His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama
The Dalai Lamas are believed to be manifestations of Chenrezig or Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion and Patron Saint of Tibet. Today, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso is regarded by many as the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, particularly that of the Gelugpa tradition. The Dalai Lama was born to a farming family on 6 July 1935, in Amdo, north-eastern Tibet. He was recognised at the age of two as the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso. Despite having received his monastic training in Tibet, he has lived the larger part of his life in Dharamsala, India. Across the world, the Dalai Lama is a recognised symbol of peace, having been awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1989 for his non-violent struggle for the Tibetan cause. As a lifelong advocate of non-violence he is also the first Nobel Laureate to be recognised for his global environmental concerns. The power of the Dalai Lama’s teachings is demonstrated by its resonance with both religious and lay persons all over the world – inspiring us towards a collective humanity of peace, non-violence, inter-religious understanding, universal responsibility and compassion. Lama first met the Dalai Lama more than 10 years ago and has since been receiving teachings and empowerments from His Holiness regularly.
His Eminence the 5th Dagri Dorje Chang
The 5th Dagri Dorje Chang (Dagri Rinpoche) was born in Tibet in 1958 and he experienced turbulent years growing up during the Cultural Revolution. Those years were particularly difficult for Rinpoche – he had served time in labour camps and other reformatory institutions.His life story exemplifies a tulku (a reincarnate Lama) who has remained true to his ideal of service to others despite arduous external conditions. After Rinpoche left Tibet in 1982, he settled at Sera Monastery with the support of Lama Thubten Yeshe and Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche. Today he lives in Dharamsala, India.Since the nineties, Lama has received numerous teachings and empowerments from Rinpoche. Rinpoche is a regular guest at Thekchen Choling, where his teachings consistently attract huge followings.
His Eminence Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche
His Eminence Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche was born in 1946 to a humble family. His birthplace was near the Lawudo cave where his predecessor, Kunsang Yeshe (“The Lawudo Lama”) meditated extensively. He spent his early years in Tibet, but left for India in 1959, where he met his Guru Lama Thubten Yeshe. In 1967, they left for Nepal and in 1969 they managed to acquire a piece of land on Kopan Hill. That was the founding of Kopan Monastery and the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT). Today, Rinpoche serves as the spiritual Director of FPMT. Rinpoche is among the first High Lamas who noted Lama’s special qualities as a youth. Rinpoche nurtured Lama while he trained at Kopan Monastery. In 2011,during a teaching at Kopan Monastery, Rinpoche reaffirmed Lama’s authenticity as the reincarnation of a renowned Geshe.
” So he is a real, not a questionable, but real Lama. From his activities, you can see all the benefits that the disciples receive, their true ways, theirexperience, so I am very very touched.”
HE Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche
30th July 2011, Kopan Monastery
His Eminence the Late Khensur Rinpoche Lama Lhundrup Rigsel
The late Khensur Rinpoche Lama Lhundrup Rigsel was born in Tibet in 1941 to a peasant family. He joined Sera Monastery as a young boy. In 1959, due to the Chinese presence in Tibet, he left for India where he met Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche.
Khensur Rinpoche arrived at Kopan Monastery in 1972, at the request of Lama Yeshe. In the year 2000, he was appointed Abbot of the monastery by the Dalai Lama and was entrusted with the care of the growing number of monks and nuns who brought to life the vision of the monastery’s founders. He was also a member of the Board of the FPMT.
Khensur Rinpoche was among Lama’s first and most important Gurus. His fatherly love had sustained Lama through his demanding training. Students at Thekchen Choling are particularly moved by his characteristic exhortations to “Be happy! Always happy! Be like your Lama, laugh!”
Khensur Rinpoche manifested passing away in September 2011. On 3 May 2016, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has officially recognized the three-year-old Tenzin Rigsel as the reincarnation of the Khensur Rinpoche Lama Lhundrup Rigsel.
The Late Geshe Lama Konchog His Eminence Tenzin Phuntsok Rinpoche
The late Geshe Lama Konchog studied in Sera Monastery in Tibet from the age of 7 to 32 (1934- 1959). He left Tibet in 1959 and arrived in Tsum, Nepal. Upon the instructions of his Guru, His Holiness Trijang Rinpoche, Geshe-la started a series of meditation retreats in the Tsum mountains. Geshe-la’s mountain retreats lasted for a total of 26 years.
Despite numerous requests from Lama Yeshe over the years to stay and teach at Kopan Monastery, Geshe-la only did so in 1985, a year after Lama Yeshe’s passing. It was at Kopan Monastery that Lama first met Geshe- la. Lama identifies Geshe-la as one his main Gurus; a deep and unmistakable bond was forged between the Teacher and the Student. It was Geshe-la who instructed Lama to start a Dharma centre that would cater to the needs of both monastic and lay practitioners. Geshe- la even bestowed the name “Thekchen Choling (Singapore)” – a great honour as the namesake is the Dalai Lama’s temple.
Geshe-la manifested passing away in 2001, leaving behind numerous relics. He is reincarnated as His Eminence Tenzin Phuntsok Rinpoche, who is currently receiving his training at Kopan Monastery.
His Eminence Kyabje Tsikey Mingyur Dewey Dorje
His Eminence Kyabje Tsikey Chokling Mingyur Dewey Dorje (Chokling Rinpoche) was born in 1953 as the second son of Kyabje Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche. He was recognised by His Holiness the 16th Gyalwang Karmapa as the fourth incarnation of the great treasure revealer, Terchen Chokgyur Dechen Shikpo Lingpa.
Chokling Rinpoche is a tertön and yogi practitioner with a wife and four children. His oldest son has been recognised by the Dalai Lama as the reincarnation of the 6th Phakchok Rinpoche of the Taklung Kagyü lineage. His youngest son was recognised by Kyabje Trulshik Rinpoche as the reincarnation of the late Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.
Chokling Rinpoche is currently the Spiritual Master at Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling Monastery, one of the largest monasteries in Kathmandu, Nepal. Lama has received empowerment from Rinpoche since 2011.
The Late Geshe Kechog of Kopan Monastery
The late Geshe Kechog arrived in Kopan Monastery in the mid-eighties. He was one of the key tantric teachers who took Lama under his wing and trained Lama in tantras and rituals. In effect he was more than a teacher; he became a father figure to Lama as Lama spent extensive periods away from home during his trainings. Geshe-la manifested passing away in 2011.
Geshe Pema Wangchen of Sera Monastery
Geshe Wangchen is one of the foremost teachers at Sera Monastery, south india. He was a contemporary to Lama Yeshe as they trained in Tibet, before making their way to India. He had also served as the Disciplinarian at Kopan Monastery. Lama has received various teachings and empowerments from Geshe-la since the nineties.
Venerable Khen Rinpoche Geshe Lobsang Delek
Khen Rinpoche Geshe Lobsang Delek was born in 1939 at Khantse Pantso in Tibet and entered the monastic life at the Karze Monastery at the tender age of seven. Ten years later, he eventually progressed to pursue higher studies at the original Sera-Jey Monastery in Tibet.
Following the footsteps of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Khen Rinpoche left Tibet In 1959 and settled in India. He is among the first monks to settle at the re-established Sera Jey Monastery at Bylakuppe (Mysore, India) in the 1970s, and received teachings from renowned teachers such as Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Wangchuk and Gyudmed Khensur Dorjee Tashi. He received his Lharam Geshe degree in 1987.
For nearly three decades now, Khen Rinpoche has served in eminent positions in foremost monastic institutions; he was the Abbot of Gyudmed Tantric College and the Abbot of Sed-Gud Monastic Institute of Buddhist Studies, among others. He is currently the Abbot of Sera Jey Monastery.
Indeed his successive appointments to key positions is an indication of the reverence and respect accorded to Khen Rinpoche’s profound accomplishments. His simple, fatherly demeanor belies his vast Dharma knowledge and experience – a unique blend of qualities that make him a living Dharma treasure for all beings.
His Eminence the 6th Kyabgon Jhado Choktrul Rinpoche
Khensur Jhado Tulku Rinpoche was born in 1954 to a nomadic family in Tibet and soon was recognized and enthroned as the sixth incarnation of the Abbot of Jhado Monastery. After leaving Tibet in 1959, Rinpoche lived briefly in Nepal and later spent several years in North India. Rinpoche took his vows as a novice monk from His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and subsequently his full ordination vows from the late Ling Rinpoche.
Rinpoche received his monastic training at Sera Je Monastery, where he received extensive teachings from many accomplished teachers such as the master Lobsang Wangchuk. He also studied at the Gyuto Tantric Monastic University. In 1991, Rinpoche attained the degree of Geshe Lha Rampa – the highest level of scholastic achievement within the Gelugpa tradition.
In the early nineties, Rinpoche served as a teacher at Namgyal Monastery in Dharamsala, the personal monastery of His Holiness the Dalai Lama; he was subsequently appointed to the post of Abbot of Namgyal Monastery. Rinpoche received many transmissions from both His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and his tutors, as well as from Rime masters such as Trulshig Rinpoche and Chogye Trichen Rinpoche.
Rinpoche is well-known for his razor-sharp intelligence and dynamic teaching style and is beloved for his ability to engage non-Tibetan students in interesting and personally relevant ways.
Venerable Phra Mahathongkum
Venerable Phra Mahathongkum was Lama’s first Buddhist teacher. He taught Lama meditation and the essential tenets of the Theravada tradition. It was him who revealed to Lama his true calling and pointed him in the direction of the Vajrayana Path. Before his passing, Venerable told Lama that he would meet his “true” teachers later in life and that they would be monks in red robes.” This advice was actualised when Lama eventually found his Root Gurus in Nepal.