The Call to Wisdom:
Geshe Kelsang Wangmo on Recognizing My Mother

This lunatic child,

who lost his old mother long ago,

is about to realize by chance

what he has not recognized:

She has been with him all along!

–from Recognizing My Mother, Changkya Rölpai Dorjé

Knowing the ultimate nature of reality–the wisdom of emptiness–is a central pursuit on the Buddhist path. Yet clear understanding can seem difficult to access: subtle, hidden, beyond the realm of conceptual thinking. Geshe Kelsang Wangmo brings her years of Dharma scholarship to Shantideva Center, in a series of four teachings on the inspirational text Recognizing My Mother. Written in the 18th century by Changkya Rölpai Dorjé this concise text is a lyrical expression of what it feels like to uncover the nature of reality. Brimming with philosophy, it also points to how we ourselves might arrive at that understanding. Join Geshe Kelsang Wangmo as she teases out the philosophy from the wisdom lineage encoded in Recognizing My Mother, while admiring its lyrical beauty. Geshe-la is the perfect guide to this subject: having studied for two decades at the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics, Geshe Wangmo completed her thesis on the topic of dependent arising–after which she was awarded the first geshe degree given to a nun in 2011.

Additional Materials

“Recognizing My Mother,” by His Holiness the Dalai Lama:

Recognizing My Mother An Experiential Song on the View by Changkya Rölpai Dorjé

Explanatory notes on Recognizing My Mother by Geshema Kelsang Wangmo

Kön-chog-jig-me-wang-po’s Commentary on (Jang-kya Röl-pay-dor-je’s) “Song of the View, Identifying Mama”: Lamp for the Words by Jeffrey Hopkins


About the Teacher

Geshe Kelsang Wangmo was the first—and until 2016 only—woman to be awarded a Geshe title, considered equivalent to a Ph.D. in Buddhist philosophy.

She is also the official German translator for His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala and online.

Geshe-la was born in Germany and took ordination as a nun in 1991. She later enrolled in the traditional Geshe curriculum at the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics (IBD) in Dharamsala (a program that has run for 17 years) and was awarded the Geshe title in 2011. Since 2004, Geshe Kelsang Wangmo has been teaching Buddhist philosophy classes in English in Dharamsala, following the curriculum of the IBD.

During His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s visit to Hamburg/Germany in 2014, His Holiness announced Geshe Kelsang Wangmo as the first female Geshe.

You can see Geshe Kelsang Wangmo’s schedule and recorded teachings on her website.