Geshe Lharampa Jinpa Sonam is a Tibetan Buddhist philosopher and Spiritual Director for the Indiana Buddhist Center. Sonam was born on May 25, 1955, in Zanskar valley, Ladakh, in the Republic of India. In 1967, he became a monk at the Stagrimo Gompa, a Drukpa Kagyu monastery in Ladakh near Padum. He studied at this monastery for six years before joining the Drepung Gomang Monastery, a Gelugpa monastery in Mundgod, Karnataka India as a novice monk.
In Vajrayana Buddhism's Tantric teachings, the rituals require the guidance of a teacher.
The teacher is considered essential and to the Buddhist devotee, the guru is the "enlightened teacher and ritual master".
The teacher is known as the vajra guru (literally "diamond .
Buddhist monasticism is an important part of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, all the major and minor schools maintain large monastic institutions based on the Mulasarvastivada Vinaya (monastic rule) and many religious leaders come from the monastic community.
Monasteries generally adhere to one particular school, Kagyu, Sakya, Gelug or Jonang.
Medium to large communities of celibate monastics maintains several hundred monks and might have extensive land holdings, be financially independent, and sometimes also act as trading centers.