GESHE KHORDEN LHUNDUP GYALTSEN
Geshe Khorden Lhundup Gyaltsen is the resident lama of Ligmincha France. He lives and teaches in Paris.
Geshe Lhundup was born in Tibet in a very small village called Damranji, in Kham, about 375 miles from Lhasa, to a nomad family. His mother was a serious dharma practitioner. When he was about 6 years old he began to tend the yaks and sheep. At about age 12, he made the decision to become a monk (all of his brothers and sisters also became monks or nuns) and went to Patsang Monastery in Kham. Patsang is one of the lineages of important Yungdrung Bon families.
His first master, Rashi Togden Rinpoche, lived about 60 miles from Geshe Lhundup’s home. The master was from the Nyingma lineage and also a lineage holder of Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen, a great Dzogchen master of the Bon tradition of Tibet. Geshe Lhundup learned much from his master, who spent his life in dzogchen meditation. He spent a year in the mountain with his second master, Beru Togden Rinpoche, learning dzogchen and tsa lung. From his third master, Togden Sherab Phuntsok Rinpoche, Geshe Lhundup received, along with about 200 monks from all over Tibet, transmission of all of Shardza Rinpoche’s texts, plus trul khor and dzogchen teachings.
Geshe Lhundup was already a monk when, taking the advice of his uncle, a Phatsang lama who left Tibet in 1959, he decided to leave Tibet to study in India. In 1993, along with a group of 29 people (including four Bonpo monks) he escaped by traveling through the Himalayas, which included a month’s walk from Mt. Kailash to Nepal. They were met in Kathmandu by H.E Yongdzin Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche, most senior teacher in the Bon tradition and founder of Triten Norbutse Monastery in Nepal. After offering them lodging at Triten Norbutse for a week, Yongdzin Rinpoche encouraged the monks to continue on to Menri Monastery in India, where they could study for the Geshe degree.
Geshe Lhundup studied at Menri Monastery from 1993–2009, progressing through the eight levels in the Bon dialectic school. The traditional course of study for all the monks included sutra, tantra and Dzogchen, and also Tibetan grammar, poetry, astrology, medicine, mandala painting, yoga and meditation. After 15 years, he received his Geshe degree.
Upon leaving Menri, Geshe Lhundup went to Dharamsala, India to learn English. After about a year, Tibetan friends in Europe advised him to go to France. He quickly got a residence card, and began working in a bakery, where he remained for a year. In France, Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche contacted him in 2010 to provide advice and suggest that Geshe Lhundup begin working with Rinpoche’s students in France. Students at that time had a small practice group. They helped Geshe Lhundup get an apartment and take French lessons, and he began teaching yoga.
In 2013 Geshe Lhundup began working more directly with students in France. The group met for trul khor three hours each week, where sangha members helped him develop the French vocabulary of anatomy to help him to teach Western students. He also worked on a one-year meditation program so people with no prior meditation experience could progress in their practice..
What began as a small group of five to six people has grown to a sangha of about 25, and the group has met in a new location since September 2015. In addition to leading the Ligmincha France sangha, Geshe Lhundup also has taught several times in Germany, has been invited to teach in the Netherlands and expects to visit other countries in Western Europe.