Geshe Tsultrim Tenzin was born in Kham, Tibet and was interested in the study of Dharma from an early age. His family were ardent Dharma practitioners and his parents and grandparents were devoted students of His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche.
When he was 12 years old, Geshe Tsultrim Tenzin entered the local monastery. His early development was guided by his uncle who was a highly regarded scholar and monk. He began his education along with many other young boys living in the monastery, learning grammar, reading and writing.
As he grew older he followed the traditional Gelugpa approach to study including the memorisation of texts and mastery of the art of debate. At the age of 19, his uncle advised him to travel to Gaden Jangtse Monastery in Lhasa. The Chinese army was starting to enter the border regions of Tibet and it was thought that Lhasa would be more peaceful and conducive for Dharma study and practice. But this was not to be the case.
In 1959, two years after Geshe Tsultrim Tenzin arrived in Lhasa, the Chinese army invaded Tibet and marched to the capital city. His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso fled the country a few days later and took refuge in India. Many Tibetans followed him there.
Geshe Tsultrim Tenzin who was about 21 at that time was among them. The Indian Government extended help to the Tibetan refugees. The monks were sent to Buxa where living conditions were very difficult. Weakened by the exodus and not accustomed to the heat and diseases of India, the monks were prone to sickness and many of them passed away.
In contrast to this, Buxa was also a place of incredible spirituality. The monks received teachings from many great masters who had gathered there. Since they had little else but what they carried on their backs, they turned their minds solely to the study of Dharma. The majority of monks had witnessed the destruction of their homeland and thus realised directly the impermanence of all things. This further motivated them to practice Dharma.
Geshe Tsultrim Tenzin stayed in Buxa for nine years. It was then that 1,500 monks were chosen to travel to a new Tibetan settlement in South India. Geshe Tsultrim Tenzin was included in this group and stayed in South India for two years. He then left for Varanasi University, where he achieved his Acharya degree. Returning to Gaden Monastery, Geshe Tsultrim Tenzin worked towards and completed his Geshe Lharampa degree. This was followed by a year of study and practice at Gyume Tantric College.
Geshe Tsultrim Tenzin taught at many Buddhist temples and monasteries in India, Tibet, Europe and North America. He has been responsible for the education of many monks, guiding them from a young age to maturity and is known to be a very dedicated and compassionate teacher. During his stay in India, he was the teacher to more than 400 students.
Geshe Tsultrim Tenzin then left for Singapore, where he taught for several months. He was also a resident teacher in Tashi Rabten Monastery in Austria and travelled extensively throughout Europe, giving teachings on Buddhist philosophy in France, Italy, Switzerland and the Czech Republic. Geshe Tsultrim Tenzin is the current Abbot of TsongKhapa Meditation Centre in Sainte-Sophie, Quebec, Canada.
Some of Geshe Tsultrim Tenzin’s most eminent students include His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Chocktrul Rinpoche, Venerable Zawa Rinpoche, His Holiness Serkong Dorje Chang Chocktrul Rinpoche, His Holiness Serkong Tritul Rinpoche and Venerable Zakhen Rinpoche.
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