Sermey Khensur Geshe Lobsang Tharchin
In 1951, Sermey Khensur Geshe Lobsang Tharchin (known to his students as Khen Rinpoche) was granted the title of Hlarampa Geshe - a title of highest scholastic honors - by His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama at the Potala Palace in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. In 1959, he escaped with other lamas from the communist invasion, and helped to recreate the secondary education system for the Tibetan government in exile in India. At the request of His Holiness, Khen Rinpoche came to the United States in 1972 and from that time until he passed on in December of 2004, he constantly gave very extensive authentic Tibetan Buddhist teachings to everyone who was interested in coming. He has published approximately 10 books through the Mahayana Sutra and Tantra Press. He was one of the greatest Tibetan Buddhist masters of our time.
Khen Rinpoche studied under both Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche (1901-1981), one of the two life tutors of His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, and Pabongka Rinpoche (1878-1941), probably the greatest teacher of Buddhism in Tibet in the 20th century, and author of the famed Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand.
Geshe Michael Roach
Geshe Michael Roach is the founder and spiritual director of Diamond Mountain. He was born in Los Angeles in 1952 and was raised in Phoenix, AZ. As a student at Princeton University he concentrated his studies in religion and ancient Sanskrit and Russian language. He met his teacher Khen Rinpoche Geshe Lobsang Tharchin in 1972 in the U.S. and studied very closely with him after that time. He was ordained as a Buddhist monk in 1983 and is entirely fluent in the spoken and written Tibetan language. After approximately 20 years of daily intensive study with Khen Rinpoche in New Jersey and at Sera Mey monastery in Southern India, Geshe Michael received the Geshe degree in 1995 (akin to a Doctorate of Divinity). He has also studied extensively at Sera Mey with Geshe Thubten Rinchen, one of the great living scripture teachers.
Asian Classics Input Project
The Asian Classics Input Project (ACIP) founded in 1986 by Geshe Michael Roach in collaboration with Tibetan refugees, is dedicated to digitally preserving the classical and sacred Buddhist texts. There is a great danger of forever losing the vast collection of Tibetan Buddhist scriptures because of the social and political turmoil in Mongolia and Tibet that began in the 20th century, including destruction of most of the libraries and monasteries. ACIP locates rare and endangered canonical texts, sets up computer training and text entry centers in Asia, then digitally compiles and formats these scriptures and places them on the ACIP web site for anyone to download and use for free. At over a dozen cataloguing and input centers in India, Russia and Mongolia, the Project has saved more than 150,000 pages of classical Buddhist texts from ancient India and Tibet. The ACIP database represents the largest single collection of publicly-distributed electronic Tibetan Buddhist scriptures in the world.
Asian Classics Institute
In 1993, Geshe Michael founded the Asian Classics Institute (ACI), a Buddhist teacher-training program. ACI trains everyday Americans, both men and women, in the studies of a Tibetan monk-scholar. Within seven years of disciplined work, in the tradition of the Dalai Lamas, ACI students complete an authentic study covering the five great books of Tibetan Buddhism. The principal of the Institute is that sacred learning should be free of charge, but that students must be dedicated and hard-working to stay in its courses. Classes generally are held in the evenings and on the weekends, so that normal working people can fulfill their spiritual dreams. Dozens of ACI-trained instructors are now teaching in more than ten countries to thousands of students, and ACI continues to thrive and grow in its New York area home base. Many of the graduates and volunteer staff of Diamond Mountain are also ACI teachers who teach the courses in the U.S. and abroad. The ACI curriculum has also been adapted into a correspondence course program that has distributed more than 75,000 cassette tapes (by 2002) and more than one million pages of course work to students worldwide. The correspondence courses always are provided to students at cost, or for free to students who cannot afford the modest fee. In keeping with our lineage, ACI classes are provided free of charge, and students who are so inclined support their centers through voluntary offerings.
Books and Translations
Geshe Michael published two books along with Sermey Khensur Geshe Lobsang Tarchin: The Principal Teachings of Buddhism, and Preparing for Tantra, both published by Mahayana Sutra and Tantra Press. He is also the author of The Diamond Cutter and The Garden, published in 2000 by Doubleday; and co-author of The Tibetan Book of Yoga, published in 2003 by Doubleday; How Yoga Works, published by Diamond Cutter Press; and The Essential Yoga Sutra, published in 2005 by Doubleday. Geshe Michael has also translated over 5,000 pages of Tibetan scriptures, which form the core of the ACI curriculum, as well as numerous unpublished ancient Sanskrit and Tibetan texts. From March 3, 2000 until June 6, 2003, Geshe Michael took part in a three-year silent, solitary retreat. At intervals during the retreat, he taught six Quiet Retreat Teachings to hundreds of students who came to Diamond Mountain from around the world. At that time, he started to integrate the ancient Buddhist teachings from Tibet with the yoga lineages that were preserved in the Indian traditions, and is now teaching throughout the world about the value of re-integrating the classical scriptures and practices of Yoga, as practiced in ancient India, back into the authentic worldview and practice of Buddhism.