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geshe dorjee
Geshe Tenzin Dorjee speaks at the cremation of Geshe Sopa Rinpoche

Photo by Sherab Lhatsang

Geshe Tenzin Dorjee’s Advice to
Deer Park Students

Summarized from the teaching given on Sunday, September 7, 2014 and translated by Katrina Brooks

Geshe Tenzin Dorjee-la spoke from the heart to the students gathered together for the first Sunday teachings given after Geshe Sopa-la’s passing on August 28, 2014. He urged us not to grieve, but to rejoice in the incredible life, works and activities of our teacher who has benefited so many people over the course of his 91-year life span. Geshe Sopa-la created and leaves behind Deer Park Buddhist Center, which remains to benefit all who choose to study and practice buddhism.

Geshe Tenzin Dorjee-la stressed that while it is important to make prayers for Geshe-la’s reincarnation to come soon, it is even more important to honor Geshe-la by attempting to put the pure teachings he gave us into practice to the best of our ability. We still have all the conditions conducive for this, internal and external.

In the past we had generous people to support the activities here. We had Geshe Sopa-la who gave pure teachings. We had this incredible facility. To have a good dharma group we also had students who listened to and supported the teachers. A good dharma organization is dependently originated.

He said now we need to think about the future. How can we gather the proper internal and external conditions to keep this dharma group going forward–improving and not declining? Gathering the conditions depends on us, and we should think carefully about how to do this. Geshe Tenzin Dorjee-la and Geshe Tenzin Sherab-la are here now. Although their learning may not be as extensive or deep as Geshe Sopa-la’s, they will continue to give advice and teachings to students who wish to listen and continue this teaching tradition at Deer Park. As in the past great teachers from India will be invited to teach and continue this tradition here, including Jangtse Choje Rinpoche, who has been giving the summer course teachings for the past five years.

Therefore, Geshe Tenzin Dorjee-la advised us not to worry about meeting the external condition of the pure teachers. Rather we should be constantly considering our own practice: how to continue our practice, how to put the teachings into practice and actually live them. Since we have listened to teachings over many years, there has been not lack of teachings, but there has been the difficulty of actually practicing them. He quoted Lama Tsongkhapa who emphasized the great importance of putting into practice the dharma we have heard. Geshe Tenzin Dorjee-la pointed out that due to the different capabilities, we can’t all do the same practices. Yet, all of us should take up and put into practice what we have heard, to the extent that we are able. The teachings will only become beneficial for us to the extent that we are able to connect them with our own life.

Geshe Tenzin Dorjee-la ended his inspiring and hopeful advice saying, “So this is my hope and aspiration for the future. As much as we can may we all put into practice the teachings here at Deer Park.”