Geshe Jamphel Gyaltsen was born in 1968 in a small village in the Tsawa region of Kham, which is part of the Tibetan Autonomous Region. When he was sixteen years old he became a monk in a small local monastery where there was no study program and only rituals were performed. He went to a bigger monastery in Chamdo where he could start his studies in Buddhist philosophy. In 1989 he tried to escape to India but he was caught at the Nepalese border and taken back to Lhasa. Two months later he tried again and managed to arrive safely in India. He attended the Kalachakra Initiation in Varanasi and had an audience with His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Gen Jamphel Gyaltsen moved onto Sera Monastery in South India where he continued his studies in Buddhist philosophy. He obtained the (highest) geshe degree of geshe lharampa in 2008 and then studied at Gyurme tantric college for a year. He returned to Sera to teach the first philosophical topics to young monks between six and ten years. He did this for two years and also acted as the disciplinarian at his Khamtsen (house group), Tsawa Khamtsen, for one year.
In 2009 Gen Jamphel Gyaltsen was invited by Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche to a FPMT Centre in Mexico, but as he had other commitments, he chose not to accept the offer. Then, in 2012 he did accept Rinpoche’s request to teach the Basic Program at Nalanda Monastery. Due to bureaucratic obstacles he could only start to teach there in the beginning of 2014. While waiting for his identity papers (yellow card and visa), he had his first experience with teaching westerners at the Root Institute in Bodhgaya.
Explaining his attitude towards teaching the Dharma, Geshe-la says: “I received all the teachings I give from the highest lamas. I always make sure that I get a personal understanding of them and check whether I really agree with them. I want these teachings to be genuine. When I have the conviction that it is correct, pure Dharma, I teach it right from the heart. The essence of the Dharma is to transform the mind. I make sure that I only teach useful instructions to be applied to train and transform the mind. If I feel that something might give problems or obstacles to the people, I will avoid teaching this.
The most important task for me is to have people enjoy the teachings. This is my main driving force. The more I see people being interested in the teaching and enjoying these, the more I want to give to them. Then, it is no big problem if the topic is difficult. If there is interest, people will go beyond obstacles. There is nothing that cannot be learnt with a little bit of effort. When I see that people really interest themselves in listening to and practicing the Dharma, that is the best motivation for me.”
Geshe Gyaltsen is known both at Sera Jey and Nalanda Monastery as being very humble and very learned. Students at Nalanda appreciate his clear and fluent teaching style.