Geshe Thubten Trinley Teaches Lamrim in Shar Gaden Geshe Thubten Trinley Teaches Lamrim in Shar Gaden
From March to April 2016, Shar Gaden Monastery hosted the turning of the wheel of Dharma with the visit of Ven. Geshe Thubten Trinley,... Geshe Thubten Trinley Teaches Lamrim in Shar Gaden

From March to April 2016, Shar Gaden Monastery was host to the turning of the wheel of Dharma with the visit of a great scholar, Ven. Geshe Thubten Trinley. The arrival of this erudite teacher was accompanied by Tibetan ceremonial music, as he was escorted into the prayer hall in his wheelchair.

The frail, aged Geshe was assisted onto the throne and commenced an extended series of teachings on the Bodhisattva Vows and the Middling Lamrim with H.H. Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche’s commentary. The teachings lasted for a total of 25 days and had a tremendous impact on the minds of the 800 monks in attendance from both Shar Gaden and Serpom monasteries.

Long life puja for Geshe Thubten Trinley

Long life puja for Geshe Thubten Trinley

At the end of the precious discourse, an elaborate long life puja (tenshug) and tsog was offered to Geshe Thubten Trinley by the monks of both monasteries for his good health and longevity. Present during this ceremony were eminent masters including H.E. Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Phende, H.E. Domo Chocktrul Rinpoche, H.E. Gyara Rinpoche and many others.

The assembly of Sangha also came together once again to make offerings to the Bodhimind (sems bskyed mchod pa). Having renewed their Bodhisattva Vows with Geshe Thubten Trinley after receiving the precious teachings of the Middling Lamrim, the monks conducted this grand offering ceremony as a thanksgiving puja as well as to generate continuous merits to possess the wish to develop Bodhicitta.

Offerings to the Bodhimind

Offerings to the Bodhimind

The debate hall was elaborately decorated with beautiful flowers for this special occasion and abundant offerings were made to celebrate the meritorious activities that were conducted in Shar Gaden Monastery. Hundreds of monks held up offering banners marked with auspicious signs which serve as a reminder of their Bodhisattva vows and their journey to develop the Bodhimind.

kangso to the Dharma Protectors Dorje Shugden, Namtose and Setrap was also conducted in celebration and thanksgiving for the smooth and perfect conditions throughout the 25 days.

or watch on our server: Ven. Geshe Thubten Trinley's teachings at Shar Gaden, 2016

 

Geshe Thubten Trinley: A Short Biography

Venerable Geshe Thubten Trinley

Venerable Geshe Thubten Trinley

Venerable Geshe Thubten Trinley was born in the year 1933 in Trehor, Eastern Tibet. At the tender age of 10, he began his Dharma studies with the illustrious master Venerable Geshe Jampa Khedrup.

Venerable Geshe Jampa Khedrup

Venerable Geshe Jampa Khedrup

Geshe Jampa Khedrup was born in the Dhargye region of Tibet and was one of H.H. Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche’s main disciples. He was famed in the region of Dhargye for flourishing the teachings of Lama Tsongkhapa. When he was 15 years old, Geshe Jampa Khedrup enrolled in Sera Monastery in Lhasa, where he continued his studies until he achieved the Geshe Lharam degree. He then joined Gyume Tantric College where he also served as the monastery’s disciplinarian (dge bskos).

Due to continuous requests from the people of Dhargye for him to turn the wheel of Dharma in his hometown, Geshe Jampa Khedrup returned to Dhargye and became the abbot of Trehor Dhargye Monastery. Although Dhargye Monastery was influential and large with 1,500 Sangha members at the time, the study of Buddhism was shallow and signs of degeneration in the Dharma were present.

In his efforts to revive the excellent study programmes within Lama Tsongkhapa’s tradition, Geshe Jampa Khedrup faced countless obstacles and was confronted with much resistance from those who were set in their erroneous ways. However, with pure dedication and perseverance, Geshe Jampa Khedrup successfully reestablished the debate courtyard (chos rwa) and the schools of Sutra and Tantric practices.

Dhargye Monastery in Kandze, Kham

Dhargye Monastery in Kandze, Kham

Geshe Jampa Khedrup served as the abbot of Trehor Dhargye Monastery for 60 years before retreating to the mountains to engage in intense meditation practices. During the eighth year of his meditation retreat, he was captured by Chinese troops during the war and was sent to prison, where he passed away a few years later. During his final years in prison, he composed various texts about training the mind in Dharma.

H.E. Geshe Rabten Rinpoche

H.E. Geshe Rabten Rinpoche

Having the opportunity to receive direct teachings from such a great master as Geshe Jampa Khedrup is a clear indication of how special Geshe Thubten Trinley is.

After five years of study with this great disciple of Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche, Geshe Thubten Trinley left Trehor for Lhasa and joined Sera Jey Monastery where he studied Buddhist philosophy for about 10 years with single pointed focus and progressed exceptionally. His main teacher was the late Geshe Tamdin Rabten Rinpoche, who would later become one of the first Tibetan Lamas to bring Dharma to the West. He also served as the study assistant (mtshan zhabs) to the then 10-year-old Reting Rinpoche, whose former incarnation was the Regent of Tibet.

At the age of 26, Geshe Thubten Trinley’s studies in Sera Jey Monastery were cut short prematurely when Chinese troops invaded Tibet in 1959, forcing many monks to seek refuge in India. After a long and arduous journey through the Himalayas, Geshe Thubten Trinley continued his studies for eight years in Buxa, while helping to rebuild what little was left of the Tibetan tradition in exile.

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As the situation improved for the Tibetan refugees, Geshe Thubten Trinley and 54 other great learned masters became the first batch of exiled Tibetan lamas to enrol in Varanasi University, where they studied extensively for three years.

Upon completion of their final examinations, which were conducted by H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama, H.H. Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche and H.H. Kyabje Ling Rinpoche, Geshe Thubten Trinley was ranked 4th out of the seven finest Geshes in his class, after Geshe Thubten Tsering of Gaden Shartse Monastery, H.H. Sharpa Choje Lobsang Nyima and Geshe Jampa Thekchok of Sera Jey Monastery.

Geshe Thubten Trinley accepts a long life puja from the assembly of monks

Geshe Thubten Trinley accepts a long life puja from the assembly of monks

Most of his classmates took on prestigious and important positions in Gaden, Sera and Drepung monasteries as well as in Gyutö and Gyume Tantric colleges, and Geshe Thubten Trinley himself was offered the position of Chantmaster (dbu mdzad) in Gyume Tantric College which would open the path for him to eventually ascend the throne of abbot or even the Gaden Tripa. However, in accordance with the advice of Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche and Geshe Rabten, Geshe Thubten Trinley chose instead to engage in retreat in the mountains near Dharamsala and continued his studies in seclusion.

During these retreat years, Geshe Thubten Trinley received countless teachings from Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche, especially the Middling Lamrim teachings which he received through instructions from experience (myung trid). Just as how Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche studied the Lamrim with his teacher Dagpo Rinpoche Jamphel Lhundrub, Geshe Thubten Trinley would receive teachings from Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche and meditate on the subject for a week before returning to explain his realisations and to receive more instructions. This training went on for many years.

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Geshe Thubten Trinley remained in retreat for the next 12 years, and only ended his meditation retreat in 1983 when his root teacher, Geshe Rabten, invited him to reside and teach in Rabten Choeling, Switzerland.

Observing how his aging teacher was in need of assistance and understanding Geshe Rabten’s wish to educate his Western students in Dharma, Geshe Thubten Trinley traveled to Switzerland without any hesitation to fulfill his Lama’s wishes although his personal preference was to remain in retreat. Upon his arrival, he was appointed as one of the main resident teachers of Rabten Choeling and has been based in Europe ever since.

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Despite shouldering the heavy responsibilities of propagating the Gelugpa tradition in the West, Geshe Thubten Trinley continues to travel widely for several months at a time to Tibet, India and Nepal to pass on the precious teachings and lineage of Lama Tsongkhapa. At the request of Shar Gaden Monastery’s then abbot, H.E. Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Phende, Geshe Thubten Trinley visited the monastery for the first time in 2009, during which he stayed for 49 days and gave an extensive teaching on the Lamrim Chenmo.

Ever since then, Geshe Thubten Trinley regularly returns to Shar Gaden Monastery to turn the wheel of Dharma almost annually. Even a major heart surgery in 2011 did not stop him from travelling to Shar Gaden Monastery three weeks later to give an extensive teaching on The Essence of True Eloquence by Lama Tsongkhapa.

Below are some of the most significant teachings that Geshe Thubten Trinley has given during his travels to the East:

Teachings in 2009 at Shar Gaden Monastery

  • 45-day commentary on The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment (lam rim chen mo) by Lama Tsongkhapa

Teachings in 2010 at Shar Gaden Monastery:

  • Commentary on The Essence of Nectar (lam rim bdud rtsi snying po) by Yeshe Tsondru
  • Solitary Hero Yamantaka initiation and commentary (‘jigs byed dpa’ bo gcig pa)
  • 13-Deity Yamantaka initiation and commentary (‘jigs byed lha bcu gsum)
  • Dorje Shugden life entrustment initiation (rdo rje shugs ldan srog gtad)

Teachings in 2011 at Shar Gaden Monastery:

  • 25-day commentary on The Essence of True Eloquence (legs bshad snying po) by Lama Tsongkhapa

Teachings in 2012 at Jangchup Lamrim Temple in Lumbini, Nepal:

  • Commentary on The Swift Path – Stages of the Path to Enlightenment (lam rim myur lam) by H.H. the 2nd Panchen Lama Lobsang Yeshe. More than 200 monks from both Serpom and Shar Gaden monasteries travelled to Nepal to receive these teachings from Geshe Thubten Trinley.

Teachings in 2015 at Shar Gaden Monastery:

  • Teaching on Shantideva’s Bodhisattvacharyavatara (spyod ‘jug chen mo) by Gyaltsab Je
  • Commentary on Mind Training Like the Rays of the Sun (blo sbyong nyi ma’i ‘od zer) by Nam-Kha Pel

Teachings in 2016 at Shar Gaden Monastery:

  • Commentary on The Medium Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment (lam rim ‘bring ba) by Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche

Geshe Thubten Trinley’s determination to pass on the lineage of Lama Tsongkhapa to the new generation of geshes and tulkus is truly commendable and greatly respected. Despite his aging body and declining health, the 84-year-old Geshe Thubten Trinley has never stopped teaching and continues to fulfil many requests to turn the wheel of Dharma.

Escorting Geshe Thubten Trinley (seated in wheelchair) to the prayer hall. Geshela is 84 years old but his physical ailments have not stopped him from giving Dharma teachings.

Escorting Geshe Thubten Trinley (seated in wheelchair) to the prayer hall

H.E. Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Phende, who first invited Geshe Thubten Trinley to give teachings in Shar Gaden Monastery in 2009, makes traditional offerings of body speech and mind

H.E. Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Phende makes traditional offerings of body speech and mind

H.E. the 3rd Domo Chocktrul Rinpoche was also in attendance

H.E. the 3rd Domo Chocktrul Rinpoche was also in attendance

Geshe Thubten Trinley giving teachings on the Middling Lamrim to 800 monks in Shar Gaden Monastery

Geshe Thubten Trinley giving teachings on the Middling Lamrim to 800 monks in Shar Gaden Monastery

Hundreds of monks from both Shar Gaden and Serpom Monastery filled the debate hall

Hundreds of monks from both Shar Gaden and Serpom Monastery filled the debate hall

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The precious teachings were professionally recorded, a wonderful way to preserve the commentary given by Geshe Thubten Trinley

The teachings were professionally recorded to preserve the commentary for future generations

Tea and snacks were served during the teachings

Tea and snacks were served during the teachings

Monks disperse for lunch between the teaching sessions

Monks disperse for lunch between the teaching sessions

From left: H.E. Domo Chocktrul Rinpoche, H.E. Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Phende, H.E. Sherab Rinpoche

From left: H.E. Domo Chocktrul Rinpoche, H.E. Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Phende and H.E. Sherab Rinpoche lead the long life puja for Geshe Thubten Trinley

Traditional long life offerings were made to request Geshe Thubten Trinley to remain for a long time

Traditional long life offerings were made to request Geshe Thubten Trinley to remain for a long time

Offerings to the Bodhimind (sems bskyed mchod pa)

Offerings to the Bodhimind

H.E. Kensur Lobsang Phende

H.E. Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Phende

Beautiful panoramic view of the whole debate courtyard where the offerings were made.

Beautiful panoramic view of the whole debate courtyard where the offerings to the Bodhimind were made

Auspicious banners as offerings to the Bodhisattvas

Auspicious banners as offerings to the Bodhisattvas

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  • Lew

    Posted on June 16, 2016 #1 Author

    I have been to monastery, and I really love their huge open space halls. I think one would require tremendous amount of merits to live inside monastery and listen to Dharma talk everyday. I wish I get the chance to do this in this lifetime.

    Thank you Geshe Thubten Trinley for teaching even at this old age. It only goes to show pure monks are only working for the benefit of others.

    It is really great to see so many monks listen to huge Dharma teachings. We must not forget that, it is the effort of monks that have retained Buddha’s teaching in the past 2500 years after Buddha enter into clear light. The more monks taking up the teaching, the better Buddhism is preserved and our next generations will have the chance to learn the Dharma.

    Reply

  • Wan Wai Meng

    Posted on June 22, 2016 #2 Author

    Amazing teacher who brings the buddha dharma to so many dharma teachers, scholars and lay people.

    Reply

  • sarah

    Posted on June 22, 2016 #3 Author

    Such a wonderful event in Shar Gaden Monastery and a joy to hear about the precious turning of the Wheel of Dharma by such a great master. Geshe Thupten Thrinley is an incredible master, who despite having many physically complications, mustered up the strength to give teachings every day to the monks in the monastery. A great example to us on how we should live our lives selflessly such as Geshe-la.

    May Geshe Thupten Thrinley have a long and stable life and continue to turn the wheel of Dharma for a long time.

    Reply

  • Pastor Niral Patel

    Posted on June 23, 2016 #4 Author

    I really feel good whenever i ready or see pictures of these very old lamas teaching the Dharma. It shows that the ancient teachings on transforming one’s mind for the better is still alive and being transmitted to the next generation of practitioners, who can benefit many with their knowledge.

    I have never actually been to the monastery, but I hope i have the great merits to do so soon. It would be such an opportunity to receive such holy teachings from someone so accomplished, alongside the holy Sangha.

    Reply

  • bengkooi

    Posted on July 10, 2016 #5 Author

    Thank you for this. I truly enjoyed reading this short biography of Geshe Thubten Trinley and learned a lot from his story. He is a quintessential example of humility, scholarship and devotion which I would very much like to emulate. In many ways, Geshela reminds me of my own teacher, H.E. Tsem Rinpoche, whose personal wish is also to spend a life in solitary retreat and contemplation but put his heart’s desire aside to follow the instructions of his teacher, Kyabje Lati Rinpoche, much in the same way that Geshela followed the requests of Geshe Rabten Rinpoche.

    There is much to be learned from the biographies of attained masters and Geshe Thubten Trinley is no exception.

    Reply

  • Jacinta Goh

    Posted on November 22, 2017 #6 Author

    This is the first time I heard about this Geshe Thubten Trinley. As you can see from the article above, most genuine master would like to live in solitude and yet, when given responsibility they will do it without hesitants.

    Reply

  • Jacinta Goh

    Posted on November 22, 2017 #7 Author

    This is the first time I heard about this Geshe Thubten Trinley. As you can see from the above articles, most genuine Lama will wish to stay in solitude and when given responsibility, they will do it without hesitants. This is the best way to offer one’s body, speech and mind to Guru, Buddha, Dharma and Sangha

    Reply