Dharma teaching with Lama Passang in December, 2018
Geshe Drakpa Gelek (c.1955–2018) was born in the Keydong, Zongka region in Central Tibet. He sought political asylum in India in the wake of Communist China's invasion and subsequent occupation of Tibet, which until then, preserved one of humankind's most ancient civilizations and traditions. He began his monastic education in one of Tibet's largest and most prestigious Buddhist centers of learning, Drepung Losel-Ling Monastic University, which is now re-established in India. (Founded in 1416 in Tibet, Drepung Monastery was the home of the early Dalai Lamas.)
He was formally ordained as a novice monk by His Eminence Drepung Khenchen Pema Gyaltsen and was given the religious name Drakpa Gelek. In 1991, Geshe Drakpa Gelek successfully completed the intensive spiritual studies and training in the five sciences, and graduated with a Master of Metaphysics degree, called Geshe, from Drepung Loseling Monastic University. Following completion of the Geshe degree, he enrolled himself at the re-established Lower Tantric University in Hunsur, India, in 1992. For his skilled communication and originality, he was unanimously appointed as Disciplinarian of the Tantric University. Geshe Drakpa taught Buddhist philosophy and practice at Drepung University from 1991 to 1997, and is well-known for his spiritual insights, knowledge, and debating skills.
Geshe-la spend many years living in solitude in spiritual retreat in the high mountains in Dharamsala where the headquarters of the Tibetan Government in-exile is based. He receives empowerments and experiential teachings from His Holiness the Dalai Lama and occasionally from other spiritual teachers. He has taught general Tantra and Kalachakra Tantra grounds and paths to the monks of Namgyal Monastery, the personal monastery of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, during their regular annual summer retreat. In recent years he traveled to the United States, South Korea, Spain, Belgium, and France to give teachings.
He received profound and vast Buddhist non-sectarian teachings of empowerment, oral transmission, pith-instruction, and commentaries from distinguished and accomplished spiritual teachers including His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, the Dalai Lama's tutors His Eminence Kyabje Ling Rinpoche and His Eminence Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche, as well as other realized Buddhist saint-scholars. He received spiritual education in the five major Buddhist philosophy and tenets (such as the Buddhist Science of Debate, the perfection of transcendental wisdom, the theory of the Middle Way View, ethical discipline, and the Buddhist science of Cosmology by several of Tibet's renowned saint-scholars and accomplished spiritual masters such as His Eminence Drepung Khenchen Pema Gyaltsen, and His Eminence Shakor Khen Nyima Gyaltsen.
Geshe Drakpa received rare oral transmissions of the entire texts of the Buddha's actual teaching, the Kangyur in 1999 and 2000, and the complete works of the founder of the Gelukpa sect, Je Tsongkhapa Rinpoche, and his two heart-disciples saint-scholar Gyaltsab Je and Khedrup Je. He also received explanatory transmission of "The Great Commentary of the Kalachakra Tantra" from His Eminence Kyabje Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche, and the complete oral transmission of the 225 voluminous Buddhist spiritual commentaries, the Tengyur, written by the great masters from India and Tibet, from the accomplished hermit His Eminence Paknang Rinpoche.
Geshe Drakpa passed away in Delhi India in December of 2018
Lama Passang Gelek, Teacher, was born in 1965 in Sikkim, India, after his parents fled Tibet under Chinese occupation. He was raised in the Tibetan exile community that gathered around His Holiness the Dalai Lama's residence in Dharamshala, Himacha Pradesh India.
In 1975 Lama Passang travelled to Southern India to enter Drepung Loseling Monastic University. He became fully ordained monk from His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and has received profound and vast Buddhist teachings of empowerment, oral transmission, pith-instruction, and commentaries from a number of accomplished masters, including His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Ling Rinpoche, Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche, and Sadong Rinpoche.
Venerable Gelek travelled to the United States in 2000 to serve as the secretary and translator for a group of senior Lamas from Drepung Loseling Monastery. He returned to India where he taught Tibetan, English, and Social Studies at Drepung Loeseling Monastery School in Mungod, Karnatika.
In 2001 Lama Passang successfully completed his studies at The Central Institute for Higher Tibetan Studies, graduating with a Master Archarya degree (equivalent of a Masters degree). Lama Passang is fluent in three languages: Hindi, Tibetan -- and fortunately for his American student -- English.
Ven. Passang Gelek became a US Citizen in 2011, and has been living in the United States, teaching and translating for visiting Lamas. He regularly travels to India to visit his family and receive teachings from revered teachers such as HH the Dalai Lama and others. In recent years he attended the Great Lam Rim teachings with his Holiness the Dalai Lama, as well as tantric teachings with Sadong Rinpoche at Gyumed Monastery near Dharamshala.
In September 2017 Lama Passang begins his tenure as Teacher at the Tibetan Center for World Peace in San Antonio.