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Geshe Thupten Wangchen

Resident Teacher of Dorje Chang Institute

Geshe Thupten Wangchen was born of Tibetan parents in India in 1966. At the age of 10, he entered the Tibetan Buddhist educational system of the Gelugpa tradition as a novice monk at Sera Jhey Monastery in South India. Geshe-la later took full ordination with His Holiness the Dalai Lama.In 1998, after 23 years of dedicated study of the major philosophical texts and rigorous examinations he was conferred the Lharam Geshe degree or PhD in Buddhist Philosophy.

Geshe-la had the rare honor of representing his monastic college Sera Jhey in the yearly debate competition with its sister college Sera Mey in 1997. Only a couple of the monks in their final year of study are chosen. They debate with the top monks of the other college in front of an audience of thousands of monks.

After receiving the Lharampa Geshe degree in 1998, Geshe-la completed a series of preliminary practice retreats in Bodh Gaya (the holy place where Buddha attained enlightenment) including: 100,000 prostrations, 100,000 mandala offerings and 100,000 Vajrasattva mantra recitations. Geshe-la continues to do short retreats every year.

In 1998, Geshe-la began a further period of study at the Gyuto Tantric College in Arunachal Pradesh. Following his studies Geshe-la taught Tibetan and Western students at Kopan monastery in Nepal (in 2000) and also taught as a tenured lecturer of Buddhist philosophy at Varanasi University in India in 2001.

At the request of Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Geshe Wangchen kindly agreed to become the Resident Teacher at Dorje Chang Institute in Auckland. Geshe-la came to New Zealand in June of 2003. DCI is extremely fortunate to have a resident Geshe. Geshe-la also teaches and leads retreats regularly at our affiliated centre — Mahamudra Retreat Center on the Coromandel.

Did you know…


  • became a monk at age 10
  • studied for 23 years to become a Geshe!
  • was awarded the highest degree possible: Lharam Geshe degree
  • completed 100,000 prostrations, mandala offerings and Vajrasattva mantra at Bodh Gaya, India
  • studied at Gyuto Tantric College for one year
  • taught at Kopan Monastery and as a tenured lecturer at Varanasi University
  • came to DCI at the request of Lama Zopa Rinpoche
  • is available for appointments to answer your questions and give practice advice
Geshe-la’s Teaching Program
Geshe-la regularly teaches on Tuesday evenings (Intermediate Level Classes) and on Sunday mornings at 10am (Introductory and All Levels Classes). Geshe-la’s teachings are open to everyone. The Sunday morning teachings are geared to beginners and intermediate level students, and the Tuesday evening teachings are geared to intermediate and advanced level students (those who already have some understanding of the basics of Buddhist teachings).To read more about the topics Geshe-la is currently teaching visit our spiritual program page.
Making an Appointment with Geshe-la
Appointments are an opportunity for people to meet with Geshe-la for the purpose of asking questions about Buddhism, seeking advice on one’s personal practice or other matters. It is also possible to request Geshe-la to do a house blessing or baby blessing. Please contact our office to request an appointment.

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