Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Lake Arrowhead, 1975, © Lama Yeshe Wisdom ArchiveLama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche was born in Thami, Nepal, in 1946. At the age of three he was recognised as the reincarnation of the Lawudo Lama, who had lived nearby at Lawudo, within sight of Rinpoche’s Thami home.

Rinpoche’s own description of his early years may be found in his book, The Door to Satisfaction (Wisdom Publications). At the age of ten, Rinpoche went to Tibet and studied and meditated at Domo Geshe Rinpoche’s monastery near Pagri, until the Chinese occupation of Tibet in 1959 forced him to forsake Tibet for the safety of Bhutan.

Rinpoche then went to the Tibetan refugee camp at Buxa Duar, West Bengal, India, where he met Lama Yeshe , who became his closest teacher. The Lamas went to Nepal in 1967, and over the next few years built Kopan and Lawudo Monasteries.

In 1971 Lama Zopa Rinpoche gave the first of his famous annual lamrim retreat courses, which continue at Kopan to this day. In 1974, with Lama Yeshe, Rinpoche began traveling the world to teach and establish centers of Dharma.

When Lama Yeshe passed away in 1984, Rinpoche took over as spiritual head of the FPMT, which has continued to flourish under his peerless leadership.

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