The Jefferson Tibetan Society

P.O. Box 874  Charlottesville, VA  22902 

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© The Jefferson Tibetan Society

  Special Events:

Special Visit of Geshe Drakpa Gelek, Yogi from Dharamsala, India

Saturday, September 3rd, 2011 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m..: Applying the Four Seals of Buddhism to Practice in Daily Life

Monday, September 5th,2011 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.: Development of A Yogi's Experiences in Meditation Practice 


 It is essentially important to learn how to begin meditation practice correctly, make progress and continue to receive inspiration.  In this discourse, the master teaches you step by step meditation and what experiences all yogis go through from the first step to the next, and each step therafter.  The teaching begins with short prayers, followed by a 15 min. meditation with instruction given by the visiting teacher.  The teachings follow with time for discussion.  You are invited to bring any questions with you.

     Geshe Drakpa Gelek is a very great learned master in the field of Buddhist sutras and tantra, and more importantly a dedicated practitioner.  He primarily has lived in northern India on a mountain in his meditation cave since 1987.  Geshe-la has also taught throughout the world including South Korea, Spain, Belgium & France, as well as in the U.S.  His teaching is very understandable, he teaches skillfully and is famous for providing great clarity to both Tibetan and Western students.  We are honored to have Geshe Gelek visit the Jefferson Tibetan Society Buddhist center.  It is a rare opportunity to learn from such a deeply respected Buddhist master and to strengthen our experience on the spiritual path.  

A Gift for the Village Trailer from Tom Landon on Vimeo.

Please come see
A Gift for the Village
at Vinegar Hill Cinema as part of the Virginia Film Festival
Showing at 10:00 AM
November 7th, 2010

The film tells the story of Blacksburg, Virginia artist Jane Lillian Vance and her long connection with a Buddhist healer named Amchi Tsampa Ngawang Lama of Jomsom, an ethnically Tibetan village on the Annapurna Circuit in the Himalayas of Nepal. In 2007 a team of Virginians traveled to his village to deliver a thangka, or Tibetan life narrative painting. Along the way we visited the restricted area of Lo, in Upper Mustang, and documented the traditional way of life and the changes taking place there. Tickets are $7 at Vinegar Hill.

                  Visit of Dr. Tsampa Ngawang, Lama & Tibetan Dr. from Mustang, Nepal
     We are happy to announce the visit of Dr. Tsampa Ngawang, a Nyingma Lama (extensive training & completed a 3 yr. retreat) from Mustang, Nepal and 10th generation traditionally trained Tibetan doctor.     We are honored to have the opportunity to offer these teachings & his remarkable Tibetan medical services here in Charlottesville. 
    Here is the schedule:  Friday, May 1st -- 7:00 p.m. Talk on the Power of Compassion
     Retreat:     Saturday, May 2nd, (10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.) & Sunday, May 3rd (10 a.m.- 1 p.m.)
     Dr. Tsampa will teach a compassion practice developed by a great mahasiddha (Tangtong Gyalpo) from the 14th century, emphasizing the power of the 4 great spiritual thoughts which transform one's life into ultimate joy.  Dr. Tsampa has trained as a Buddhist lama primarily in the Nyingma & Kagyu traditions, having also completed numerous solitary retreats, including the traditional 3 year retreat.   He has also studied with Sakya & Gelukpa teachers.  For those who received the Chenrezig (Buddha of Compassion) empowerment from Ven. Gankar Rinpoche some years back, Cy mentioned that the practice Dr. Tsampa teaches is quite similar to that practice.  Dr. Tsampa taught at Virginia Tech University for a semester in the past.  You can read more about his life and work on a website set up by his friends in Blacksburg, Va. at  A documentary is being made of Dr. Tsampa's work in his village in Nepal.  Nicolas Sihle, anthropology professor at U.Va. did his thesis on Dr. Tsampa.
    The compassion practice Dr. Tsampa will be basing the retreat on will provide an opportunity to touch on many essential aspects of Buddhist thought.  Dr. Tsampa's daily work of helping those in pain enables him to be an especially meaningful teacher of the practice of compassion.  All are invited to come to deepen their practice of compassion towards others and oneself.  
    The location of the retreat will depend on the number of people who pre-register.  Currently, we are planning to have the talk and retreat at our temple space about 5 min. from U.Va. in Charlottesville.  The suggested donation for the talk is $10. and the registration fee for the Sat/Sun retreat is $85.  For those wishing to participate in the Sat./Sun. retreat,  e-mail Sandy at so we can determine if additional space will be needed.  It would also be helpful if you would e-mail us if you plan to attend the Friday evening talk.  To hold your space for the retreat, please send a $35. deposit by April 27th to: Jefferson Tibetan Society, P.O. Box 874, Charlottesville, Va. 22902.
Tibetan Medical Consultations
    Dr. Tsampa has kindly agreed to be available for Tibetan medical consultations on Fri. May 1st and Sun. May 3rd.  These can include a more involved consultation (with traditional urine analysis), or a simpler consultation with diet recommendations, etc.  Given his remarkable background and training as a  10th generation doctor, this is a wonderful opportunity.  Please e-mail us if you are interested in scheduling an appointment.  We are in the process of developing some guidelines for the fees for these consultations.
Tashi Delek!

Annual Lama Tsongkhapa Day Celebration

Sunday, December 21st, 3:00 p.m. at the Jefferson Tibetan Society temple at 118 Olinda Drive, Charlottesville.

Lama Tsongkhapa

We are happy to announce that Ven. Gankar Rinpoche will be returning to give further teachings in Charlottesville.  Please e-mail us at to be placed on an e-mail list to be notified once the dates of the visit are set.


Charlottesville visit in honor of the late Ven. Geshe Jampel Thardo of the Jefferson Tibetan Society

Thurs. October 23 Sun., October 26th

In honor of Ven. Geshe Jampel Thardo, there will be a White Tara empowerment (one of Geshe-la's main practices), in addition to the other special teachings.; The Thursday Vajrasattva empowerment is for purifying our negative karma and the Fri. White Tara empowerment is for removing obstacles and for long life. The Saturday teachings on the 3 Principal Aspects of the Path is based on the classic Mahayana text by Lama Tsongkhapa. The 3 principal aspects of the path vital to
spiritual progress are: renunciation/spirit of emergence, Bodhicitta (the mind of enlightenment resulting from great compassion that is firmly determined to overcome our own and others' suffering), and the wisdom realizing emptiness. This is an excellent overview teaching. The Sunday teachings on death and dying are a rare opportunity to learn more about the ideal way to face our dying process, so beautifully demonstrated by our teacher, Geshe Jampel Thardo.

Ven. Gankar Tulku Rinpoche has taught for the Jefferson Tibetan Society on various occasions since 1993, when he was one of the 2 head spiritual teachers of the 120 city Sacred Music, Sacred
Dance tour that our center nationally co-sponsored with Tibet House, New York. Rinpoche taught for us and gave empowerments several times during the '93-'94 tour. He also
returned in 2004 as the head lama of the smaller tour of monks who created the Buddha of Compassion sand mandala at the McGuffey Art Center.  Rinpoche led a healing ritual at
that time, as well as giving the Chenrezig (Buddha of Compassion) empowerment. "Gankar
Tulku Rinpoche was recognized as the 3rd incarnation of the Gankar Tulku of Dzindu monsatery , Eastern Tibet. Dzindu monastery was founded by the renowned sage Kyabje Rinchen Drak,
a main disciple of Lama Tsongkhapa, the founder of the Gelukpa lineage.  Kyabje Yongdzin Trijang Rinpoche, junior tutor of H.H. Dalai Lama took personal interest in finding the rebirth of Gankar Rinpoche and in 1969 at the age of 5, Gankar Rinpoche was ordained as a novice monk by Kyabje Rinpoche.  he was entrusted to the great Buddhist masters Tara Tulku Rinpoche and renowned teacher Khensur Yeshi Thupten Rinpoche, who were distinguished scholars of Buddhism in the 20th century.

At the age of 10, he entered Tsulkhang Khamtsen, Drepung Loseling Monastery in India, which is one of the oldest and largest 3 main monasteries in Tibet. He received ordination from H.H. Dalai Lama at the age of 21. He obtained the Geshe degree (Ph.D.) in 1996 at Drepung Loseling Monastery in India. Rinpoche joined the Gyuto Tantric University to gain knowledge on advanced studies and skills in esoteric Tantric practices.


      In 2000 he was chosen by the Gyuto monastery to serve as a resident Director/Teacher for the Gyuto Wheel of Dharma monastery in Minnesota.  He has traveled extensively in the U.S.A., Canada, Australia, Europe and India in response to increasing requests for his teachings, spiritual guidance, performing rituals & leading tours of monks.

Annual SAGA DAWA Celebration on Saturday, June 14, 2008

We will be having our weekend celebration of the main Buddhist Holy Day of the year, Saga Dawa--honoring the birth, enlightenment & parinirvana of Shakyamuni Buddha.

You are welcome to join us for any part of the day's activities:

5:00 a.m.:  One day Mahayana vow ceremony

10:30 a.m. -- Meditation & Prayers: Heart Sutra recitation

11:30 a.m. -- Pot-luck lunch following the Tegchen Sojong food guidelines, including not eating past noon

12:30 p.m. -- Meditation & prayers, including purification practice, followed by a talk on Buddhist overview, with time for questions & answers/general discussion..m. -- Meditation & prayers, including purification practice, followed by a talk on Buddhist overview, with time for questions & answers/general discussion.

His Holiness Dalai Lama 's Birthday Celebration

Sunday, July 6, 2008

5:00 p.m. Meditation & Prayers for H.H.Dalai Lama's long life

6:00 p.m. Pot Luck Dinner-- please bring food to share; This will be followed by a discussion of Buddhist practice for anyone who has questions or is in need of meditation instruction.

Dalai Lama Renaissance film showing

Sunday, July 27th, 6:00 p.m. at Unity Church

A multi award winning documentary about an international conference of scholars meeting with the Dalai Lama; narrated by Harrison Ford; received Best Peace Film and Best Documentary awards;
80 min. film.

A substantial amount of the proceeds from this movie will go towards H.H. Dalai Lama's cultural organizations in India to help preserve Tibetan culture.

Venerable Doboom Tulku Rinpoche
Director, Tibet House, New Delhi , India
 H.H. Dalai Lama's Foundation for Universal Responsibility

Monday, July 28th, 2008 at Unity Church, 2829 Hydraulic Road, Charlottesville

Noon - 1:00 p.m.  Talk on Universal Responsibility Promoting Harmony & Well Being

5:30 - 7:00 p.m. -- Manjushri Empowerment (Buddha of Wisdom)

8:00 - 9:00 p.m. -- Follow-up Teachings & Questions

Venerable Doboom Tulku Rinpoche is Director of Tibet House, the cultural center of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in New Delhi, India and Director of the Foundation for Universal Responsibility, an organization founded by His Holiness for promoting universal harmony & well-being.  Recognized at age 3 as the incarnation of the previous Doboom Tulku, at age 12 he entered Drepung Monastery, where he studied Buddhist philosophy for 6 years.  He completed his monastic education as a refugee in Buxa, India and at the Central Institute for Higher Tibetan Studies in Sarnath, India, receiving the Geshe Acharya degree in 1972.  In 1977, he became Secretary of His Holiness the Dalai Lama at his private office and accompanied H.H. Dalai Lama on international tours.   This is Rinpoche's 2nd visit to the Jefferson Tibetan Society.   He speaks very good English.

         B. Alan Wallace, Ph.D.

     Presented 3 weekend meditation retreats on shamatha meditation, the four foundations of mindfulness and the four immeasurable practices at the Jefferson Tibetan Society.

B. Alan Wallace, Ph.D. is an internationally known meditation teacher, dynamic lecturer and scholar, one of the leading American translators, and on the forefront of Buddhism and Science research.  He has been involved in the serious practice, study and translation of Buddhism for 35 years.  He is one of the two primary translators to H.H. Dalai Lama for the Mind and Science conferences and research projects.  His extensive books on Buddhism are helpful to people of the Vipassana and Zen traditions in addition to those of all the schools of Tibetan Buddhism.  Alan has engaged in extensive retreats throughout his life, including numerous solitary retreats and was a co-teacher of a 1 year Shamatha retreat.  He will be leading two 3-month Shamatha retreats in 2007 as part of the pioneering Shamatha Research project, a scientific study of the long-term effects of meditation on cognitive, attentional and affective functioning.  He graduated summa cum laude from Amherst college, where he studied physics and the philosophy of science and has a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Stanford University.  He was a Buddhist monk for 14 years and has edited, translated and authored or contributed to more than 30 books on Buddhism, medicine, language, science and culture.

  • Buddhist Weekend Workshops with Geshe Yeshe Thabkhe from the Central Institute for Higher Tibetan Studies in Sarnath, India on Nagarjuna's 70 Stanzas on Emptiness, Buddha Nature and the Heart Sutra.
  • 3 weekend meditation retreats with B. Alan Wallace, Ph.D. on Shamatha meditation, the four foundations of mindfulness and the four immeasurables.
  • Venerable Gankar Rinpoche bestowed the Chenrezig Empowerment and he and a group of  monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery created a Chenrezig sand mandala at the McGuffey Art Center in downtown Charlottesville.  Together with a group of distinguished elder monks from Drepung Loseling he bestowed a Healing Ceremony for purification at the Wesley Foundation Building.
  • Series of  weekend workshops on Buddhist philosophy with Geshe Thupten Kunkhen, Lharampa geshe from Drepung Loseling Monastery renowned for his multi-phonic chanting ability.
  • Sponsorship of a sand mandala at the University of Virginia Bayly Art Museum, as well as a number of performances of Sacred Music, Sacred Dance

  • The Jefferson Tibetan Society is happy to announce this special weekend of Dharma activities.  This is a rare opportunity as Geshe Thabkhe is such a distinguished teacher, with many local Tibetans having studied extensively with him in Sarnath, India.  For those of you who studied with Khensur Yeshi Thupten, the former abbot of Drepung Loseling Monastery who taught at U.Va. and the Jefferson Tibetan Society for several yrs, Geshe Thabkhe studied closely under the guidance of Khensur Yeshi Thupten.    The Buddha Nature teachings are essential for understanding key aspects of Buddhist practice in all the 4 schools of Tibetan Buddhism for realizing one's true nature.  The Heart Sutra is a classic practice across all Mahayana Buddhist schools for understanding the profound teachings of emptiness.
Opening to the Sublime
Open your mind to its potential with assistance from
the compassionate guide Geshe Yeshe Thabkhe, a rare
and special lama from Tibet
August 11, 2006 Friday:  7:00 - 8:45pm
Realize the Luminous Mind of Buddha Nature
August 12 Saturday:   10am - 5pm (with lunch break)
Develop an understanding of the depth of Buddha Nature
August 13 Sunday:  10 am -4pm (with lunch break)
The Heart Sutra, profound Mahayana practice
Join us at Body, Mind & Spirit (a few doors down from the
Integral Yoga Store), Preston Avenue, Charlottesville,  for Friday evening.
The weekend workshop will be at the Jefferson Tibetan Society temple at 118 Olinda Drive, Charlottesville.  (about 5 min. from U.Va.)
 Geshe Yeshe Thabkhe (Topkay) is a renowned scholar of Drepung Loseling Monastery in the Lhasa area of Tibet.  In 1943 he began the daunting studies of the geshe program and was able to graduate by 1959 with the high honour of Lharampa Geshe.  In 1959 he escaped war torn Tibet; eventually settling in India to teach in Lhadak and since 1972 he has been a distinguished professor at the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies at Sarnath, India.