13 Merton, The Asian Journal of Thomas Merton, pp. 64-65, 70, 126, 129, 150.

14 Lhalungpa, Lobsang Phuntsok. 1970. Jewel of Humanity: Life of Mahatma Gandhi and Light of Truth: His Teachings. New Delhi: Gandhi Smarak Nidhi & Gram Bhavna Prakashan.

15 Phyi yul du rang dbang gong sa skyabs mgon tA la’i bla ma mchog gi bka’ tsom mdzad rnam rin po che. New Delhi: Tibet House.

16 Lhalungpa, Lobsang. Interview by Nancy Dahl and Shirley Minett. January 1998. Santa Fe Living Treasures Project.

17 Personal communication with Eleanor Caponigro, April 9, 2019.

18 Lhalungpa, Living Treasures transcript, p. 24.

19 Personal communication with Eleanor Caponigro, April 9, 2019.

20 Lhalungpa, Samphe. 2008. “Memorial Remarks for Lobsang Lhalungpa.” Collection of Samphe Lhalungpa.

Catherine Tsuji received an MA in Religious Studies at University of California Santa Barbara. She is currently an editor at the Treasury of Lives.

Published December 2019






Letter from St. Joseph’s College to Lobsang Phuntsok Lhalungpa

A letter certifying Lobsang Phunstok Lhalungpa’s employment and exemplary service as a teacher at St. Joseph’s College in Darjeeling.

Letter from Tibetan Exile Government to Lobsang Phuntsok Lhalungpa

This letter from the Tibetan Government in Exile documents Lobsang Phuntsok Lhalungpa’s role in cultural preservation activities of the early exile government.

Lhalungpas in Delhi

This undated photograph shows Jigme Rigden Lhalungpa, Lobsang Phuntsok Lhalungpa, Sogyal Rinpoche, Diki Lhalungpa, E. Gene Smith and Harold Talbott.

Receipt from Lobsang P. Lhalungpa to Sakya Trizin

A receipt dated September 9, 1965 documenting the dispersal of funds to the Sakya Trizin and the Sakya Settlement at Dehra Dun, by Lobsang P. Lhalungpa on behalf of the Tibet Society of United Kingdom.

Receipt from Lobsang P. Lhalungpa to Tibetan Bonpo Foundation

A receipt dated from1965 documenting the dispersal of funds to the Tibet Bonpo Foundation by Lobsang P. Lhalungpa on behalf of the Tibet Society of United Kingdom. The Tibet Bonpo Foundation was registered at the Lhalungpa residence in Delhi.


THe Treaeury of Lives