Bertrand Cayla was born in Sallanches (Haute Savoie, France) in 1954. In 1972 he was accepted into the ‘Academie des Beaux-Arts de Paris’ where he studied drawing for two months. He continued to train as an autodidact artist in sculpture and painting. During the 1980’s he created a series of small sculptures for a ceramist and later he worked as a designer in the textile industry in Paris.
Inspired by Buddhist philosophy he took ordination in 1992. For the next 12 years he lived as a Tibetan Buddhist monk at Nalanda Monastery near Lavaur, France. There he founded the monastery’s workshop. He created a one meter high Kadampa stupa and established the tsa-tsa mould collection at the workshop which still produces statues and moulds for centres and practitioners all over the world.
Between 2001 and 2006, at the request of Lama Zopa Rinpoche, he created a large three meter high statue of Green Tara, a female deity embodying the activities of all the Buddhas. In July 2009 the statue was taken to the Osel Ling Retreat Centre in the Alpujarra Mountains near Granada where it was installed in the centre of a manmade lake. In 2006 Bertrand was commissioned to make and paint a life size sculpture of the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo for the altar at Maitripa Univeristy, Portland, Oregon USA.
Bertrand Cayla lives close to Nalanda Monastery, where he is still often at work. For Nalanda, Bertrand completed a life size clay sculpture of the Buddhist deity Ganapati in 2014. He also produced a large oil and canvas ‘thangka’ of Lama Tsong Khapa which can be seen in Nalanda's big gompa. Recently, he was involved in restoring and making moulds of statues of the Sixteen Arhats sculpted by Jonathan Partridge on the request of Lama Zopa Rinpoche.