Our Resident Teacher (Lama)
Geshe Denma Gyaltsen was born in the northern part of Nepal. In 1981 his father brought him to the Menri Monastery in Dolanji India, so that he could begin his training as a monk. This monastery is regarded as the mother Bön Monastery in exile.
While living at the monastery, Geshe Denma began his program of study towards obtaining a Geshe Degree. He excelled at his studies and when he became a senior student, he was asked to teach philosophy to the younger students. He successfully completed the degree program in 1996 and was awarded the Geshe certificate, which is considered equivalent to a Ph.D. in Bön Buddhist philosophy and religion. During his time at the monastery, he received all the Bön teachings, initiations, and transmissions in sutra, tantra and dzogchen from His Holiness the 33rd Menri Trizin and His Excellence Yongdzin Rinpoche.
Once Geshe Denma attained his Geshe degree, he became a senior teacher at the monastery and taught philosophy whenever he was in residence at Menri. Because of his accomplishments as a teacher, Geshe Denma was appointed to be the first abbot of Zhu Rishing Yungdrung Kundak-Ling Monastery, a Bön Monastery in Sikkim, India by His Holiness the 33rd Menri Trizin, along with the approval of the Tibetan government in exile. He served two terms there as abbot, from 1998 until 2003.
In addition, from the time of graduation until 2008, Geshe Denma was active in assisting Geshe Nyima Dakpa with the Bön Children’s Home, both by raising funds and helping with the administrative work whenever possible. The Home is a school and orphanage in Dolanji, which houses many children, providing them with food, healthcare, and a free education.
Over the years Geshe Denma has traveled many times to the United States, Austria, Poland, Canada, Russia, Belarus, Germany, Switzerland, and Holland to teach and to help raise funds for the Bön Children’s Home. In addition, Geshe Denma served as the treasurer and co-editor of the well-respected book, Opening the Door to Bön (Bongo). And from 2002-2005 he served as the elected secretary of the Local Tibetan Assembly in Dolanji. From 2009 to 2013, Geshe Denma often traveled to the United States to participate in Bön practices and to learn more about what work his fellow Geshes were doing to bring this tradition to the Western world. In 2011, Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, founder and spiritual director of Ligmincha Texas and Ligmincha International, asked Geshe Denma to become the Resident Lama of Ligmincha Texas. Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche’s work is remarkable in spreading our spiritual tradition throughout the Western world, thus increasing the awareness of Bön teachings. Geshe Denma accepted the challenge and began coming to Houston to get to know the sangha of Ligmincha Texas, study English and begin work to acquire his religious visa and ultimately become Ligmincha Texas’s first Resident Lama.
In 2014 with the help and support from Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche and members of Ligmincha Texas the formal application for the visa was made. In late October 2015, the application was approved and in December 20, 2015, Geshe Denma was awarded his R1 Visa. He arrived in Houston on January 3, 2016 welcomed by his grateful sangha and ready to assume his duties as Resident Lama for Ligmincha Texas!