Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Jamyang, an Abbot Emeritus of Sera Mey Monastic University, was born in 1933 into the family of Tsewang (father) and Bhutrug (mother) in a place called Ghyongpa, a part of Lithang locality of Kham region in Tibet. Unlike most ordinary kids, even at a very young age, he expressed strong desire to be a fully ordained monk when he became older. During his reading and writing studies with a private teacher, he was able to memorize many different ritual texts. Later, he joined Lithang Jamchen Choekhorling, a monastery in Lithang, and excelled in learning the rituals and chanting. He became a role model for the monks of the monastery.
At one time, because of strong support based on prophesy given by high lamas and deities, as well as many other external and internal signs, Gyaltsap (Regent) Trulku (incarnated Lama) Rigzin Ngyendag and Lophel Trulku of Nyag-me recognized Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Jamyang as the unmistaken incarnation of Chagdue Trulku of Nyagrong, a place in Kham. His parents and the relatives were highly pleased but Khensur Rinpoche Geshe Lobsang Jamyang refused the offer saying that whether or not he is recognized as a Lama by others, his responsibility was to achieve spiritual progress by engaging in Dharma practice with diligence and perseverance. He said that being recognized as a Lama did not make him happier and would not accept the recognition. This is the reason why he is not recognized as Chagdue Trulku.
At sixteen (1949), he received his novice monk ordination from Khenchen (Great Abbot) Jaza Dorjee Chang and was given the Dharma name – Lobsang Jamyang. When his fame as an excellent master or ritualistic performances and chanting reached every corner of the region, the regional leader Dorjee Gyalsten summoned him to his palace. There Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Jamyang stayed for a while as the principal ritual performer for the protector deity of the regional leader. One time, while performing rituals at the chapel in the palace, a very unique and propitious event of glowing flames of fire shooting out from the big drum he was using was actually seen by many who were present at the time. Not long after this event, Khensur Lobsang Jamyang become the root Lama of the regional leader Dorjee Gyaltsen himself and was appointed as the tutor to this son Jetsun Losang Dhamchoe, the reincarnation of Thamthog Dorjee Chang (Thamtog Rinpoche is now the main spiritual guide of Ge Phel Ling in Milan, Italy, and is the Abbot of Namgyal Monastery, the personal monastery of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, since 2009).
Ạt twenty-four, he entered Sera Mey Monastic University in central Tibet. While at Sera Mey, at the feet of many great teachers, he studied several main scriptures. About a year later, 1959, both Tibetan government as well as the Tibetan people had to flee the country.
At the time when Khensur Rinpoche fled the country, his disciple Thamthog Rinpoche was only a minor. Since young Thamthog Rinpoche could not walk all the way through the exodus, Khensur Rinpoche carried him on his back until they reached the border of India. They had to face many kinds of hardships, at times they could not find food, at times they lost their bearings, and at times they were confronted with the fear of being caught. All the same, without the least concern for his own life, Khensur Rinpoche succeeded in bringing the young Thamthog Rinpoche safely to India.
Once in India, Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Jamyang joined the re-established Sera Mey Monastic University in Buxa, India and continued with his studies. His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama – the embodiment of compassion – had not only laid the foundation for the seat of Tibetan government in exile, but had, almost immediately after his arrival in India in 1959, re-established the three principal Monastic Universities in Tibet – Gaden, Drepung, and Sera. Obviously, these centers of learning were at its rudimental stages of development, but the monks fleeing from Tibet experienced a sense of revival and reunification.
At the age of thirty, Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Jamyang deliberately traveled to Bodhgaya, the place of Shakyamuni Buddha’s enlightenment, to receive full ordination with complete vows from His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. A few years later, Khensur Rinpoche’s pilgrimage to the holy site of Bodhgaya coincided with the presence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in the same place, and Khensur Rinpoche had the fortune to obtain audience with His Holiness. Again, later that year, he met His Holiness in New Delhi. During that private audience, His Holiness showed great interest in him and with a great sense of urgency directed him to stay put in the monastery and focus on his studies instead of moving around from place to place.
From that time on, Khensur Rinpoche remained in Sera Mey working hard for his Geshe degree (equivalent to a Ph.D. in Buddhist philosophy). As a preliminary requisite for his geshe degree, he had to participate in a challenge debate on syllogism before the great assembly of monks of Sera Mey Monastic University. He excelled in this debate with flying colors and became an object of admiration by all who witnessed it. Thereafter, he continued his studies with even more vigor and completed his studies in Paramita, Madhyamika, Vinaya, and Abhidharma.
As a result, in 1982, after Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Jamyang passed the final test for Geshe degree conducted by the Testing Committee of Gelugpa monastic universities, His Holiness the Dalai Lama awarded him with a volume of the abridged version of Lam Rim scripture.
In 1986, during the annual Great Prayer Festival, a tradition initiated by Lama Tsongkhapa, he demonstrated his knowledge of the major tenets of Buddhism by engaging in debates with the congregation of Geshe Lharampas. Along with others, His Holiness the Dalai Lama conferred on him the coveted degree of Geshe Lharampa (highest class of Geshe degree).
In 1987, he returned to Tibet for a short visit. While in Tibet, he gave many teachings and bestowed various initiations and empowerments for the benefit of sentient beings. He gave teaching on the Lam Rim (Graded Path to Enlightenment) and the Guru Puja (tib: Bla-ma Mcho’d-pa; Prayer of offering to the spiritual masters). His method of teachings were uniquely characterized by four essential skills – (1)the ability to illustrate specific abstract points for clarity, (2)the ability to demonstrate ways and means of achieving spiritual goals, (3)the ability to narrate unique anecdotes, and (4)the ability to substantiate with direct quotes from authentic sources for the purpose of helping disciples generate faith and conviction in the teachings.
Hence, his teachings were easy to understand for the beginners, and appropriate for everyone – each according to his/her own interest and mental dispositions. Apart from giving extensive teachings, he was able to help many others change their lives. He helped number of people suffering from mental disorders or other forms of psychophysical imbalance. He also helped many others give up their negative ways of life – such as engaging in robbery and stealing – and commit to Dharma practice instead. Many wayward people realized their mistakes and engaged in confession and commitment to recite either the six syllable mantra (Om Mani Peme Hum) one millions times, or recite the refuge verse one hundred thousand times.
In 1988, he returned to India and joined the Gyudme Tantric College at Hunsur in Byllakuppe, India, where he completed his studies about the Four Classes of Tantra. Next he went back to Sera Mey Monastic University and continued teaching a number of young incarnate lamas and other monks. At about this time, the then Abbot of Sera Mey Monastic University decided to act on the repeated request for a Geshe to be sent to the West to teach the Dharma. Soon, the selection process began. Khensur Rinpoche was on a short list of seven most qualified Geshes. As per the wish of the monastery, he accepted the offer and set out on a long journey to the West.
In the West, he traveled to many countries in South and North America to spread Dharma. He met thousands of Westerners interested in Buddhism. Wherever he went, he gave extensive teachings and many became his disciples.
In 1996, he received from His Holiness the Dalai Lama the letter of appointment as the Abbot of Sera Mey Monastic University. Immediately, he left for India. Soon after he was enthroned as the Abbot of Sera Mey Monastic University and received the title Khen Rinpoche (precious Abbot). His first act as Abbot was to launch the project of the construction of a new Prayer Hall, as per His Holiness’ suggestion (learn more about the new Prayer Hall Construction project).
The same year, 1996, Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Jamyang founded Manjushri Buddhist Center in Longueuil, Canada.
From 1997-1999, Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Jamyang lead a group of monks to the United States of America and other Western countries to raise funds for New Prayer Hall at Sera Mey Monastic University.
In 2002, Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Jamyang and the monks at Sera Mey Monastic University welcomed His Holiness the Dalai Lama for Prayer Hall inauguration. The new Prayer Hall is not only big and spacious but represents the unique Tibetan architecture in all aspects.
In September 2003, Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Jamyang inaugurated Geden Shoeling Buddhist Center in Westminster, California for the Buddhists to study and practice Buddha Dharma.
In 2004, Khensur Rinpoche Geshe was appointed as the senior most Abbot of the six monasteries of the Gelugpa order. During the enthronement ceremony of this position as the Abbot Throne Holder (tib: Mkhen-Po Khri-Pa), he was presented with, according to tradition, the three piece garment of a monk (Chos-Gos Rnam-Gsum), the Dingwa (the rug or carpet on which a monks sits and which he carries on his shoulders), a Pensha (a type of had worn by high lamas during teachings), and a piece of cotton cloth (Rays-Bal) by the Committee of the Gelugpa Monastic Universities.
In 2004, His Holiness visited Sera Mey Monastic University and bestowed the vows of fully ordained monk to many monks of the Sera Mey Monastic University. Since the visit also coincided with the day His Holiness the Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Price (December 10), a celebration took place to commemorate this most important day.
Recently on September 7, 2011 Khensur Rinpoche invited His Holiness the Dalai-Lama to the Manjushri Centre in Longueuil during the Dalai-Lama’s last visit to Montréal.
On September 24, 2009, Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Jamyang invited His Holiness the Dalai-Lama to the Geden Geden Shoeling Buddhist Center in Westminster, California. His Holiness gave teachings on The Four Noble Truths and conferred the Amitabha Permission Initiation (opakmei jenang) and Medicine Buddha Initiation at the Long Beach Convention Arena organized by Geden Shoeling Tibetan Manjushri Center on September 25 & 26.
Geden Shoeling Buddhist Centre
Resident Teacher: Geshe Norbu Chophel
The Centre is located at 14041 Olive Street, Westminster, California, 92683 USA.You can view the lastest schedule of activities and get more information on Geshe Norbu on the official website.
Phone number: (714) 891-5456
Manjushri Buddhist Centre
The Centre is located at 705 chemin Chambly, Longueuil, Qc, Canada, J4H 3M2.You can view the lastest schedule of activities here.