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The Je Khenpo in 2010, at Punakha Dzong, in a saffron kabney
Emblem of Bhutan.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Bhutan

The Je Khenpo (Tibetan: རྗེ་མཁན་པོ་Wylie: Rje Mkhan-po; "The Chief Abbot of the Central Monastic Body of Bhutan"[1]), formerly called the Dharma Raj by orientalists, is the title given to the senior religious hierarch of Bhutan. His primary duty is to lead the Dratshang Lhentshog (Commission for the Monastic Affairs) of Bhutan, which oversees the Central Monastic Body, and to arbitrate on matters of doctrine, assisted by lopons (learned masters).[2] The Je Khenpo is also responsible for many important liturgical and religious duties across the country. The sitting Je Khenpo is also formally the leader of the southern branch of the Drukpa Kagyu sect, which is part of the Kagyu tradition of Himalayan Buddhism. Aside from the King of Bhutan, only the Je Khenpo may don a saffron kabney.[3]

History[edit]

According to the dual system of government established by Ngawang Namgyal in the 17th century, the powers of the government of Bhutan are ideally split between the religious branch, headed by the Je Khenpo, and the administrative branch, headed by the Druk Desi.[4] The position of Je Khenpo is granted on merit by election, and typically is given to the most respected monk in the Dratshang Lhentshog (Commission for the Monastic Affairs). Thus, unlike reincarnation lineages such as the Dalai Lama, Zhabdrung Rinpoche, or Panchen Lama, the position of Je Khenpo is never held by a child but always by a seasoned monk.

Historically, the role of the Je Khenpo was quite powerful. The Je Khenpo and Druk Desi collaborated to disempower the office of the Zhabdrung through finding multiple incarnations of various aspects of the Zhabdrung; both the Je Khenpo and the Druk Desi wanted to retain the power they had accrued through the dual system of government.[5] However, since the establishment of the monarchy in 1907, the relative influence of the Je Khenpo has diminished. Nonetheless, the position remains a powerful one and the Je Khenpo is typically viewed as the closest and most powerful advisor to the King of Bhutan.

The 67th Je Khenpo, Ngawang Thinley Lhundup, died at the age of 84 on 10 June 2005. He was noted as a strict disciplinarian who would not compromise any rules in managing the Central Monsatic Body. In addition to his position as Je Khenpo, he was recognized as the tulku of Nyizergang, the seat of the tertön Woogpa Lingpa, in Wangdue Phodrang Province.

The 70th and present Je Khenpo is tulku Jigme Chhoeda. He is believed to be the reincarnation of Maitreya as well as the mahasiddha Saraha, Hungchen Kara, Kheuchung Lotsawa, and Pema Tsering.

In 2008, the office of the Je Khenpo was codified as part of the Constitution of Bhutan. Under Article 3 Section 4, the King appoints the Je Khenpo as the spiritual leader of Bhutan on the recommendation of the Five Lopons. In turn, the Je Khenpo appoints, on the recommendation of the Dratshang Lhentshog (Commission for the Monastic Affairs), monks with the nine qualities of a spiritual master and accomplished in ked-dzog (stages of development and completion in Vajrayana practice) as the Five Lopons.[1]

List of Je Khenpos[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Constitution of the Kingdom of Bhutan (English)" (PDF). Government of Bhutan. 18 July 2008. Retrieved 2010-10-13. 
  2. ^ Worden, Robert L.; Savada, Andrea Matles (ed.) (1991). "Chapter 6 - Bhutan: Religious Tradition". Nepal and Bhutan: Country Studies (3rd ed.). Federal Research Division, United States Library of Congress. ISBN 0-8444-0777-1. Retrieved 2010-11-02. 
  3. ^ Worden, Robert L.; Savada, Andrea Matles (ed.) (1991). "Chapter 6 - Bhutan: Social System". Nepal and Bhutan: Country Studies (3rd ed.). Federal Research Division, United States Library of Congress. ISBN 0-8444-0777-1. Retrieved 2010-11-02. 
  4. ^ Worden, Robert L.; Savada, Andrea Matles (ed.) (1991). "Chapter 6 - Bhutan: Theocratic Government, 1616-1907". Nepal and Bhutan: Country Studies (3rd ed.). Federal Research Division, United States Library of Congress. ISBN 0-8444-0777-1. Retrieved 2010-11-02. 
  5. ^ Worden, Robert L.; Savada, Andrea Matles (ed.) (1991). "Chapter 6 - Bhutan: Administrative Integration and Conflict with Tibet, 1651–1728". Nepal and Bhutan: Country Studies (3rd ed.). Federal Research Division, United States Library of Congress. ISBN 0-8444-0777-1. Retrieved 2010-11-02. 
  6. ^ "bzod pa 'phrin las". TBRC. Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center. 
  7. ^ "ngag dbang lhun grub". TBRC. Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center. 
  8. ^ "shAkya rin chen". TBRC. Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center. 
  9. ^ "ngag dbang 'phrin las". TBRC. Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center. 
  10. ^ "kun dga' rgya mtsho". TBRC. Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center. 
  11. ^ "yon tan mtha' yas". TBRC. Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center. 
  12. ^ "shes rab seng+ge". TBRC. Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center. 
  13. ^ "ye shes rdo rje". TBRC. Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center. 
  14. ^ "shAkya rgyal mtshan". TBRC. Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center. 
  15. ^ "srid zhi rnam rgyal". TBRC. Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center. 

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Je_Khenpo — Please support Wikipedia.
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161 news items

Parent Herald

Parent Herald
Tue, 03 May 2016 01:26:15 -0700

A picture of Prince Jigme Namgyel of Bhutan was recently released, just ahead of his three-month birth anniversary. His adorable face and gorgeous eyes have captivated the hearts of million across the world, making him one of the most adorable royalty ...

Kuensel, Buhutan's National Newspaper

Kuensel, Buhutan's National Newspaper
Sun, 10 Jan 2016 21:56:16 -0800

Moelam: His Holiness the Je Khenpo, who is presiding over the Moenlam Chhenmo in Samdrupjongkhar, told the devotees not to make wild and baseless conclusions about what happened there on Saturday. On Junuary 9, a choekhang (prayer hall) at ...

Kuensel, Buhutan's National Newspaper

Kuensel, Buhutan's National Newspaper
Tue, 19 Apr 2016 22:37:30 -0700

His Majesty The King, along with the Zhung Dratshang led by His Holiness the Je Khenpo, planted 400 trees around the Thangzona in Punakha. The nine species of trees of religious and ornamental value included Tsenden, the sacred Cypress tree; ...

National Geographic

National Geographic
Tue, 26 Apr 2016 09:41:12 -0700

Tashichho Dzong in Thimpu houses government ministries as well as the Je Khenpo-the Chief Abbot of the Central Monastic Body of Bhutan. Religion and government are deeply entwined in Bhutan. Every high level bureaucrat has his equivalent in the ...

Daily Mail

Daily Mail
Sat, 16 Apr 2016 03:10:03 -0700

There, they were received by His Holiness, the Je Khenpo. Revealing the crown prince's name, the King said: 'The Gyalsey is not just the prince of the King and Gyaltsuen, but a son to all the Bhutanese people. 'Jigme means fearless. It symbolises great ...

International Business Times

International Business Times
Mon, 18 Apr 2016 21:30:00 -0700

Earlier, during the birth of the baby, all the sacred traditions of Bhutan were observed with the Je Khenpo presiding over the religious ceremonies. The king and queen of the Himalayan region, also known as the Dragon King and Queen, were elated and ...
 
Kuensel, Buhutan's National Newspaper
Sun, 17 Apr 2016 02:04:53 -0700

Reminiscent of special moments in Bhutan's history, the sacred ceremony was attended by His Majesty The King and Her Majesty The Queen, His Majesty The Fourth Druk Gyalpo, His Holiness the Je Khenpo, the entire Royal Family, political and government ...

Kuensel, Buhutan's National Newspaper

Kuensel, Buhutan's National Newspaper
Wed, 20 Apr 2016 23:33:45 -0700

Reconstruction: It was a moment of pride as the reconstruction project of Wangdue Dzong achieved another milestone with the consecration ceremony of the kuenrey, yesterday. The three-storey kuenrey is the first phase of the reconstruction project ...
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