skip to content

Faculty, Staff, and Board of Directors

The patron of Namgyal Monastery is His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. Namgyal Monastery Institute of Buddhist Studies in Ithaca, NY, was founded by the late Venerable Pema Losang Chogyen.

Faculty of Namgyal Ithaca

Venerable Tenzing Choesang portrait

Venerable Tenzin Chosang

Resident Namgyal monk

At the age of 16 Venerable Tenzin Choesang became monk at Namgyal Monastery, the personal Monastery of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. There he studied with Gen Lobsang Nyima, the 100th throne holder of Je Rinpoche (Lama Tsong-khapa). After finishing his examination of Master of Buddhist Sutra and Tantra in the year 2000 the Abbot of Namgyal Monastery selected him to be the teacher of Namgyal Monastery students. He taught Namgyal Monastery students both Sutra and Tantra for five years. From 2002-2005 he held several positions within the monastery including education director. Tenzin Choesang has taught and studied at many places across India and around the world.

Venerable Tenzin Choklang portrait

Venerable Tenzin Choklang

Resident Namgyal monk

Tenzin Choklang was born in 1966 in the small village of Dhingri district in Tibet. In 1982, at the age of 15, he escaped to Nepal walking bare foot. It took him five days to reach India.

He joined the Namgyal monastery in the same year. He memorized the classical texts for Guhayasamaja, Heruka, Yamantaka, Kalachakra and pujas related with Dharma protectors and three jewels. He also the studied Buddhist dialectic studies. He became the member of the Namgyal Monastery in 1985. He has completed thirteen years of study in both the Sutra and Tantric Texts and in 2002 he became a Sutra and Tantra Master.

He is trained in the creation of the mandalas for Kalachakra, Yamantaka, Heruka, Guhayasamaja, and Vajrakilaya. He is also trained in ritual cymbals and dance, butter sculpture and chanting. He created the Kalachakra Sand Mandala in 1989 in Los Angeles when His Holiness the Dalai Lama gave the Kalachakra Initiation. Also again in 1991 in New York City and in 1999 at Indiana University.

Venerable Tenzin Norbu portrait

Venerable Tenzin Norbu

Resident Namgyal Monk

Venerable Tenzin Norbu was born in 1968 in Dhingre, Tibet. In 1980, he came from Tibet to Dharmasala, India and became a monk that year at age 13. He completed studies of sutras and tantras at Namgyal Monastery and then took responsibility as a teacher of Namgyal children for 4 years. He then went to Namgyal Monastery branch in Bodghaya for 10 years. During this time for five years he was the chant master at the monastery and he completed a three year meditation retreat.

Palden Choedek Oshoe portrait

Palden Choedek Oshoe

Namgyal teacher and translator

Palden teaching Palden Choedek Oshoe was educated at an early age at the Tibetan Children's Village (TCV) in Dharamsala, India, under the direction of Jetsuen Pema la, the younger sister of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. After completing the 10th grade, Palden took vows as a monk at the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics, where he remained and studied for seven years under the spiritual direction of the late Venerable Lobsang Gyatso and Geshe Damchoe Gyaltsen la. He left the institute in 1991 to study thangka painting from his brothers, and also to assist them in their projects. Palden was then asked by the Administrative Committee of Namgyal Monastery in India to go to Ithaca to become the official translator for Namgyal Monastery Institute of Buddhist Studies. Palden arrived in Ithaca in 1994, and since that time he has been the formal translator for the resident Namgyal monks and visiting Tibetan Lamas and scholars. He is also the primary instructor of Tibetan Language and Tibetan Traditional Art Classes at the Namgyal Institute. Palden is a wonderful teacher who offers an understanding of western philosophical sciences, and great insight into the Buddhist teachings.

Adjunct Faculty

The adjunct faculty consists of scholars located at University's and other institutions throughout the United States who periodically visit Namgyal to teach or offer weekend intensive teachings and seminars.

Alex Berzin
Harvard PhD in Far Eastern languages and Indian Studies, renowned translator, author, and world-wide lecturer
Thubten Chodron
American born Tibetan nun and resident teacher at Dharma Friendship Center in Seattle Washington
Daniel Cozart
Professor in the Department of Religion, Dickinson College
Anne Klein
Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Rice University, Houston Texas
Daniel Perdue
Instructor, Department of Religion, University of North Carolina
Sidney Piburn
Scholar in Tibetan Buddhism, co-founder of Snow Lion Publications and the North American Branch of Namgyal Monastery in Ithaca, NY
Craig Preston
Author, translator and founder of the Nagarjuna Language Institute in Ithaca, NY
Jhado Tulku Rinpoche
Former abbot of Namgyal Monastery, Dharamsala, India, 1997-2004; one of the most highly esteemed lamas in the Geluk lineage of Tibetan Buddhism
Geshe Tenzin Sherap
Lharampa Geshe degree, Ganden Jangtse Monastery, India; resident teacher at Land of Compassion Buddha in West Covina, California
Geshe Lobsang Tenzin
Lharampa Geshe degree, Drepung Loseling Monastery, India; PhD, Emory University; founder and director of Drepung Loseling Institute in Atlanta, Georgia, the North American seat of Drepung Loseling Monastery; senior lecturer, Department of Religion, Emory University
Robert Thurman
Professor, Department of Religion, Indo-Tibetan Studies at Columbia University
Lama Pema Wangdak
Resident teacher and founder of the Vikramasila Foundation; founder of the Pema Ts'al Monastic Institute in Pokara, Nepal, and the Pema Ts'al School in Mundgod, India; creator of "Bur Yig" system of Tibetan Braille


  • Ngawang Dhondup, Administrator

Board of Directors

  • M. Sue Crowley, President
  • Ven. Tenzin Choesang, Vice President
  • Ven. Tenzin Choklhang
  • Ven. Tenzin Norbu
  • Urgyen Khetsatsang
  • Lane Chambliss
  • Kathryn S. March
  • Deana Bodnar