Santa Fe Living Treasures – Elder Stories

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Lobsang Lhalungpa

Lobsang Lhalungpa


Honored May, 1998

Lobsang Lhalungpa

At age 6, Lobsang entered the Tibetan monk hood and was named a monk official at the Potala Palace during the childhood of the 14th Dalai Lama.  He left Tibet for India in 1947 three years before the Chinese invasion.  In India, he headed the Tibetan Buddhist education program and was deeply involved in the resettlement effort.  To help his countrymen stuck in Tibet stay connected to the free world, Lobsang started the Tibetan Radio Program for “All India Radio” and the signal reached to Tibet.  Discovering that there weren’t enough Tibetan words to convey the rapid change in science and technology he coined new technical terms which became part of the Tibetan language.

Lobsang is a Buddhist scholar, translator, educator and a refugee himself. He immigrated to Canada in 1970 and taught at the University of British Columbia.  In 1975 he came to the United States where he did research at the U.S. Library of Congress and taught Buddhist philosophy at Haverford College in Pennsylvania.  Not only has he devoted much of his time and energy to helping Tibetans in exile but also Indians, Europeans and Americans.

In 1989, he and his wife, Gisela Minke, relocated to Santa Fe where he writes, translates and teaches.  He still works on his dictionary, now up to 3,000 terms, which he calls his gift to young Tibetans.  He was the ceremonial advisor on Martin Scorsese’s film Kundun, an account of the 14th Dalai Lama’s early life through his exile in 1959.  He has meditated with and counseled sick and terminally ill men and women in the community. “Many people are suffering terribly in the world.  In a free country like this, there is so much to appreciate.  For us in the Tibetan culture, mutual concern and mutual help is important.  It doesn’t mean doing things only for your family circle but for your larger family in the community.”