Gelek Rinpoche

Born in Lhasa, Tibet, in 1939, Kyabje Gelek Rinpoche was recognized as an incarnate lama at the age of four. Carefully tutored from an early age by some of Tibet’s greatest living masters, Rinpoche gained renown for his powers of memory, intellectual judgment and penetrating insight. As a small child living in a monk’s cell in a country with no electricity or running water, and little news of the outside world, he had scoured the pictures of torn copies of Life Magazine for anything he could gather about America. Now Rinpoche brings his life experience and wisdom to both the east and the west.

Among the last generation of lamas educated in Drepung Monastery before the Communist Chinese invasion of Tibet, Gelek Rinpoche was forced to flee to India in 1959. He later edited and printed over 170 volumes of rare Tibetan manuscripts that would have otherwise been lost to humanity. Rinpoche was also instrumental in forming organizations that would share the great wisdom of Tibet with the outside world. In this and other ways, he has played a crucial role in the survival of Tibetan Buddhism.

He was director of Tibet House in Delhi, India and a radio host at All India Radio. He conducted over 1000 interviews in compiling an oral history of the fall of Tibet to the Communist Chinese. In the late 1970’s Rinpoche was directed to teach Western students by his teachers, the Senior and Junior Masters to His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Since that time he has taught Buddhist practitioners around the world.&

Rinpoche is particularly distinguished for his thorough familiarity with modern culture, and special effectiveness as a teacher of Western practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism. Recognizing the unique opportunity for the interface of spiritual and material concerns in today’s world, Rimpoche has also opened a dialogue with science, psychology, medicine, metaphysics, politics, and the arts.

In 1988, Rinpoche founded Jewel Heart, a Tibetan Buddhist Center. His Collected Works now include over 32 transcripts of his teachings, numerous articles as well as the national bestseller Good Life, Good Death (Riverhead Books 2001) and the Tara Box: Rituals for Protection and Healing from the Female Buddha (New World Library 2004). Rinpoche is a U.S. citizen and lives in Michigan. 

Gelek Rinpoche Collected Works

Gelek Rinpoche’s contribution to the preservation of authentic and seminal Tibetan Buddhist teachings within the Gelugpa tradition, for both present and future generations, cannot be underestimated.

His vast audio archive of teachings, dating back to the mid 1980’s, serves as a basis for future books and transcripts and is a source for distribution as mp3s and downloads. It was fully digitized and catalogued in 2009 and Rinpoche’s video recordings await similar digitization and cataloging.

With many of Rinpoche’s teachings transcribed, compiled and published, there are now over 35 lightly edited transcripts with another ten in various stages of production. The goal to re-publish these and all future transcripts in a book-like format began with the production of SEM, GOM, Odyssey to Freedom, Four Noble Truths, and The Four Mindfulnesses. 

Gelek Rinpoche published books are Good Life, Good Death and The Tara Box. The archive holds great potential for future books with several projects currently under consideration by different publishers.

The extensive archive housing Rinpoche’s audio/video recordings and transcripts is a treasure house of original and authentic teachings from a great contemporary master. Your support to maintain and further develop the electronic audio and video archive and the transcript project is most welcome. To offer your support, to transcribe or to sponsor transcript publication:

Read more on Jewel Heart.

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