The teachers, or lamas, of the Dhargyey Buddhist Centres are all highly qualified Lamas who are graduates of Gelug Monastic Universities. The term 'Tulku' means recognised reincarnation, and the New Zealand Dhargyey Centres are fortunate to have been founded and maintained by Tulkus.
Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey Tulku
Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey (1921-1995) was asked in 1971 by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama to start a teaching program for westerners at the newly constructed Library of Tibetan Works and Archives in Dharamsala, northern India. In 1984, His Holiness advised him to go to New Zealand to establish a new Buddhist centre. Geshe Ngawang complied, and The Dhargyey Centre in Dunedin has been in operation ever since.
Both Ven Lhagon Tulku and Ven Thupten Tulku (the Dhargyey Centres' other Tulkus, seen at right) were with Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey when the 3 Lamas fled Tibet in 1959. They all originate from the same small monastery–the Za Samdrup Gompa–in Kham, East Tibet. It is believed they were close friends in previous lifetimes.
Venerable Jampa Khedup Lhagon Tulku
The current spiritual director of the Dhargyey Centres is the highly renowned Sera Je Monastery Rinpoche–the Venerable Jampa Khedup Lhagön Tulku.
Venerable Lhagön Rinpoche kindly agreed to reside in Dunedin, arriving in 1998. In 2008 he took on the role of Spiritual Head of the Dhargyey Centres, which involves overseeing and advising on programmes and the development of the Dunedin and Christchurch centres.
Venerable Jampa Thupten Tulku
In June 2011 we experienced the passing away of one of our esteemed Spiritual Heads–Venerable Thupten Rinpoche. You can read one of his teachings, listen to comments about his life and amazing passing away from various Lamas (including His Holiness), and download pictures of Rinpoche by selecting his name on the main menu of the Dunedin Dhargyey Centre website.
The resident Christchurch teacher
Christchurch is exceptionally fortunate to have the first full-time resident 'geshe' (a Tibetan word meaning virtuous friend)–Geshe Nyima Dorjee–in New Zealand. Monks like Geshe-la who earn this title have received an academic degree for Tibetan Buddhist monks that requires over 20 years of intense study and debate at Sera Jey Monastic University.
Sera Jey is the largest Tibetan Buddhist Monastery in the world and is located in South India. Geshe-la's main teachers include His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the late Venerable Khensur Urgyen Tseten, Ven Khensur Kangurwa Lobsang Thupten and Ven Khenpo Lobsang Palden.
Geshe-la arrived in New Zealand in April 2008 and taught at the Dunedin Dhargyey Centre for 2 years. It became quickly apparent to the experienced Buddhists in Dunedin that in Geshe Nyima New Zealand had a very gifted teacher and a ‘qualified spiritual master’.
Having taught younger monks in the Sera Jey monastery, in his home region of Tibet, and for three years in the traditionally Tibetan Buddhist country of Mongolia, Geshe-la is a very experienced teacher.
Geshe-la’s lively personality and eloquence bring a freshness and immediacy to these age old teachings. As a good-natured and often funny teacher, he is a living testament to the central tenet of Buddhism–bringing people happiness.
In 2010 Geshe Nyima was invited to Christchurch to give teachings once a month. The Dhargyey and extended dharma community of Christchurch made formal requests for more teachings, and it became quickly apparent a resident teacher for Christchurch was imminent. In December 2010, Geshe Nyima moved to Christchurch and has now become the resident teacher here.
Geshe-la has adapted his teaching style to the culture of the Christchurch Dhargyey Centre, and his progress in learning English is very good. He is selfless in his devotion to the Rinpoches and his service to the community.