Thupten Phelgye

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Geshe Thupten Phelgye teaching at the Buddhist Institute of Universal Compassion. Geshe-La Thupten Phelgye.jpg
Geshe Thupten Phelgye teaching at the Buddhist Institute of Universal Compassion.

Geshe Thupten Phelgye (born 1956) [1] is a Tibetan Buddhist lama who is known for promoting vegetarianism and humane treatment of animals, and for his work as a peace activist. Geshe Thupten Phelgye represents the Gelug tradition in the Tibetan Parliament in Exile.

Tibetan Buddhism is the form of Buddhism practiced in Tibet where it is the dominant religion. It is also found in the regions surrounding the Himalayas, much of Chinese Central Asia, the Southern Siberian regions such as Tuva, as well as Mongolia.

Lama title for a teacher of the Dharma in Tibetan Buddhism

Lama is a title for a teacher of the Dharma in Tibetan Buddhism. The name is similar to the Sanskrit term guru and in use it is similar, but not identical to the western monastic rank of abbot.

Vegetarianism Practice of abstaining from the consumption of meat

Vegetarianism is the practice of abstaining from the consumption of meat, and may also include abstention from by-products of animals processed for food.

Contents

Biography

Geshe Thupten Phelgye, born 1956, was from Riwoche District the traditional Tibetan province of Kham and was named Dorje Tinlay. In 1959, three-year-old Dorje and his family fled. [1] He attended school in India at C.S.T. Changlang and S.F.F. School Dehradun.

Riwoqê County County in Tibet, Peoples Republic of China

Riwoqê County, or Riwoche is a county under the administration of the prefecture-level city of Chamdo in the northeast of the Tibet Autonomous Region, bordering Qinghai province to the north.

Kham former Tibet area

Kham is a historical region of Tibet covering a land area largely divided between present-day Tibet Autonomous Region and Sichuan, with smaller portions located within Qinghai, Gansu and Yunnan provinces of China. During the Republic of China's rule over mainland China (1911–1949), most of the region was administratively part of Hsikang. It held the status of "special administrative district" until 1939, when it became an official Chinese province. Its provincial status was nominal and without much cohesion, like most of China's territory during the time of Japanese invasion and civil war. The natives of the Kham region are called Khampas.

Changlang Town in Arunachal Pradesh, India

Changlang is a census town and headquarters of the Changlang district in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. It has become one of the major districts in the area owing to the presence of crude oil, coal and mineral resources other than tourism and hydro power.

He became a monk in 1973, at age 17, at Seraje College, Sera Monastic University. [2]

After completing the traditional 18-year course of study for the geshe degree in 1991, he received his doctorate in Buddhist Philosophy from Sera Monastic University in 1991, [3] and went on to study at Gyumed Monastery. Starting in 1993, he spent five years in retreat near Dharamshala in the Dhauladhar mountains. [1] [3]

Geshe or geshema is a Tibetan Buddhist academic degree for monks and nuns. The degree is emphasized primarily by the Gelug lineage, but is also awarded in the Sakya and Bön traditions. The geshema degree is the same as a geshe degree, but is called a geshema degree because it is awarded to women.

Dharamshala City in Himachal Pradesh, India

Dharamshala is the district headquarters of Kangra district in India. It was formerly known as Bhagsu. The Dalai Lama's residence and the headquarters of the Central Tibetan Administration are in Dharamshala. Dharamshala is 18 km (11 mi) from Kangra. Dharamshala has been selected as one of the hundred Indian cities to be developed as a smart city under PM Narendra Modi's flagship Smart Cities Mission. On 19 January 2017, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh declared Dharamshala as the second capital of Himachal Pradesh state, making Himachal Pradesh the third state of India with two capitals after Jammu and Kashmir and Maharashtra.

Dhauladhar

The Dhauladhar range is part of a lesser Himalayan chain of mountains. It rises from the Indian plains to the north of Kangra and Mandi. Dharamsala, the headquarters of Kangra district, lies on its southern spur in above the Kangra Valley, which divides it from Chamba.

Over the years, he has been tirelessly giving talks and teachings around the world, advocating vegetarianism and Universal Compassion for world peace. His message is simple: all beings deserve equal compassion like ourselves. The Universal Compassion Movement is his agenda.

He took a leave from his political service in the Tibetan Parliament in 2011; he was brought to the United States in 2012 to serve as a Global Scholar in Residence at Gonzaga University and later at Eastern Washington University. [4] [5] In 2017 he founded The Buddhist Institute of Universal Compassion in Spokane, Washington.

Vegetarian advocacy

Thupten Phelgye saw the inside of a slaughterhouse as a child, and as a result, he became a strong advocate of vegetarianism. [6] As the first President of the International Gelug Society, he helped pass the resolution for vegetarianism for all residents of Gelug monasteries and nunneries. [2] [7] He helped pass a 2003 bill in the Tibetan Parliament in Exile, where he is a representative of the Gelug tradition, which encouraged Tibetans to become vegetarian, [1] by declaring 2004 the "Tibetan Vegetarian Year." [7] He was re-elected to the Parliament in 2006. [2]

Slaughterhouse facility where animals are killed for consumption as food products

A slaughterhouse, also called abattoir, is a facility where animals are slaughtered, most often to provide food for humans. Slaughterhouses supply meat, which then becomes the responsibility of a packaging facility.

Parliament of the Central Tibetan Administration

The Tibetan Parliament in Exile (TPiE), officially the Parliament of the Central Tibetan Administration, is the unicameral and highest legislative organ of the Central Tibetan Administration. It was established and is based in Dharamshala, India. The creation of this democratically elected body has been one of the major changes that the 14th Dalai Lama brought about in his efforts to introduce a democratic system of administration. Today, the Parliament consists of 45 members: ten members each from Ü-Tsang, Kham, and Amdo, the three traditional provinces of Tibet; the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism and the traditional Bön faith elect two members each; four members are elected by Tibetans in the west: two from Europe, one from Australasia, one from North America and one from Canada. The Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile is headed by a Speaker and a Deputy Speaker, who are elected by the members amongst themselves. Any Tibetan who has reached the age of 25 has the right to contest elections to the Parliament.

He has also founded a charitable trust, the Universal Compassion Movement (UCM), with the mission of bringing people together to help animals who are slaughtered or suffer cruel and inhumane treatment. [1]

His US speaking engagements have included Amherst College, Gonzaga University, Harvard University, Naropa University, North Idaho College, University of Idaho, University of California at Santa Barbara, University of San Francisco, and Wheaton College. [2] [8] He has given teachings at Sravasti Abbey [9] and other US Buddhist centers. [10] [11]

Charitable activities and peace work

Thupten Phelgye is active in interfaith dialogue. With respect to the differences between Buddhism and Christianity, a student newspaper described his position as follows: "The main issue ... [is] to focus on the day-to-day practice of 'how to be nice and how to be good,'" and also noted his emphasis on practical, "every-day practice" to serve others. [6]

In 2004, the Dalai Lama requested Thupten Phelgye to serve as "an emissary for peace." [6] He is active in Middle East peace efforts, via the Sulha Peace Project. [8]

In May, 2012, Thupten Phelgye blessed around 100 pets, mostly dogs, at Marymoor Park to promote compassion and peace. [12]

Film

In 2002, the Geshe acted as a senior monk in an Indian Hindi film, directed by Shaji N. Karun, Nishad (English title: Octave).

Writings

Related Research Articles

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 "Teachers, Geshe Thupten Phelgye (1956 - )". Shabkar.org. September 19, 2011. Retrieved September 19, 2011.
  2. 1 2 3 4 "Geshe Thupten Phelgye A Brief Biography of Venerable (Dr) Geshe Thupten Phelgye, Member of Tibetan Parliament in Exile". Universal Compassion Movement. c. 2010. Archived from the original on October 14, 2011. Retrieved September 19, 2011.
  3. 1 2 "Geshe Thupten Phelgye to speak about nonviolent activism during a presentation at North Idaho College". The Buddhist Channel. Oct 9, 2008. Retrieved September 19, 2011.
  4. Eastern Washington University
  5. Eastern Washington University
  6. 1 2 3 Keedy, Jason (March 31, 2010). "Step into the air of wisdom Tibetan monk clarifies Buddhism beliefs and discusses greater meaning". The Easterner. Archived from the original on September 20, 2011. Retrieved September 19, 2011.
  7. 1 2 "Another Tibetan Vegetarian Hero - Geshe Thupten Phelgye". purifymind.org. Retrieved September 19, 2011.
  8. 1 2 De Leon, Virginia (July 18, 2009). "One of a kind: Famed Tibetan Buddhist monk Venerable Geshe Thupten Phelgye brings his message of compassion". Spokane, WA. The Spokesman-Review. Retrieved September 19, 2011.
  9. "Geshe Phelgye visits the region". Sravasti Abbey. 2009. Retrieved September 19, 2011.[ permanent dead link ]
  10. "International peace delegate to speak in Nevada City". The Union.com, Serving Western Nevada County, California. Feb 27, 2010. Retrieved September 19, 2011.
  11. "Venerable Geshe Thupten Phelgye Returns to Mount Shasta". Mount Shasta Friends of Tibetan Culture. Feb 2, 2010. Archived from the original on 2012-04-02. Retrieved September 19, 2011.
  12. "Buddhist monk blesses pets at Marymoor Park event". Redmond Reporter. Retrieved May 28, 2012.