We have received word that Geshe Sopa Rinpoche has recently passed away. Born in Central Tibet, he became a monk a the age of 9. His teaching career began early; he was chosen to be one of the Dalai Lama’s debate examiners even before he had completed his own formal studies. That aptitude led him to eventually serve as a professor of Buddhist Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where, from 1976, he taught Tibetan language, Buddhist philosophy, and specialized courses in Indo-Tibetan Buddhist thought.
In 1979 Geshe Sopa founded the Deer Park Buddhist Center and served as its spiritual head and director; the center later became host to the first ever Kalachakra initiation to be offered in the West by the Dalai Lama.
Geshe Sopa influenced many of today’s Buddhist scholars. Roger Jackson, a professor of Asian Studies and Religion at Carleton College in Minnesota, studied under Geshe Sopa both at university and at Deer Park. He wrote in Mandala in 2013 of his experiences as a student: (after the jump)