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Lama Zopa Rinpoche

Spiritual Director of DCI and the FPMT


Lama Zopa Rinpoche was born in Thami, Nepal, in 1945. At the age of three he was recognized as the reincarnation of the Lawudo Lama, who had lived nearby at Lawudo, within sight of Rinpoche’s Thami home. The biography of the Lawudo Lama and Rinpoche’s own account of Rinpoche’s childhood are contained in the recently published book The Lawudo Lama (available in the bookshop and library).At the age of ten, Rinpoche went to Tibet and studied and meditated at Domo Geshe Rinpoche’s monastery near Pagri, until the Chinese occupation of Tibet in 1959 forced him to forsake Tibet for the safety of Bhutan. Rinpoche then went to the Tibetan refugee camp at Buxa Duar, West Bengal, India, where he met Lama Yeshe, who became his closest teacher.

The Lamas went to Nepal in 1967, and over the next few years built Kopan and Lawudo Monasteries. In 1971 Rinpoche took gelong ordination from His Holiness Ling Rinpoche in Bodh Gaya. In 1971 Lama Zopa Rinpoche gave the first of his famous annual lam-rim retreat courses, which continue at Kopan to this day. The annual “November Course” at Kopan continues to this day with students attending from all over the world.

By 1975, twelve centers had started. In 1976, the growing worldwide organization was named by Lama Yeshe ‘the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition’ (FPMT). The FPMT is an organization devoted to the transmission of the Mahayana Buddhist tradition and values worldwide through teaching, meditation and community service. There are now over 150 FPMT centers, study groups, hospices and projects worldwide.

In 1974, with Lama Yeshe, Rinpoche began traveling the world to teach and establish centers of Dharma. When Lama Yeshe passed away in 1984, Rinpoche took over as spiritual head of the FPMT, which has continued to flourish under his peerless leadership.

Did you know…

Lama Zopa Rinpoche…

  • was recognized at age 3 as the reincarnation of the Lawudo Lama
  • together with His teacher Lama Yeshe had their first contact with Westerners in 1965 in India
  • is now the Spiritual Director of over 150 centres, study groups and hospices worldwide
  • has helped to establish a series of Buddhist study programs ranging from introductory up to a Masters program
  • also oversees an international magazine, publishing house and is starting a new Buddhist University in the U.S.A.
  • has numberless charitable projects spanning the globe
  • tirelessly travels the world teaching, giving initiations, leading retreats and guiding students throughout the year
Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s visits to DCI
Lama Zopa Rinpoche travels much of the year, giving teachings, initiations and leading retreats at different FPMT centres, while also taking care of many projects to benefit beings around the world. We were very fortunate Rinpoche came most recently to NZ and DCI in May 2015. Rinpoche gave two public talks on “How to Have a Happy and Meaningful Life,” blessed our Prayer Wheel for World Peace and led us in Medicine Buddha Puja and other prayers. Prior to that Rinpoche visited DCI March 2004 and May 2006. In 2004, Rinpoche taught on the Foundation of All Good Qualities and gave Great Medicine Buddha Initiation as well as Amitabha Initiation. In 2006, Rinpoche gave Great Medicine Buddha Initiation a second time, and gave teachings. We have requested Rinpoche to come again soon. Please make prayers and help us create the causes for this to happen! To see Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s current travel schedule click here.
Click to View Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche's NZ Teachings Online
Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche in DCI’s Gompa for Medicine Buddha Puja, May 22, 2015. Photo by Ven Kunsang
Advice from Lama Zopa Rinpoche
“The most important thing for success is devotion and compassion – this is the cause for harmony. That’s the best puja. Compassion for others cuts down on problems, and people will help you.Devotion collects so much merit, good samaya leads to inner and outer prosperity coming; and with the wisdom to discriminate what is right, everything comes.”~Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Rinpoche gave this advice during the FPMT Inc Board meeting in Portland in October 2006 – this is VERY important advice for all FPMT centers and students.For Advice on Daily Practice from Lama Zopa Rinpoche click here.For more advice listed on the FPMT webpage click here.

For Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s Online Advice Book with advice written to various students on a variety of topics click here.

Back to DCI Page Back to FPMT Page

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