Reverend Kushok Bakula Rinpoche (May 21, 1917 – November 4, 2003) was a reincarnation of Kushok Bakula Rinpoche. He was one of the best known lamas of Ladakh, a statesman and international diplomat of the Republic of India. He is known for his efforts in reviving Buddhism in Mongolia and Russia, linking them with the community of Tibetan exiles in India.
A descendant of Ladakh’s royal family, he was given to monkhood at an early age. He was recognized by the Thirteenth Dalai Lama as a reincarnation of Bakula Arhat, one of the Sixteen Arhats (direct disciples of Gautama Buddha). Having being enthroned as Kushok Bakula Rinpoche, he served as the head of Pethup Gompa (Monastery) in Spituk, Ladakh, India and later moved to Samkar University for further education. He went to Lhasa(Tibet) at the age of 13 to receive education in the great Drepung monastery which was the largest monastic institution in Tibet. There he was awarded the degree of Geshe Larampa (the highest degree in Buddhist metaphysics) at the age of 25 and got his geshe ordination from the 13th Dalia Lama.
After returning from Tibet he dedicated his life in serving the people of Ladakh for their better future. He served as Minister of State in the Government of India from 1953 to 1967. He also served as the member of the consultative Committees in Indian Parliament for defense, education and planning. His role in education was unforgettable, under his guidance the Ladakh Buddhist Association and All Ladakh Gonpa Association were able to establish the Buddhist philosophy school on 23 October 1959 (now CIBS) with only ten students. In 1963 with his effort the Ladakh Institute of Higher Studies was established in Delhi with students from various Himalayan regions such as Himachal Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Nagaland, Mezoram etc.
On August 7, 1978,Bakula Rinpochey was appointed a member of the first Commission on Minorities and served till December 11, 1989. Then from 1990 till 2000 he served as an Indian Ambassador to Mongolia. In 1999 he founded Betuvlin Monastery in Ulaanbaatar.
He died on 4 November 2004 in New Delhi. After his death, his ashes was placed in a silver stupa, made by his disciple, in Betuvlin Monastery.
The 20th Incarnation of Kushok Bakula Rinpoche enthroned
This event has become of great significance for Ladakh as well as the followers of Kushok Bakula Rinpoche. Thubstan Nawang or Stanzin Nawang Jigmed Wangchuk, (born 24 November 2005) was born in Kyagar village in Nubra valley in Ladakh and has been introduced to the monastic life in Samstanling Gonpa before enthroned on 6 August 2010 in Pethup Gonpa in Spituk. He is the 20th incarnation of Kushok Bakula Rinpoche.