His Eminence Zava Damdin Rinpoche, also known as Luvsandarjaa Lama, is an erudite Mongolian Buddhist master within the Gelug tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.
Born in 1975, Zava Damdin Rinpoche was recognised in the year 2000 as the reincarnation of one of the greatest Buddhist masters, yogis, healers, scholars and mahasiddhas in Mongolia, Zava Lam Damdin (1867 – 1937), whose birthday is celebrated grandly even until today.
A great scholar, Zava Lam Damdin wrote 16 volumes of philosophic writings which are still used today in many monasteries. He was also greatly respected by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama who mentioned that he made Zava Lam Damdin’s ‘Ninj Chimbiin Dodva‘ and ‘Khorchoenjun‘ texts his reference books.
Zava Damdin Rinpoche joined Amarbayasgalant Monastery when he was 11 years old and studied Buddhist theory. By the time he was 14, he was studying Tibetan and Mongolian languages, writing his own poems and translating works of renowned Lamas of the past.
Zava Damdin Rinpoche continues the great legacy of his predecessor in spreading the Buddhadharma. His works are instrumental in reviving Buddhism in Mongolia which suffered a major decline during the communist era. Delgeruun Choira Monastery, the traditional seat of Zava Damdin Rinpoche was established in 1918, and like many monasteries during that time, it was completely destroyed in 1939.
Shortly after his recognition, Zava Damdin Rinpoche together with His Eminence Zasep Rinpoche and a few close students visited Delgeruun Choira Monastery. On his first visit to the area, villagers and nomads wept joyously as they presented Zava Damdin Rinpoche priceless holy relics and belongings of the previous Zava Lam Damdin which they risked their lives to save from the ruins of the monastery.
After ascending his traditional seat in Delgeruun Choira Monastery in 2005, Zava Damdin Rinpoche began reforming religious life there and in other nearby places. His works started to grow as he travelled abroad more frequently in order to turn the wheel of Dharma, as well as establish new monasteries in Mongolia. Today, Delgeruun Choira Monastery has the largest temple in Mongolia.
Zava Damdin Rinpoche is also famous for his absolute Guru devotion to his teacher, His Eminence Sokpu Rinpoche (Guru Deva Rinpoche). Out of the blue one day, Sokpu Rinpoche instructed Zava Damdin Rinpoche to enter into a four-year Yamantaka retreat. Although he did not have much time to prepare for the retreat, due to his deep commitment and unshakable Guru devotion, Zava Damdin Rinpoche successfully completed his retreat under the harshest conditions in the Gobi desert, where temperatures can drop to -400C.
Although Sokpu Rinpoche entered clear light while Zava Damdin Rinpoche was in retreat and many monks left the monastery, Zava Damdin Rinpoche with great discipline and devotion continued his practice as instructed by his late teacher. This is not an act that many people can endure in this generation.
Today, Zava Damdin Rinpoche, among the new generation of eminent young lamas, is a celebrity in Mongolia. His intense religious discipline has given him an uncommon spiritual qualification in Mongolia, and he is often a regular conversation topic on Mongolian news channels and talk shows.
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