The Sangha of Tushita

Resident Sangha

Venerable Thubten Wangdu

Venerable Thubten Wangdu

Resident Teacher February 2023

Ven. Thubten Wangdu is an Austrian monk who has been involved in the study and practice of Tibetan Buddhism since 2012. He finished the 5-year residential FPMT Basic Program of Buddhist Philosophy at Nalanda Monastery in France in 2022 and completed his studies with a three month lamrim retreat.

Before this, for two years Ven. Wangdu was a resident at Tushita Dharamshala and led the meditations in the various ten-day courses. He also led meditations at Kopan Monastery in Nepal for the one-month November Courses in 2019 and 2022.

Ven. Wangdu is involved in giving regular Dharma talks and meditations for the Austrian FPMT Centre in Vienna. He was ordained as a monk in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition in 2022 at Kopan Monastery by Lama Zopa Rinpoche.

Venerable Drolma

tenzinDrolma

Resident Teacher August 2016 – August 2022

Venerable Tenzin Drolma was born in Chicago, US, in 1961 and became a lifelong learner.  She received her undergraduate degree in religious studies, philosophy and psychology.  She has graduates degree in Counseling Psychology from the University of Denver and in Buddhist Studies from Maitripa College.  For 25 years she worked in the mental health field.

Ven. Drolma was ordained as a nun in the Tibetan tradition in 2009. She moved to Vajrapani Institute and was resident sangha and assistant SPC for four years.  While at Vajrapani Institute she taught courses and led meditations as well.

Ven. Drolma’s teaching style includes the psychological aspects of Buddhism and she has been described as a very approachable teacher.  While strongly based in the tradition of the Gelukpa school, her teaching emphasizes those aspects most helpful to modern students.

Venerable Tony Beaumont

Ven-Tony-Beamont

Resident Sangha 2012

Ven. Tony Beaumont was born in Melbourne, Australia in 1951. His first intensive contact with Buddhism was in Nepal and India in 1976-1977 during which time he attended 2 one-month long Kopan Lam-rim courses and their retreats and a three month group Vajrasattva retreat here at Tushita.

On returning to Australia he trained as a psychiatric nurse and worked for four years in psychiatric hospitals. For most of the 1980′s he lived at Chenrezig Institute where he worked at various times as cook, office worker and gardener.

In 1991 he took novice ordination with Kirti Tshenshab Rinpoche at Kopan and in 1993 took full ordination with Geshe Yeshe Topden at Lama Tsong Khapa Institute in Italy. For the first 4 – 5 years following ordination he was based at Nalanda Monastery, France and since then he has been based at Thubten Shedrup Ling Monastery, Australia where he was director for 4 years and later director of the International Mahayana Institute (the organization for ordained Sangha of the FPMT) for 3 years.

Ven. Tony has taught Lam-rim Courses and the Discovering Buddhism Program and led various retreats as well as teaching in prisons and schools.

Venerable Robina Courtin

Ven-Robina
Resident Sangha Apr 2010 to Apr 2011

Born in Australia in 1944, Ven Robina spent the the early part of her life studying classical singing, being involved with the radical left/feminist activism and then, in her quest for a spiritual path, studying martial arts.

She became a student of Lama Yeshe and was ordained as a Tibetan Buddhist nun at Kopan Monastery in 1978. Since then, she has worked full-time for the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT) in several roles; editorial director of Wisdom Publications, editor of the magazine Mandala and director of the Liberation Prison Project. Since 1987 she has taught Buddhist courses and retreats at FPMT centers worldwide.

Well-known for her intense energy and no-nonsense manner of expressing her profound understanding of Buddhist philosophy, Ven Robina is the subject of an award-winning documentary, “Chasing Buddha” and a film by Christine Lundberg called “On the Road Home”. You can see and hear some of her teachings online, including here here and here.

Tushita was incredibly fortunate to have had Ven. Robina as resident teacher at Tushita between April 2010 and April 2011 and we hope that she’ll join us again to lead some courses again in the future. You can see Ven Robina’s teaching schedule on her own website, www.robinacourtin.com

Venerable Jampa Dekyi

Jampa-Dekyi
Resident Sangha 2008 and 2009

Venerable Jampa Dekyi was born in Australia in 1945 and lived in the Solomon Islands for 25 years, alongside her late husband. She has 4 children and 1 granddaughter.

Dekyi attended her first meditation session in Australia in 1992 and instantly had the wish to become a nun. She ordained the following year. Since then she has studied extensively on the Buddhist Studies Program at Chenrezig, was the resident teacher at Vajrayana in Sydney for 5 years and also for 1 year at Kadam Sharawa in Gosford. After a short stay at Hayagriva Centre, she spent 2008/9 as Tushita’s resident teacher. Dekyi’s wish is to share the beauty, depth and practical compassion of the Buddhadarma with all who have an interest.

Regular Visiting Teachers

Geshe Tenzin Namdak

Geshe Tenzin Namdak

Geshe Tenzin Namdak, born in 1970 in The Netherlands, met the Dharma in 1993. After his graduation (B.Sc. in Hydrology) he lived for one year at Maitreya Institute where he received Lam Rim teachings from Geshe Sonam Gyaltsen.

On the advice of Lama Zopa Rinpoche he moved to Dharamsala in 1994 to learn Tibetan language and to take Getsul (1995) and Gelong ordination (1996) from His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In 1997 he entered the Geshe Study Program of Sera Jey Monastery in South India.

Geshe la is director of Sera IMI House, a house for western monks studying at Sera and he also teaches and translates at Choe Khor Sum Ling in Bangalore. Tushita has been most fortunate to have Geshe la lead our Pre-Ordination Course since 2012.

On April 26, 2016, Ven. Tenzin Namdak received the title of “Geshe” from Sera Je Monastic University in recognition of his completion of the advanced Buddhist studies and practice program. Completing the geshe studies program is a remarkable achievement in itself. As a Westerner, Geshe Namdak’s completion of the program speaks to his exemplary dedication to the study and practice of Dharma. We rejoice in his outstanding accomplishment.

In the print issue of Mandala (January-July 2016), Geshe Namdak wrote an article, “The Union of Study and Practice,” describing the benefits of the in-depth Buddhist studies.

In addition, Ven. Tenzin Legtsok, who also studies in the geshe program, wrote about Geshe Namdak’s outstanding service during his time at Sera Je, In Service to Others: Ven. Tenzin Namdak from Mandala January-June 2016.

Geshe Kelsang Wangmo

Geshe-Kelsang-Wangmo

Geshe Kelsang Wangmo was the first – and until 2016 only – woman to be awarded a Geshe title (only for monastics, it is equivalent to a PhD in Buddhist philosophy).

She 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 17 years in duration) 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 that Geshe Kelsang Wangmo is the first female Geshe.

Here are two online interviews with Geshe-la, one in audio and one in text.

Tushita is so very fortunate in being able to count Geshe-la as one of our teachers, as she joins us whenever her very busy schedule allows. She is also our principal translator for senior Tibetan Lamas during special teaching and initiations. Since 2013 Geshe-la has been teaching advanced topics during her annual 2-week residential course in June. A very special opportunity to study intensively with this amazing teacher!

Please see the course material and audio recordings below:

2013: What is the Mind (Lorig) 2014: Tenets – The Four Schools of Buddhist Philosophy 2015: Grounds & Paths 2016: Bodhicitta 2017: The Two Truths 2018: Emptiness & Compassion 2019: What is the mind

For more info and recordings visit Geshe Kelsang Wangmo's website: kelsangwangmo.com

Kabir Saxena

Kabir-Saxena

Kabir Saxena was born to an English mother and an Indian father and raised in both Delhi and London, attending Oxford University.

He met his main teachers Lama Thubten Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche in 1979 and has been living and working in FPMT Centres almost ever since, including helping to establish Root Institute and serving as its Director for many years, before being ordained as a monk in 2002. He is currently the Spiritual Programme Coordinator at Tushita Delhi.

Kabir has been teaching Buddhism to Westerners and Indians in India and Nepal since 1988 and presents the Dharma in an appropriately humourous and meaningful way for modern students.

Venerable Joan Nicell

Joan Nicell

Venerable Joan first met the Tibetan Buddhist tradition in 1987 and that same year did her the one-month November course at Kopan Monastery, Nepal. After doing a second one-month course in 1988, she received ordination as a nun with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala.

After spending a couple of years doing retreat, she moved to Lama Tzong Khapa Institute in Italy where she lived for 22 years. During that time she was responsible for organizing the seven-year advanced Masters Program as well as the other standard FPMT programs taught at the Institute. In addition she also transcribed the daily teachings and translated a number of the core texts from Tibetan to English.

As of early 2014 she teaches courses and guides meditation retreats in Nepal and India. In addition she works for FPMT Education Services in the role of reviewing the standard programs and developing new course materials.

Venerable Geshe Legtsok

Ven-Legtsok

Venerable Geshe Tenzin Legtsok received the ‘Geshe’ degree in 2023 after 19 years of studies in the Geshe Studies Program at Sera Jey Monastic University in South India. A remarkable accomplishment only achieved by a few Westerners so far! The curriculum comprises the classic Indian Buddhist treatises and their Tibetan commentaries in the tradition of ancient Nalanda University.

Geshe Legtsok has been ordained as a Buddhist monk since 2001 and took full gelong ordination in 2007.

Born in Virginia, USA in 1973, he obtained a Bachelor of Arts from Kenyon College in 1995. The question, “What makes for the most happy and meaningful life?”, which compelled him to major in philosophy during college, gradually led to his study of meditation and philosophy with teachers among the exiled Tibetan communities in India and Nepal from 1999 until the present.

For the past 12 years he has tried to make basic Buddhist teachings accessible to various audiences in India and the US through lectures, essays, and meditation instruction.

Since 2023 Geshe la has led the annual Pre-Ordination Course at Tushita. From March 2023 Geshe la will follow the one year curriculum of training in tantra for new geshes at Gyume Monastery in South India.

Venerable Amy Miller

Ven-Amy-Miller

Amy J. Miller (Ven. Lobsang Chodren) first encountered Tibetan Buddhism in the spring of 1987 during a course at Kopan Monastery in Nepal. Since then, she has spent a great deal of time engaged in meditation retreats, study, teaching, and Buddhist center management throughout the world. Prior to meeting the Dharma, Amy was a political fundraiser in Washington, DC and also worked for Mother Jones Magazine in San Francisco, California.

Amy has been teaching extensively since 1992 and was ordained as a Buddhist nun in June 2000 by the great Tibetan master, Ven Choden Rinpoche. 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 stressful living.

Amy is the co-author of Buddhism in a Nutshell, and a contributor to Living in the Path, a series of online courses produced by the FPMT. She has also directed two retreat centers in the US: Vajrapani Institute in California and most recently, Milarepa Center in Vermont.

Based in the United States, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Amy teaches and leads retreats and pilgrimages around the world. Her teaching schedule and other information can be found at AmyMiller.com.

Venerable Namjong

Ven Namjong

Born and raised in Hawaii, Venerable Tenzin Namjong studied and trained in Zen and Theravada traditions before embracing the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, due mainly to the kindness of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Lama Zopa Rinpoche.

He holds a B.A. in Philosophy from Princeton University and has been part of the 19 year Geshe (Doctorate of Buddhist Philosophy) study program at Sera Je Monastery in Bylakuppe, India since 2007.

Venerable Namjong is a registered teacher of the FPMT and regularly teaches at Choe Khor Sum Ling Centre in Bangalore.

Venerable Lhundup Jamyang

Ven. Lhundup Jamyang was born in the Netherlands in 1961, and worked for 12 years as a physiotherapist with children.

In 1997 she came into contact with Buddhism at Tushita Meditation Center in Dharamsala. It was here that she realized she had a strong connection with Lama Zopa Rinpoche. In 2000 she took ordination at Kopan, after which she went to Australia to study the 5-year Basic Program at Chenrezig Institute. In 2007 she went to Buddha House, Adelaide, where she worked as SPC and teacher. In 2009 Rinpoche advised her to study the Madhyamakavatara, which was taught at Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa, Italy, as part of the Masters Program. She completed the MP at the beginning of 2017, including the one year retreat requirement.

She is co-writer of the study manual for the Madhyamakavatara, and has been painting tangkas for over 20 years.

Venerable Gache

Ven Tenzin Gache

Venerable Tenzin Gache grew up in Boston in the USA, graduating from Tufts University in 2005.

In 2006 he was ordained in Dharamsala by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and since that time has been studying at Sera Jey Monastery in South India. Currently he is in the 15th year of the standard 19 year geshe study program.

His translation of his teacher, Kyabje Choden Rinpoche’s book, Mastering Meditation: Instructions on Calm Abiding and Mahamudra was released in 2020, and he has recently completed a translation of Rinpoche’s teachings on the Six-Session Guru Yoga and the bodhisattva and tantric vows.

Venerable Lozang Drolma

Venerable Lozang Drolma

Originally from England, Venerable Lozang Drolma met the Dharma when volunteering at the FPMT Centre, Chenrezig Institute in Australia. Venerable Drolma ordained and began her formal studies with the Buddhist Studies Program and, further on, the two year Masters program at Chenrezig Institute.

Throughout most of this time she assisted the resident Tibetan lama and lead workshops and meditations for the many students who came through Chenrezig Institute. In 2013 she assisted as meditation leader on the annual Kopan Lam Rim retreat and began to teach at Chenrezig Institute, becoming well known for her natural warmth, kindness and wisdom.

Venerable Drolma presently she is studying Tibetan in Dharamsala.

Venerable Gyalten Lekden

Venerable Gyalten Lekden

Ven. Gyalten Lekden was born and raised outside of Boston. He first started studying and practicing Buddhism during his undergraduate schooling and, after completing BAs in Theatre and Religious Studies, he continued on to complete his Masters of Divinity in Buddhist Ministry at Harvard Divinity School.

Ven. Lekden started leading Buddhist communities while an undergrad, and has studied, served, and taught at various Dharma centers since then.

In 2012 he joined Sera Je Monastery in southern India, where he continues to study and practice.

Ven. Lekden is a registered teacher in the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), and has given talks and meditation instruction in India and the USA.

Venerable Khadro

Venerable Khadro was born in Venezuela of European parents, raised in Argentina and, after completing a degree in Business Administration, she emigrated to New Zealand in 2004, where she first encountered Tibetan Buddhism.

Since then she has engaged in her formal Buddhist studies and is currently studying the online Master Programme in Buddhist Philosophy from ILTK in Italy. She has served in various FPMT Centers and projects as is currently the Spiritual Programme Coordinator of Root Institute in Bodhgaya, India.

She has lead courses/retreats in NZ, Australia, Colombia, India, Nepal and Germany. Her "international" background allows her to have an open, friendly and warm manner. Khadro also leads retreats and spends some months in semi-retreat at Lawudo, a remote hermitage in the Himalayas, Nepal. She is a Buddhist Chaplain, an accredited Foundation for Developing Wisdom and Compassion facilitator-FDWC, and a FPMT registered teacher.

Glen Svensson

Glen-Svensson

Glen is from Australia and has been a student and practitioner of Buddhism since 1995. After completing a degree in IT at the University of Queensland, Glen spent eight years working and traveling around the world before “bumping into” Buddhism – taking his first Introduction course here at Tushita!

He then attended two Kopan November Courses, followed by seven years of intensive Buddhist philosophical studies and nine months of meditation retreat in the FPMT Master’s Program (a teacher-training course) at the Lama Tzong Khapa Institute in Italy.

Since completion of the Master’s Program in 2005, Glen has taught extensively around the world and is one of Tushita's most regular teachers. His teaching style emphasizes clarity and simplicity and he is increasingly interested in the practice of shamatha meditation. You can see Glen’s teaching schedule on his own website: www.glensvensson.org

Jimi Neal

Jimi-Neal

Born in 1948 in Italy to American parents, Jimi was raised in America and attended the University of Southern California. He first came to India in 1971-72, and in 1974 met Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa at Kopan Monastery, Nepal. He was ordained by Lama Yeshe at Tushita in 1980.

A monk for 15 years, Jimi divided his time between Nalanda Monastery in France, and India. Since entering lay life, Jimi has continued to teach and lead retreats extensively at many centers around the world.

Jimi usually joins us toward the end of the year and you are most likely to catch one of his courses in October/November.

Shahar Tene

Shahar_Tene

Shahar was born in Israel but has lived in the UK for most of his life. He holds an MSc in Physics from the University of Reading, an MA in Philosophy from King's College London, and did postgraduate studies at SOAS, London.

Shahar has been a student and practitioner of Buddhism since 2007. Starting with Tushita's very own Introduction to Buddhism course, he completed two years of intensive Buddhist philosophical studies and three months of meditation retreat in the FPMT's Basic Program, followed by a year studying part of the Masters Program, both at the Lama Tzong Khapa Institute in Italy. Shahar is a registered FPMT Teacher.

Since 2014, Shahar has been focusing on Tibetan Language, graduating from the Lotsawa Rinchen Zangpo Translator Program in 2020, after which he began working as a Tibetan to English interpreter both online and currently at Thosamling Institute here in Dharamsala.

Rachel Wryer

Rachel Wryer

Rachel received a BA in Religious Studies and Anthropology at Amherst College, USA in 1988 and spent many years as a Middle School "Language Arts and Social Studies" teacher. She completed the MA in Buddhist Studies at Maitripa College, Oregon USA in 2009 and has continued her studies at Maitripa in the Tibetan Translation Seminars and Vajrayana Certificate Program. She also participated in the 100 million Mani retreat with Lama Zopa Rinpoche in Mongolia in August 2013. She is a qualified teacher of the FPMT’s Discovering Buddhism program and occasionally takes on extra service opportunities such assisting with projects for the FPMT's Education Department and Maitripa's Community Service Center.

Throughout this, Rachel has juggled study, practice, service, and teaching with family life, and she has one teenage daughter.

David Marks

David-Marks

David is originally from Melbourne, Australia. After graduating from Law School in 1978 he traveled around Asia, developing an interest in eastern religion and meditation along the way.

He ordained as a monk soon after meeting his teacher Lama Zopa Rinpoche and then studied at Nalanda Monastery for several years, later teaching here at Tushita, Kopan Monastery, and Root Institute. He has also been resident teacher at Vajrayana Institute and director of Thubten Shedrup Ling Monastery.

Since 2007 he has lived mostly in solitude while trying to develop his personal meditation practice. Recently David returned to lay life and has now begun teaching again at FPMT centres in India and Nepal.