The Dalai Lama with US President Barack Obama at the White House

Tibetan Buddhism in the United States at a glance

The first Tibetan Buddhist lama to have American students was Geshe Ngawang Wangyal, a Kalmyk-Mongolian of the Gelug lineage, who came to the United States in 1955 and founded the “Lamaist Buddhist Monastery of America” in New Jersey in 1958.

Among his students were the future western scholars Robert Thurman, Jeffrey Hopkins, Alexander Berzin and Anne C. Klein.

Other early arrivals included Dezhung Rinpoche, a Sakya lama who settled in Seattle, in 1960, and Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche, the first Nyingma teacher in America, who arrived in the US in 1968 and established the “Tibetan Nyingma Meditation Center” in Berkeley, California, in 1969.

Maitripa College

, founded in 2005 as Maitripa Institute, is a Tibetan Buddhist college located in Portland, Oregon. It is an affiliated member of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), an international network of Gelugpa dharma centers.

Chenrezig Tibetan Buddhist Center of Philadelphia

The (CTBC) is a Tibetan Buddhist temple located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The center was founded in 1991 by Geshe Losang Samten, a sand mandala artist who served as an attendant to the 14th Dalai Lama.

Deer Park Buddhist Center and Monastery

The in Oregon, Wisconsin is headed by Geshe Lhundub Sopa, the first Tibetan tenured professor in an American University who taught Buddhist philosophy, language and culture at the University of Wisconsin–Madison for 30 years. During that time, Geshe Sopa trained many of this country’s first generation of respected Buddhist scholars and translators, including Jeffrey Hopkins, José Ignacio Cabezón, and John Makransky.

Do Ngak Kunphen Ling Tibetan Buddhist Center for Universal Peace

(མདོ་སྔགས་ཀུན་ཕན་གླིང་།) (DNKL) is a Tibetan Buddhist retreat center located in Redding, Connecticut. It offers classes and meditation retreats in the Gelug spiritual tradition of the 14th Dalai Lama under the guidance of Gyumed Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Jampa.

Indiana Buddhist Center

Established in early 2003, the (IBC) serves the public by providing accurate information on the religion and philosophy of in the lineage of the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso. It is a federally registered 501(c)(3) non-profit Buddhist institute located in central Indiana that facilitates meeting places for meditation, prayer, retreats, and religious services for Budd hists and those interested in Buddhist Dharma. It provides a center for spiritual services that are Buddhist in nature. The IBC serves as a place of common meditation and gathering for Indiana Buddhists and those sympathetic to the Dharma. The center engages in events that further the understanding of Buddhist philosophy in the form of regular teachings and special events. Most activities are held in Indianapolis, Indiana. The center is located on two and a half acres of a beautiful park-like property. IBC offers instruction on Buddhist philosophy and meditation. Geshe Lharampa Jinpa Sonam is the resident Spiritual Director and Tenzin Namgyal serves as resident translator.

Karma Triyana Dharmachakra

is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Woodstock, New York, United States, which serves as the North American seat of the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, head of the Karma Kagyu lineage. It was founded in 1976 by the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa with Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche as abbot. This is a position which he has continued to hold as of 2014. The Third Bardor Tulku Rinpoche stayed in the United States to help Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche and Mr. Tenzin Chonyi establish and develop Karma Triyana Dharmachakra.

Nalandabodhi

is a Buddhist organization founded in the United States by Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche in 1997 and named after the historic Nalanda university of India. Today, there are also Nalandabodhi centers and study groups in Brazil, Canada, Mexico, and throughout Europe and Asia. “Nalanda” translates literally as “the place that confers the lotus ,” and Bodhi translates as “enlightenment.” The stated goals of Nalandabodhi are to provide a curriculum of study for students of the Dharma, publish commentaries by contemporary teachers, translate and publish historical teachings, and support the communication between western and international Buddhist practitioners. In 1998, Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche’s teacher Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche was named Spiritual Director of Nalandabodhi and has worked closely with Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche in developing the Nalandabodhi Path of Study and Path of Meditation courses.

Namgyal Monastery Institute of Buddhist Studies

incorporates two institutions: (1) the North American Seat of Namgyal Monastery; and (2) a Tibetan Buddhist theological seminary affiliated with it. The two institutions share a dharma center in Ithaca, New York. The Dalai Lama is their patron, highest authority, and consultant.

The Tibet Center

, also known as Kunkhyab Thardo Ling, in New York City, is a center for the study of Tibetan Buddhism, a dharma center. The Tibet Center was founded by Venerable Khyongla Rato Rinpoche in 1975, and is currently directed by Khen Rinpoche, Nicholas Vreeland, who is the abbot of Rato Dratsang. The primary teachers at The Tibet Center are Khyongla Rato Rinpoche, Geshe Nicholas Vreeland, and Anthony Spina.

Diamond Mountain Center

Diamond Mountain is a Tibetan Buddhist seminary and retreat center located south of Bowie, Arizona in the Chihuahuan Desert. Oriented towards the Gelugpa school, it was founded by Geshe Michael Roach in 2000 and opened to students in September 2004. It is not an accredited university. The 1,000-acre (4.0 km2) site was purchased in October 2001 and was formerly known as “Bear Springs Ranch”.

Kagyu Shenpen Kunchab

(KSK) is a Tibetan Buddhist center of the Kagyu School located in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The temple complex features the Kagyu Shenpen Kunchab Bodhi Stupa, a 69 foot (21 m) tall stupa. The primary practice of the temple is that of Avalokiteśvara, the bodhisattva of compassion. The popular Tibetan female bodhisattva Tara is also honored.

Kunzang Palyul Choling

(KPC) is a center for Buddhist study and practice in the Nyingma tradition that is located in Poolesville, Maryland. Founded as the Center for Discovery and New Life in 1985, and then given to His Holiness Penor Rinpoche and renamed by him in 1987, KPC was Penor Rinpoche’s first Dharma Center in the US.

Shambhala Mountain Center

The was founded by Vidyadhara Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche in 1971 at Red Feather Lakes, Colorado. Trungpa arrived in Boulder, Colorado in 1970 with a number of students from Tail of the Tiger in Barnet, Vermont, now known as Karmê Chöling. Immedediately students appeared from the neighboring towns and came from all parts of the country to become part of the Karma Dzong Meditation Center in Boulder. Among these were the members of a commune called the Pigmy Farm, located on the eastern edge of the city.

The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya

Which Liberates Upon Seeing is located at the Shambhala Mountain Center in Colorado, USA. It was built to inter the ashes of Chogyam Trungpa, who died in 1987. In many Buddhist traditions it is common to build a stupa to honour a respected teacher after their death. The site of the Great Stupa of Dharmakaya was first identified as an auspicious location by the 16th Karmapa, head of the Kagyü school of Tibetan Buddhism, on his first visit to North America in 1974.

Thubten Dhargye Ling

The Buddhist Center in an American Tibetan Buddhist center founded by Geshe Gyeltsen in 1978.

Zuni Mountain Stupa

is a Tibetan Buddhist temple of the Nyingma school in the Zuni Mountains in Grants, New Mexico, consecrated in 2009. A library of Buddhist texts from the Tengyur and the Kangyur is stored in the dome.

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