“Tradition is very precious. Thanks to that base, thanks to that root, we have the ability and capacity to branch out without being misguided or having misunderstandings. We have the direct lineage from all these practitioners who are realized beings and thanks to them we have this information today.”
HIS HOLINESS THE DALAI LAMA
His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, describes himself as a simple Buddhist monk. He is the spiritual leader of Tibet. He was born on 6 July 1935, to a farming family, in a small hamlet located in Taktser, Amdo, northeastern Tibet. At the age of two, the child, then named Lhamo Dhondup, was recognized as the reincarnation of the previous 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso.
The Dalai Lamas are believed to be manifestations of Avalokiteshvara or Chenrezig, the Bodhisattva of Compassion and the patron saint of Tibet. Bodhisattvas are realized beings inspired by a wish to attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings, who have vowed to be reborn in the world to help humanity.
His Eminence Kyabje Ling Rimpoche
His Eminence the 7th Kyabje Yongzin Ling Rinpoche was born in McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh, India, on 18 November 1985, just nine months after Tenzin Osel Hita was born. In 1987, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama recognized him as the reincarnation of the 6th Kyabje Yongzin Ling Rinpoche (1903 – 1983), who was the principal tutor of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. His Holiness refers to him as, “My root Guru”.
His Eminence was awarded his Geshe Degree from Drepung Loseling Monastic University in South India in November 2016. He completed his studies at Gyuto Monastery in February 2018. H. E. continues to be closely guided and advised by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.
Tenzin Osel Hita has received teachings and Jenangs from His Eminence.
LAMA THUBTEN YESHE
Lama Thubten Yeshe (1935–84) was born in Tibet and from the age of six was educated at the Je College of Sera Monastic University in Lhasa. Not long after meeting his first Western students, in the late 1960s, he established Kopan Monastery near Boudhanath in Nepal. Here, as well as providing traditional monastic education for the local monks (and, later, for nuns as well), he and his main disciple, Lama Zopa Rinpoche, also taught courses and retreats for their foreign students. At their request, the lamas started centers in Australia, the United States, and Europe and, in 1975, named this burgeoning group of activities the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition. The FPMT now encompasses more than 160 centers, monasteries, projects, and services worldwide under the spiritual guidance of Lama Zopa Rinpoche.
“I have only seen Lama Yeshe in photos and videos. And I love him very much. He is my best friend. He helps me a lot. Thanks to him, I have the luck to return.”
Lama Thubten Zopa Rimpoche
Lama Zopa Rinpoche is a Tibetan Buddhist scholar and meditator who for 30 years has overseen the spiritual activities of the extensive worldwide network of centers, projects and services that form the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), which he founded with Lama Thubten Yeshe.
Born in the Mount Everest region of Thami in 1946, Rinpoche was recognized soon afterwards by His Holiness Tulshig Rinpoche and five other lamas as the reincarnation of the great yogi Kunsang Yeshe.
At the age of ten, Rinpoche went to Tibet and studied and meditated at Domo Geshe Rinpoche’s monastery near Pagri, until the Chinese occupation of Tibet in 1959 forced him to forsake Tibet for the safety of Bhutan.
Rinpoche then went to the Tibetan refugee camp at Buxa Duar, West Bengal, India, where he met Lama Yeshe, who became his closest teacher. The Lamas met their first Western student, Zina Rachevsky, in 1965 then traveled with her to Nepal in 1967 where they began teaching more Westerners. Over the next few years they built Kopan and Lawudo Monasteries. In 1971 Lama Zopa Rinpoche gave the first of his famous annual lam-rim retreat courses, which continue at Kopan to this day.
“Lama Zopa is an immensely special person – very inspiring and a great yogi.”
Khensur Rinpoche Jetsun Gendun Chöephel
Ösel’s beloved teacher during his years at Sera Je Monastery was Geshe Gendun Chöephel. Geshe-la was born in 1941 in the Kartze province in Eastern Tibet. He ordained as a monk at the age of eight in his local monastery. He joined Sera Je Monastic University in Lhasa, Tibet, in 1955. In 1969, he left Tibet for India. He was among the foremost member monks to re-establish the monastery in exile in South India. He received the highest monastic scholastic award of Lharam Geshe – Doctorate in Buddhist Philosophy. He dedicated his entire life to teaching at the monastery. In 2016, he was enthroned as the 75th abbot of Sera Je. He passed away suddenly on July 31, 2016.
According to the Tibetan calendar, the anniversary of that date is July 17, 2020. (Tibetan calendar, month 5, day 27, the year 2147).
“My dearest and most precious Teacher, Friend, Mother, Father and Khen Rinpoche… He was the closest person in my life. He raised me and gave me everything, taught me and loved me like no one else. It is devastating and so hard to accept, but I feel joy for having known him and it has been such an honor to grow up under his guidance. Thank you so much Gen-la, you are always in my heart.”
Geshe Tenzin Namdak
Born in 1970 in the Netherlands, Venerable Geshe Tenzin Namdak worked as an environmental researcher having graduated from van Hall Larenstein University in the Netherlands with a degree in hydrology. He started studying Buddhism at Maitreya Institute in 1993 and took ordination from His Holiness the Dalai Lama before engaging in his formal studies in Buddhist philosophy and psychology at Sera Jey Monastic University (SJMU), South India, in 1997. He completed the entire twenty-year Geshe programme at SJMU in 2017, the first Westerner to do so.
Geshe Namdak was a founding teacher of Sera Jey Monastic Translators Training Program, has been a member of SJMU’s Education Department, was one of the founding trustees and teachers of CKSL, a (FPMT) center in Bangalore, and the founding director of Shedrup Sungdrel Ling, a house for western monks studying at SJMU. He has received a great number of explanatory teachings, transmissions and instructions from over 25 highly respected teachers and lineage masters and has done many retreats during the study breaks. He is an experienced teacher in practical and philosophical aspects of Buddhism and teaches with great clarity and a good sense of humour.
See this FPMT web-page for more information.