Our Spiritual Director and main teacher is Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche, who is also the Spiritual Director of the FPMT. Since initiating the development of Amitabha Buddhist Centre in 1986, Rinpoche has visited Singapore frequently throughout the past 30 years, giving many teachings at the centre and providing continual guidance.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche was born in 1946 in Thami near the Mount Everest region of Nepal. From the tender age of four, he was recognised to be the reincarnation of a Nyingma yogi known as the Lawudo Lama who had lived and meditated close by, in the Lawudo Cave.
While still a child, Rinpoche was brought to a monastery across the border in Tibet where, by his own choice, he entered monastic life. With the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1959, Rinpoche followed thousands of other monks into exile in northern India. In the refugee camp of Buxa Duar, Rinpoche continued his studies together with monks from Sera Je Monastery. It was at Buxa Duar that Rinpoche met Lama Yeshe and became his student.
With Lama Yeshe as his main teacher, Rinpoche also studied the great philosophical treatises with another teacher, Geshe Rabten. Rinpoche has received precious lineage teachings and initiations from many highly regarded lamas, including His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Ling Rinpoche, Trijang Rinpoche, Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche and Denma Locho Rinpoche, just to name a few.
Together with Lama Yeshe, Rinpoche began teaching Buddhism to Westerners in Nepal in 1971. The meditation centre, which they founded and built just outside Kathmandu, soon transformed and developed as Kopan Monastery.
For 40 years, Lama Zopa Rinpoche has travelled tirelessly around the world giving lectures and teachings, and overseeing the extensive projects and activities of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition(FPMT).
Renowned and loved by thousands of students the world over for his indomitable patience and absolute compassion, Rinpoche actively lives what he preaches, showing inconceivable care and concern for every single being, literally, from the tiniest ant to a large elephant.
As far as friends are concerned, the best friend you can have in your life is your own good heart, compassion. That friend will never cheat you, never betray you. The most stable friend you can have, the friend who will help and support you, is stable compassion, a stable good heart. And what brings you all good fortune and luck; what fulfils your wishes? That, too, is your good heart, compassion.
Live with compassion. Study with compassion. Meditate with compassion. Work with compassion. Sleep with compassion…– Lama Zopa Rinpoche