His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Inspiration and Guide of the FPMT
His Holiness the 14th the Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. He was born Lhamo Dhondrub on 6 July 1935, in a small village called Taktser in north-eastern Tibet. Born to a peasant family, His Holiness was recognised at the age of two, in accordance with Tibetan tradition, as the reincarnation of his predecessor the 13th Dalai Lama, and thus an incarnation of Chenrezig (Avalokitesvara), the Buddha of Compassion.
Lama Thubten Yeshe
Founder of the FPMT
Venerable Lama Thubten Yeshe was born in Tibet in 1935. At the age of six, he entered the great Sera Monastic University in Lhasa, where he studied until 1959, when the Chinese invasion of Tibet forced him into exile in India. Lama Yeshe continued to study and meditate in India until 1967, when, with his chief disciple, Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche, he went to Nepal. Two years later he established Kopan Monastery, near Kathmandu, in order to teach Buddhism to Westerners. In 1974, the lamas began making annual teaching tours to the West, and as a result of these travels a worldwide network of Buddhist teaching and meditation centres—the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition—began to develop.
In 1984, after an intense decade of imparting a wide variety of incredible teachings and establishing one FPMT activity after another, at the age of 49, Lama Yeshe passed away. He was reborn as Osel Hita Torres in Spain in 1985, recognised in 1986 as the incarnation of Lama Yeshe by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche
Venerable Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche was born in Thami, Nepal, in 1946. At the age of three he was recognised as the reincarnation of the Lawudo Lama, who had lived nearby at Lawudo, within sight of Rinpoche's Thami home. Rinpoche's own description of his early years may be found in his book, "The Door to Satisfaction" (Wisdom Publications).
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 went to Nepal in 1967, and over the next few years 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. In 1974, with Lama Yeshe, Rinpoche began travelling the world to teach and establish centres of Dharma. When Lama Yeshe passed away in 1984, Rinpoche took over as spiritual head of the FPMT, which has continued to flourish under his peerless leadership.
For more of Rinpoche's life and work, see the FPMT Website.
Venerable Geshe Lobsang Dorje Doga was born in July 1935 in a small village called Khanze, situated in a valley in the remote Kham region of North-East Tibet. He arrived in Australia on January 1, 1983, having been invited by Lama Yeshe to become the resident teacher at Atisha Centre, our sister centre near Bendigo.
Geshe Doga became resident teacher at Tara Institute in September 1984. His first teachings were from Shantideva’s “Guide to a Bodhisattva’s Way of Life” and “Lo Rig” or mind and its functions.
Over the years, Tara Institute has grown enormously thanks to the confidence that Geshe Doga’s patient and lucid guidance has given us. Lama Zopa Rinpoche always asks us to treasure Geshela and to heed his advice.