By Tenzin Dharpo
Geshe Tashi Tsering with His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the Glastonbury festival in 2015. photo- Clare Green
DHARAMSHALA, June 13: A Tibetan monk has been awarded the prestigious ‘British Empire Medal’ (BEM) for his services to Buddhism in the United Kingdom. The honor bestowed to the Tibetan monk and the former and 91st Abbot of the Sera Mey Monastic University, Geshe Tashi Tsering, was announced on June 7 by the authorities.
Geshe Tashi’s official website stated, “We are delighted and very proud to announce that Geshe Tashi has been awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list, for services to Buddhism in the UK.”
An excerpt from The Gazette
, or the official public record read, “The Queen has been graciously pleased, on the occasion of the celebration of Her Majesty’s birthday, to approve the award of the British Empire Medal (Civil Division) to the undermentioned: B.E.M. Geshe Tashi Tsering for services to Buddhism in the UK.
“The medal was created in 1917 as a way to recognise the contributions made by people in their communities. Geshe la is now entitled to use the initials BEM after his name.”
Geshe which is the Buddhist equivalent of the highest scholastic achievement or Ph.D in western academia is among the pioneers in teaching Buddhism in the West and particularly in Europe. He is the author of ‘The Foundation of Buddhist Thought’ campus course and ‘The Foundation of Buddhist Thought’ on-line course. He is also the author of a six-volume series by the same name, published by Wisdom Publications and has also created the Lam Rim Chenmo campus and on-line courses.
The Tibetan monk has also earned his MA in Social Anthropology at the School of Oriental and African Studies of London University in 2017, with mindfulness and social movement as his dissertation topic.
He was born in Purang, Western Tibet in 1958 and at an early age fled occupied Tibet with his family and settled in South India’s Tibetan refugee camps. He received his early education in schools run by exile Tibetan Government. Geshe Tashi received his Geshe Lharampa degree, the top honors in Tibetan Buddhism’s scholastic hierarchy in 1990. Geshe Tashi has been teaching in the West since 1991 in Europe, North America and Asia.