GYUMED KHENSUR RINPOCHE LOBSANG JAMPA
Venerable Emeritus Abbot Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Jampa (known as Geshe Trinley Topgye) was born in 1937 in Nyaktren, a sector of Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. In 1947 at the age of 10, he gained admission to Sera Mey Monastery of the Sera Mahayana Monastic University near Lhasa – one of the three major seats of highest Buddhist studies.
In 1952, he received his novice monk vows from the late Minyag Tondues Rinpoche, the 95th Throne Holder of Gelugpa Tradition in Tibetan Buddhism. In 1959, he received the complete Bhikshu vows – the highest level of ordination – from His Eminence, the late Yongzin Ling Rinpoche, the 97th Throne Holder of Gelugpa Tradition and also senior Tutor to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. Khensur Rinpoche studied in Tibet until 1959 when he fled to India after China invaded and forcefully occupied Tibet.
Rinpoche soon returned to his studies in the exiled Sera monastery, reconstructed under the guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the spiritual and political head of the Tibetan people. From 1959-70, he resided with more than 1500 monks from four Tibetan Buddhist sects at Buxar, an old British Army camp in West Bengal. In 1970, the monks of Sera Mey relocated to Mysore district in Karnataka State in southern India.
The monks reestablished Sera Mey Monastic University in Bylakuppe. Khensur Rinpoche continued his spiritual training and studies there with his characteristic dedication and enthusiasm. In 1986, he completed the final Geshe exam and received the esteemed honor of Geshe Lharampa (equivalent to a PhD), the highest level awarded.
From 1980 to the present, Khensur Rinpoche has continued to teach at Sera Mey Monastic University. In 1989, he assumed the position of Discipline Master for one year. Then in 1990, he received the advanced degree of Ngagrampa (highest degree in Buddhist Tantra studies) from Gyumed Tantric College after extensively studying the secret teachings of the Mahayana tradition.
In 1993, Khensur Rinpoche became Discipline Master of Gyumed. Monastic leaders soon after submitted his name and that of eight other prominent Geshes to the Dalai Lama as candidates for the post of Lama Umdze (Head Lama to lead all rituals) of the Tantric College. On January 7, 1994, the Dalai Lama selected Khensur Rinpoche to serve as the Lama Umdze (Vice Abbot), and on November 12, 1996, the Dalai Lama appointed him as the honorable Abbot of the Gyumed Tantric College.
Khensur Rinpoche completed his three-year term as Abbot with dedication and success. He taught tantric studies continuously for three years and conducted numerous religious rituals and ceremonies.
On completion of his term, Khensur Rinpoche returned to his teaching position at Sera Mey Monastic University, and continues to teach sutra and tantra to students and senior Geshes. He also continues his active leadership and participation in all religious ceremonies of the monastery.
During his term as Abbot of Gyumed, Khensur Rinpoche made his first visit to the USA and Canada to conduct various religious teachings and rituals at the request of the Gyumed College administrators and western students. A considerable number of Westerners benefited from this initial tour. In 2003, he taught widely in Singapore and Malaysia.
Khensur Rinpoche is both a scholar of great knowledge and understanding, and a holder of many traditional teaching lineages. His generous presence and contributions to the Sera Mey Monastic University have proven indispensable. A living example of Buddha's teachings, he divides his time between personal meditation and practices, and teaching a growing network of Western and Tibetan students. He is highly qualified to teach on all levels of Buddhist practice and to conduct all Buddhist rituals.He currently teaches at Guhyasamaja Center in Washington, D.C., and at his newly established center in Redding, Connecticut, Do Ngak Kunphen Ling.
GESHE LOBSANG DHARGEY
Geshe Lobsang Dhargey was born in 1969 in the Bomdilla district of the state of Arunachal Pradesh, North East India. At the age of ten, he entered Sera Mey Monastery, which is one of the largest Tibetan monasteries. He then began his long monastic training under the Venerable Gyumed Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Jampa, his personal tutor and Spiritual Director of DNKL.
Geshe-la received his ordination as a novice monk in 1982 from the late Kyabje Ling Rinpoche, the senior tutor of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and the 97th Throne Holder of the Gelug tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. He then received the vows of a fully ordained monk, a Bikshu, in 1994 directly from His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
After 15 years of study, Geshe-la appeared for the All Gelupga Monastic University examination in 1998 and was awarded the highest monastic degree, that of Geshe Lharampa. For the final part of this examination, Geshe-la had to go to all the three great monastic universities of the Gelugpa tradition, namely Sera, Ganden and Drepung, to engage in philosophical debates with the finest of monk scholars.
As tradition mandates, after successfully completing studies in Buddhist Sutra, Geshe-la went to Gyumed Tantric College in 1999 to study Buddhist tantra. In 2002, he topped the debate examination conducted by those monks who held Geshe Lharampa degrees at Gyumed Tantric College. He received the Ngagrampa degree in Buddhist Tantric Studies. Geshe-la also served in the “Education Development Committee of Sera Mey Monastery” from 1999 to 2001.
Geshe Dhargey is a gifted Buddhist teacher who has taught not only in Sera Mey Monastery but also in the West and is now the Resident Teacher at Do Ngak Kunphen Ling in Redding, CT.
GESHE NGAWANG KELSANG
Born in 1963 in Namche, a small Himalayan town on the foothills of Mount Everest in Nepal. Geshe Ngawang Kelsang became a monk at the age 14 and joined Sera Mey Monastic University in South India in 1978.
Geshe Ngawang Kelsang was given monastic Novice Vows in 1981 by Ling Rinpoche. the late senior teacher of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and he took full monastic Ordination Vows 'Gelong' (Bkikhsu) from His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 1986 at Sera Monastery, he was not only excelled in his studies but also started teaching while he was studying there. He studied in all major Buddhist texts and on subjects such as logic, epistemology, advanced debate, ancient wisdom, monastic discipline, and more at Sera University and was awarded Geshe Lharamapa degree (Doctorate in Buddhist Philosophy) in 1996.
Geshe Ngawang Kelsang then joined Gyumed Tantric University to study sacred tantric tradition of Buddhism. Upon completing tantric studies, on the advice of his teacher Thupten Rinchen, he went to Nepal to guide and improve the monks at Shelkhar Monastery in Nepal which he continues, now as advisor. He was appointed as Director of Education Development at Sera Mey Monastic University.
Geshe Ngawang Kelsang completed tantric studies with honors 'Ngakrampa' in 2002, and served as a tantric mediation teacher a Gyuemed Monastery, and was later also appointed as Gekoe (Disciplinary Master), which was offered to only highly accomplished graduates.
Im 2009, on the advice of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, he took initiative to start Gelug Association in Nepal to help improve and establish higher standards of monastic education of Gelug monasteries in Nepal. He served as its president for six years, during which many monastic tradition and traditional education systems were revived. He continues to serve as advisor to the association and to the monasteries.
In 2019, Shelkar Association, a Tibetan community in exile representing Shelkar region of Tibet and Shelkar monastery, appointed him to lead the long-life offering initiative for Dalai Lama. The event was a major success and was held at Both Gaya, the place where Buddha achieved enlightenment. Geshe Ngawang Kelsang continues to teach the students worldwide via online.
Venerable Lobsang Tendrol, a Chinese American nun, studied Buddhism with Dr. Jan Willis at Wesleyan University in the 1980s. She immersed herself in teachings given by the late Geshe Lhundup Sopa and the current Jangtse Choje Rinpoche Lobsang Tenzin at Deer Park in Madison, WI. In 2004, she completed FPMT's two-year Foundation of Buddhist Thought program. In 2008, she had the good fortune to receive novice ordination vows from Gyumed Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Jampa. With Rinpoche's encouragement, she studied the five great texts through the FPMT Masters Program (2008 - 2017).
Ven. Tendrol taught at the Guhyasamaja Center in northern Virginia from 2006 to 2018. Since 2016, Ven. Tendrol has offered classes at DNKL and has helped with pujas and special events. In her free time, Ven. Tendrol enjoys learning Tibetan, caring for shelter dogs, and gardening.