Choekyi-la first came to Kadampa Center in 2003 and has been a huge fan ever since! First as a Discovering Buddhism student, then as Kadampa Board member and Basic Program student, and most recently as an ordained nun, she deeply values the short-term and long-term benefits of following a Buddhist path. After several years' contemplation and under Geshe Gelek's kind guidance, Choekyi-la went to India in 2009 to explore her decision to become ordained and receive teachings from His Holiness the Dalai Lama and other wonderful masters. In 2010 the conditions came together for her to ordain with Geshe-la's compassionate teacher, Gyudmed Khensur Rinpoche Jetsun Lobsang Delek, in Dharamsala, India. Choekyi-la then lived in Thosamling, a nunnery near Dharamsala for western nuns, until her most recent return to Kadampa Center. With a background in clinical social work and substance abuse counseling, Choekyi-la brings clinical skills and a caring warmth to her volunteer efforts with the Center. She says she remains extremely grateful for Geshe-la and the Kadampa Community!
Venerable Ngawang Lhamo became a member of the Kadampa Center in October 2004. Gyurme Khensur Rinpoche Jetsun Lobsang Delek presided over Kadampa Center’s first ordination ceremony on Saka Dawa 2009, at which time Ven. Lhamo was one of the students who took robes. Ven. Lhamo has served in many important volunteer roles at the center, including puja coordinator, chantmaster, one of the Sunday morning meditation leaders, and occasionally teaches Meditation 101.
Ven. Lhundub Tendron has been coming to Kadampa Center since 1998. Following Lama Zopa Rinpoche's advice, she ordained with Geshe Sopa in 2002. She joined the Chenrezig Nuns Community at Chenrezig Institute in Australia to develop as a nun and study. Ven. Tendron completed the FPMT Basic Program at CI in 2007.
Geshe Palden Sangpo was born in 1972 in Kham Karze, eastern Tibet. He left his hometown at the age of 12 and crossed the Himalayan mountains on foot to be educated in Sera Jey Mahayana Monastery in southern India. He received his novice vows in 1987 from Gaden Tripa Lobsang Nima at Drepung Monastery. In 1995, he received his full ordaination vows from His Holiness the Dalai Lama at Sera Monastery. In 2001, after 17 years of studying the five major Buddhist texts at Sera Jey Monastery, he graduated as one of the youngest people ever to receive a Geshe degree. At the guidance of his teacher, Sera Jey abbot Geshe Lobsang Delek, Geshe Sangpo then went to Gyudmed Tantric Monastery for a one year course of study on tantra. After completing this course, he returned to Sera Jey Monastery and was elected to a three year position as the Administrator of Sera Jey Healthcare Community.
Ritual practice, particularly Haya Girva ritual practice, is Geshe Sangpo’s area of expertise. For five years he was one of the leaders of the Haya Girva practice group in Sera Jey Monastery. In 2008, Geshe Sangpo moved to Raleigh North Carolina where he teaches several classes and provides guidance on ritual practice at the Kadampa Center, FPMT. He has lectured on the topic of Tibetan Buddhism and its rituals at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Duke University, Elon University, Meredith College, University of North Carolina-Asheville and Winston Salem State University. In October 2014, Geshe Sangpo was officially approved by FPMT as a resident teacher at Kadampa Center.
Geshe Gelek Chodha was born in Sikkim, the oldest of five children. At the age of seven, Geshe-la went south to live at Sera Jey monastery and become a monk. He achieved the degree of Geshe Lharampa in 1997, continuing on to the Gyume Tantric College to learn the intricacies of tantric rituals. At the suggestion of his classmate, Yangsi Rinpoche, Geshe-la was requested by Lama Zopa Rinpoche to come to Kadampa Center and be our resident teacher. Since his arrival in 1999, we have been privileged to have Geshe-la as our spiritual friend while he teaches us the Buddha Dharma with sincerity, humor, and patience. In response to Kadampa Center's request for a long life prayer for Geshe Gelek, Khen Rinpoche Geshe Lobsang Delek, one of Geshe Gelek's closest teachers, recommended that we recite at least 200,000 Tara mantras annually and dedicate them to Geshe Gelek's long life. We will be reciting these regularly at the Center, and invite those who feel a close connection to Geshe-la to recite mantras on their own.