His Holiness the Ganden Tri Rinpoche is the spiritual successor of Tsongkhapa and occupies the ecclesiastical throne of the great Monastery of Ganden, 25 miles North-East of Lhasa. This post is held for five-seven years only by a monk chosen from all Tibet for pre-eminence in learning and piety. It is the highest and most respected rank to which a monk, who is not an incarnation, can rise. When there is no Dalai Lama, the Tri Rinpoche is often appointed as Regent of Tibet. It is awarded by the Dalai Lama on the basis of competitive examinations. Since the position is not a life-long one, there have been many more Ganden Tripas than Dalai Lamas to date. The Venerable Khensur Lungri Namgyel Rinpoche (1927- ) from Kham, who lives in Europe, held the position of the 101st Ganden Tripa from 2003-2009. The 102nd Gaden Tripa, Rizong Se Rinpoche Thupten Nyima Lungtok Tenzin Norbu, was appointed in the fall of 2009.
H. H. the 100th Ganden Tripa, Venerable Lobsang Nyingma Rinpoche, is retired and now lives in Dharmasala, India. The 101st has moved to be with a group of his followers in the U.S.