In article <19980128165401.LAA22...@ladder03.news.aol.com> on a.r.b.t.,
>I can back up my statements with facts! I got this info from the Abott of
>as well as several geshe's who were in the same class as Kelsang. Ask the
>Kelsang to show you his papers that prove he is a geshe.
>It is a matter of public record at Sera that Kelsang did not get his geshe
>degree. This is common knowledge. Water is wet, dogs bark, Kelsang is not
Concerning whether Geshe Kelsang Gyatso is a Geshe or not
Recently on the Net someone calling himself MonkTenzin / Tenzin Chophak
(Tulku Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche) has said that Geshe Kelsang Gyatso is not a
Geshe but is 'using the title 'Geshe' fraudulently and erroniously (sic)'.
In Tibet before he joined Sera-je Monastery near Lhasa, Geshe Kelsang
studied on the Geshe training programme for many years in his local
monastery of Jampaling. He then took two examinations at the great monastic
university of Tashi Lhunpo, one for memorization of texts, the second being
the actual examination. After the second examination he was awarded a degree
from that monastery, and from that time on the other monks and local people
called him Geshe Kelsang.
Later, he continued with the Geshe training programme in Sera-je Monastery
until he left for India in 1959, where he alternately studied and engaged in
meditation retreats. One day he received a letter from Sera-je Monastery in
south India, encouraging him to attend a Geshe offering ceremony and to take
an examination in order to receive a certificate. In 1973 he went to Sera
Monastery and made an extensive offering at the Geshe offering ceremony to a
large assembly of monks from both Sera-je and Sera-mey monasteries, in Sera
Tsogchen Prayer Hall. He also made the traditional offerings to Sera-je
Monastery. On that occasion the monks of his class offered him a 'katag', or
ceremonial scarf, and gifts in the traditional way. If he was not considered
a Geshe then what was the point of inviting him to participate in this
At that time he declined to take the examination, which was a new system
that had been recently introduced. He later explained that this was because
he did not think that receiving a piece of paper was important.
The present abbot of Sera-je, Geshe Jampa Tekchog, also made offerings at
another Geshe offering ceremony and he also did not take this examination
for receiving a certificate.
Lama Thubten Yeshe, founder of the FPMT, although he completed his Geshe
studies, never took the examination for receiving his Geshe degree, although
later Sera Monastery offered him an honorary Geshe degree, no doubt after he
became so well-known.
If it has been known for years that Geshe Kelsang is not a Geshe, then why
has Sera Monastery waited until 1996 to declare him a fraud? For years, ever
since 1978, a large number of Tibetan Lamas, including some of the most
eminent within the Gelugpa Tradition have been invited by Geshe Kelsang to
Manjushri Centre and other centres. If he is a fraud then why did they not
Kyabje Ling Rinpoche, Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche, and the Dalai Lama have all
written prefaces to his books. Kyabje Ling Rinpoche refers to Geshe Kelsang
as 'this most precious Spiritual Guide'. Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche refers to
him as 'The excellent expounder, the great Spiritual Master Kelsang Gyatso
...', and in the colophon to the long life prayer that he wrote for Geshe
Kelsang he says, 'This brief prayer for the long life of the Tsang-pa Geshe,
Kelsang Gyatso, of Sera-je Monastery, who is endowed with great learning and
immaculately pure conduct, ...'.
It is only now, when Geshe Kelsang has dared to face up to the Dalai Lama
and the Tibetan government-in-exile in refusing to accept the Dalai Lama's
ban against the practice of Dorje Shugden - a practice given to him by his
Spiritual Guide Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche - that Geshe Kelsang's credentials
as a Buddhist teacher have been called into question.
The campaign to discredit Geshe Kelsang is clearly an attempt to silence him
and to act as a warning to others. As one Tibetan Lama living in America
said to another Lama living in Germany who was planning to come out publicly
against the Dalai Lama's ban 'No, you mustn't do that. They'll do to you
what they've done to Geshe Kelsang.'
Actually, having been a student of Geshe Kelsang for the past twenty years,
it matters little to me whether my teacher has an ecclesiastical title or
not. The title 'Geshe' originally had the meaning of 'Virtuous or Spiritual
Friend'. Through having been inspired by his writings, teachings, example,
and personal advice, Geshe Kelsang is a dearly loved Spiritual Friend and
Guide to myself and to thousands of others.
New Kadampa Tradition