Land of Compassion and Wisdom

Austin FPMT Study Group

Distinguished
Visiting Teacher

January through Spring 2020

- Geshe Thubten Soepa
beginning Sunday, January 19, 2020

3/16/20: Teachings Cancelled Due To Concerns Regarding Corona Virus/covid-19.

We are attempting to offer online access to teachings

For further information contact: Robert - ( 512- 921- 6902 )
see Calendar at bottom of Events Page for up-to-date listing of scheduled teachings, topics, initiations

Geshe-La Shares his Biography

In the Western style, I’m going to tell a little about my story.

I, Geshe Thubten Soepa, was born in Zanskar India in 1955.

When I was young, my mom visited Kyabje Ling Rinpoche and asked him for my new name, and Ling Rinpoche give me a name along with advice to my mom. He said that if I became a monk it would be a good idea. My mom therefore wanted me to become a monk. When I was ten years old, in Bhutan my mom and I visited Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

His advice to my mom was also that it would be a good idea if I became a monk. I then believed I would become a monk.

Reincarnation and Becoming A Monk

In 1969, two Zanskar monastery senior monks (Mai Kado Tashi and Mai Tashi Setten) went to Dharamsala and visited Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche.

They asked if I was some high Lama’s reincarnation—if this was true. Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche answered yes, but that it would not be necessary for a Tulku name ceremony because there was already one reincarnation of this Lama. Trijang Rinpoche said I would simply spontaneously be doing well at Dharma, and that I would like it.

He said don’t worry, I will benefit, spontaneously. Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche told this to these two senior Zanskar monks and they told me. In reality, I don’t know.

In 1978 I visited Kyabje Zong Rinpoche in Gaden where he also said I was some high Lama’s reincarnation. Then he gave me lunch and he gave me permission to give tantric initiation.

In Munich in 2004 Choden Rinpoche was teaching the Six Yogas of Naropa and I helped translate his academic Tibetan into Tibetan that the German translator could understand.

At that time he said publicly that even though I appeared to be a simple monk and lived very simply that I was in reality a high Lama’s reincarnation.

After his teaching, I was shocked and spoke to him. I said it is too much for me and that maybe he was teasing me or telling a big lie. Then Choden Rinpoche looked at me and strongly and loudly said that he was speaking reality.

I had nothing to say. High Lamas have 10, 15, or 20 qualities. When I checked myself I did not see enough qualities. I know myself. It is just my story. The reality I don’t know but it is my nice story.

When I was fourteen years old, I became a monk at the Kalimpong Dromo Geshe Rinpoche monastery. For four years I studied and did performance rituals and practice.

Then in 1974 when I was nineteen years old, I escaped from Kalimpong to Sera Jey Buddhist University in south India where I studied Buddhist philosophy for twenty-one years.

I completed all of Sera Jey Monastery’s examinations, completed the Rigchung and Rigchen celebrations, then finished all Gelukpa examinations. Then finally in 1993 I passed all of my Lharampa Geshe final tests. In 1994 Sera, Drepung and Gaden all did the Geshe Lharampa celebration during the great prayers’ festival.

I became a teacher and for three years I taught Buddhist philosophy and Tibetan grammar in Sera Jey and Dzongkar Chose monasteries.

Teaching in the West

Next Lama Zopa Rinpoche kindly asked me if I would like to go to countries in the West for the opportunity to teach Western people.

I accepted and went to Munich in Germany for ten years to teach the FPMT Basic Program. Also during that time, I gave the same program every month in Switzerland and the Austria Vienna Buddhist Dharma Centre, and also traveled and taught in Spain, Austin (USA) and many different Buddhist Dharma centers in London and other parts of Europe.

After Munich, for ten years I traveled to different centers in the USA, Canada, and Mexico to teach. I gave my best Dharma teachings, introductions to the many disturbing emotions or kleshas, and the origins of suffering according to Buddha’s teachings.

I then explained about their antidotes, and also especially I taught about the faults of eating meat according to the Buddha’s sutra and tantra teachings.

I taught animal liberation topics according to Mahayana sutric and tantric commitments for big benefit.

Studies and Writings on Protecting the Lives of Helpless Beings

In 1990 I wrote an article about the faults of eating meat according to the Buddha’s teachings.

I did this because many Tibetan Buddhist people and monastery monks and nuns ate meat. I thought therefore there was an issue with understanding the Buddha’s stance on eating meat.

I investigated Shakyamuni Buddha’s authentic sutra texts for reference like the Lankavatara Sutra, the Great Cloud Sutra, the Great Nirvana Sutra, and the Anguli Mala Sutra.

I read these and checked Shakyamuni Buddha’s point of view. After this I understood Shakyamuni Buddha’s conclusion, so then I wrote my book called Protecting the Lives of Helpless Beings: The Udamwara Lotus Flower.

In 1996 when I was Dzongkar Chode Monastery’s Buddhist debate teacher, His Holiness the Dalai Lama (HHDL) came to the Gyume Tantric College and gave a teaching for more than a week.

I had the opportunity to offer my book to His Holiness. Sometime after this, HHDL sent two bodyguards to invite me to visit him in Gyume Tantric College.

I spoke to him for around 40 minutes. He said he read my book from beginning to end. He said I did the Lharampa examination and studied the five great texts and asked me which one was my favorite.

I said all texts were my favorite. He said I was the Dzongkar Chode Monastery debate teacher and asked me about the how the monk’s debate education was going. I told him my opinion. HHDL had read my book about not eating meat and said he enjoyed it very much and it would be beneficial for people to read. He advised I must write in the future about some beneficial topics for people.

After this, his office sponsored and published my article together with another one by a Hevajra abbot into one Tibetan language book about vegetarianism. I was pleased and bought a copy for Rs,35.

After this I wrote four different books about not eating meat translated into five different languages. I gave these to people freely.

In 2012 in Bodhgaya, HHDL give the Great Kalachakra initiation. At that time, I had written a short book and published 1000 copies on the Hinayana Vinaya explanation about the topic of Monks and Nuns eating meat. I offered these books freely.

Again in 2017 in Bodhgaya HHDL give the 34th great Kalachakra initiation. At that time, I visited Lama Zopa Rinpoche and we had many conversations. Then some months after Lama Zopa Rinpoche was in Dharamsala, Rinpoche called me and we had a conversation. Rinpoche said he read my book about the Hinayana Vinaya explanation for monks and nuns eating meat. Rinpoche asked me if this was my last book. My answer to Rinpoche was no. I told Rinpoche that monks and nuns need a clear and perfect explanation so therefore I would write new details.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche then said if it were translated into English it would be easy to translate into other languages and it would benefit more people around the world. I enjoyed very much this advice from Lama Zopa Rinpoche.

Then I rechecked the Hinayana Vinaya, Mahayana, and Vajrayana scriptures and commentaries in all Buddhist traditions about killing animals and eating meat.

I wrote another detailed book for monks and nuns published in 2018 in Tibetan. In this book I also wrote about other topics including the benefits of animal liberation and freeing innocent people from jail.

I sincerely wish that all of our mother sentient beings be free from suffering and being killed.

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