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 recognized at the age of two, in accordance with Tibetan tradition, as the reincarnation of his predecessor the 13th Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lamas are believed to be manifestations of Avalokiteshvara or Chenrezig, the Bodhisattva of Compassion and patron saint of Tibet.
Winner of the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1989, he is universally respected as a spokesman for the compassionate and peaceful resolution of human conflict. He has travelled extensively, speaking on subjects including universal responsibility, love, compassion and kindness.
“My religion is kindness to all.” – His Holiness the Dalai Lama
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, in which year, as Lama Yeshe himself said, “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, eventually founding 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 be gentle with others.” – Lama Thubten Yeshe
Lama Zopa Rinpoche is the Spiritual Director of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT) and oversees all of its activities.
Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche is the reincarnation of the Sherpa Nyingma yogi Kunsang Yeshe, the Lawudo Lama. Rinpoche was born in 1946 in Thami, not far from the Lawudo cave, in the Mount Everest region of Nepal, where his predecessor meditated for the last twenty years of his life. Together with Lama Yeshe, he began teaching courses on Buddhism to Westerners in 1965, and founded several centres that eventually became the building blocks of the FPMT.
Of Lama Zopa Rinpoche and the FPMT, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has said:
“Rinpoche is someone who follows my guidance sincerely, very expansively and with one hundred percent trust. He possesses unwavering faith and pure samaya; not only has he pure samaya and faith, but whatever I instruct, Zopa Rinpoche has the capability to accomplish it. So whatever dedications Lama Zopa Rinpoche makes, I also pray to accomplish this and you should do the same thing.”