Geshe Yeshe Wangchuk and His Heart Disciple, Trichen Lama

Geshe Yeshe Wangchuk confers novice vows to young monks, with the assistance of Trichen Lama (right)

Geshe Yeshe Wangchuk (1928 – 1997) from Sera Mey Monastery was one of the greatest Dorje Shugden masters of our time, tirelessly working to transmit the teachings of the pure Gelugpa lineage within Tibet and beyond. Geshela entered Sera Mey Monastery when he was 16, and soon became an unexcelled scholar and debater with countless students across Tibet and India.

With unparalleled mastery of the Indian treatises and the Tibetan commentaries, it is no surprise that in 1986, Geshela became the first to be awarded the Geshe Lharampa degree within Tibet since the Dalai Lama fled in 1959. Geshela was also one of the few lamas who chose to remain in Tibet after the civil unrest of 1959, working hard against all odds to preserve the Buddhist literary tradition in his homeland.

Due to his prominence, popularity and courage in opposing the Dalai Lama’s ban on the practice of the great King of Protectors, Dorje Shugden, Geshela had to face much persecution from many quarters, including the Central Tibetan Adminstration (CTA) and the Tibetan community in exile, which ultimately culminated in his untimely demise in a car accident in 1997, allegedly engineered by the CTA.

Prior to the unfortunate accident, Geshela had spent the later part of his life giving Praktimoksha vows and teachings to the younger generation of Buddhists, both lay and ordained. Geshela also passed all the lineages he held to his heart disciple, Trichen Lama, thus ensuring the continuity of the pure Tantric and Sutric teachings of the Ganden tradition.

Having observed Geshela’s actions, many of his close students felt that Geshela had foreseen and was preparing for the final years of his life. This is highly plausible given proof of Geshela’s clairvoyance and attainments – on the fateful day of his death, Geshela insisted on traveling alone in his car without his usual attendants, and after the car careened off the cliff, Geshela climbed out of the wreckage, sat on the ground and entered clear light meditation (Tugdam) for eight days.

Geshe Yeshe Wangchuk (left) with Trichen Lama (right). Trichen Lama also received the initiations of Heruka and Vajrayogini from Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang and the Yamantaka tantras from the late Kyabje Ling Dorje Chang.

Trichen Lama has since become a highly respected teacher in greater China, transcending the borders of Tibet and gathering many disciples. Now 85 years old, Trichen Lama spends most of his time sharing the Buddha Dharma according to Lama Tsongkapa’s tradition, particularly the teachings of Dorje Shugden, and travels yearly to various parts of China such as Yunan and Hangzhou, giving teachings and initiations to thousands.

With full devotion to his own Lama, Trichen Lama continues to keep the legacy of the late Geshe Yeshe Wangchuk alive, fearlessly bringing Dorje Shugden’s practice to others. We rejoice in the sacred deeds of both these Lamas, and pray for the swift return of Geshe Yeshe Wangchuk and for the long life and continuous turning of the Dharma wheel by Trichen Lama.

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  2. Geshe Yeshe Wangchuk was an accomplished debater. He also gave successful defenses of his knowledge in public oral examinations at every one of the great Gelugpa colleges. Geshe Yeshe Wangchuk’s vast knowledge was gained through his devotion and determination in studying and debating. He was considered a walking encyclopedia due to this great memories in all the text he had studied.

    Rejoice for Trichen Lama! What Trichen Lama is doing now is following his Guru’s footsteps and it shows his deep guru devotion that never wavered.

  3. Geshe Yeshe Wangchuk is really one lama we should take an example off in terms of his persistence and assertive manner towards the lineage which was passed down to him by his Guru. Most of the lamas, during the invasion of China were destined to fled Tibet but Geshe Yeshe Wangchuk had decided to stay in Tibet. Hence, being one of the well respected High Lama who continued to practice Dorje Shugden he was imprisoned and due to His status he was assigned to do the hardest physical work while he was in the prison. With so much suffering he has to endure during his life time and did not gave up the practice of Dorje Shugden just to be in the good book of CTA and HHTDL, this is something we should all follow and get inspire from. Whether or not his accident was planned by the CTA which is the obvious but for the fact that Geshe Wangchuk still chose to make the journey and asked the his usual entourage to stay and went alone, this is telling us that his ability to see the future and probably with his death in return he had help many and the course of Dorje Shugden.

    May the reincarnation of Geshe Wangchuk continue to do good works for Dorje Shugden and for the Dharma.

  4. This is a great article to pay tribute to Lama Geshe Yeshe Wangchuk, one of the greatest Dorje Shugden master of our time. His dedication & effort to preserve the pure Buddhist teaching (Gelugpa Lineage) is much to by admire & a great inspiration to many. Despite of the imprisonment & hardship as a labourer during the cultural revolution, he still continue to work tirelessly to preserve the buddhist religion in Tibet & later on travelling frequently to India, China & Japan to teach. Some of his many students are the current Trijang Rinpoche & Zong Rinpoche who has continue to spread the teaching further to almost every part of the world these days. At the time of his unfortunate death, Geshela ability to foresee its happening by not allowing his attendant to accompn him & his Tugdam meditation for 8 days was a clear sign of his clairvoyance & attainment that can only be exhibited by a being of an enlightened mind.

    These days his teachings are passed on to his heart disciple Trichen Lama who continue to work tirelessly just like his guru sharing Lama Tsongkhapa teaching & particularly Dorje Shugden practices in the pure teachings of the Gaden Tradition.

    I pray for the good health of Trichen Lama to continue sharing & teaching the pure dharma to many more students & teachers & the swift return of Lama Geshe Yeshe Wangchuk.

  5. This is such a nice tribute to Geshela. This story warms the heart and also shows that attained masters have clairvoyance. Even though he knows his life is in danger, he still went on the journey because the goal is more important than his life. The goal of spreading the Dharma and the continuation of the Ganden tradition, both sutra and tantra. Even though he knew that staying on in Tibet after the invasion of the Chinese would be a threat to his life, the stayed on to endure the suffering.

    Great to hear that Trichen Lama has continued on Geshela’s legacy of turning the Dharma wheel.

  6. There are not many coloured pictures of Geshe Wangchuk, these are the only ones I have seen before. Reading about how amazing this geshe really inspires me to the CORE. May his new incarnation be quickly found.

  7. Although with the untimely death of Geshe Yeshe Wanhchuk, but his teaching and Dharma activity continued under His devoted student Trinchen Lama. Such a wondeful Guru Devotion trait that is rare to find, but Trinchen Lama show us this unexalted good quality.

    Trinchen Lama unwavered Guru devotion sees that the lineage and practice of Dorje Shugden continued to benefit more sentient being, all of which stems from Geshe Yeshe Wangchuk. May Trinchen Lama activity and teaching continue to benefit the people of Tibet.

  8. Thank you for yet another inspiring account of great Lamas who risk their lives and work persistently to preserve the great Tsongkapa teachings. Those of us now who have the great fortune to meet these teachings in this degenerate times have every reason to rejoice and should work as hard to maintain the purity of this lineage. May all the high Lamas and Gurus live long and return, to continue to turn the wheel of Dharma to benefit all.

  9. “on the fateful day of his death, Geshela insisted on traveling alone in his car without his usual attendants, and after the car careened off the cliff, Geshela climbed out of the wreckage, sat on the ground and entered clear light meditation (Tugdam) for eight days.” – Geshe Yeshe Wangchuk’s clairvoyance enabled him to foresee the incident and his compassion allowed him to take this accident on and entered clear light. He took on the negative outcome to clear others’ karma. So, no one else was with him and suffered.

    And now, his heart disciple, Trichen Lama with full Guru Devotion continues the work of his lama, spreading the dharma according to Lama Tsongkapa’s tradition and the practice of Dorje Shugden to benefit so very many more people.

    May the new incarnation of Geshe Yeshe Wangchuk be quickly found. May Trichen Lama have stable health and continue to benefit many.

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.…Instead of turning away people who practise Dorje Shugden, we should be kind to them. Give them logic and wisdom without fear, then in time they give up the ‘wrong’ practice. Actually Shugden practitioners are not doing anything wrong. But hypothetically, if they are, wouldn’t it be more Buddhistic to be accepting? So those who have views against Dorje Shugden should contemplate this. Those practicing Dorje Shugden should forbear with extreme patience, fortitude and keep your commitments. The time will come as predicted that Dorje Shugden’s practice and it’s terrific quick benefits will be embraced by the world and it will be a practice of many beings.

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