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Noyon Khutagt

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The Noyon Khutagt is a monk of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism in the Gobi region of Mongolia. The present Noyon Khutagt is believed to be the ninth incarnation of the original Mongolian Noyon Khutagt, who himself was believed to be a reincarnation of a much earlier person from the history of Tibetan Hinduism.


According to oral traditions, nine reincarnations of Gobi Noyon Khutagts came in Mongolia preceded by 33 reincarnations in Tibet.
Researcher Altangerel mentioned in his work that a Tibetan lama called Bodon Chogloi Namgyal reincarnated as three different lamas at the same time in Mongolia. According to some biographies, the Gobi Noyon Khutagts were reincarnations of Sanjye-palsen. Debate continues as to exactly who were Bodon Choklai Namgyal and Sangya Palsang, how they were connected to the Gobi Noyon Khutugts.
When the first Jetsundampa Undur Gegeen (the Highest Rinpoche) Zanabazar was in his twenties and Ikh Khuree was established, Sonom Daichin Khoshuuch (1640-1670), who was a descendant of Abtai Sain Khan, traveled to Baruun-zuu (Lhasa) and requested a lama (spiritual teacher) for people to regard as root guru and a specific deity for practice from the Panchen Lama. Thus, the Panchen Lama sent Sanjye-palsen lama as a spiritual teacher and a statue of Odsergocha for worship and practice and sent them all to Mongolia. This is recorded as:
Here ‘our khoshuu’ refers to the former ‘Mergen van’ County of ‘Tusheet khan’ province of Mongolia. It was a big county that covered the territories of present Khövsgöl, Khatanbulag, Sulin kheer, Ulaan badrakh, Altan Shiree, Saikhan dulaan, Khar-Airag, Ikh Khet, Bayan jargalan counties of Dornogovi Province and Khanbogd County of Ömnögovi Province.
“The next reincarnation of Sanjye-palsen lama was Agvaangonchig (Navaan dendev), who is renowned as the first Noyon Khutugt of Mongolia. After the statue of Odsergocha was brought, the Mobile Temple on wheels (it was a ‘ger’ temple mounted on a wheeled stage, like in Chinggis Khan’s times) was built as Agvaangonchig’s residence. This temple was renowned as the Noyon Khutugt’s ‘Khuree Urguu’ which means ‘Residential temple’ or ‘Palace’.
Later, the First Noyon Khutugt Agvaangonchig visited Lhasa and requested the permission for establishing a new monastery from the Fifth Dalai Lama in a wooden snake year of the eleventh cycle of the lunar calendar (1665). After his return from Lhasa, the First Noyon Khutugt established a temple and named it ‘Khindurabjaaling’ in a fire horse year (1666). It became renowned as ‘Khuree khural’ in the beginning and as ‘khuree aimag’ later on. Much later, the Fourth Noyon Khutugt Jamyan-Oidovjamts established the Yidam Temple right after he had brought Yansan Yidam from Lhasa.”
A text entitled “The origin of the Khalkha Noyon Khutagts”, written in classic Mongolian scripts, is among various items preserved in our era. This text corroborates the above-mentioned oral information to some extent. It contains a list of names of the seven reincarnations of Noyon Khutagts in Mongolia and thirty-one previous reincarnations in India and Tibet in chronological order. Paintings have been found of each of these reincarnations as Buddhas. These paintings can be regarded as source material on the origins of the Mongolian Gobi Noyon Khutugts and their previous reincarnations in India and Tibet.

Incarnations of Noyon Khutagts

  1. Bodon Chogloinamgyal (Po-ston phyogs-las rnam-rgyal)
  2. Zanadhara (dza-na dha-ra)
  3. Genen Lhamo Lanaamo
  4. Zanyon Heruka (btsan-smyon he-ru-ka)
  5. Lodoidonsonrabdan (blo-gros don-zang rab-brtan)
  6. Janchubsemba Jila dorjelanaamo
  7. Zanadharalamo
  8. Lopen Dagpa dorje
  9. Shivaaryi
  10. Dubchen Guguryi (grub-chen ku-ku-ri)
  11. Lopen Sakyashyinen (slobs-dpon shakya-bshes)
  12. Agiivanchug (ngag-gi dbang-phyugs)
  13. Sesherivaa
  14. Tudevbudhashri (grub-thob budha-shr’i)
  15. Lochen Vairochana (blo-chen be-ro-tsa-na)
  16. Danaglam (rta-nag bla-ma)
  17. Serjebzunba (Ser rje-btsun-pa)
  18. Dubchen Namkhaidorj (grub-chen nam-mkh’ rdorje)
  19. Tudev-Dajir (grub-thob md’-‘byar)
  20. Tudevdarchentsanachir
  21. Lamashan (bla-ma zhang)
  22. Danagdorje
  23. Karmarolpaidorje (karma rol-pa-yi rdorje)
  24. Ronsomchoi (rong-zom chos)
  25. Nyamral (nyang-ral)
  26. Lodoisengii (blo-gros sengge)
  27. Tsarchen (tshar-chen)
  28. Zanindraa (dza-nyin dha-ra)
  29. Sereravsi (sre-rab-si)
  30. Gungaadorje (kun-dg’ rdorje)
  31. Sangyapalsan (sangs-rgyas dpal-bzang)
These are listed as Noyon Khutagt's previous incarnations in India and Tibet. Some of these names are apparently names of mahasiddhas renowned in India and Tibet.

Gobi Noyon Khutagts

The first Noyon Khutagt to be identified among Gobi Buddhists was Agvaan-gonchig, in 1622.
Generally speaking, Gobi Noyon Khutagts were one of the most influential Mongolian Rinpoches in Mongolia, China and other countries. Besides their outstanding dharma education and deeds they were holders of the Governor's stamp for their own Banner, which of their disciples made up the entire administration unit, during both Manchu Qing Dynasty and the Eighth Jetsundampa King's regime of Mongolia.


The first Gobi Noyon Khutagt Agvaan-gonchig (ngag-dbang dkon-mchog) was born in a water dog year (1622) of the 10th cycle (sixty years) of the lunar calendar as the first son of the Khalkha prince Sonom daichin. The First Noyon Khutagt studied in Tashi Lhunpo Monastery for 30 years from age 15. When he was 45 years old, he came back to Mongolia and established Amgalan (which means peace or bliss) Monastery (also known as “Olon Khuree”) in a fire horse year (1666) of the 11th cycle of the lunar calendar. He lived and spread the Dharma in the Mongolian Gobi region and died at 82 in a wooden monkey year or 1704. He was buried in a tomb at a place called Gua teeg (on top of ‘Burkhan’ heap in present Khuvsgul county of Dornogobi Province).


Noyon Khutagt Jamyan-dambee-jantsan (’jam-dbyangs bstan-pa’i rgyal-mtshan) was born as a son of an ordinary nomad by the name of Sunder in a wooden monkey year of the 12th cycle of the lunar calendar (1704). This lama was a great practitioner of tantric meditation and died in a water pig year of the 12th cycle (1743) at the age of 40. His body was placed in a special temple at Choi-ling Monastery (at the site of Khan Bayanzurkh Mountain).


Noyon Khutagt Jamyandanzan (’jam-dbyangs bstan-‘dzin) was born as a son of Tseden mergen zasag (a county governor) in a wooden mouse year of the 12th cycle (1744). This Noyon Khutugt was well educated in all Buddhist fields of knowledge. When he was 23 years old (in a fire dog year or 1766) he offered presents to the Manchu Emperor with the request to build a monastery in the Gobi region. Then he died at 25 in an earth mouse year of 13th cycle (1768). His body was enshrined in the Temple of Khan Bayanzurkh Mountain (Tulgat Mountain).


Noyon Khutagt Jamayn-Oidov-jamts (’jam-dbyangs dngos-grub rgya-mtsho) was born as a son of Rinchendorj, the governor of Selenge region, in an earth ox year of the 13th cycle (1769). At age 13, he was enthroned on the lion throne of Khashaat monastery, which had been bestowed by a Manchu Emperor. This Noyon Khutugt was accused for his “murder case” (people believed that he had crushed an evil spirit, but he had manifestly killed the Manchu Emperor’s son-in-law) while traveling to Erdene Zuu Monastery. Thus, he was taken to Beijing by order of the Emperor and imprisoned for some time. Finally, when he was traveling back to the Gobi he was murdered at a place called “Tsuurai”.


Noyon Khutagt Luvsan-danzan-ravjaa (blo-bzang bstan-‘dzin rab-rgyas) was born as the only son of Dulduit, a poor nomad, who was an immigrant from East Sunud County, in Gobi Mergen Van County, in a water pig year (1803). When Rabjaa was 8 years old, he was recognized as the reincarnation of Navaan agrampa tsorje of Avga College of Khamar Monastery in a half hidden way.
Apart from being a Rinpoche, Ravjaa was an Asian poet, equal to well-known world writers. He died on the 6th day of the first winter month of a fire dragon year of the 14th cycle (1856) at the age of 54. His body was mummified and enshrined in a special temple of West Khuree, Khamar Monastery. Since then, there has been an annual puja called “Gonzog” on the same date.


Noyon Khutagt Luvsan-dondov (blo-bzang don-grub) was born as a son of Myagmar, a Tibetan national and younger brother of Seventh Jetsundampa in a fire dragon year of the 14th of cycle of the lunar calendar. He was recognized as Noyon Khutagt when he was 1 year old and enthroned aged 14 in an earth dragon year (1868). During his enthronement ceremony, the Seventh Jetsundampa offered 64 families from his own disciple’s county. The Sixth Noyon Khutugt Luvsan-dondov died in a wooden pig year of the 15th cycle of the lunar calendar (1875) at age 20.


Noyon Khutagt Agvaan-luvsan-dambee-jantsan (ngag-dbang blo-zang bstan-pa’i rgyal-mtshan) was born as a son of Sharkhuu and Jinjee with clear signs of a higher being in a wooden pig year of the 15th cycle (1875). The Seventh Noyon Khutugt had established four aimags (major divisions) i.e. worship or devotion, preachers (nomch), abbots and monks. He had also established Great Jagar Choir (Buddhist philosophy) College of Tashi Goman of Tibet in a wooden horse year (1882) at Khamar Monastery. The Seventh Noyon Khutugt revised ‘The Life Story Moon Cuckoo” and staged it again in a water tiger year (1890). Noyon Khutugt Agvaan-luvsan-dambee-jantsan died on the 16th day of the last winter month, an iron sheep year of the 16th cycle of the lunar calendar (1931) at 57. Generally, it is not clear how his condition was after his arrest by Mongolian National Security and Intelligence Organization. No clear records document him at the Intelligence Archive.


Noyon Khutagt Samdanjamts (bsam gtan rgya mtsho) has no clear account, because he was not officially recognized and enthroned in Mongolia. In 1945, Soviet and Mongolian armies marched into the territory of China and freed it from Japan. After this historical event Mongolian refugees in Inner Mongolia moved back to the Mongolian People's Republic. Some monks came up with news about the Eight Noyon Khutagt together with handwritten list of names of Noyon Khutagts. Since it was a Communist regime, Gobi people could not take steps towards clarifying on this. What elders heard during their hidden meetings and conversations was: Genden, who was an attendant to the Seventh Noyon Khutagt, fled to Inner Mongolia and found the Eight Noyon Khutagt there. This was linked with Japanese policy to establish united Mongolia and Manchu state under her rule. The idea was to use the so called Noyon Khutagt as the head of Buddhism of the planned state. When Mongolians were moving back to their home country Samdanjamts was around 15 or 16 year. He decided to stay there. Thereafter, Mongolians lost any communications with him.


Further reading

  • Category:Buddhism in Mongolia

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