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Venerable Emeritus Abbot Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Jampa (known as Geshe Thinley Topgyal) was born in 1937 in Nyaktren, a sector of Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. In 1947 at the age of 10, he gained admission to Sera Mey Monastery of the Sera Mahayana Monastic University near Lhasa — one of the three major seats of highest Buddhist studies.
In 1952, he received his novice monk vows from the late Minyag Tondues Rinpoche, the 95th Throne Holder of Gelugpa lineage tradition in Tibetan Buddhism. In 1959, he received the complete Bhikshu vows — the highest level of ordination — from His Eminence, the late Yongzin Ling Rinpoche, the 97th Throne Holder of Gelugpa Tradition and also senior Tutor to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. Khensur Rinpoche studied in Tibet until 1959 when he fled to India after China invaded and forcefully occupied Tibet.
Rinpoche soon returned to his studies in the exiled Sera monastery, reconstructed under the guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the spiritual and political head of the Tibetan people. From 1959-70, he resided with more than 1500 monks from four Tibetan Buddhist sects at Buxar, India, an old British Army camp in West Bengal. In 1970, the monks of Sera Mey relocated to Mysore district in Karnataka State in southern India.
The monks reestablished Sera Mey Mahayana University in Bylakuppe. Khensur Rinpoche continued his spiritual training and studies there with his characteristic dedication and enthusiasm. In 1986, he completed the final exam for a Geshe degree, and received the esteemed honor of Geshe Lharampa (equivalent to a PH.D.), the highest level awarded.
From 1980 to the present, Khensur Rinpoche has continued to teach at Sera Mey Monastic University. In 1989, he assumed the position of Discipline Master for one year. Then in 1990, he received the advanced degree of Ngagrampa (highest degree in Buddhist Tantra studies) from Gyumed Tantric College after extensively studying the secret teachings of the Mahayana tradition.
In 1993, Khensur Rinpoche became Discipline Master of Gyumed. Monastic leaders soon after submitted his name and that of eight other prominent Geshes to the Dalai Lama as candidates for the post of Lama Uzed (Head Lama to lead all rituals) of the Tantric College. On January 7, 1994, the Dalai Lama selected Khensur Rinpoche to serve as the Lama Uzed, and on Nov. 12, 1996, the Dalai Lama appointed him as the honorable Abbot of the Gyumed Tantric College.
Khensur Rinpoche completed his three-year term as Abbot with dedication and success. He taught tantric studies continuously for three years and conducted numerous religious rituals and ceremonies.
On completion of his term, Khensur Rinpoche returned to his teaching position at Sera Mey Monastic University, and continues to teach Sutra and Tantra to students and senior Geshes. He also continues his active leadership and participation in all religious ceremonies of the monastery.
During his term as Abbot of Gyumed, Khensur Rinpoche made his first visit to the USA and Canada to conduct various religious teachings and rituals at the request of the Gyumed College administrators and western students. A considerable number of westerners benefited from this initial tour. In 2003, He taught widely in Singapore and Malaysia.
Khensur Rinpoche is both a scholar of great knowledge and understanding, and a holder of many traditional teaching lineages. His generous presence and contributions to the Sera Mey Monastic University have proven indispensable. The great master Kyabje Ribur Rinpoche has repeatedly praised Khensur Rinpoche as both a great scholar and master practitioner of Buddha's Sutra and tantra teachings. Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche notes that Khensur Rinpoche is widely respected for his patience, compassion, and virtuous character; among Tibetans he is often referred to as the “Buddha Abbott.” A living example of Buddha's teachings, Khensur Rinpoche divides his time between personal meditation and practices, and teaching a growing network of western and Tibetan students. He is highly qualified to teaching on all levels of Buddhist practice and to conduct all Buddhist rituals.