History of our centre
Chenrezig Institute traces its origins to 1974, when a month long meditation course - the first of its kind in Australia - was conducted by Lama Thubten Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche in nearby Diamond Valley, Mooloolah. This historic course attracted approximately 200 people from all across Australia. During the course many students decided they wanted the opportunity for ongoing study and so the Eudlo property was donated by four students so that a meditation centre could be established. This rather barren plot of land, lying fallow, became what is now the lush sub-tropical environment of Chenrezig Institute. This transformation from one-time cattle grazing land to thriving centre for Tibetan Buddhist education and practice was made possible by the hard work of countless volunteer students and visitors over many years.The centre gets its name from Chenrezig (Sanskrit: Avalokiteshvara) the Bodhisattva of compassion. Chenrezig is one of the most beloved figures in the Mahayana Buddhist tradition. He represents the embodiment of the compassion of all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas in their tireless work for the benefit of all beings. Chenrezig's mantra is: OM MANI PADME HUM. Chenrezig literally translates as "all seeing", and manifests in many forms; male and female, and often with many arms and eyes.
During his lifetime, the Buddha gave numerous teachings on how to live a worthwhile human life and train one’s mind through meditation. After his passing some 2500 years ago, his teachings spread widely throughout Asia – from Japan and China in the east, Sri Lanka and Indonesia in the south, Afghanistan in the west, and Korea and Mongolia in the north. In each country that Buddhism traveled to, certain teachings that the Buddha gave were more or less strongly emphasized. These teaching were later influenced by the characteristics and temperaments of people in the different Buddhist countries, thus giving rise to the variety of Buddhist traditions and practices we see today.‘Tibetan Buddhism’ actually refers to a form of Buddhism practiced in Tibet, Bhutan, Nepal and parts of India. It is unique in that it encompasses all the teachings of the types of Buddhism found in other countries around the world – the Foundational Vehicle (Hinayana), the Universal Vehicle (Mahāyāna) and the Tantric Vehicle (Vajrayāna). Tibetan Buddhism emphasizes the Mahayana goal of spiritual development – to achieve the enlightenment in order to help all other sentient beings – and teaches methods for achieving buddhahood more quickly by including the Vajrayāna practices.As our founder, Lama Thubten Yeshe put it:Learning meditation, or studying Buddhism, is learning about you, your own nature. The subject is about your own mind.There are numerous sources of information about Buddhism on the internet, but if you’re really interested in exploring the fundamentals of Tibetan Buddhism we’d encourage you to attend a Buddhism in a Nutshell course at Chenrezig Institute, or to do it online via FPMT Foundation Store. You can also read and listen to teachings from our founding lamas, the Dalai Lama, and many other lineage lamas at Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive. Copies of the LYWA free books are available through any FPMT centre.
Chenrezig Institute is affiliated with the FPMT (Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition). The FPMT is an international, non-profit organization, founded in 1975 by Lama Thubten Yeshe (1935-84). The Spiritual Director of the Foundation is Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche. The FPMT is devoted to the transmission of the Mahayana Buddhist tradition and values worldwide through teaching, meditation, and community service. It provides integrated education through which people’s minds and hearts can be transformed into their highest potential for the benefit of others.The organization is based on the Gelug tradition of Lama Tsongkhapa of Tibet as taught to us by our founder Lama Thubten Yeshe and Spiritual Director Lama Zopa Rinpoche.The FPMT is a rapidly growing non-profit organization participating in many aspects of the world community. Following the example and inspiration of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in his compassionate service to humanity, FPMT students in retreat and study centres, monasteries and businesses around the world try to serve others with kindness and wisdom.
Temporal head of the Tibetan Government in Exile, and a prominent teacher in the Gelug Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism.
His Holiness the 14th the Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso, is the greatest source of inspiration for the Foundation. His Holiness is the head of state and spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. He was born Lhamo Dhondrub on 6 July 1935, in a small village called Taktser in northeastern Tibet. Born to a peasant family, His Holiness was recognized at the age of two, in accordance with Tibetan tradition, as the reincarnation of his predecessor the 13th Dalai Lama, and thus an incarnation Avalokitesvara, the Buddha of Compassion.
Founder of Chenrezig Institute and the FPMT
Lama Thubten Yeshe was born in Tibet in 1935. At the age of six, he entered Sera Monastic University in Tibet where he studied until 1959, when as Lama Yeshe himself has said, "In that year the Chinese kindly told us that it was time to leave Tibet and meet the outside world."Lama Thubten Yeshe and Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche, together as teacher and disciple since their exile in India, met their first Western students in 1965. By 1971 they settled at Kopan, a small hamlet near Kathmandu in Nepal.In 1974, the Lamas began touring and teaching in the West, which would eventually result in The Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition. Lama Yeshe died in 1984, his reincarnation Osel Hita Torres was born to Spanish parents in 1985.
Spiritual Director of the FPMT
Lama Zopa Rinpoche, FPMT's Spiritual Sirector, is the reincarnation of the Sherpa Nyingma yogi Kunsang Yeshe, the Lawudo Lama. Rinpoche was born in 1946 in Thami, not far from the cave Lawudo, in the Mount Everest region of Nepal, where his predecessor meditated for the last twenty years of his life. From time to time whilst giving teachings at various centers around the world, Rinpoche would tell stories of his childhood: in Thami, then in Tibet, where he went when he was ten, and finally India, where he first met Lama Thubten Yeshe, with whom he would remain as heart disciple until Lama passed a way in 1984.