"Lama Thubten Yeshe (1935–1984) was a Tibetan lama who, while exiled in Nepal, co-founded Kopan Monastery (1969) and the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (1975). He followed the Gelug tradition, and was considered unconventional in his teaching style.
Lama Yeshe was born near the Tibetan town of Tolung Dechen, but was sent to Sera Monastery in Lhasa at the age of six. He received full ordination at the age of 28 from Kyabje Ling Rinpoche. Jeffrey Paine reports that Lama Yeshe deliberately refused the geshe degree, despite having studied for it:
Many years later, when pressed why he had shunned this prestigious degree, he would laugh: "And be Geshe Yeshe?"
"Lama Yeshe died 20 minutes before dawn on the first day of Losar, the Tibetan New Year, and was cremated at the Vajrapani Institute in Boulder Creek, California, where there is a stupa honoring him.
In 1986 his reincarnation was identified in the person of a Spanish boy, Ösel Hita Torres, who is now known as Tenzin Ösel Hita (b. 1985). This makes Yeshe the first in a line of tulkus. After spending his childhood and youth in Nepal receiving a traditional education for a Gelugpa tulku, Ösel subsequently chose to attend a western secondary boarding school in Canada and is currently a filmmaker in Spain. He has expressed discomfort with others' expectations as to his role in life and is committed to spiritual discovery in a post-modern context, as are other young tulkus, in particular Ösel Hita's close friend, the 23rd Gomo Tulku."
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