Geshe Jampa Gyatso
At the age of thirteen Geshe-la entered the monastery of Sera Je and received the preliminary rabjung vows from Kujam Rinpoche. Subsequently, at the age of fifteen, he received the getsul ordination of a novice monk from Kyabje Dagri Dorje Chang, who gave him the name Lobsang Sherab, which means, mind of virtue and wisdom. When Geshe-la became a gelong, or fully ordained monk, Kujam Rinpoche gave him the name Jampa Gyatso, which means, ocean of great love. At sixteen, he began the study of logic under the guidance of the teacher Geshe Tashi Bum.
In 1959 Geshe-la fled to India where he renewed his studies at the refugee camp at Buxa Duar, then at the newly-formed Sanskrit University in Varanasi, and finally at the Lower Tantric College. He was awarded the highest rank of Lharam Geshe in 1972, as well as the Acharya (Masters) Degree and the tantric title of Ngagrampa.
In addition, from 1983 to 1997 he completed extensive commentaries on three of the great treatises (Abhisamayalamkara, Madhyamakavatara, and Abhidharmakosha) as part of the newly created Geshe Studies Program (since replaced by the Masters Program). From 1998 to 2004 he taught the FPMT’s first residential Masters Program, and from 2005-2007, together with Geshe Tenphel, he taught Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa’s first residential Basic Program.
Geshe-la also acted as abbot of Nalanda Monastery in France, as well as of Takden Shedrup Dhargye Ling Monastery and Shenphen Samten Ling Nunnery in Italy. He passed away on 27 November 2007 and remained absorbed in meditation (tukdam) for one week during which there were no signs of physical decomposition. His body was cremated with a traditional ceremony at Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa on Lama Tsongkhapa day.
Geshe-la’s cremation took place privately in Pomaia, the first and only time such an event has taken place in Italy. The ceremony was held the day of the parinirvana of Je Tsongkhapa, on the land close to his residence.
Having lived at the Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa for twenty-seven years, Geshe-la was to everyone the essence of the place and the ASO came about due to Geshe-la’s inspiration. His aim was to provide conducive conditions for ordained people to study and practice the Dharma.
Up until the last day of his extraordinary life, he never stopped giving spiritual, personal, and technical advice on what we should do and how we should do it. Founding a monastery that will provide lasting benefit requires profound wisdom and vast compassion, and since Geshe-la possessed both, it was easy for us to proceed by following his advice and having complete trust in his guidance. Now that he has showed us the teaching of impermanence and death, we continue to work fulfill his aims.