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In 1983, at the age of 22, Geshe Lobsang Jamphel and five of his friends fled over the Tibetan/Nepalese border despite freezing mountainous conditions and minimal provisions. His main aim was to obtain an audience with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and receive his advice.

The journey took around two months to reach the Nepalese border, and from there he travelled to Dharamsala in Northern India where His Holiness has his residence.

Abbot Geshe Lobsang JamphelThereafter, Geshe-la went to Sera Monastery in Southern India, which is one of the three great monasteries, and enrolled at Tsethang Khangtsen, with Gen Kyopon-la as resident teacher. Geshe-la followed all the rules of the monastery and studied collected topics and other related subjects for three years with masters such as Dhenma Khensur Ngawang Lekden and Tehor Geshe Pema Gyaltsen. He went on to study the root Abhisamayalamkara text, as well as the Indian and Tibetan commentaries, including commentaries by Jetsün Chökyi Gyaltsen such as ‘An Overview of Abhisamayalamkara', ‘The Conclusion on Abhisamayalamkara', and ‘The Commentary on Abhisamayalamkara'.

Geshe-la memorised the root text and commentaries and closely studied the gross and subtle Cittamatrin view, and in his second year of Abhisamayalamkara he was awarded first place in Rikchung [debate competition], and thereafter, he studied Abhisamayalamkara for a further six years.

Abbot Geshe Lobsang JamphelBy following two more spiritual teachers over a period of three years (Tsangpa Gyume Khensur Lobsang Tenzin and Tehor Gyume Khensur Lobsang Delek), Geshe-la memorised the Madhyamika root texts and studied ‘An Overview of Madhyamika' by Jetsün Chökyi Gyaltsen, as well as all the commentaries by Je Tsongkhapa and his two main disciples, in particular, ‘The Mirror Reflecting Clearly the Views of Madhyamika'. Through continuously studying and analysing the Madhyamika scriptures, he became one of the brightest students in his class.

When he was in the Vinaya class, Geshe-la studied and analysed the commentaries, ‘The Rays of the Sun' and ‘The Precious Garland of Vinaya', and memorised the text ‘The Clear Meaning of Light' by Jadel Geshe Kelsang Namgyal. Until the official attainment of his Geshe degree, he alternatively recited this text and the root text of Abhidharmakosa.

Study and Teaching Activities

In the Abhidharma class, Geshe-la studied and analysed the texts and commentaries on Abhidharmakosha, including ‘Illumination of the Path to Liberation' and the text edited by Chim Jamyang.

In 1995, at the age of 34, Geshe-la sat the written and debate Gelug examinations, where one's knowledge of the five major Buddhist texts is evaluated, as well as Tibetan history, the origin of Buddhism, the biographies of Tsongkhapa and his disciples, and Tibetan grammar. Geshe-la did extremely well in the Karam and Lopön examinations. In 1998 he attained the Lharam Geshe degree before thousands of learned monks of the three great monasteries during the Monlam Chenmo (Great Prayer Festival) at Sera Je monastery, and Geshe-la offered food to all the Sera Je monks.

In 1999 Geshe-la went to the Upper Tantric College of Gyuto, and studied and reflected on tantric texts such as ‘The Grounds and Paths of Tantra' and ‘Taking the Three Bodies of the Buddha as a Path', with the former abbot of Loseling monastery, Gen Dorje-la, as his spiritual teacher. Based on the above mentioned scriptures, Geshe-la studied and reflected on the commentary of ‘The Guyasamajamula Tantra and The Four Annotations', and he passed this class with the first grade.

In brief, between the ages of 22 to 38, Geshe-la continuously studied without a break for seventeen years everything from collected topics to Guyasamajamula Tantra. Geshe-la studied and analysed all the great texts of both sutra and tantra, and attained a first grade in all his examinations.

After completing his studies at the Upper Tantric College, Geshe-la accepted Nalanda Monastery's invitation to be their resident teacher. Geshe-la is the current abbot of Nalanda Monastery. From 2008 to 2013 he taught the FPMT Basic Program at Nalanda and currently he teaches the Masters Program. He teaches introductory and intermediate courses on Buddhism, as well as religious seminars and so forth, in Spain and universities in different countries. Geshe-la also gives indispensable advice and financial help to all the monks of Tsethang Khangtsen in Sera Je Monastery.

This is the brief biography of Geshe Lobsang Jamphel.

Composed by Lharam Geshe Ngawang Sangye, at Sera Je Monastery, India, 2009. Geshe Sangye is a Pecha Gen (Dharma Teacher) at Sera Je, and was a classmate of Geshe Jamphel. Translated by Ven. Jampa Tokay and edited by Ven. Losang Dorje, at Nalanda Monastery, France, August 2009.

Click here to read an interview with Geshe Jamphel.


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