Thubten Zopa Rinpoche

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Not to be confused with Lhundub Sopa or Tenzin Zopa.
Thubten Zopa Rinpoche
Kyabje Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche December 2008 Kopan monastery Nepal.jpg
Born Nepal
Era 1946 -
Region Thubten Zopa Rinpoche
School Gelug

Thubten Zopa Rinpoche (Tibetan: ཐུབ་བསྟན་བཟོད་པ་Wylie: Thub-bstan Bzod-pa; 1946 Thami, Nepal[1] as Dawa Chötar) is a Nepali lama from Khumbu, the entryway to Mount Everest.[1]


Early in life, he was recognized as the reincarnation of the Lawudo Lama Kunzang Yeshe, from the same region (hence the title "Rinpoche"). He took his monastic vows at Dungkar Monastery in Tibet where he travelled in 1957, but he had to flee due to the Chinese army's severe treatment of monks after the 1959 Tibetan uprising. Instead of continuing in Tibet, his spiritual teacher, Geshe Rabten, entrusted him to the care of Lama Thubten Yeshe. Thubten Zopa learned English at the Young Lamas Home School. Lama Zopa has received teachings from many high lamas.[2]

Lama Zopa met Choekyi Gyaltsen, 10th Panchen Lama, in Nepal in 1986 and in Tibet.

Lama Zopa is most noteworthy as the co-founder, with Lama Yeshe, of Kopan Monastery and the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT). In 1972 he along with Lama Yeshe founded Tushita Meditation Centre near McLeod Ganj at village Dharamkot in Himachal Pradesh.[3] Since the 1984 death of Lama Yeshe, Lama Zopa has served as the FPMT's spiritual director.

Zopa's books are published by Wisdom Publications. Free transcripts of some of his teachings are available from the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive.[4] There is an extensive biography of him in the book The Lawudo Lama by Jamyang Wangmo.[5]

Lama Zopa supports — apparently in accordance with the dying wish of Lama Yeshe — the Maitreya Project, a planned 152 metres (499 ft) high Maitreya statue in Kushinagar, North India. If built, it will be one of the largest Buddha statues in the world, only one meter shorter than the Spring Temple Buddha in Henan, China.


Lama Zopa Rinpoche holds the Gelugpa lineage and has received teachings from many of the great Gelugpa masters.[6] His Root Guru is HH Trijang Rinpoche since he was a young boy studying in Buxa, India. Lama Zopa Rinpoche is also considered as the heart son of the 14th Dalai Lama and diligently works to establish all of His Holiness's wishes.

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