Our Spiritual Guides

Our Guide and Inspiration

His Holiness the Dalai Lama

“Each individual is the master of his or her destiny: it is up to each person to create the causes of happiness”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama XIV

His Holiness the 14th the Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso, has dedicated his life to benefiting humanity and is an inspiration to people of all faiths and cultures throughout the world. He is a Nobel Peace Prize recipient and global ambassador of compassion, non-violence, universal responsibility, and harmony. He teaches that the ultimate source of happiness is inner peace and is a true example of how to live peacefully and with joy even through hardship.

Wherever he goes the Dalai lama speaks about his three main commitments to offering service to mankind. His first commitment is the promotion of human values or secular ethics in order to create a more peaceful world. Secondly, is the promotion of interfaith dialogue and harmony. His Holiness reminds us that all major religions share the same message of love, forgiveness and tolerance. In spite of difference in philosophies, they all have the same potential to bring inner peace. He presents a vision for how religious traditions can become harmonious. Thirdly, as the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people he is committed to the preservation of the Tibetan culture and Buddhism.


Our Namesake and Founder of the FPMT

Lama Thubten Yeshe

“Dwelling deep within our heart and within the hearts of all beings without exception is an inexhaustible source of love and wisdom, and the ultimate purpose of all spiritual practices, whether they are called Buddhist or not, is to uncover and make contact with the essentially pure nature.”

-Lama Tubten Yeshe

Lama Yeshe (1935-1984) was a visionary teacher and one of the first Tibetan Lamas to bring Buddhism to the west. He touched the hearts and minds of his students, presenting the Buddha Dharma in a way that was easy to understand and integrate into their lives in the west. Lama Yeshe co-founded Kopan Monastery in Nepal in 1969 and the Foundation of the Preservation of the Mahayana Teachings (FPMT) in 1967 with Lama Zopa Rinpoche.

Lama Yeshe was dedicated to helping people live a happier, peaceful and more meaningful life. His mission was to preserve the Tibetan Buddhism and also put Buddhism into a more universal (non-secular) language that people of all ages and backgrounds could apply in their lives in a very practical way. “Universal Education for Compassion and Wisdom” was born and is one of the five FPMT Pillars of Service.

When we study Buddhism, we are studying ourselves, the nature of our own minds. Instead of focusing on some supreme being, Buddhism emphasizes more practical matters such as how to lead our lives, how to integrate our minds, and how to keep our everyday lives peaceful and healthy. In other words, Buddhism always accentuates experiential knowledge-wisdom rather than some dogmatic view.”  

–Lama Thubten Yeshe


Spiritual Director and Co-founder of the FPMT

Lama Zopa Rinpoche

“As soon as your object of concern changes from yourself to someone else, your heart is released from the bondage of the self-cherishing thought. As soon as you change the object of your cherishing, there is peace in your heart.”

Lama Zopa Rinpoche

Kyabje Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche is a great Buddhist teacher and scholar and is the Spiritual Director of the FPMT. He is deeply respected and cherished by his students for his wise and generous guidance and incredible unending compassion and kindness for all sentient beings. Rinpoche continues to work tirelessly to guide the expansion of FPMT educational programs, charitable and social service projects with the pure motivation to benefit as many beings as possible. Lama Zopa travels the world to teach and preserve the teachings of the Buddha.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama has said of Lama Zopa Rinpoche: “Rinpoche is someone who follows my guidance sincerely, very expansively and with one hundred percent trust. He possesses unwavering faith and pure samaya; not only has he pure samaya and faith, but whatever I instruct, Zopa Rinpoche has the capability to accomplish it. So whatever dedications Lama Zopa Rinpoche makes, I also pray to accomplish this and you should do the same thing.”