The Spiritual Director of Lam Rim Centres

Ven Geshe Damcho Yonten

Venerable Geshe Damchö Yonten entered the great monastic university of Drepung near Lhasa, the capital of Tibet at the age of six. For the next 23 years, he pursued intensively the formal studies in Buddhist philosophy, psychology, logic, debate and scriptural subjects, and the practice of meditation under the direction and guidance of some of the most learned and experienced Lamas in Tibet.

After escaping from the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1959, he was able to complete his studies in India and Ladakh, attaining the high qualification of Lharampa Geshe. During the six years he spent in Ladakh he became Abbot of Samtenling Gompa Norba.

Returning to India in 1966, Ven. Geshe Damchö gathered his first western students, and it was at their request that in 1976 he compassionately came to the West to teach Buddhism for the benefit of all beings. In July 1978, students helped establish the Lam Rim Buddhist Centre in Wales, as a place where the Ven. Geshe Damcho could teach and practise as resident Spiritual Director.

In 1989 the Lam Rim Bristol Buddhist Centre was established in Bristol. Also in 1989, Ven. Geshe Damchö was first invited to give Teachings in South Africa and he has returned on a number of occasions at the request of his students, and is the Spiritual Director of Lam Rim Buddhist Centre in Johannesburg.

All through Ven. Geshe Damchö’s long association with the West, he has constantly taught students the texts from Lam Rim Chenmo (The Graduated Path to Enlightenment) and has acted as host to many highly realised Buddhist teachers visiting the Lam Rim centres.

On Saturday 26th August at Lam Rim Buddhist Centre, Penrhos, Raglan, our Spiritual Director, the Venerable Geshe Damcho Yonten gently passed away at 6.50pm at the age of 87 after a short illness. His funeral took place on Friday 15th September at 12.30pm at The Forest of Dean Crematorium.

We are dedicated to continuing the centre in accordance with Ven Geshe Damcho Yonten's wishes, the wishes of our patron, HE Ganden Trisur Rizong Sras Rinpoche, and the wishes and guidance of our ever-kind teacher, His Holiness, 14th Dalai Lama.