Ganden Tripa (Tib. དགའ་ལྡན་ཁྲི་པ་, Wyl. dga' ldan khri pa) — the holder of the throne of Ganden Monastery, the Ganden Tripa, is the seniormost scholar and head of the Gelugpa School, and the direct successor of Je Tsongkhapa. The route to the position of Ganden Tripa is a democratic one, as expressed in the Tibetan proverb: “if a mother's son has the right qualifications, then the Ganden throne is open to him”.
Ganden Throneholders serve for a term of seven years, and candidates are either the Sharpa Chöjé, the former abbot of Gyütö, the Higher Tantric College, or Jangtsé Chöjé, the former abbot of Gyümé, the Lower Tantric College. Since the position alternates between these two, it usually takes up to fourteen years to become Ganden Tripa having become either Sharpa Chöjé or Jangtsé Chöjé.
The Ganden Tripa from 2009 to 2016 was Thubten Nyima Lungtok Tenzin Norbu (Wyl. thub bstan nyi ma lung rtogs bstan 'dzin nor bu), aka Rizong Rinpoche, the 102nd Ganden Tripa. After the successful completion of his 7-year tenure His Holiness the Dalai Lama enthroned His Eminence Sharpa Chojey Jetsun Lobsang Tenzin as the 103rd Ganden Tripa on 5th November 2016 at Ganden Trithok Khang, the office and residence of the Ganden Tripa in Tibetan Settlement, Mundgod. At present the position is vacant, since Jetsun Lobsang Tenzin dyed in office on 21 April 2017.
- Or: "If a mother's son has perseverance, Ganden's throne has no real owner." (a ma'i bu la snying rus yod na/ dga' ldan khri la dam phrug med/)
- Chö Yang (1996) p.60
- "Interview with the Hundredth Holder of the Ganden Throne Jetsun Lobsang Nyima" in Chö Yang: The Voice of Tibetan Religion and Culture No. 7, 1996. pp. 59-62