A Brief Biography of Venerable (Dr) Geshe Thupten Phelgye, Member of Tibetan Parliament in Exile
Venerable Professor Geshe Phelgye, former Member of Tibetan Parliament in Exile, was Born in 1956. He had his elementary schooling at C.S.T. Changlang and Graduated from S.F.F. Higher Secondary School, Dehradun, in 1973. Geshe-la then joined Serajey Monastic University at the age of 17 and received the novice ordination from the senior tutor to H.H. the Dalai Lama ( Kyabje Ling Rinpoche) in 1974. In 1977, He received the Bichu ordination from H.H. the Dalai Lama. In 1979, he was appointed the headteacher of the monastic school, where he brought the school into a new era.
With yet another request from the abbot concerning monks suffering from tuberculosis, he was trained as a health worker and ran a Monastic Clinic from 1981 to 1986 and saved many lives. 1984, He began to campaign for vegetarianism when he saw the cruelty of a slaughterhouse, and in 1989 he counts his convincing of the abbot to stop all meat-food on the temple premises of Sera Jey as the first success in his mission.
In 1986, H.H. the Dalai Lama appointed him as guardian-tutor to Canadian Tulku Tenzin Sherab (Elijah Ary), who studied and lived with him for six years and became one of the best students in the class.
In 1991 He obtained the Geshe degree from Sera-Jey Monastic University. In 1992, he did the one-year traditional Buddhist Tantric Course at Gyumeh Tantric College. In 1993, with blessings from H.H. The Dalai Lama, he went to the hermitage retreat on the mountains of Dharamsala for five years until December 1997.
In 1998, he founded the Universal Compassion Movement after receiving support and blessings from H.H. the Dalai Lama and openly campaigned for vegetarianism and Universal Compassion around the world.
In 1999, he was elected as the first President of the International Gelug Society (I.G.S.). He started in Dharamsala, published a Journal called “Kadam News,” and sponsored Resolutions on promoting a vegetarian diet in Gelugpa Monasteries and Nunneries, among other essential resolutions. In 2000, at the National Religious Conference in Dharamsala, Geshe-la proposed a ban on meat-eating in all the monasteries and nunneries of every sect of Tibetan Buddhism. With his efforts, they SUCCESSFULLY passed a resolution!
In 2001, he was elected to the Tibetan Parliament in Exile without his knowledge, which he accepted and worked hard selflessly. There he traveled weeks by foot around the mountains of the India-China border to visit and provide help to poor Tibetan people. He brought up a historic bill in the Parliament to encourage vegetarianism in the Tibetan community for compassionate living and the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Venerable Geshe Phelgye worked tirelessly with the “Sulha Peace Project” in the Middle East from 2004 to 2007, helping to promote reconciliation among Jews, Muslims, and Christians.
In 2005, he wanted to resign from Parliament after five years of experience in politics. Still, H.H. the Dalai Lama encouraged him to continue for another term, and he was re-elected to the Parliament in 2006 for the second time. Apart from his parliamentary works, he has been enthusiastically traveling, giving talks and teachings worldwide promoting peace, universal compassion, and vegetarianism as a way of compassionate living, human values, diversity, and interfaith dialogue as his mission Universal Compassion Foundation (Movement).
He has spoken at over a hundred colleges and schools across North America and India, including Harvard University. He has taught at Buddhist centers across all lineages as well as many churches, including Catholic. He currently teaches at Eastern Washington University as the Global Scholar in Residence in Spokane, Washington.