Western geshes and khenpos

A forum for those wishing to discuss Buddhist history and teachings in the Western academic manner, referencing appropriate sources.
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Konchog1
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Re: Western geshes and khenpos

Post by Konchog1 » Sun Jan 26, 2014 2:27 am

Malcolm wrote:because his views came under such harsh criticism from Sakya scholars such as Gorampa.
Such as?
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats

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Virgo
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Re: Western geshes and khenpos

Post by Virgo » Sun Jan 26, 2014 3:26 am

Malcolm is one of the few people who hold the distinguished title of Loppon.

Kevin
Last edited by Virgo on Sun Jan 26, 2014 4:16 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Malcolm
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Re: Western geshes and khenpos

Post by Malcolm » Sun Jan 26, 2014 3:31 am

Konchog1 wrote:
Malcolm wrote:because his views came under such harsh criticism from Sakya scholars such as Gorampa.
Such as?
Gorampa, in his commentary on the Madhyamakāvatara lists over a hundred points where he thinks Tsongkhapa erred.

The standard summary of Gorampa's critiques of Tsongkhapa are to found in his famous "Differentiation of Views".

Thus far, Gorampa's views have not been effectively countered by any Gelug scholar I know as they generally refuse to read Gorampa.
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Re: Western geshes and khenpos

Post by smcj » Sun Jan 26, 2014 4:24 am

Punya wrote: I wonder why you are asking the question. Not to be provocative but just asking.
Spillover from another thread. I was talking about the current Karma Kagyu interpretation of Shentong and I said that it was better to ask an ethnically Tibetan lama rather than a white guy. That led to a question about who is authoritative to answer questions about Shentong for the Karma Kagyus, etc.
My understanding is that that not all geshes are empowered to teach. I get the impression that a geshe would have a very thorough understanding of the theory but not necessarily be so strong on practice. I'm not so sure about khenpos, but I think this title more specifically designates them as teachers.
The geshe degree is for an academic understanding of Dharma. So they can answer questions and teach within limits.
It might be more useful to know which westerners are empowered to teach but I guess that would be a longer list.
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Re: Western geshes and khenpos

Post by Punya » Sun Jan 26, 2014 5:15 am

It seems like what you mean is that the khenpos have the appropriate training to answer such questions and as far you know the khenpos are all tibetan ie it's about training not ethnicity.

The respected khenpos are the go-to guys because the tibetan incarnate rinpoches don't receive the same kind of education. Well, according to the rinpoches I know anyway.

I don't necessarily agree though with the general premise that non-khenpos or geshes can't be authoritative. My local rinpoche has a very high regard for Robert Thurman, for example. But perhaps you are only talking in the context of Karma Kagyu and your other discussion.
Last edited by Punya on Sun Jan 26, 2014 6:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Western geshes and khenpos

Post by Adamantine » Sun Jan 26, 2014 5:58 am

Virgo wrote:Malcolm is one of the few people who hold the distinguished title of Loppon.

Kevin
What is the difference between loppon and khenpo?

I know a loppon who has a very limited breadth of knowledge, I think it was just an honorary title I guess. . or maybe it acknowledges their competence and capacity in a particular focus of Dharma practice and study, rather than a wide one. I think Khenpo usually indicates someone with a vast breadth of knowledge in the Dharma, that's why I am asking.. never been clear on the meaning of loppon.
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Re: Western geshes and khenpos

Post by Konchog1 » Sun Jan 26, 2014 6:25 am

Malcolm wrote:
Konchog1 wrote:
Malcolm wrote:because his views came under such harsh criticism from Sakya scholars such as Gorampa.
Such as?
Gorampa, in his commentary on the Madhyamakāvatara lists over a hundred points where he thinks Tsongkhapa erred.

The standard summary of Gorampa's critiques of Tsongkhapa are to found in his famous "Differentiation of Views".

Thus far, Gorampa's views have not been effectively countered by any Gelug scholar I know as they generally refuse to read Gorampa.
Hmm, no English translation. Could you please bulletpoint some of them here?
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats

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Re: Western geshes and khenpos

Post by Adamantine » Sun Jan 26, 2014 6:43 am

Konchog1 wrote:Hmm, no English translation. Could you please bulletpoint some of them here?
No, there is –look here http://www.amazon.com/Freedom-Extremes- ... ds=gorampa
Contentment is the ultimate wealth;
Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha

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Re: Western geshes and khenpos

Post by T. Chokyi » Sun Jan 26, 2014 7:05 am

Adamantine wrote:
.. never been clear on the meaning of loppon.
Maybe some of my old notes (although they are rather random) could add to your study of the word "Loppon", basically I think when they refer to just "Lopon" this means teacher, especially a scholarly teacher, whereas a "Dorje Lopon" has the connotation of being a "Vajra Master".

"Lopön is a Tibetan word that means 'teacher' (acarya in Sanskrit)"... according to The Lotus Garden site, also
Mindrolling Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche appointed western Lopön's at Mindroling Lotus Garden:
http://www.lotusgardens.org/lopons/index.cfm

There is also the term "Dorje Lopon" (Wylie: rdo-rje slob-dpon)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorje_Lop%C3%B6n (A Dorje Lopon) has the meaning of being a "Vajra Master".

Ani Lopon Yeshe Lhamo
http://damchoe.wordpress.com/2007/01/18 ... -teachers/

Lopön Peter
http://www.chronicleproject.com/stories_282.html
http://www.chronicleproject.com/stories_280.html

"Lopon" Tenzin Namdak (is of course, also a Rinpoche)
Lopon also spelled Loppön, is used for "Loppön" Jigme Rinpoche

Instance of a non monastic teacher in Drikung Kagyu being titled a "Dorje Lopon" in the West:
Asheville-based Urban Dharma NC founder Hun Y. Lye honored by Tibetan buddhist organization
"Dr. Hun Y. Lye, Founder and President of Urban Dharma NC, has had the title and position of “Dorjé Lopön” (Vajra Master) bestowed upon him by His Holiness Drikung Kyabgön Chetsang Rinpoché, the leader of the Drikung Kagyü lineage of Tibetan Buddhism at Drikung Kagyü Institute in Dehradun, India, on March 10, 2013. This is the first instance the title of Dorjé Lopön has been given to a non-monastic teacher in the Drikung Kagyü in the West."

Article: http://www.mountainx.com/article/49149/ ... ganization

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Konchog1
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Re: Western geshes and khenpos

Post by Konchog1 » Sun Jan 26, 2014 4:16 pm

Adamantine wrote:
Konchog1 wrote:Hmm, no English translation. Could you please bulletpoint some of them here?
No, there is –look here http://www.amazon.com/Freedom-Extremes- ... ds=gorampa
Odd. I don't know why I didn't find it. Thank you.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats

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Re: Western geshes and khenpos

Post by Lobsang Chojor » Sat Apr 22, 2017 11:41 am

I know this is a dead thread :smile:

But I thought you might like to know that Ven. Tenzin Namdak is preparing for his Geshe exam in May. And, Geshe Graham Woodhouse is a western Geshe who lives in the UK.
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Re: Western geshes and khenpos

Post by Marc » Sun Apr 23, 2017 4:32 am

smcj wrote:

Bon geshes? Doesn't sound right. I can't see them having any overlap with Gelugpas.
I think that in the Yungdrung Bön tradition:

Khenpo = Tha Abbot of the Monastery
Gueshe = Gueshe as know in Guelug school
Lopön = The dean / head of the Shedra or Drupdra

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Re: Western geshes and khenpos

Post by Virgo » Sun Apr 23, 2017 5:32 am

Adamantine wrote:
Virgo wrote:Malcolm is one of the few people who hold the distinguished title of Loppon.

Kevin
What is the difference between loppon and khenpo?

I know a loppon who has a very limited breadth of knowledge, I think it was just an honorary title I guess. . or maybe it acknowledges their competence and capacity in a particular focus of Dharma practice and study, rather than a wide one. I think Khenpo usually indicates someone with a vast breadth of knowledge in the Dharma, that's why I am asking.. never been clear on the meaning of loppon.
It means the Tibetan for acharya.

Kevin

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Re: Western geshes and khenpos

Post by Lobsang Chojor » Mon May 15, 2017 6:01 pm

Lobsang Chojor wrote:I know this is a dead thread :smile:

But I thought you might like to know that Ven. Tenzin Namdak is preparing for his Geshe exam in May. And, Geshe Graham Woodhouse is a western Geshe who lives in the UK.
I was mistaken Geshe Tenzin Namdak had his graduation on the 6th May and graduated as a Lingse Geshe, some photos on the Sera Jey Monastery facebook page.
ༀ་ཨ་ར་པ་ཙ་ན་དྷཱི༔ Oṃ A Ra Pa Ca Na Dhīḥ

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Malcolm
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Re: Western geshes and khenpos

Post by Malcolm » Mon May 15, 2017 10:08 pm

Virgo wrote:
Adamantine wrote:
Virgo wrote:Malcolm is one of the few people who hold the distinguished title of Loppon.

Kevin
What is the difference between loppon and khenpo?

I know a loppon who has a very limited breadth of knowledge, I think it was just an honorary title I guess. . or maybe it acknowledges their competence and capacity in a particular focus of Dharma practice and study, rather than a wide one. I think Khenpo usually indicates someone with a vast breadth of knowledge in the Dharma, that's why I am asking.. never been clear on the meaning of loppon.
It means the Tibetan for acharya.

Kevin

I have met some pretty stupid khenpos...there are some who are really just business khenpos.
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Re: Western geshes and khenpos

Post by Anonymous X » Tue May 16, 2017 8:56 am

Konchog1 wrote:
Adamantine wrote:
Konchog1 wrote:Hmm, no English translation. Could you please bulletpoint some of them here?
No, there is –look here http://www.amazon.com/Freedom-Extremes- ... ds=gorampa
Odd. I don't know why I didn't find it. Thank you.
A very good book which contains Gorampa's refutation of Tsongkhapa's view of Madhyamaka is 'Mipham's Beacon Of Certainty' by John W Petit. This is an excellent book on many levels and covers a tremendous amount of territory regarding the history Of Madhyamaka, Yogacara, and Vajrayana, up through Dzogchen.

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Re: Western geshes and khenpos

Post by Josef » Tue May 16, 2017 6:28 pm

Adamantine wrote:
Virgo wrote:Malcolm is one of the few people who hold the distinguished title of Loppon.

Kevin
What is the difference between loppon and khenpo?

I know a loppon who has a very limited breadth of knowledge, I think it was just an honorary title I guess. . or maybe it acknowledges their competence and capacity in a particular focus of Dharma practice and study, rather than a wide one. I think Khenpo usually indicates someone with a vast breadth of knowledge in the Dharma, that's why I am asking.. never been clear on the meaning of loppon.
Titles are pretty useless.
I was on a retreat once with a geshe who was shockingly clueless and didnt believe me when i told him huffing gasoline was dangerous.
No joke.
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Re: Western geshes and khenpos

Post by Virgo » Wed May 17, 2017 4:48 am

Josef wrote: Titles are pretty useless.
I was on a retreat once with a geshe who was shockingly clueless and didnt believe me when i told him huffing gasoline was dangerous.
No joke.
That is scary.

Virgo

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