Geshe Palden Tsering
The late, Ven. Geshe Palden Tsering was born in 1934 in Zakok, in the Dege region of Kham in Eastern Tibet. At the age of eight, he took the novice ordination (Tib. ge tsul) and joind Trashi Ganden Choepel Ling Monastery (founded by the 1st ZaChoeje Rinpoche), where his elder brother and uncle cared for him. On becoming a monk, he received the name Lobsang Thinley. Until he was fifteen he studied language and literature.
Then together with his brother he travelled to Lhasa, Tibet's capital, in order to join Sera Je Monastery, which was one of the three great monasteries of the Gelug-pa tradition existing in Tibet at that time. The journey from their home monastery took three months, walking all the way carrying their luggage on their backs.
At Sera Je monastery, on Lhasa’s outskirts, Geshe-la studied for 7 years completing the topics of Signs and Reasoning (Tib. ta rig), Awareness and Knowing (lo rig) and Tenets (drub ta).
In 1959, due to the Communist invasion, Geshe-la fled from Tibet, together with his teacher, the most Venerable Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey.
They arrived in India after almost a year of rough and dangerous travel by way of a circuitous route. For three years Geshe-la lived in Kalimpong (in north-east India) with his teacher, “doing a lot of cooking with very good cooks” and continuing his studies on the side.Then for eight years he lived in Buxa (also in north-east India), a place allocated to
the refugee monks by the Indian government. There, Geshe-la’s studies included the Perfection of Wisdom Sutras
(Skt. Prajnaparamita), Middle Way Philosophy (Madhyamaka), Metaphysics (Abhidharma), Moral Discipline
(Vinaya) and Valid Cognition (Pramana).
From 1971, Geshe-la lived in Dharamsala, situated in the Himalayan foothills, where he was studying, while also cooking and serving his teacher. Being the seat of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in exile, many great teachers of the Tibetan tradition also resided there, notably His Holiness, his senior and junior tutors (Ling Rinpoche and Trijang Rinpoche), Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey, and many distinguished scholars and practitioners.For these fifteen-odd years, Geshe-la pursued his studies, receiving many rare and precious teachings from both Sutra and Tantra, including many commentaries and initiations.
In 1973, Geshe-la took the bhikkshu (Tib. gelong) vows of a fully ordained monk from His Holiness the Dalai Lama in South India.
During 1986 Geshe-la travelled as the attendant for his teacher, who was conducting a teaching tour throughout Austraila. Then, in 1987, Geshe-la took his final monastic examination (Geshe exam) at Sera Je Monastery in South India in the presence of 5000 monks, receiving the award of Rirampa Geshe, equivalent to a Doctorate of Philosophy.
For three years from 1988 Geshe-la lived with his teacher in Dunedin, New Zealand and during that time, while continuing to receive teachings, initiations and oral instructions, he also obtained valuable training in teaching others.
In 1992, Geshe-la came to Dorje Chang Institute in Auckland where he was the resident teacher until 2002. During this period Geshe-la travelled to Malaysia, Hong Kong and Australia for teaching purposes as well.Geshe-la gave regular teachings on the Sutras, bestowed initiations and led and engaged in retreats. Over the 10 years at DCI, Geshe-la taught many important texts, including a commentary on the Stages of the Path (lam rim) text, Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand by Pabongka Rinpoche.
He has also led many Nyung-Nay fasting retreats and the fire pujas for his own and others’ retreats. Where possible, Geshe-la gave the 8 Mahayana Precepts on the Wheel-Turning Days. Geshe-la drew on the vast knowledge and experience he had gathered over the years, having received instructions and having practiced in all the Tibetan traditions. The Dzogchen Lama Tulshik Rinpoche from Solo Khumbu in Nepal and the Sakya Lama Dachen Choktrul Rinpoche from Kham were among the twelve lamas that Geshe-la relied on throughout his life.
In 2003 Geshe Palden Tsering started a new Centre for Mahayana Teachings in Auckland, New Zealand, named after his monastery in Tibet, Trashi Ganden Choepel Ling. In all activities, Geshe-la taught with a mind of loving-kindness and compassion, caring greatly for his students. Especially, his thought was to give help and to bring benefit to others.
Geshe-la passed away on 2nd September 2007.
Trashi Ganden Choepel Ling
40 Waverley Ave. Glenfield
North Shore City 0629
Auckland New Zealand
Phone: +64 (0)9 444 8886