Looks like there will be a change over from His Holiness the 70th Je Khenpo to the 71st Je Khenpo by end of this year. Most probably the most smoothest transfer of a spiritual responsibility and transition in the history of Central Monk Body. His Holiness the 70th Je Khenpo Truelku Jigme Chhoedra has been ready to retire for quite some time. And the Venerable Dorji Lopon has been upholding the Dratsang responsibilities of the Je Khenpo including leading the Summer and Winter migration journey between Punakha and Thimphu for quite sometime.
My one hope and prayer is that His Holiness Truelku Jigme Chhoedra will continue to grace the Moelam Chhenmos in the Dzongkhags especially that of Haa where it all began. And also give Teachings on many more aspects of life and living and spiritual ways of Lord Buddha. His Holiness is a genuine leader of humanity in spirit, knowledge, discipline and practice. A Supreme Leader amongst the greatest that blessed this world in matters of compassion, courage and dedication.
For His Holiness, doing things right was of utmost importantance. I am sure His Holiness deeply respects the Je Khenpo Throne and the historic opportunity bestowed upon him to grace it for so many years. And yet His Holiness is one kind of a spiritual and worldly leader who would maintain a standard of personal human dignity that no post or honour could compromise. Indeed a rare genius of a spiritual Truelku who never got compromised by the temporal powers or affluence.
Many years back, I had the honour of being in an audience granted by His Holiness at Punakha Dzong to Haa Chhundu Tsogpa which sought to seek His Holiness to grace the next Moelam Chhenmo in Haa. I was the Chairman of Chhudu Tsogpa but fellow colleagues like Dasho( Dr) Gado Tshering and our all rounder indispensable PJ ( Pema Juney ) who had closer communications with His Holiness had arranged the audience. During the audience on the subject of Dharma, I humbly submitted my wishful thinking.
" Your Holiness, we hear about other religions now taking root within our Buddhist Kingdom. ( Those were times when democracy and secularism had not arrived and Buddhism was State religion. Now it is different and I accept national realities of secular vision). One reason could be Dratsang's inability to spread the words of Dharma. Most of the successive Je Khenpos were elderly, travel was arduous for lack of motor road and in the past there were fewer people who could sponsor religious events of Wangs and Lungs. Now the nation is in much better shape and Your Holiness is in prime age with good health. Under the stewardship of Your Holiness, I feel we have arrived at a fresh dawn of Buddha Dharma ". His Holiness smiled and though he responded kindly, I never imagined the leaps and bounds that came about throughout the Kingdom in the Teachings and Practices of Lord Buddha Dharma under the reign of the 70th Je Khenpo.
There is now annual Moelam Chhenmos in all 20 Dzongkhags. In addition His Holiness conducted the Dechok Khorlo at Punakha and Kanju Reading at Kuensel Phodrong Thimphu. And this year the Moelam Chhenmo was performed by our own Dratsang at Rajgir the Seat of Buddha Teachings in India. For me this is all a Triple Gem achievements by His Holiness.
There must be many other equally sacred deeds unknown to me. I only have views from afar. But I hold dearly the few moments of Blessings from His Holiness in forms of great thoughts and holy wisdoms shared.
At home, when His Holiness came upon the Chhoetse Throne, even new admission into monkhood was restricted. The Royal Government was not favourable to increasing monk numbers for some strange reasons. Today the scenario has been transformed. Now all are welcome to join the monkhood. And it is also easier to leave monkhood. There is less stigma. His Holiness has taken monkhood as a way of providing education for self and society development and not just devotion to Dharma itself. The number of Sheydras and Drupdreys flourished in the nation and the strengthening of Dzongkhag Dratsangs to serve the communities especially in times of griefs are incredible strides made under the stewardship of His Holiness.
To some rare individuals of great accomplishments the word " impossible " is not in their intent and goal. Like the sun, His Holiness lighted up the whole Bhutanese national communities from central to all directions. His Holiness has been a glowing source of inspiration and affection. His Holiness is truly the Love of the nation. May it be the good fortune of Bhutan and Bhutanese to have His Holiness amongst us in good health and in active Dharma Teaching Practices. Long Live His Holiness Truelku Jigme Chhoedra the 70th Je Khenpo of Bhutan.