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Geshe Tsetan

Tibetan Buddhist monk

Geshe Tsetan is a Tibetan Buddhist monk from Ladakh, India who has been living and teaching in the United States for nearly fifteen years. He began his monastic life at age seven in Stok, his family village. At age thirteen he joined the Stok Monastery to study and memorize Buddhist scriptures. His dream was to receive the Geshe degree in Buddhist philosophy, similar in level to that of the Western Ph.D. This dream was deferred for him when the Chinese government intensified their policy of cultural genocide on occupied Tibet in 1959. The daily public humiliation and torture of monks by Chinese officials and the mass destruction of the monasteries and colleges made it impossible to continue the pursuit of this degree there. He fled to his homeland in 1960 for safety. From 1974-1978 he taught high school in Ladakh. Then he met with a special invitation to come to the United States and teach at the first Tibetan Buddhist learning center of America, Labsum Shedrub Ling in Washington, New Jersey. He went in hopes of learning English and completing his Geshe degree studies. He accomplished both, and in 1984 returned to the Drepung Monastery for commencement. Since that time Geshe Tsetan has been living and teaching in the United States from October to June and returning to Ladakh during the summer months to oversee activities at the school. While in the states, he divides his time between Maine and New York City with additional teaching trips to Amhurst, MA and other areas of the United States. His association with the Manjushri Center in Amherst has provided him with extensive teaching positions and lecturing opportunities at a number of schools including Smith, Bowdoin, Amherst, Hampshire, Drew, Maine College of Art, Bangor Theological Seminary, Phillips Exeter Academy, Deerfield Academy, and others. Geshe Tsetan wants to further extend his teaching to the young people of Ladakh, making the Siddhartha School/Choskor Stok the fulfillment of his lifelong commitment to learning.