Choeding Rinpoche was founder and abbot of Shang Ganden Choekor Monastery and the Spiritual Director of our Centre.
Choeding Rinpoche (1936-2013) entered the Ganden Choekor Monastery at the age of seven. He moved to Sera Je Monastery to study Buddhist Dialectics when he was 14. In 1958 he escaped the Chinese invasion of Tibet and fled in India. He founded the new Ganden Choekar Monastery in Pokhara, Nepal. In 1991 he received a Geshe degree at Sera Je in south India.
Choeding Rinpoche was the eighth incarnation of Geshe Ben Kunkyen at the Shang Ganden Choekor monastery which was founded in the year 1604 by the Fifth Dalai Lama.
The story of Geshe Ben Kunkyen
Pembo is a town in Tibet, about a days travel from Lhasa. Ben Kunkyen lived here as a farmer. As he wanted more he also worked diligently as a thief and robber. At the age of 40 Ben Kunkyen was staying at Gola, a high pass between Pembo and Lhasa, where he met an old woman. She asked him where Ben Kunkyen lived. When he replied that he was Ben Kunkyen, the old woman died on the spot of a heart attack.
Ben Kunkyen realised how terrible his actions were. He went to the local Lama to receive teachings and to meditate on love and compassion. He studied diligently and was later ordained. However, everyone called him Geshe Ben Kunkyen.