His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is both the head of state and the spiritual leader of Tibet. He was born on 6 July 1935, to a farming family, in a small hamlet located in Taktser, Amdo, northeastern Tibet. When he was just two years old, the then Lhamo Dhondup was recognised as the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso. The Dalai Lamas are believed to be manifestations of Avalokiteshvara or Chenrezig, the Bodhisattva of Compassion and patron saint of Tibet. More information about The Dalai Lama can be found here: http://www.dalailama.com/
Lama Thubten Yeshe (1935-1984): Founder, FPMT
Lama Thubten Yeshe was born in Tibet in 1935. At the age of six, he entered the great Sera Monastic University, Lhasa, where he studied until 1959, when the Chinese invasion of Tibet forced him into exile in India. Lama Yeshe continued to study and meditate in India until 1967 when with his chief disciple, Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche, he went to Nepal. Two years later he established Kopan Monastery, near Kathmandu, in order to teach Buddhism to Westerners. In 1974, the Lamas began making annual teaching tours to the West, and as a result of these travels a worldwide network of FPMT Buddhist teaching and meditation centres began to develop. More details of Rinpoche's life and work can be found on the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive website.
Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche: Spiritual Director, FPMT
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 home. At the age of 10, 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 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 director of FPMT which has continued to flourish under his peerless leadership. More details of Rinpoche's life and work can be found on the FPMT website.