Teachers



Inspiration and Guide of the FPMT

His Holiness the Dalai Lama


His Holiness is the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people.

He frequently states that his life is guided by three major commitments: the promotion of basic human values or secular ethics in the interest of human happiness, the fostering of inter-religious harmony and the welfare of the Tibetan people, focusing on the survival of their identity, culture and religion.

You can read more about His Holiness the Dalai Lama here.

Founder of the FPMT

Lama Thubten Yeshe (1935-1984)


Lama Thubten Yeshe was born in Tibet in 1935. At the age of six, he entered Sera Monastic University in Tibet where he studied until 1959, when as Lama Yeshe himself has said, “In that year the Chinese kindly told us that it was time to leave Tibet and meet the outside world.”

Lama Thubten Yeshe and Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche, together as teacher and disciple since their exile in India, met their first Western students in 1965. By 1971 they settled at Kopan, a small hamlet near Kathmandu in Nepal. In 1974, the Lamas began touring and teaching in the West, which would eventually result in The Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition. Lama Yeshe passed away in March 1984 and Tenzin Osel Rinpoche (born 1985 in Spain) was recognised as his incarnation by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

You can read more about Lama Yeshe here.

Spiritual director of the FPMT

Venerable Lama Kyabje Thubten Zopa Rinpoche


Lama Zopa Rinpoche is a Tibetan Buddhist scholar and meditator who for 30 years has overseen the spiritual activities of the extensive worldwide network of centers, projects and services that form the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT) which he founded with Lama Thubten Yeshe.

Read more about Lama Zopa here.

Resident teacher at CVM

Venerable Sangye Khadro


Originally from California, Ven. Sangye Khadro (Kathleen McDonald) began studying Buddhism with Tibetan lamas in Dharamsala, India, in 1973. She became a nun in Nepal the following year, and received full (bhikshuni) ordination in 1988. At the request of her teachers, she began teaching in 1980, and since then has been teaching Buddhism and meditation in various countries around the world, occasionally taking time off for personal retreats.

She served as resident teacher in Buddha House, Australia, for two years and in Amitabha Buddhist Centre in Singapore for eleven years. She is a graduate of the Masters Program in Buddhist Studies in Sutra and Tantra, which she followed at Lama Tsong Khapa Institute in Italy from 2008-2015.


Ven. Khadro is the author of the bestselling book How To Meditate and she has been the center’s resident teacher since February 2016.

See details about her international teaching schedule here.

Visiting teachers

Tenzin Ösel Hita


In 1986, when Ösel was just over one year old, His Holiness the Dalai Lama confirmed Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s observations that Ösel, son of Lama Yeshe’s students, María Torres and Francisco Hita, was the unmistaken reincarnation of FPMT’s founder, Lama Yeshe. Ösel was enthroned in March 1987 at Tushita Retreat Center in Dharamsala, India.

In 1991, at the age of seven, Ösel began his monastic education at Sera Je Monastery in southern India where he simultaneously received private tutoring in Western subjects. He continued his studies there until 2003, when he relocated to Victoria, British Columbia, to engage in a traditional Western education.

From 2004 to 2010, Ösel pursued many creative interests while living around Europe, including a Master’s Degree in documentary film-making and completing two cooking courses. Additionally, he blossomed as a musician during this time.

In May 2010, Ösel joined his first FPMT board meeting in Portland, Oregon, USA, and has spent time at various FPMT centers since that time.

Over the last few years Ösel has been studying in the USA and is now back living in Spain. He has recently given talks in India, Nepal, Singapore, and Malaysia. He led pilgrimage in India and Nepalin 2015 and organized a charitable organization to help provide relief and rebuild Nepal following the April 2015 earthquake.

Geshe Sherab


Geshe Sherab is the young, fluent in English, former Headmaster of Kopan Monastery, Nepal, the spiritual centre of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT).  He has lived for several years in the U.S. also, so he is familiar with North American culture, and knows how to relate to the western mind when teaching the Dharma.
Born in Nepal of Tibetan parents, Geshe Sherab received his education at Kopan Monastery from the time he was a boy, and completed his studies at Sera Je Monastic University and at Gyume Tantric College in India. He has lived in the USA working at the FPMT Central office and several nearby Dharma Centres in New Mexico. He returned to Nepal after several years in the U.S.A. to become Headmaster of Kopan Monastery.  Geshe-la has just retired from the Headmaster role in order to have more time to devote to meditation and to teaching internationally.

Manadala magazine has a story of Geshe Sherab here.

Ven. Robina Courtin


Ordained since the late 1970s, Ven. Robina has worked full time since then for Lama Thubten Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s FPMT. Over the years she has served as editorial director of Wisdom Publications, editor of Mandala Magazine, executive director of Liberation Prison Project, and as a touring teacher of Buddhism. Her life and work with prisoners have been featured in the documentary films Chasing Buddha and Key to Freedom.

Read more about Ven. Robina here.

Ven. Rita Riniker


Born in 1950, Ven Rita grew up in Switzerland. She ran her own restaurant business for many years, then traveled to Nepal where she met Buddhism at Kopan Monastery in 1990.

Ven Rita has been ordained for over 12 years – she took ordination in 1991 with her main teacher, Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche. Since then she has been based primarily in India at Tushita Meditation Centre, Dharamsala, initially studying at the Tibetan Library of Works and Archives for 6 years and more recently offering service as one of the centre’s primary teachers of Tushita’s famous “Introduction to Buddhism” courses.

Ven Rita has led and guided many retreats including five 3-month Vajrasattva retreats, Green Tara retreats and a 2-month Lam Rim Chen Mo retreat with teachings by Yangsi Rinpoche in 2000. Ven Rita is especially well known for leading Nyung Naes, having completed more than 80 consecutive Nyung Naes over a period of 6 months in 1998.

Rita has also been teaching in Europe for many years and has made several teaching tours to Israel and more recently the USA, Australia and New Zealand.

Ven. Lobsang Namgyel


Venerable Lobsang Namgyel has been based in India and Nepal, studying and teaching Buddhism there for more than 25 years, with such Masters as H.H. the Dalai Lama, Denma Locho Rinpoche, Choden Rinpoche, Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Choeding Rinpoche, Gen Lamrimpa and Geshe Sonam Rinchen. He has completed four years of Lam Rim retreats, as well as tantric retreats. During his time in Buddhism, Venerable has taught in various FPMT Centres in India, Nepal, Mexico, Australasia, Russia, Finland, Europe and the USA and had the honour of being tutor to Lama Osel Rinpoche.

Read more about Ven. Namgyel here.
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Ven. Mary Reavey


Born in Dundee, Scotland, Mary was a Staff Nurse when she first encountered Buddhism at Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition’s mother monastery – Kopan – in Nepal in 1978. It was her love of adventure and trekking that led her to Kopan. Mary attended a month long course taught by Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa who emphasised the importance of meditation and taking complete responsibility for your own actions and their effects.

In 2001 she took ordination as a nun with Lama Zopa. Until 2012 Mary regularly taught meditation and Buddhist philosophy at UK based Buddhist centres, Schools, Prisons and Hospitals.

During the last few years Ven. Mary has been using her time to do solo retreats (including a one year retreat on Holy Island off the west coast of Scotland), leading retreats and teaching in centres in England.  Her joy and blessing was to take Bhiksuni ordination this August 2015 in France.

Ven. Jampa Ludrup


Jampa Ludrup comes from Australia. He spent 18 years in the computer industry before becoming a Buddhist monk in the Tibetan tradition more than 15 years ago. When he was travelling with Lama Zopa Rinpoche he became interested in the Chinese art of Feng Shui through Rinpoche’s inspiration and has been giving courses and consultations for more than 10 years. He has published a book on Feng Shui called ‘Seeing is Believing’, which is in its second edition in France and will soon be published in English. Jampa was also the English language studies tutor of Lama Osel Rinpoche for five years.

He currently resides at Sera Je Monastery in South India but makes extensive tours giving consultations all around the world each year.

Read more about Jampa here.



Dr. Alan Wallace


Dynamic lecturer, progressive scholar, and one of the most prolific writers and translators of Tibetan Buddhism in the West, B. Alan Wallace, Ph.D., continually seeks innovative ways to integrate Buddhist contemplative practices with Western science to advance the study of the mind.

Dr. Wallace, a scholar and practitioner of Buddhism since 1970, has taught Buddhist theory and meditation worldwide since 1976. Having devoted fourteen years to training as a Tibetan Buddhist monk, ordained by H. H. the Dalai Lama, he went on to earn an undergraduate degree in physics and the philosophy of science at Amherst College and a doctorate in religious studies at Stanford.

With his unique background, Alan brings deep experience and applied skills to the challenge of integrating traditional Indo-Tibetan Buddhism with the modern world.

Read more about Alan here and about his work with the Santa Barbara Institute for Conciousness Studies here

Dr. Alexander Berzin


Dr. Alexander Berzin (1944 – present) is a Buddhist translator, teacher, scholar and practitioner with more than 50 years of Buddhist experience. After receiving his Ph.D. at Harvard, Dr. Berzin spent 29 years in India training under the guidance of some of the greatest Tibetan masters of our times. There he served as occasional interpreter for H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama and His tutors.

He is the founder and author of the Berzin Archives and studybuddhism.com.

Glen Svensson


Originally from Australia, Glen has been a student and practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism since 1995 and graduated from the seven-year Masters Program in Advanced Buddhist Studies of Sutra and Tantra at the Lama Tzong Khapa Institute (Pomaia, Italy) in 2004.

Since 2005 he has taught and led meditation retreats in India, Europe, North America and Australia with a teaching style emphasizing clarity and stressing the integration of philosophical view, meditation and daily life conduct.

Read more about Glen here.

Paula Chichester


Paula Chichester began studying Buddhism when she was 14 at Berkeley High School in California. At university, she studied systems theory and has applied that to her 40 years of meditation. Understanding the whole body/mind/culture/ environment of the practitioner makes each person’s journey in Tibetan Buddhism unique. As a dancer, Chinese Chi Gung practitioner, healer, singer, student of psychology, ecology, she brings all these elements into the understanding of the whole person and how tantra works in this greater context. She has spent the last 33 years practicing full time – 23 years preparing for and completing long retreats – under the guidance of her inspiring kind teachers: Lama Thubten Yeshe, Kyabje Zopa Rinpoche and Kyabje Ribur Rinpoche. She has also studied with teachers from  all 4 schools of Tibetan Buddhism.

She was a direct student of Lama Yeshe, is a close student of Lama Zopa Rinpoche and is one of the few westerners who can teach in yogic tradition of Lama Tsong Khapa’s ear-whispered lineage.

Her goal in life has been steady since childhood: to realize Mahamudra and do all she can to bring peace to our world.

Read more about Alan here and about his work with the Santa Barbara Institute for Conciousness Studies here

Rob Preece


Rob Preece is a practicing Tibetan Buddhist and trained psychotherapist in Transpersonal Psychology who has done groundbreaking work bringing together the two worlds of Buddhist and Western psychology and developing a teaching and therapeutic style that is a synthesis of Buddhist and Jungian understanding.
Since 1985 he has been leading meditation retreats following the instruction and guidance of his teachers. Lama Yeshe was particularly influential is this, supporting his integration of a more Western approach. This has meant gradually guiding people through a kind of apprenticeship in the practice of Tantra. Increasingly Rob has become involved in what he now calls spiritual mentoring bringing together his experience of both Eastern and Western approaches. This has also led to writing The psychology of Buddhist Tantra; The Wisdom of Imperfection; The courage to Feel and Preparing for Tantra.

Read more about Rob here.

Stephan Pende Wormland


Stephan Wormland, born 1965 in Germany, has studied and practiced meditation in multiple traditions for over 30 years. He has a master’s degree in clinical psychology, trained in Gestalt therapy and worked for 8 years in a psychiatric hospital.

He lived as an ordained monk in the Tibetan tradition for 11 years and, during that time, served as the director of Nalanda Monastery in the south of France and spent a total of 5 years in group and solitary retreats. The main teacher of Stephan is Lama Zopa Rinpoche, the spiritual director of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT). He has received teachings and guidance from great Tibetan Masters of the four schools like His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Sakya Trizin Rinpoche, Sogyal Rinpoche, Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche, Kirti Thenshap Rinpoche, Chogye Trichen Rinpoche and Choden Rinpoche. He has practiced and studied with foremost Western teachers like Peter Fenner, Alan Wallace, Rob Preece, Alex Berzin, Pema Chodron, Robert Thurman and Ken McLeod.

Stephan was the center’s resident teacher from 2008-2013 and currently teaches meditation in Buddhist Centers around Europe. Since 2009 he has been studying Radiant Mind with Peter Fenner and completed the Nondual Teacher Training and he is a program adviser of the Potential Project. In addition he and his partner Jetthe Fabioola offer courses in Natural Mindfulness & Mindful Dreaming

Sylvia Wetzel


Born 1949, she experiments with paths to inner and outer liberation since 1968 and practices buddhism since 1977, mainly in the the Tibetan tradition. For fifteen years she was board member of the German Buddhist Union and for twelve years editor of the Buddhist Quarterly “Lotusblätter” (lotus leaves). She helped inaugurate the International Association of Buddhist Women Sakyadhita (Bodhgaya 1987), is founding member of the Network of Western Buddhist Teachers (Dharamsala 1993) and is currently President of the Buddhist Academy Berlin Brandenburg (Berlin 2001).
With her critical and creative approach to European culture and gender issues the author and buddhist meditation teacher is one of the pioneers of Buddhism in Europe since the mideighties.

Read more about Sylvia here.