The early years in Tibet.
Venerable Geshe Lobsang Choephel was born in Kham, East Tibet in 1970. From an early age, he had a strong natural tendency towards monastic life and wanted to dedicate his life to Dharma. In 1983, despite the objections from his father to his taking monastic vows, Geshe-la was ordained in the Drikung Kagyu order at Phechil Punchok Gompa close to Nemtsa, his place of birth.
Shortly prior to Geshe-la’s ordination, Konchok Sherab, the great yogi from Amdo, vowed to reach Lhasa by prostrations; on his way he happened to pass by Nemtsa village. While in Nemtsa village, he was requested to perform the cutting hair tuft ceremony, giving Geshe-la the name Konchok Choephel. The Venerable Tulku Konchok Sherab is Geshe-la’s root guru. Thereafter, Geshe-la received the full ordination at Phechil Gompa. While there, he become the attendant of his principle teacher Venerable Yiknyen, who was an accomplished Drikung master of Phowa. After his teacher passed away, his uncle Lobsang Tapke, abbot of Rabten Gompa in Kham, exhorted him to join Sera Je monastery in Lhasa for higher philosophical studies, which he did in 1988. His teacher in Sera Je, Geshe Senge Rinpoche gave him an additional name, Lobsang Choephel, which is how Geshe-la is better known.
The escape to India.
Due to the fragile and difficult situation resulting from the Chinese occupation of Tibet, in 1991 Geshe-la decided to escape to India in order to seek opportunities to study without obstacles the various Buddhist tenets and practices. Walking during the night only and resting in daytime for safety reasons, he finally reached India after a six week journey. He continued his studies at Sera Jey in South India and in 2009, after 22 years of vigorous studies, the title of Geshe, which is a doctorate in the Tibetan Buddhist monastic university system, was conferred upon him. Geshe-la’s main teacher at Sera Jey Monastic University was the current abbot Venerable Lobsang Delek.
Three years retreat, Nepal
Shortly after graduating from Sera Jey, Geshe-la decided to travel to Nepal in order to deepen his experience in meditation. In Nepal he stayed in seclusion for 3 years, 3 months and 3 days in accordance with the traditional retreat in the Drikung Kagyu lineage under the instructions of His Eminence Drupon Sonam Jorphel Rinpoche.
Teachings, Nepal – India
Coming out from the retreat in 2013, Geshe-la moved in Kathmandu in the village of Kopan Hill. He taught for two years philosophy and debate the nuns of Pema Samdrup Choeling Ani Gompa and he was invited for a period to teach the monks of Zherkar Gompa in Kalimpong – the north-east of India. Until today he never stopped to teach the Dharma and guide under request lay people in retreat both in India and Nepal.
Present time, Bhavana Retreat Center Project
Geshe-la always dreamt of a place where people could study the science of mind and experience peace and happiness, a retreat center for all. Currently he has found a land endowed with a house in the area of Pharping, Nepal. You can read more about the retreat center project here.
Geshe-la is a very skillful, learned teacher and is always available whenever anyone requests a teaching. His non-sectarian attitude embraces all who come to him for advice and his instructions are bound in clarity, compassion and insights. Apart from teachings, he bestows empowerments, transmissions, and safely guides his disciples to the borders of the known mind and points how to move beyond for the purpose of meeting with their own inner happiness and peace.