Thubten Zopa Rinpoche
3 December 1946
|Died||13 April 2023 76) (aged|
Thubten Zopa Rinpoche (Tibetan : ཐུབ་བསྟན་བཟོད་པ་, Wylie : Thub-bstan Bzod-pa; born Dawa Chötar, 3 December 1946 – 13 April 2023) was a Tibetan Buddhist lama in the Gelug school. He is known for founding the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition and Maitripa College in Portland, Oregon.
Thubten Zopa Rinpoche, also called Lama Zopa Rinpoche has an extensive biography of him in the book The Lawudo Lama by Jamyang Wangmo.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche was born in Thangme, Nepal, in 1946.Early in life, he was recognized as the reincarnation of the Lawudo Lama Kunzang Yeshe, from the same region (hence the title "Rinpoche"). At the age of ten, he went to Tibet and studied and meditated at Domo Geshe Rinpoche's monastery near Pagri. He took his monastic vows at Dungkar Monastery in Tibet.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche left Tibet in 1959 for Bhutan after the Chinese occupation of Tibet. Lama Zopa 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.
Lama Zopa met Choekyi Gyaltsen, 10th Panchen Lama, in Nepal in 1986 and in Tibet.
Lama Zopa is most noteworthy as the co-founder, with Lama Thubten Yeshe, of Kopan Monastery and the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT). In 1972 he along with Lama Yeshe founded Tushita Meditation Centre near McLeod Ganj at village Dharamkot in Himachal Pradesh.Since the 1984 death of Lama Yeshe, Lama Zopa has served as the FPMT's spiritual director. FPMT is involved with a number of charitable activities including "offering food to ordained Sangha; providing scholarships to study Buddhist philosophy; offering to the main teachers of the Lama Tsongkhapa tradition and sponsoring annual debates; offering grants for social services such as to old age homes, schools, hospitals and monastic institutions; providing comprehensive Dharma programs; translating Dharma texts; sponsoring holy objects: statues, stupas and prayer wheels, and saving animals."
From 10 April 2023, Lama Zopa Rinpoche stayed up in the mountains in the Tsum Valley. Due to altitude sickness he had to be brought down urgently. On arrival back in Kathmandu, Rinpoche stopped breathing. The main doctor at Karuna Hospital tried for some time to revive him, but was not successful. Rinpoche died at about 9.30 am Nepal time, 13 April 2023, at the age of 76.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche's books are published by Wisdom Publications and Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive. Free transcripts of some of his teachings are available from the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche offered spiritual advice on a range of topics to students, many of which are available on the FPMTand LYWA websites.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche was a Gelugpa lineage holder, having received teachings from many of the great Gelugpa masters.His Root Guru is HH Trijang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso since he was a young boy studying in Buxa, India. Lama Zopa Rinpoche was a devoted student of the 14th Dalai Lama and has outlined that offering service to the Dalai Lama as much as possible and to be able to fulfill his wishes is the highest priority for the FPMT organization.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche has a number of books published by Wisdom Publications and Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive including the following titles:
The Gelug is the newest of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism. It was founded by Je Tsongkhapa (1357–1419), a Tibetan philosopher, tantric yogi and lama and further expanded and developed by his disciples.
Thubten Kunga Ling Center (TKC), is a Buddhist Center in Deerfield Beach, Florida. TKC follows the Gelugpa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, which is the lineage of the Dalai Lama. The center offers classes on meditation and Buddhist philosophy. We are a non-profit, volunteer based organization located in Deerfield Beach, Florida. Our programs present Tibetan Buddhist teachings in an authentic and traditional manner. At the same time, we show how the teachings of the Buddha help us navigate our world today. Our goal is to help students achieve their maximum potential for wisdom, happiness, and compassion. Tubten Kunga Center is located at 201 SE 15th Terrace, Suite 206, Deerfield Beach, Florida 33441
Thubten Yeshe (1935–1984) was a Tibetan lama who, while exiled in Nepal, co-founded Kopan Monastery (1969) and the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (1975). He followed the Gelug tradition, and was considered unconventional in his teaching style.
The Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT) was founded in 1975 by Lamas Thubten Yeshe and Thubten Zopa Rinpoche, who began teaching Mahayana Buddhism to Western students in Nepal. The FPMT has grown to encompass over 160 dharma centers, projects, and services in 37 countries. Since the death of Lama Yeshe in 1984, the FPMT's spiritual director has been Lama Zopa Rinpoche.
Kopan Monastery is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery near Boudhanath, on the outskirts of Kathmandu, Nepal. It is a member of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), an international network of Gelugpa dharma centers, and once served as its headquarters.
Tenzin Ösel Hita y Torres is a Spanish-born Tibetan Buddhist tulku and an aspiring filmmaker from Spain.
Kyabje Dudjom Jigdral Yeshe Dorje was known as Terchen Drodül Lingpa and as Dudjom Rinpoche. He is considered by many Tibetan Buddhists to be from a line of important Tulku lineage, and a renowned Tertön. Per lineage, he was a direct incarnation of both Padmasambhava and Dudjom Lingpa (1835–1904). He was a Nyingma householder, yogi, and a Vajrayana and Dzogchen master. According to his disciple Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal, he was revered as "His Holiness" and as a "Master of Masters".
Thubten Chodron, born Cheryl Greene, is an American Tibetan Buddhist nun, author, teacher, and the founder and abbess of Sravasti Abbey, the only Tibetan Buddhist training monastery for Western nuns and monks in the United States. Chodron is a central figure in the reinstatement of the Bhikshuni ordination of women. She is a student of the 14th Dalai Lama, Tsenzhab Serkong Rinpoche, Lama Thubten Yeshe, Thubten Zopa Rinpoche, and other Tibetan masters. She has published many books on Buddhist philosophy and meditation, and is co-authoring with the Dalai Lama a multi-volume series of teachings on the Buddhist path, The Library of Wisdom and Compassion.
Thubten Shedrup Ling is the first Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Australia. It is located near Bendigo, Victoria, and is a member of the International Mahayana Institute of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT).
Nicholas Ribush was one of the first Westerners to be ordained as a monk in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. A founder of Wisdom Publications, Ribush is today the director of the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive, a collection of thousands of teachings by Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche, who pioneered the teaching of Tibetan Buddhism in the West.
Amitabha Buddhist Centre is a Buddhist institution in Geylang, Singapore. It is affiliated with the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), an international non-profit organisation, founded by Lama Thubten Yeshe.
Zong Rinpoche was a Gelug Lama and disciple of the third Trijang Rinpoche, junior tutor of the 14th Dalai Lama. He was famous as a sharp analyst and master of philosophical debate, as well as a powerful Tantric practitioner. He was the Abbot of Ganden Shartse monastery.
Robina Courtin is a Buddhist nun in the Tibetan Buddhist Gelugpa tradition and lineage of Lama Thubten Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche. In 1996 she founded the Liberation Prison Project, which she ran until 2009.
The Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa (ILTK) in Pomaia, a village in Tuscany, in Italy (40 km south of Pisa) is a branch of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), an international network of Gelugpa dharma centers. It is named for Tsongkhapa, founder of the Gelugpa monastic order of Tibetan Buddhism. The Dalai Lama has taught there on several occasions.
Manjushri Institute was a large Buddhist college situated at Conishead Priory in Cumbria, England from 1976 until its dissolution in 1991. In 1991 its assets, including Conishead Priory, were transferred to a new centre on the same premises, Manjushri Mahayana Buddhist Centre, which was later renamed Manjushri Kadampa Meditation Centre.
Freda Bedi, also known as Sister Palmo or Gelongma Karma Kechog Palmo, was a British woman who was jailed in India as a supporter of Indian nationalism and was the first Western woman to take full ordination in Tibetan Buddhism.
Geshe Lhundrup Rigsel was abbot of Kopan Monastery in Nepal. He was born in 1941 to a poor peasant family in Tibet, and joined Sera Monastery as a boy. In 1959 he fled from the Chinese invasion of Tibet and went to India. - In Buxa, a refugee camp in Northern India, he met Lama Thubten Yeshe and Lama Zopa. In the late sixties he journeyed to South India to start the clearing of land for the new Sera Monastic University. He received his Doctor of Divinity in Buddhist studies from Sera.
The Young Lamas Home School was a school established by the 14th Dalai Lama and Freda Bedi in 1960. Its funding was provided by Christopher Hills and its early abbot was Karma Thinley Rinpoche.
The Tibet Center, also known as Kunkhyab Thardo Ling, is a dharma center for the study of Tibetan Buddhism. Founded by Venerable Khyongla Rato Rinpoche in 1975, it is one of the oldest Tibetan Buddhist centers in New York City. The current director is Khen Rinpoche Nicholas Vreeland, the abbot of Rato Dratsang monastery. Philip Glass assisted with the founding of The Tibet Center. Since 1991 TTC has invited and hosted the 14th Dalai Lama for teaching events in New York in partnership with the Gere Foundation.
Tushita is a centre for the study and practice of Buddhism from the Tibetan Mahayana tradition in Himachal Pradesh in northern India. It is located in the forested hills above the town of McLeod Ganj in village Dharamkot. The centre offers Introduction to Buddhism Courses and intermediate level courses for those who have already taken one of these introduction courses besides conducting Group Practice Retreats for practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism.