The Geshe Tsulga

Non-Profit Corporation

for Sera Je House #2A Monks and Affiliates, inc.

Geshe Ngawang Tenley

Geshe Tenley was one the first monks at House 2 to be sponsored and is an example of why this organization exist.  

To keep the Dharma alive!

As part of the celebration of our 30th anniversary, we’d like to shine a light on a very important person in our organization, Geshe Ngawang Tenley. Geshe Tenley is a member of the Board of Directors of the Geshe Tsulga Non-Profit, as well as the Resident Teacher at Kurukulla Center for Tibetan Buddhist Studies. He is a crucial conduit of information between the monks and affiliates and our organization. As many of the monks don’t speak English, he acts as an essential intermediary, keeping our organization informed about what is happening with those who are sponsored.

Geshe-la was born in the nomadic regions of Kham in eastern Tibet. He was ordained in 1990 and that same year began the geshe study program at Sera Jey Monastic University. During the course of his studies, he has received many teachings from His Holiness the Dalai Lama, as well as many other highly qualified masters. In 1998, Geshe Ngawang Tenley received his full ordination (gelong) vows from His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.


At the great Tibetan monastic universities, the course of study (which stretches over 20 years) comprises what is known as the Five Great Texts: 


1) Abhidharmakosha by Vasubandhu,

2) Pramanavarttika by Dharmakirti,

3) Abhisamayalamkara by Maitreya Buddha,

4) Madhyamaka by Chandrakirti,

5) Vinaya (Root Sutra) by Buddha Shakyamuni


as well as commentaries by other Indian and Tibetan masters. In November 2008, after eighteen years of rigorous studies, he successfully completed his final exams and was conferred the geshe degree at Sera Jey Monastic University.

Geshe Tenley, Ven. Ani Yeshe, a young House 2A monk and friends at Sera Je in 2008 (with GTNP board members Harry Duvall and Jane Larsson, 4th and 5th from left)

Geshe Tenley began teaching at Kurukulla Center for Tibetan Buddhist Studies in 2009 while his uncle, Geshe Tsultrim Chöpel (Geshe Tsulga) was the Resident Teacher. Following Geshe Tsulga’s passing in 2010, Geshe Tenley was appointed the Resident Teacher by Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Spiritual Director of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition.


Geshe Tenley stepped up to become the main liaison with the monks of Sera Je House #2A once Geshe Tsulga was too ill to continue in that role.


His Holiness the Dalai Lama has great confidence and trust in Geshe Tenley, and Geshe Tenley has complete devotion to His Holiness and in the late Lama Zopa Rinpoche. At Kurukulla Center, Geshe Tenley teaches Buddhist philosophy, lamrim and mind training. He has many students across New England, New York and Florida, and now around the world, as he also regularly teaches online through social media.

Geshe Tenley has excellent relationships with people from multiple backgrounds, faiths and nationalities. During his tenure, Kurukulla Center has become a spiritual hub not only for Western students, but also people from the Nepali, Chinese and other immigrant communities with Buddhist cultural and religious traditions. He has also developed strong connections with Buddhist leaders from the many different traditions in the Boston area.


A familiar sight at Kurukulla Center is Geshe Tenley sitting on the front porch, engaging in friendly banter and greetings with neighbors and their dogs. He also maintains very good relationships with the local political and faith leaders.


He is one of the spiritual leaders of the Tibetan community in the Boston area, where he plays a key role in helping them sustain their cultural heritage by teaching Buddhism to the Tibetan children. He also organizes and leads monthly senior picnics to recognize the kindness of the senior generation of Tibetans. Geshe Tenley offers advice and guidance to people of all backgrounds, responding to the spiritual needs of the local community whenever needed, and is well-known for being a very approachable and down to earth person.



Geshe Tenley with local faith leaders, 2017

One of his notable initiatives has been the annual Sakadawa Interfaith Celebration. This annual gathering was created in response to His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s emphasis on the important of inter-religious harmony. Religious and community leaders from all faiths in the Boston metropolitan area are invited every year to celebrate the anniversary of Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and passing into parinirvana, and to join together to pray for world peace. It is also an opportunity for the diverse religious traditions to read a short passage from one of their sacred texts, fostering greater understanding and communication.


Some of Geshe Tenley’s many community activities include:


  • Member of the Medford Interfaith Clergy Association
  • Spiritual Advisor for the Geshe Tsulga Non-Profit Association
  • Buddhist chaplain for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
  • Member of the International Association of Non-Sectarian Tibetan Religious Traditions
  • Member of International Sangha


We are incredibly grateful to Geshe Tenley for all that he does for the organization and for the monks, nuns and affiliates associated with Sera Je House #2A.