Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Lama Zopa Rinpoche is a Tibetan Buddhist scholar and meditator who for over 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 Trulshik Rinpoche and five other lamas as the reincarnation of the great yogi Kunsang Yeshe. Rinpoche was taken under the care of FPMT’s founder Lama Thubten Yeshe, soon after leaving Tibet, in Buxa Duar, India, in the early 1960’s. Rinpoche was with Lama Yeshe until 1984 when Lama Yeshe passed away and Lama Zopa Rinpoche took over as spiritual director of FPMT.
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 1967 then traveled with her to Nepal in 1968 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.
FPMT was established at the end of 1975. Lama Yeshe served as the organization’s spiritual director until he passed away in 1984, at which time Rinpoche took over. Since then, under his peerless guidance, the FPMT has continued to flourish.
Venerable Lama Thubten Yeshe
Lama Thubten Yeshe was born in Tibet in 1935. At the age of six, he entered Sera Monastic University in Tibet where he studied until 1959, when as Lama Yeshe himself has said, “In that year the Chinese kindly told us that it was time to leave Tibet and meet the outside world.” Lama Thubten Yeshe and Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche, together as teacher and disciple since their exile in India, met their first Western students in 1967. By 1971, they settled at Kopan, a small hamlet near Kathmandu in Nepal. In 1974, the Lamas began touring and teaching in the West, which would eventually result in The Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition. Lama Yeshe died in 1984.
“Why have we established the FPMT? Why are we establishing these facilities all over the world? I think we are clean clear as to our aim—we want to lead sentient beings to higher education. We are an organization that gives people the chance to receive higher education. We offer people what we have the combined knowledge of Buddha’s teachings and the modern way of life. Our purpose is to share our experiences of this”.
Lharampa Geshe Thubten Zoepa
Geshe Thubten Zopa was born on 15th of December, 1970 in northern Tibet, at a place called Nagchu as the seventh child of father, Tubchog and mother, Dekyi.
During his childhood he studied at the primary school of Nagchu and when he was 13 years old, he joined Shavgon Ganden Doden Dekyiling monastery in Nagchu and commenced studying sutra and tantra. In 1991 he joined Khardon Khamtsen of Sera Jey dratsang in Southern India where he studied for 17 years completing all the courses. Between 2008 and 2013, Geshe-la studied garampa, lopon and lharampa classes each for two years and successfully passed these great exams of the Gelugpa tradition and received the Lharampa Geshe title. From 2014, Geshe-la furthered his tantric studies at Judod dratsang in Dharamsala, India completing these in 2015.
In May 2015, at the request of Jhado Rinpoche, one of his teachers, together with an invitation from Gandantegchenling monastery, Geshe la arrived in Mongolia to teach.
As we do not have our own resident Geshe at GDNSL, Lama Zopa Rinpoche advised a couple of years ago that it is appropriate to invite Geshe Thubten Zoepa to teach at the centre as his time permits. Geshe-la teaches 2 times per week and helps us with bestowing the 8 Mahayana precepts, 100 Million Mani Retreat and other requests as they arise. When Lama Zopa Rinpoche was in Mongolia in May 2017, he also requested Geshe-la to teach our Dolma Ling Nuns and he very kindly accepted.
Getsulma Thubten Gyalmo
Getsulma Thubten Gyalmo is from Western Australia and came to Mongolia at the end of 2008 to work at FPMT Mongolia’s Ganden Do Ngag Shedrup Ling as Spiritual Program Coordinator and introductory teacher.
She has 2 adult children and now 6 grandchildren. Gyalmo became a Buddhist in 1977 and over the past 40 years has been studying Buddhism with HH Dalai Lama, Lama Thubten Yeshe, Lama Zopa Rinpoche, other Tibetan Buddhist Masters and several senior FPMT monks and nuns. She has participated in several retreats and upon the advice of Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche has been guiding meditation for the past 33 years.
Gyalmo was the founding Centre Director of Hospice of Mother Tara, FPMT Buddhist Teaching and Meditation Centre in Western Australia (Tara Meditation Centre now) for 12 ½ years and was actively involved in offering spiritual support to the sick and dying in the local community. She also taught yoga and meditation in the local men’s prison for 11 years.
In 2009, Gyalmo received Getsulma Ordination from Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche and is currently serving as the resident Western teacher at GDNSLC and makes regular visits to teach at our Golden Light Sutra Study Group in Darkhan.
Gyalmo also offers service to the Liberation Prison Project and is visiting some Mongolian prisons to offer spiritual support and teachings to inmates.
Lavain Egshig (Ganden) radio hosts a meditation radio program and Gyalmo has been offering meditations and talks for this program over the past 6 years.