The exemplary life and death of Geshe Yeshe Tobden
“He was like St. Francis.“
The way Geshe Yeshe Tobden, Dharamsala meditator and beloved teacher to students around the world, lived and died is an illuminating example of Dharma in practice. Centro Terra di Unificazione’s Giovanna Pescetti interviewed one of those closest to him, his attendant Ven. Lobsang Dhonden.
Geshe Yeshe Tobden had escaped from Tibet by himself in 1960-61 after years of terror and Communist occupation. He was already well known in his monastery in Tibet, Sera-Me, because of his very strict and rigorous practice. He was like St. Francis; he lived according to a very strict discipline, in poverty, humility, and chastity. Thousands of monks knew him and called him a saint from that time. Even the Chinese respected him. Since his time in Tibet, Geshe-la [affectionate name for a revered teacher] was a well-known disciple of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, from whom he had received the Kalachakra initiation. His Holiness took care of him until the last days of his life. Other teachers of his, like Ling Rinpoche and Trijang Rinpoche, the senior and junior tutors respectively of His Holiness, considered Geshe-la as one of their most important disciples.
After two attempts to flee a Chinese prison, he finally escaped and arrived at the refugee camp in exile, Buxa in India, where he resumed his studies and obtained the highest degree, the degree of Geshe Larampa, at the age of 37. Continue reading
PRAISE OF DEPENDENT ORIGINATION
Geshe Yeshe Tobten Bodh Gaya, 13-17 December 1996
How can one live a good life, not only making yourself happier and more free, but also awaken some hope that someday perhaps you might do something for others? What is hindering us today? Can we say that we are thoroughly happy with just material well-being? These are questions that surface to a Westerner listening to Geshe Yeshe Tobtens teaching from Bodh Gaya, December 1996. Continue reading
1 – Praise of dependent origination. Teaching by Ven. Geshe Yeshe Tobten in Bodh Gaya, 13-17 December 1996.
Part 1 – The causes of Suffering
The following is taken from teachings by Ven. Geshe Yeshe Tobten at Root Institute, Bodhgaya on 13th through 17th of Dec. 1996. The teachings were translated into English by the tireless Ven. Gareth Sparham.
Ven. Geshe Yeshe Tobten
A while ago, the people from this center asked me to give a talk here. I didn’t know what to teach, so I asked the Dalai Lama and he said ‘you should teach the praise of Dependent Origination’, which was composed in the late 14th century by Tsongkapa and is a praise of the historical Buddha. Continue reading
2 – Praise of dependent origination. Teaching by Ven. Geshe Yeshe Tobten in Bodh Gaya, 13-17 December 1996.
Part 2 – How to find a spiritual practice
We all want things to go well. Nobody wants to face any problems in the future. And therefore we have to find a way to make things go well and to stop problems coming. When we say ‘want to go ‘going well’. Then there is another meaning too, ‘going well after you are dead’. Then there is ‘going well’ in the sense of lasting freedom, and even further than that is ‘going well’ in the sense of an Enlightened Being.
So one should have a real hope for oneself. Not just be satisfied with thinking that I hope it goes well until I die, but rather think I hope it will go well forever. If it went on with happiness like the happiness I sometimes now feel, or even a celestial kind of happiness, it would be happiness caught within change. Freedom or Nirvana is not caught within change. It’s a solid, undegenerating, lasting well being.
It’s true, you know, if we were free, if our experience was of an undegenerating, stable peace or well being, it would never change, it would never degenerate. Continue reading
3 – Praise of dependent origination. Teaching by Ven. Geshe Yeshe Tobten in Bodh Gaya, 13-17 December 1996
Part 3 – The origin of relativity
The book that we are looking at is called Tendrup Durpa, Praise of Dependent Origination. Lama Tsongkapa wrote it as a praise to the Buddha for explaining the doctrine of Dependent Origination. So now I am going to explain the book.
First it says: I make homage to Manjushri, I make homage to you who, having seen the fact that creation comes into being dependently. Continue reading
4 – Praise of dependent origination. Teaching by Ven. Geshe Yeshe Tobten in Bodh Gaya, 13-17 December 1996.
Part 4 – The Map and the Path
Having that Nirvana or freedom in mind, the Buddha said you should come to terms with suffering and get rid of what causes your suffering, to bring into actuality the cessation or freedom from suffering by meditating on the way to cease suffering. The four noble truths, that is to come to terms with suffering or to know suffering to be suffering, and get rid of it’s cause. Continue reading
5 – Praise of dependent origination. Teaching by Ven. Geshe Yeshe Tobten in Bodh Gaya, 13-17 December 1996.
Part 5 – Refuge
Remember that fist line of this praise to the Buddha, ‘You taught Dependent Origination, having understood that’. So the Enlightened One understands and then explains. The spiritual practice then, is a cessation or the cooling down of the problems which drive one towards that spiritual practice. In order to continue with that spiritual practice one needs support in the form of a spiritual community or a Sangha. These are the three places one resorts, the three refugees as a follower of the Enlightened Beings. Continue reading
Ven. Geshe Yeshe Tobden: Introduction to the Commentary on Atisha’s Jewel Mala
Presented November 12, 1997, at the DFF Center. The great teacher Geshe Yeshe Tobden passed away in July 1999 in Dharamsala, India. Geshe Yeshe Tobden gave a commentary on Atisha’s Jewel Mala, at DFF in November of 1997. Venerable Chodron recommends that students recite the King of Prayers and pray for Geshe Yeshe Tobden to again manifest to guide us on the path to enlightenment. Transcribed from tapes by Julie Rae.
see text here https://www.sangye.it/altro/?p=1615
Ven. Geshe Yeshe Tobden
I’m very honored and glad to be at your center and to have the opportunity to speak on whatever I know of the Buddha’s teachings. I also thank you for coming tonight. Continue reading