One of the longest serving civil servants and the last surviving government official of independent Tibet, Tsedrung Gyaltsen Choden, passed away in the United States at the age of 102, the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) said on Friday.
A prayer service to mourn his demise was held at the Kashag Secretariat here on January 12, which was attended, among others, by CTA President Penpa Tsering.
Delivering the eulogy for the deceased, Tsering said: “We have gathered here today to mourn the demise of Kungo Gyaltsen Choden la who was perhaps the last surviving government official of an independent Tibet before 1959.”
He served the Tibetan government from a young age. After coming into exile, he served the exile government in various capacities for the entirety of his life, he added.
“He was one of the longest serving Tibetan civil servants and we offer our deepest condolences to his family members. We believe that he has lived a truly meaningful life serving the Tibetan people and fulfilling the aspirations of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.”
According to the CTA, Choden was born in 1920 at Medo Gongkar near Lhasa. He was third among the four children born to father Jangchup Phuntsok and mother Kelsang Dolma. He started his schooling from 1930.
In 1935, he joined Tashi Lhunpo monastery to study Buddhist theology and philosophy.
In 1946, he was selected as an accountant. He came into exile in 1959 and retired from active service in 1992.
The Dalai Lama has been living in India since fleeing his homeland Tibet in 1959. The government-in-exile is based in this northern hill town of Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh.