DHARAMSALA, Oct 30: Lodi Gyari Rinpoche, the former special envoy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama has passed away.
Gyari Rinpoche, as he was affectionately called, has passed away at the age of 69 in the early hours on Monday at a hospital in San Francisco, US.
Gyari Rinpoche was admitted in the hospital earlier this week where he was being treated for liver cancer. He is survived by his wife, Dawa Chokyi, six children and grandchildren.
Mr Gyari had served in the senior-most positions in the Tibetan administration in exile. At the age of 30, he was elected as the Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile and was one of the youngest people to be appointed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the Kashag (the Tibetan Cabinet).
After being appointed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama to lead negotiations with the Chinese government, Mr Gyari conducted nine rounds of high-level talks with the Chinese counterparts between 2002- 2010 and was instrumental in maintaining a broad international interest and support for the dialogue process.
In May 2012, citing “utter lack of progress in the talks and increased repression inside Tibet” Mr Lodi Gyari resigned as the Special Envoy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Lodi Gyari Rinpoche was also the co-founder of the Tibetan Youth Congress and for over a quarter century, he served in various capacities at the Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet (ICT). Gyari Rinpoche joined the ICT in 1991 and after stepping down from the presidency in 1999, he served as the Executive Chairman of the Board of ICT until his retirement in June 2014.
Lodi Gyari Rinpoche was born in Nyarong in the traditional Tibetan province of Kham in 1949. He was recognized as the reincarnation of a Buddhist master of the Nyingma lineage, named Khenchen Jampal Dewé Nyima from Lumorap Monastery in Tibet. After the Chinese occupation of Tibet, he fled with his family into exile in India in 1959.
As a mark of respect for the former statesman, the Central Tibetan Administration has declared today a half-day public holiday to hold a prayer service at 2 pm in the afternoon at the T-Building at the Central Tibetan Secretariat here in Dharamsala.