Yangsi Rinpoche was recognized as the reincarnation of Geshe Ngawang Gendun, a renowned scholar and practitioner from Western Tibet, at the age of six. Rinpoche trained in the traditional monastic system for over 25 years, and in 1995 graduated with the highest degree of Geshe Lharampa from Sera Je Monastery in South India. He then completed his studies at Gyume Tantric College, and, in 1998, having the particular wish to benefit Western students of the Buddhadharma, Rinpoche came to the West to teach and has traveled extensively throughout America and Europe. Rinpoche was a resident teacher at Deer Park Buddhist Center in Madison, Wisconsin for five years, and is currently the Spiritual Director of Ganden Shedrup Ling Buddhist Center in San Juan, Puerto Rico and Spiritual Director of Dharma Friendship Foundation in Seattle, Washington. Rinpoche is the author of Practicing the Path: A Commentary on the Lamrim Chenmo, published in 2003 by Wisdom Publications. Rinpoche teaches in English, and is admired wherever he travels for his unique presentation of the Dharma, his interest in and enthusiasm for Western culture, and his evident embodiment of the wisdom and compassion of the Buddhist path. Back to Visiting Teachers Gallery
Hans Burghardt holds a BA and a MA in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and a PhD from the University of Barcelona, where he spent seven years doing research. Since 2002, he meditates and is a student of great Buddhist masters including His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche, Lama Jampa Monlam, Khensur Jampa Tegchok amongst others. He has completed the Masters Program of Advanced Buddhist Studies of Sutra and Tantra at Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa (Italy) and has completed a one-year individual meditation retreat. He currently teaches meditation and Buddhism at Tushita Meditation Center Spain and other FPMT centers, and is co-founder and coordinator of the Initiative for an Emotional, Ethical, and Social Education, that promotes the establishment of Emory University’s SEE Learning in Spain. Back to Visiting Teachers Gallery
Karuna Cayton acquired a Masters in Clinical Psychology in 1992. He is a licensed Psychotherapist having trained at the Children’s Health Council in Palo Alto, California.
From 1975 to 1988 he lived at Kopan Monastery studying Buddhist psychology and philosophy under the guidance of Lama Thubten Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche. There, he established a western studies program for the monks.
He is the principal at The Karuna Group, a project engaged in interpreting Buddhist psychological theory and interventions for modern people.
Paula Chichester began studying Buddhism when she was 14 at Berkeley High School in California. At university, she studied systems theory and has applied that to her 40 years of meditation. Understanding the whole body/mind/culture/ environment of the practitioner makes each person’s journey in Tibetan Buddhism unique. As a dancer, Chinese Chi Gung practitioner, healer, singer, student of psychology, ecology, she brings all these elements into the understanding of the whole person and how tantra works in this greater context. She has spent the last 33 years practicing full time — 23 years preparing for and completing long retreats — under the guidance of her inspiring kind teachers: Lama Thubten Yeshe, Kyabje Zopa Rinpoche and Kyabje Ribur Rinpoche. She has also studied with teachers from all 4 schools of Tibetan Buddhism. Her goal in life has been steady since childhood: to realize Mahamudra and do all she can to bring peace to our world. Back to Visiting Teachers Gallery
BHIKSHUNI THUBTEN CHODRON
Venerable Thubten Chodron has been a Buddhist nun since 1977 and has studied and practiced Buddhism of the Tibetan tradition under the guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Tsenzhap Serkong Rinpoche, Lama Zopa Rinpoche and other Tibetan masters. Seeing the importance and necessity of a monastery for Westerners training in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, she founded and is the abbess of Sravasti Abbey, a Buddhist monastic community in Washington State. Venerable Chodron travels worldwide to teach the Dharma. She is also active in interfaith dialogue, as well as Dharma outreach in prisons. She is the author of several best-selling books on Buddhism, such as Don’t Believe Everything You Think; Open Heart, Clear Mind; Working with Anger; Buddhism for Beginners, and recently co-authored Buddhism: One Teacher, Many Traditions with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Venerable Chodron emphasizes the practical application of Buddha’s teachings in our daily lives and is especially skilled at explaining them in ways easily understood and practiced by Westerners. She is well-known for her warm, humorous, and lucid teachings. Back to Visiting Teachers Gallery
VENERABLE TENZIN CHOGKYI
Venerable Tenzin Chogkyi bought a one-way ticket to India in early 1991 with the intention of meeting His Holiness the Dalai Lama. She then became a student not only of His Holiness, but also of Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche and Lama Zopa Rinpoche. After returning to the US, Tenzin Chogkyi worked in various positions within FPMT – Director of Vajrapani Institute, Co-Director of FPMT International Office, FPMT Centre Services Coordinator – and also completed several long meditation retreats. She took novice ordination in 2004 with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and since 2006 has been regularly teaching at various FPMT centers around the globe. She is a visiting teacher for the Liberation Prison Project and committed to animal rescue. She is the resident teacher at Gendun Drupba Centre in Canada since 2013. Back to Visiting Teachers Gallery
VENERABLE GEORGE CHURINOFF
A physics graduate from MIT, Venerable George Churinoff earned a Masters degree in Buddhist studies from Delhi University, India. He took ordination in 1975 and studied the Geshe Studies Program at Manjushri Institute, England, where he also served as Spiritual Program Coordinator. Venerable George was instrumental in founding the Masters Program at Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa in Italy, where he also served as Program Coordinator. After studying and teaching there for eight years he spent several years at Tushita Centre in Delhi, followed by three years as Lama Osel Rinpoche’s English curriculum tutor at Sera Je Monastery in South India.
Venerable George has done many retreats in the sutra and tantra traditions and taught extensively in FPMT centers all over the world. He taught the Basic Program as resident teacher at Dorje Chang Institute, New Zealand and at Land of Medicine Buddha, USA. Venerable George now resides in Asheville, NC and has recently completed a 3-year retreat. Back to Visiting Teachers Gallery
VENERABLE ROBINA COURTIN
Venerable Robina Courtin has worked full-time for Lama Thubten Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s organization, the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition, since her ordination in the late 1970s. Over the years she has served as editorial director of Wisdom Publications, editor of Mandala Magazine, executive director of Liberation Prison Project, and as a touring teacher of Buddhism. Her life and work with prisoners have been featured in the documentary films Chasing Buddha and Key to Freedom. Venerable Robina is known for her straightforward and energetic teaching style, helping people discover the potential of their own minds with clear explanations about Tibetan Buddhism and how to apply it to their lives. Back to Visiting Teachers Gallery
GESHE DORJI DAMDUL
Geshe Dorji Damdul is presently the Director of Tibet House in New Delhi, he is an eminent scholar and author, and one of the official translators for His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Geshe Damdul gives regular lectures at Tibet House New Delhi and at many Universities, Institutes, and Dharma Center within India and other countries such as the USA, U.K., Singapore, and Israel to teach Buddhist philosophy, psychology, logic and other spiritual practices.
Geshe Damdul is widely renowned for his enthusiastic, engaging and inspiring teaching style. Combining his deep understanding of Buddhist philosophy with a keen interest in modern science, he makes even the most profound and complex topics accessible to new and experienced students alike. For more information, please visit Geshe Dorji Damdul’s website here.
Professor Georges Dreyfus is the Jackson Professor of Religion at Williams College (MA) U.S.A where he has been teaching courses on Tibetan and Thai Buddhism, Indian philosophy, meditation and cognitive science, religion and science. In 1985 he was awarded the degree of Lharampa Geshe, the highest academic qualification in the Geluk system – the first western student to be so honored. He subsequently completed both M.A. and Ph.D degrees at the University of Virginia under Prof. Jeffrey Hopkins. Very much inspired by the spirit of non-sectarianism, Dreyfus has studied extensively outside of the Geluk school where he received his basic training. Furthermore, he studied and practiced Theravada meditation techniques with Munindra and other qualified teachers, studied logic and epistemology as well as Madhyamaka philosophy with the Sagya Khenpo Migmar Tsering, received teachings from both Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and Tulku Urgyen, and further studied Madhyamaka and some of the most important texts on Vajrayana practice within the Nyingma tradition with Khenpo Namdrol. One of his main areas of interest is the study of consciousness, an interest that he has developed through an association with the Mind and Life Institute. Back to Visiting Teachers Gallery
VENERABLE RENÉ FEUSI
Venerable René Feusi was born in Switzerland in 1959, and has been trained in the Gelugpa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism in the experiential lineage of Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche. He first encountered Buddhism at the age of 20, when he attended the annual November course at Kopan Monastery in Nepal. When he was 26, he took getsul (novice) ordination in Dharamsala, India and took (gelong) full ordination the following year. In 1988, René entered Nalanda Monastery in France and studied with Geshe Tegchok for four years during which time he also completed the traditional 900,000 preliminary practices. Between 1993 to 1995 he completed a two and a half year solitary retreat in Spain. From 2002 to 2008 he was the resident teacher at Vajrapani Institute. Since then Venerable René has continued to study, teach and guide students in meditation and retreats worldwide. Back to Visiting Teachers Gallery
VENERABLE LOSANG GENDUN
Ven. Losang Gendun is a Dutch monk who previously worked in IT, refugee organisations and commercial management. After having practiced mainly Theravada Buddhism for twenty years, he became a monk in the Tibetan tradition in 2006. At Nalanda monastery in France, he studied Buddhist philosophy and practised under the guidance of teachers, such as H.H. the Dalai Lama, Geshe Losang Jamphal, Ganden Tripa Lobsang Tenzin Rinpoche and Lama Zopa Rinpoche. Ven. Gendun spent over four years in retreat, and he specialises in Tibetan Lojong and Mahamudra methods, alongside Vipassana-shamatha meditation as taught in the Theravada Forest Tradition.Ven. Gendun has been teaching for fifteen years in Europe, USA and UK. His main aim is to make the traditional teachings accessible for a Western audience. For that purpose, he founded The Buddha Project, an initiative to provide meditators with personal guidance and long-term support, in collaboration with a group of international researchers to investigate perceptional and semiotic evolution induced by contemplative practices. Ven. Gendun is active in the area of interreligious communication, and collaborates closely with a number of Benedictine monasteries and a Turkish Mevlânâ Sufi organization. Currently, he is the resident teacher at the Maitreya Institute Amsterdam and visiting teacher of Jamyang Buddhist Centre Leeds.. Back
GEN DON HANDRICK
Gen Don Handrick is the resident teacher at Thubten Norbu Ling (TNL) in New Mexico and teaches for FPMT at the Ksitigarbha Tibetan Buddhist Center in Taos. Gen Don also serves as a Board member and Buddhist teacher for Liberation Prison Project, which includes teaching Buddhism at a local prison in New Mexico. Gen Don’s study and practice of Buddhism began in 1993 when he read The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche. Over the next two years, he practiced with Rigpa, Sogyal Rinpoche’s organization, until he began attending classes with Venerable Robina Courtin at Tse Chen Ling, the FPMT center in San Francisco. At the beginning of 1998, Gen Don left the Bay Area to attend the FPMT’s Masters Program of Buddhist Studies. in Sutra and Tantra, a full-time seven-year residential study program in Tuscany, Italy, taught by Geshe Jampa Gyatso. By 2004, he successfully completed the program and received an FPMT final certificate with high honors. Soon after, Don moved to Santa Fe and served as the Spiritual Program Coordinator for TNL, and in 2006 he was appointed Resident Teacher. Back to Visiting Teachers Gallery
VENERABLE LHUNDUP JAMYANG
Ven. Jamyang, who is originally from the Netherlands, came into contact with Buddhism in 1997 at Tushita Meditation Center in Dharamsala. She soon realized she had a strong connection with both Buddhism and Lama Zopa Rinpoche. Over the next few years she did several retreats and took ordination as a nun in 2000 at Kopan Monastery, Nepal. She has completed the five-year Basic Program and the seven-year Masters Program in Advanced Buddhist studies, including the retreat requirements. In between these studies, from 2007 until 2009, she worked at Buddha House, Adelaide, as SPC and teacher. She is currently teaching in India, New Zealand, and Australia. Students say that she is an engaging teacher with a knack for clearly explaining complex topics. Ven. Jamyang is the main writer of the study manual for the Middle Way subject of the Masters Program, and has been painting tangkas for more than twenty years.
Jon Landaw, author of Buddhism for Dummies, was born in New Jersey in 1944. From 1972 to 1977, Jon worked as an English editor for the Translation Bureau of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India, producing numerous texts under the guidance of Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey. As a student of Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche since 1973, Jon has edited numerous works for Wisdom Publications, including Wisdom Energy and Introduction to Tantra. He is also the author of Prince Siddhartha, a biography of Buddha for children, and Images of Enlightenment, published by Snow Lion in 1993. As an instructor of Buddhist meditation, he has taught in numerous Dharma centers throughout the United States, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and elsewhere. He currently lives in Capitola, California, with his wife and three children, and leads the Discovering Buddhism courses at Land of Medicine Buddha. Back to Visiting Teachers Gallery
Miffi Maxmillion is the Spiritual Program Coordinator at Langri Tangpa Centre in Brisbane, Australia and is an FPMT registered teacher. Miffi was brought up a Buddhist and had the great good fortune to play with Lama Yeshe as a child. His hook of compassion sustained her through the many rebellious stages of growing up. She took refuge with Lama Yeshe at age 10, and did her first lamrim and Nyung Ne retreat with Lama Zopa Rinpoche at age 16. Miffi’s passion is in bridging the seemingly disparate worlds of modern life and the rich inner experience of Buddhist practice. She teaches classes and leads pujas with great enthusiasm and joy. She also admits to watching far too much late night TV and is an avid reader of The New Yorker. Back to Visiting Teachers Gallery
Carmen Mensink was born in the Netherlands in 1972 and graduated in 1995 as a graphic designer at the Academy of Arts in Kampen. Afterwards she completed a specialization in Typography at The Hague Royal Academy of Arts in 1996. Carmen, who is a member of our sister FPMT Center in Amsterdam, lives in the Netherlands and teaches thangka courses in Europe, as well as thangka classes in the United States. Visit her website at https://www.tibetan-buddhist-art.com Back to Visiting Teachers Gallery
VENERABLE AMY MILLER
Venerable Amy Miller has been teaching extensively since 1992 and was ordained as a Buddhist nun in June 2000 by the great Tibetan master, Venerable Choden Rinpoche. She has previously directed several FPMT centers and projects for decades and has completed a seven-month solitary retreat. Her teaching style emphasizes a practical approach to integrating Buddhist philosophy into everyday life. She is happy to help people connect with meditation and mindfulness in an effort to gain a refreshing perspective on normally stressful living. Venerable teaches and leads retreats and pilgrimages around the world. Her teaching schedule and other information can be found at www.AmyMiller.com. Back to Visiting Teachers Gallery
Guy Newland, Ph.D., is a scholar of Tibetan Madhyamaka whose teachers include Jeffrey Hopkins and Loling Geshe Palden Drakpa. He is a translator and editor of Tsongkhapa’s Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment and of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s teachings on that text, From Here to Enlightenment. Guy is the author of Introduction to Emptiness, Appearance and Reality, The Two Truths, and A Buddhist Grief Observed. Back to Visiting Teachers Gallery
Stephan Pende Wormland has studied and practiced meditation in multiple traditions for over 30 years. He was a monk in the Tibetan tradition for 11 years. During that time, he served as director of FPMT’s Nalanda Monastery and spent five years in group and solitary retreats. While Stephan’s main teacher is Lama Zopa Rinpoche, he has also received teachings from great Tibetan Masters of the four schools including His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Sakya Trizin Rinpoche, Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche, Kirti Thenshap Rinpoche, Chogye Trichen Rinpoche, and Choden Rinpoche. He has also practiced and studied with esteemed Western teachers like Peter Fenner, Alan Wallace, Rob Preece, Alex Berzin, Pema Chodron, Robert Thurman, and Ken McLeod. Stephan has been the resident teacher for FPMT’s Center for Wisdom and Compassion in Copenhagen for many years and currently teaches meditation in Buddhist Centers around Europe. Since 2009 he has been studying Radiant Mind with Peter Fenner, completed the Nondual Teacher Training, and is a program adviser of Potential Project. Back to Visiting Teachers Gallery
GESHE THUBTEN SHERAB
Geshe Thubten Sherab was born in 1967 in a small village in the province of Manang, the western part of Nepal, to a Kagyu-Nyingma family. He entered Kopan Monastery at the age of nine and completed his Geshe studies at Sera Je monastery in South India, followed by a year at Gyumed Tantric College. He then completed retreat and teaching assignments both in the U.S. and Asia. He served as Head Master of Kopan Monastery’s school for four years, overseeing debate training and tantric training activities. Geshe Sherab understands and connects very well with Western students, presenting the Dharma in an accessible, warm, and open manner. Geshe Sherab taught and helped in FPMT International Office for two and a half years in Taos, New Mexico, from 2001-2003, and also served as Director of the FPMT Board for a few years. After he returned to Nepal from the United States, Geshe-la was in retreat for a year and was then appointed as Head Master of Kopan. For the last few years, he has been traveling and teaching at FPMT Centers in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Asia and Europe, while also serving as resident teacher at Thubten Norbu Ling in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Back to Visiting Teachers Gallery
GESHE NGAWANG TENLEY
Geshe Ngawang Tenley was born in 1969 and in 1989 began preparation to become a monk under the guidance of his uncle, Geshe Tsulga. He was ordained by the late Gyume Khensur Geshe Urgyen Tseten Rinpoche in 1990 and began the program of studies to become a geshe at Sera Je Monastery. During the course of his studies, he has received many teachings from His Holiness the Dalai Lama as well as other highly qualified masters. In 1998, he received his full ordination (gelong) vows from His Holiness, and in November 2008, after 18 years of rigorous studies, he completed his final exams to be conferred the geshe degree at Sera Je Monastery. He began teaching at Kurukulla Center in 2009, and was appointed the resident teacher by Lama Zopa Rinpoche in 2010 following the passing away of Geshe Tsulga. His cheerfulness and humility endear him to everyone he meets. Back to Visiting Teachers Gallery
Marina Brucet Vinyals holds a BA and a MA in Biochemistry and a PhD in Molecular Biology in Immunology from the University of Barcelona, where she also performed postdoctoral studies. After this, she decided to change research in the laboratory for research of the mind and its possibilities. To this aim, she completed a six-year full-time study program Masters Program of Advanced Buddhist Studies of Sutra and Tantra at Lama Tzong Khapa Institute, Italy. She studied with great Tibetan lamas such as His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Lama Jampa Monlam and Khensur Jampa Tegchok, amongst others, and has completed a one-year individual meditation retreat, among others. Presently, she combines continual development and meditation retreats with teaching meditation and Buddhist philosophy, at both general and specialized levels, with an approach that always takes into account the context and circumstances of Western life. She mainly teaches at Tushita Meditation Center Spain and other FPMT centers, and collaborates with SEE Learning (Emory University) in Spain. Back to Visiting Teachers Gallery
GESHE KELSANG WANGMO
Geshe Kelsang Wangmo was born and raised in Germany. In 2011 she was awarded the Rime Geshe degree after completing her studies in the traditional Geshe curriculum of the Great Canonical Texts study program at the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics (IBD) in Dharamsala. This seventeen-year course focused on study and debate of the Five Great Canonical Texts according to the Gelugpa tradition as well as several semesters of study and debate in monasteries of the Nyingma, Kagyu, and Sakya traditions. Since 2004, Geshe Wangmo has taught Buddhist philosophy classes following the curriculum of the traditional Geshe study program, in English, to Westerners living in Dharamsala. Back to Visiting Teachers Gallery
PROF. JAN WILLIS
Jan Willis, who received her B.A. and M.A. in Philosophy from Cornell University and her Ph.D. in Indic and Buddhist Studies from Columbia University, is a professor, scholar, activist, and long-time Buddhist practitioner. TIME magazine named her one of its six “spiritual innovators for the new millennium” in 2000, and Ebony called her one of its “Power 150” most influential African Americans in 2007. Dr. Willis is Professor Emerita of Religious Studies at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT.
She is the author of The Diamond Light: An Introduction to Tibetan Buddhist Meditation (1972), On Knowing Reality: The Tattvartha Chapter of Asanga’s Bodhisattvabhumi (1979), Enlightened Beings: Life Stories from the Ganden Oral Tradition (1995); and the editor of Feminine Ground: Essays on Women and Tibet (1989). Her best-known work is her personal memoir, Dreaming Me: Black, Baptist, and Buddhist—One Woman’s Spiritual Journey. She has also published numerous articles and essays on various topics in Buddhism: Buddhist meditation, hagiography, women and Buddhism, and Buddhism and race. Dr. Willis is one of Lama Yeshe’s earliest Western students and sees him as her root spiritual mentor.