His Eminence Choden Rinpoche
Born in 1933 in Eastern Tibet, Choden Rinpoche was recognized at age three as an important incarnate lama, and ordained by Pabongka Rinpoche at the age of six. He entered Sera Je Monastery when he was fifteen, where he mastered all the philosophical teachings required for the highest monastic title of Geshe Lharampa. Choden Rinpoche was one of the two Sera Je lamas selected to debate with His Holiness 14th Dalai Lama during His Holiness' examination for the geshe degree.
When the Communist Chinese invaded Tibet in 1959, Choden Rinpoche was arrested and jailed for several months. After his release, Rinpoche went into solitary retreat for 19 years. He never left his tiny, dark room in Lhasa for twenty years. In 1985 he was allowed to leave Tibet for India. Since then he has taught thousands of students at Sera Je monastery in South India, and in Dharma centres around the world.
For twenty years, Rinpoche taught the precious Buddhist canon to thousands of monks in the diaspora’s monastic communities. He was regularly invited abroad to teach in monasteries and dharma centers, thereby benefiting people from all walks of life. He has travelled extensively throughout South Asia, Mongolia, Europe and America. Thousands of practitioners have taken novice ordination from Rinpoche in the course of his travels outside Tibet.
Our dear Rinpoche transitioned this year Sept 11, 2015. We look forward to finding his re-incarnation very soon so he can continue to be of benefit to all beings again once again.
Geshe Gyalten founded Awakening Vajra worldwide to fullfill his guru, Choden Rinpoches wishes. Geshe Gyalten was born in Lhasa, Tibet in 1966. While still in his mother's womb he received his Dharma name, Tseten Gelek, from his teacher, the great yogi and scholar H. E. Choden Rinpoche. His grandmother, mother and father had great irreversible faith and devotion for H. E. Choden Rinpoche. They served Rinpoche while he was in Tibet in Solitary retreat for 19 years. Like thousands of Rinpoche's students in Tibet; they sought his blessings and guidance; not only for spiritual development but also for all major family matters as well.
Geshe-la learned the five great classical treaties of Buddhist Philosophy: the Perfection of Wisdom, Middle Way, Logic and Reason, Treasury of Knowledge and Vinaya (monastic discipline) as well as Lam Rim, Mind Training and Tantra at Sera Monastery for 15 years. Geshe-la received the Geshe Degree (equivalent to a PhD in Buddhism) in 2005 and learned Tibetan Medicine. For 11 years, he has traveled with HE Choden Rinpoche around the world to assist Rinpoche and to share his extensive knowledge of Buddhist philosophy, meditation, Tibetan medicine and yoga. He is fluent in Tibetan, Hindi, Chinese and English. Geshe Gyalten has established several Dharma centers around the world including in the USA. The warmth of his smile has touched the hearts of thousands.
Ven Gyalten Senge (Zac) - AV NZ Director Founder
Born in Brighton, England in 1973 Zac was first to exposed to Buddhism at 21 years of age and resonated deeply with the Dharma. Zac has long been interested in eastern religion and philosophy and the correlation between science, philosophy and spirituality. His life path was transformed beyond words, when he met his Eminence Choden Rinpoche in 2007. In Rinpoche he found the teacher and guru that he had been looking for, the true embodiment of Love and Compassion and was overjoyed to have had the opportunity to take "novice" ordination with him before his transition in September 2015. It is a dream come true to be working alongside Geshe Gyalten, in helping to see Rinpoche's vision manifest. Zac aspires to create a network of centers that support personal development and growth thus creating connection all levels, both Individually and Collectively. His vision is to create a center for healing that encompasses the teaching of the Buddha, whilst embracing ways of living and being that support the growth of love, compassion and wisdom within the community. The vision encompasses a holistic approach to wellness combining Meditation, Study, Creativity and Complimentary Healing. He is particularly interested in bringing down the boundaries between different traditions and religions, opening dialogue, and raising the consciousness of the planet.