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