Geshe Lhundub Sopa was born in 1923 in Tsang, Tibet. He became a top scholar in the Gelug tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, serving as a debating partner for His Holiness the Dalai Lama and teaching many important lamas, including Lama Yeshe, Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Jangste Chöje and Yangsi Rinpoche. Geshe Sopa also became a professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in the United States, training many of the preeminent Western scholars of Buddhist philosophy. Now retired, he continues to publish scholarly works on Tibetan Buddhism. In addition, Geshe Sopa founded Deer Park Buddhist Center in Oregon, Wisconsin, which hosted the first Kalachakra initiation given by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in the West in 1981 and continues to service as a spiritual home for both Western Buddhist practitioners as well as the Tibetan community living in exile.
Wisdom Publication has just published Geshe Sopa’s autobiography, Like a Waking Dream. In it, Geshe-la shares detailed memories of his youth and early days in the Tibetan monastic system and offers a first-hand perspective on exile and establishing Tibetan Buddhism in the West.
Paul Donnelly served as the editor of Like a Waking Dream. In 1989, Donnelly entered the Ph.D. program in Buddhist Studies at U.W. and became a student of Geshe-la. He graduated in 1997 and now is an associate professor of religious studies at Northern Arizona University.
Mandala managing editor Laura Miller talked to Donnelly from his home in Flagstaff, Arizona, about working on the book with Geshe-la. The conversation took place over Skype in October 2012. They began the discussion talking about how the book came to be.(Audio interview available for download as MP3.)
Mandala has collected contributions from Geshe Sopa’s students that you can read online.geshe lhundub sopa rinpoche, paul donnelly