15th November, 2019, London: At the Investiture ceremony this morning at The Tower of London, Sir Kenneth Olisa OBE, Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London, on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen, awarded The British Empire Medal to Khen Rinpoche Geshe Tashi Tsering for services to Buddhism in the UK.
The BEM dates from 1917 and is awarded for meritorious service deemed worthy of recognition by the Crown. It is divided into Military and Civil Divisions. Today’s Investiture consists of the United Kingdom of the Civil Division. This honour is awarded to subjects of the United Kingdom and some parts of the Commonwealth. The medal is affiliated with the Order of the British Empire and recipients are entitled to use the post-nominal letters ‘BEM’
Born in Purang, Tibet in 1958, Geshe Tashi Tsering escaped to exile in India, following the Chinese invasion of Tibet. He received his early education in schools run by exile Tibetan Government in India. He enrolled as a monk at Sera Mey monastery in south India in 1970. After following the traditional study program centered on the five key topics of the Nalanda Tradition of Buddhism: Philosophy, Metaphysics, Epistemology & Logic, Psychology and Monastic Discipline, he graduated with the highest honours becoming a Geshe Lharampa in 1990. The following year, he went on to study at Gyuto Tantric monastery. He has been teaching in the West since 1991, first at Nalanda monastery in France, then from 1994 to 2018 at Jamyang Buddhist Centre London. He has been the main teacher at Jamyang Buddhist Centres of Leeds and of Bath. He has travelled extensively. He often accompanies His Holiness the Dalai Lama on His visits to UK & parts of Western Europe, acting as his translator.
Geshe Tashi Tsering has created The Foundation of Buddhist Thought campus course and The Foundation of Buddhist Thought on-line course. He is the author of a six-volume series by the same name, published by Wisdom Publications. He has also created the Lam Rim Chenmo campus and on-line courses. He is known for his understanding of the western mindset and for his ability to present the most complex Buddhist teachings with clarity, authenticity and sophistication. He has a rebellious streak and a naughty sense of humour.
Taking mindfulness as a social movement as his dissertation topic, he received an MA in Social Anthropology at the School of Oriental and African Studies of London University graduating in 2017.
In May 2018 he was appointed as the 91st Abbot of Sera Mey monastic university by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
‘I am delighted to receive this recognition on behalf of all Tibetans, especially all those inside Tibet. I am filled with immense gratitude to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and to all my Dharma teachers for their kindness. It is a humbling experience to be noted for my contributions to Buddhism in the UK. I would like to thank all my students here for their enthusiasm and dedication to study.’
Mr Sonam Frasi, Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in the UK, was present along with Geshe Tashi Tsering at the Investiture this morning. Also present at the Investiture were Geshe Tashi Tsering’s sister Dolma and friend Lobsang Palbar.
Tomorrow evening the Tibetan Community in Britain, jointly with the Office of Tibet, London, will celebrate the happy occasion with our very own Tibetan Felicitation Ceremony in London.
The citation reads:
Geshe Tashi Tsering moved to London in 1992 when he became Resident Teacher at the Jamyang Buddhist Centre. He devised a course called The Foundation of Buddhist Thought which taught Buddhist philosophy in clear English and takes student into in-depth level of understanding very quickly. Over ten thousand people worldwide since taken this course. In recognition of this, in 2018, His Holiness the Dalai Lama appointed him Abbot of Sera Mey Monastic University in India. Geshe Tashi Tsering often accompanies His Holiness the Dalai Lama on his visits to Europe. He has become an Ambassador for Buddhism in the UK and councillor for Tibetans living in London. In 2012 he was the Buddhist Chaplain for the London Olympic Games. For his services to Buddhism in the UK Geshe Tashi Tsering is awarded the British Empire Medal.
-Filed by Office of Tibet, London