The British Empire Medal for Meritorious Service (BEM), created in 1922, is awarded by the British Crown in recognition of meritorious service. The honor is divided into civil and military medals, and recipients are entitled to use the post-nominal letters “BEM.”
Geshe Tashi Tsering Lhundrup Palbar was born in Purang in western Tibet in 1958, and was brought to India in 1959 when his parents fled occupied Tibet. His family name, Sutse, meaning “first greet,” is reputed to date to the time of the Bengali Buddhist master Atisha (982–1054), when the family was one of the first to greet the famous scholar and teacher on his arrival in western Tibet.
At the age of 13, he entered Sera Mey Monastery in Bylakuppe in the southern Indian state of Karnataka. After receiving his Geshe Lharampa degree—equivalent to a doctorate in divinity and the highest academic achievement in Tibetan Buddhism—from Sera Mey Monastery in 1987, where he gained the highest marks possible at every level of the 16-year course, Geshe Tashi Tsering subsequently spent a further year at Gyuto Tantric College where he studied the major Gelug tantras.