Our guide and inspiration
The Institute is particularly connected to one of the four Tibetan Buddhist schools, the Gelugpa school, founded in Tibet in the 14th century by Lama Tsong Khapa. This extraordinary scholar and practitioner inspired a whole lineage of highly realized Buddhist practitioners among whom His Holiness the Dalai Lama, guide and inspiration of the FPMT (Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition), is the heir today. His Holiness taught twice at the Institute, in 1982 and 1993.
Lama Yeshe was born in Tibet in 1935. At the age of six, he joined the Sera Monastic University where he studied until 1959, when, as Lama Yeshe himself said, “the Chinese kindly told us that it was time to leave and go meet the outside world.
Lama Thubten Yeshe and Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche, reunited as master and disciple since their exile in India, met their first Western student in 1965. In 1971, they settled in Kopan, a small hamlet near Kathmandu in Nepal. In 1974, the two masters began to travel around the world and to teach in the West, which would eventually lead to the creation of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT).
Lama Yeshe died in 1984, and his incarnation, Lama Tenzin Osel Rinpoche was born in 1985 to Spanish parents.
Our Spiritual Director
Lama Zopa Rinpoche was born in 1946 in the Everest region of Nepal, not far from Lawudo Cave where his predecessor had meditated for the last twenty years of his life.
After a few years in Tibet, Rinpoche fled the Chinese occupation in 1959. At the Buxa refugee camp, he met Lama Yeshe, who becomes his main teacher. At the beginning of the 1970s, the two lamas began to teach at the monastery of Kopan, in Nepal.
In 1984, after Lama Yeshe’s passing, Lama Zopa Rinpoche became the spiritual director of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition and therefore of the Vajra Yogini Institute. Since then, the FPMT continues to flourish and Rinpoche’s compassion continues to unfold through multiple projects in the areas of Dharma, education, humanitarianism, animal protection and world peace.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche passed away on April 13, 2023.
The Institute is affiliated with the Foundation for the Preservation of Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), founded in 1975 by Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche. It now has more than 160 study and meditation centers in more than 37 countries and supports many educational and social projects around the world.
The progressive teaching offered by the FPMT transforms our hearts and minds so that, motivated by a sense of universal responsibility and concern, we become beneficial to others.
Our organization is based on the Buddhist tradition of Lama Tsongkhapa, as taught to us by our founder, Lama Thubten Yeshe, and our spiritual director, Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche.