|The following article is from the Spring, 1987 issue of the Snow Lion Newsletter and is for historical reference only. You can see this in context of the original newsletter here.|
Affiliated with Evam Buddhist Monastery and now located on the site of the 1981 Kalachakra initiation offered by H.H. the Dalai Lama in Wisconsin south of Madison, Deer Park had its beginnings in 1976 when a group of students of Geshe Lhundup Sopa gathered and dedicated themselves to studying Buddhism with acknowledged masters of the tradition, integrating it into their own lives and preserving it so that others could benefit from it as well.
Geshe Sopa Geshe Sopa is the main teacher at Deer Park, Abbot of Evam monastery and a Professor of South Asian Studies at the University of Wisconsin. He was born in 1923 in Tsang province in western Tibet, joined Sera Monastery in Lhasa, and attained highest honors in his Geshe exams. Like the Dalai Lama and so many other Tibetans, he fled to India in 1959. In 1962 Geshe Sopa was asked by the Dalai Lama to accompany three young Tulkus (reincarnate lamas) to America, where they would receive both Western and Buddhist education. In 1967, he was invited by Professor Richard Robinson, founder of the Buddhist Studies Program of the University of Wisconsin, to come to the Madison campus to teach.
In adddition to Geshe Sopa, there are three other Tibetan monks affiliated with Evam Monastery and at least one Western monk, the other resident teacher at Deer Park, Geshe Lobsang Donyo, first came to Madison in 1980. He received his monastic training at Sera, where Geshe Sopa was one of his teachers, and he served as Gego of the Gyume Tantric College.
Over the years, a number of respected Tibetan masters have taught and led retreats. They have included Serkhong rinpoche, Zong Rinpoche and Geshe Rabten as well as the current Ganden Tripa (spiritual head of the Gelugpa lineage of Tibetan Buddhism), Lati Rinpoche, Lama Yeshe, Thubten Zopa Rinpoche and Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey, to name but a few.
Regular Sunday morning prayers and classes are held on Tsog days at Deer Park, as well as classes on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Retreats and pujas are held during the year and, in the summer, Deer Park sponsors a program of classes and retreats. Because of growing interest by students from outside the Madison area, Deer Park is considering weekend classes on a monthly or occasional basis to serve the needs of commuters from Chicago and other surrounding areas.
The Deer Park schedule for the next few months is as follows:
March 28-30: Nyungney Retreat, Geshe Sopa & Geshe Donyo.
April 25: Geshe Sopa, Intro, to Deer Park & Intro to Tibetan Buddhism, Geshe Donyo
April 26: Deer Park Community Annual Meeting & Potluck.
May 23-31: Lam Rim Retreat with teachings by Geshe Donyo.
June 27-July 19: Vajrasattva Retreat, Geshe Donyo
June 27-July 19: Vajrayogini Retreat, Geshe Donyo
August 9-22: Teachings by Geshe Donyo & Lobsang Namgyal.
For more information, please contact Deer Park, P.O. Box 5366, Madison, WI 53705, 608-835-5572, 255-5019.