Erdne Ombadykow

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Visit of Telo Tulku to Roerich House, Ulan Bator. Glenn H. Mullin is present

Erdne Ombadykow (born October 27, 1972 in Philadelphia), also known as Telo Tulku Rinpoche, is the Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader of the Kalmyk people. He received his formal training as a bhikṣu in India and was recognized by the 14th Dalai Lama as the current reincarnation of mahasiddha Tilopa.

Since 1992, Telo Tulku has served as the spiritual head (Shadjin Lama) of the Buddhists of Kalmykia. He divides his time between Kalmykia and his family in Erie, Colorado.

Early life and career

Erdne Ombadykow was born in Philadelphia to working class, immigrant parents of Kalmyk origin as the youngest of brothers Tschon, Tseren, Dava, Jigmid, Jaba and sisters Marguerite, Gerel and Rolma. As a child, Erdne determined that he wanted to be a Buddhist monk, the way other boys want to be policemen or firemen. By the age of seven, Erdne's parents permitted him to move to India where he would study Buddhism at a monastery until 1992. It was reported on ChessBase News, when asked why was he was sent to a monastery in India to be trained as a Buddhist monk at age seven, he said his family wanted one of the sons to become a monk, and he had shown the greatest interest. In New York he met the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, who recommended that he go to the Drepung Gomang Monastery in South India for proper training.[1] While studying at the Drepung Gomang Monastery for 13 years, Erdne Ombadykow was recognized as the current reincarnation (Tulku) of Tilopa, a revered Buddhist saint.

Initial visit to Russia

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1992, Erdne joined the Dalai Lama on his first visit to Kalmykia, a region whose once-rich Buddhist heritage was destroyed in the 1930s by the dual Soviet policies of collectivization and atheism. Upon arrival, the Dalai Lama named Erdne as the Šajin (Supreme) Lama of the Kalmyk people. As the spiritual leader, Erdne's role was to lead a Buddhist revival among the approximately 160,000 Kalmyks who live in Kalmykia.

As the only Kalmyk person with proper Buddhist training, Erdne soon determined that his responsibility as the Šajin Lama was too great a burden for he himself to bear as a 22-year-old. Moreover, he found that his formal monastic training did not prepare him for the role he was assigned. He neither spoke the Kalmyk language nor was he familiar with the mentality of the people or the government.

Return to the USA

Presumably these obstacles made him return to the United States in late 1994, renounce monkhood and get married in 1995. However, after a self-imposed two-year exile, Erdne re-embraced his mission and returned to Kalmykia.

Return to Kalmykia

Since his return to Kalmykia, Erdne has successfully led the revival of Buddhism. For example, as the Šajin Lama, Erdne now administers 27 newly constructed temples and prayer houses and oversees the work of seven Tibetan lamas. He also has dispatched dozens of young Kalmyk men to India for formal monastic training. Finally, he has learned to speak Kalmyk and Russian.

Erdne spends six months of the year in Elista and the remainder with his wife and son in the United States.

See also

References

  1. The Rock Star and the Šajin Lama Reports about Erdne Ombadykow are under his pictures at the second half of the web page.

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Ajahn Amaro Bhikkhu Analayo Reb Anderson James H. Austin Alan Ball (screenwriter)
Martine Batchelor Stephen Batchelor (author) Ezra Bayda Jan Chozen Bays Alexander Berzin
Bhikkhu Sujato Alfred Bloom (Buddhist) Bhikkhu Bodhi William Bodiford Sujin Boriharnwanaket
Tara Brach Shoryu Bradley Ajahn Brahm Arthur Braverman David Brazier
David Chadwick (writer) Pema Chodron Thubten Chodron Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche 14th Dalai Lama
Taisen Deshimaru K. L. Dhammajoti Phra Dhammavisuddhikavi Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche Zoketsu Norman Fischer
Charles Tenshin Fletcher James Ishmael Ford Francesca Freemantle Gil Fronsdal Stephen Fulder
Gary Gach Rupert Gethin Tetsugen Bernard Glassman Natalie Goldberg Joseph Goldstein
Richard Gombrich Oscar R. Gómez Henepola Gunaratana Ruben Habito Steve Hagen
Joan Halifax Shodo Harada Richard Hayes (professor) Steven Heine Dennis Hirota
Hsing Yun Cheri Huber Daisaku Ikeda Jeffrey Hopkins Thupten Jinpa
Y Karunadasa Robert Kennedy (Jesuit) Khandro Rinpoche Khantipalo Second Beru Khyentse
Anne C. Klein Jack Kornfield Erik Pema Kunsang Jakusho Kwong Geri Larkin
David Loy Dan Lusthaus Vicki Mackenzie Robert Magliola
Master Lian Tzi Dennis Merzel Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche Phillip Moffitt Glenn H. Mullin
Rob Nairn Namkhai Norbu Katukurunde Nyanananda Thera Gedhun Choekyi Nyima Shōhaku Okumura
Erdne Ombadykow Tenzin Palmo Ajahn Pasanno Piya Tan Red Pine (author)
Prayudh Payutto John Myrdhin Reynolds Ringu Tulku Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche Tsenzhab Serkong Rinpoche
Larry Rosenberg Hiro Sachiya Sharon Salzberg Padma Samten Shozan Jack Haubner
Ajahn Sucitto Ajahn Sumedho Thanissaro Bhikkhu Soma Thera Chokyi Sengay
Tashi Tsering (Chenrezig) Tashi Tsering (Jamyang) Tashi Tsering (tibetologist)
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