Ven. Upasanti
Buddha’s Brain is being created as a living mandala dedicated to discovering and establishing the dharma in our lives. As a community, we dedicate ourselves to the realization and give birth to a new portal in which the heart of wisdom can unfold through traditional Buddhist practice and its actualization in the world as we strive for peace.
The Venerable Upaśānti Geshema is fully ordained Gelongma (nun) in the Vajrayāna lineage of Buddhism – more specifically the Tibetan Gelug school. Geshe Upaśānti first met her root guru, Ven. Khando Choegyál Sudhárma Mahanáyaka, in 1985. At the request of Ven. Sudhárma, Geshe Upaśānti received full bikshuni ordination in the Theravada lineage of Buddhism in 1986 and it was with her that she ultimately made her most profound connection, studying with her from 1985 until her death in May of 2009.
In 1991, Upaśānti Geshema received her B.A. from Western Connecticut State University in Medieval Literature with a minor in Critical Religious Theory. Having been awarded a Scholarship of Excellence for Underprivileged Future Achievers in 1993, Upaśānti Geshema went on to receive her Graduate Degree in Theological Studies and Philosophical Sciences from Harvard University Divinity School.
Upaśānti Geshema went on to take full ordination in the Gelug school of Vajrayāna in 2009 and found her Lotus Guru in His Holiness the fourteenth Dalai Lama from whom she received Kalachakra Initiation in 2011 and in 2014. She is honored to include as her mentors The Most Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh, Acharya Ani Pema Chödrön, Venerable Ajahn Chah Subhaddo, Sayadaw U Pandita and Anagarika Munindra, and Thanissaro Bhikkhu. A valued member of the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions, Upaśānti Geshema also serves as a Junior Delegate to the UN Commission for World Affairs to eradicate poverty, United Nations Commission for Human Rights and Ethical Treatment, and works in collaboration with Columbia University’s Institute of Religious Studies, the World Health Organization, Human Rights Watch, World Food Programme and The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), also known as The UN Refugee Agency. Affiliations include Namgyal Institute of Tibetan Studies in Ithaca, NY & MA, Insight Meditation Society, Vipassana and The Dalai Lama Center For Ethics & Transformative Values Office of Religious Life at MIT in collaboration with Harvard Divinity School.
Upaśānti Geshema is the first director and Abbes of Namgyal Institute of Buddhist Studies in Massachusetts. His Holiness the fourteenth Dalai Lama gave her explicit instructions on establishing this Institute for western monks, nuns, scholars and secular students. In 2012, Upaśānti Geshema received her Doctorate in Theology from Columbia University in collaboration with Harvard Divinity School.
Upaśānti Geshema currently teaches in the United States and abroad, and is interested in helping establish Tibetan Buddhist monasticism in the West, as well as continuing her work with Western Buddhists of all traditions, sharing ideas and teachings.