Close this search box.


Ven. Tsering Phuntsok Visits Murray State University in Kentucky


Venerable Tsering Phuntsok, a Buddhist monk from India, is being hosted by Murray State University from 21–23 February. Ven. Tsering has lived as a monastic from the age of 16, when he began his studies in the Nyingmapa school of Tibetan Buddhism.

Ven. Tsering has come to the United States in order to drum up support for Tibetan people living in exile, many of whom were forced to settle in Dharamsala after the Chinese annexation of Tibet in the 1950s.  

For more than a decade, Ven. Tsering has worked with nonprofit agencies such as Lha Charitable Trust to provide assistance to Tibetan refugees along with the local populace of Dharamsala. He has also worked to raise awareness of the refugee crisis by speaking at American universities, along with acting as a guide and liaison for American university students wishing to volunteer with local non-governmental organizations in Dharamsala.

Ven. Tsering, who is originally from Nepal, spends a portion of each year in his home country, where he manages a retreat center from his home and cares for his nieces and nephews. At the retreat center, he trains young monks in the Nyingma tradition, and communicates regularly with universities in Kentucky and Louisiana regarding cultural exchange programs with Tibet.  

Additionally, he works on community-related projects, such as rebuilding a monastic school for boys in Nepal that was destroyed during the 2015 earthquakes. The school was one of 8,000 that were damaged or destroyed in the quake.


Jeffrey Wylie, a social work professor at Murray State, had this to say about his relationship with Ven. Tsering: “In the 14 years, I have known Tsering, he has become my colleague, fellow traveler, teacher, student, and friend. Tsering truly has a social worker’s heart and is one of the most spiritual people I know.” (Murray Ledger)

Along with Buddhist texts, tantric empowerments are included in the esoteric practices of the Nyingma school, and Ven. Tsering has received empowerments from His Holiness the Dalai Lama and other prominent teachers. Additionally, he has received training in ritual dance, music, meditation, and Buddhist philosophy.

The Nyingma school is the oldest school of Tibetan Buddhism, founded in the eighth century by Padmasambhava, a Buddhist monk and ritual specialist who converted the local deities of Tibet into Dharma protectors through the power of ritual. The main focus of the Nyingma tradition is a tantric system of practice known as Dzogchen, which was taught by Padmasambhava and other Indian masters, such as Vimalamitra and Vairocana.

Padmasambhava worked closely with 108 translators and 25 of his closest disciples around 760 CE, to translate the Buddhist canon into Tibetan. This massive undertaking was spearheaded by King Trison Detsen, who sponsored the project in the hope that he could help introduce Buddhism to his countrymen.

This current lecture series marks the ninth time that Ven. Tsering has visited the university. As part of his visit, Prof. Wylie is creating a lecture forum to make the Buddhist monk more accessible to the public. To set up a private meeting or to ask Ven. Tsering to speak at an event, coordinate with professor Wylie at [email protected]

See more

Murray State To Host Buddhist Monk For Lecture  (Radio NWTN)
Murray State University to host Buddhist monk (Murray Ledger)
Red Tape Untangled, Young Nepalese Monks Find Ride to Safety (The New York Times)

Related news reports from BDG

Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche among Recipients of 2023 Honorary Degrees at SOAS University of London
Khyentse Foundation Announces the Appointment of KF-Macready Senior Lecturer in Tibetan Buddhism at the University of Sydney
Dharma Realm Buddhist University Professor Receives Fulbright Award for Research in India
Northwestern University Hosts Lotsawa Translation Workshop on Buddhist Women’s Voices in the Tibetan Tradition
Buddhist Monk Brings Green Tara to Elon University

Related features from Buddhistdoor Global

Related news from Buddhistdoor Global

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments