Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
His Holiness the Dalai Lama
His Holiness the 14th the Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso, is the head of state and spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. He was born Lhamo Dhondrub on 6 July 1935, in a small village called Taktser in northeastern Tibet. Born to a peasant family, His Holiness was recognized at the age of two, in accordance with Tibetan tradition, as the reincarnation of his predecessor the 13th Dalai Lama, and thus an incarnation Avalokitesvara, the Buddha of Compassion.
Lama Yeshe, Kopan Monastery, Nepal, 1980. Unknown photographer.
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 1965. 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.
“Be wise. Treat yourself, your mind, sympathetically, with loving kindness. If you are gentle with yourself, you will become gentle with others.”
Photo by Jay Simpson [Focused Monkey]
Lama Zopa Rinpoche
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.
Rinpoche’s vision is vast and includes the proliferation of many charitable and beneficial activities. Among many projects dear to Rinpoche’s heart are the two Maitreya Projects: under Rinpoche’s guidance, FPMT plans to build two large statues of the future Buddha, Maitreya, in Bodhgaya and Kushinagar in India; The Sera Je Food Fund, which offers three vegetarian meals a day to all 2,500 monks studying at Sera Je Monastery in south India; Animal Liberation events around the world, at which creatures, big and small, are freed from immediate harm or blessed every year– the total number of animals liberated to date (by Lama Zopa Rinpoche or those inspired by him) is over 200,000,000 and counting! Rinpoche is also utterly dedicated to fulfilling the wishes of His Holiness the Dalai Lama wherever and whenever possible.
Rinpoche’s kindness is legendary. More details of Rinpoche’s ongoing philanthropy can be followed through the Lama Zopa Rinpoche Bodhichitta Fund News.
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. 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.