The Tibetan Buddhist Society was established in Australia by our much-loved and respected Spiritual Leader, Geshe Acharya Thubten Loden who first arrived in Australia to teach in the 1970s.
The Tibetan Buddhist Society Perth was established during Geshe la’s first visit to Perth in 1981 with Les and Margaret Sheehy as the founding directors.
We are situated on a 12-acre property in the Swan Valley 40 minutes east of Perth and all classes and retreats are held in our traditional Tibetan Temple.
Les continues as the resident teacher, giving regular weekly classes into the practice and philosophy of Tibetan Buddhism, including the Highest Yoga Tantra practices of Vajrayogini and Yamantaka, as well as leading several retreats annually.
In addition to our regular teaching program, we also hold two Introduction to Buddhism courses along with two Learn to Meditate seminars throughout the year.
Venerable Geshe Acharya Thubten Loden
Geshe Acharya Thubten Loden was the founder of the Tibetan Buddhist Society and spiritual leader until his passing in August 2011.
Born in 1924, Geshe-la became a monk at the age of seven. Trained with discipline and dedication that may never be seen again in our world, he embodied an unbroken lineage of the Buddhist teachings dating back to the Buddha himself.
Geshe Loden received his full training at Sera Je Monastery in Tibet, one of the three great monasteries in the world. In 1959, China’s invasion of Tibet meant the end of many monasteries, and along with many other Tibetans, Geshe-la escaped on foot to India to continue his practice and studies.
Geshe Loden was one of the few Dharma teachers in the world to attain the highest level of proficiency in all the major spheres of Buddhist thought. He held the highest possible degree of Geshe Lharampa, a Master’s degree in Vajrayana Buddhism and an Acharya (Master’s) degree from Varanasi Sanskrit University in India.
After arriving in Australia in 1976 Geshe-la taught meditation and lecture courses and vajrayana teachings to thousands of students, including subjects never taught here before.
Geshe-la founded the Tibetan Buddhist Society in 1979. The traditional Tibetan temples in Perth and Melbourne reflect his gratitude for the support and shelter he enjoyed in Australia for more than 35 years. He also wrote eight internationally acclaimed Dharma books, which form the basis for the ongoing Dharma teachings and retreats held regularly at the Centre.
A full transcript of Venerable Geshe Acharya Thubten Loden’s biography is found in his books, The Fundamental Potential for Enlightenment and Prayers for the Path of Indivisible Great Bliss and Emptiness.
Les Sheehy was born and raised in Fremantle. As a young man in the mid 1970’s he moved to Queensland and studied under Geshe Acharya Thubten Loden. It was there that he met Margaret, another of Geshe Loden’s students. In 1981, after Les and Margaret had married, Geshe-la asked them to establish a Tibetan Buddhist Society centre in Perth, with Les as resident teacher.
In the early days, Les gave teachings from their family home. In the years that followed, student numbers steadily grew and under Les’s leadership, and thanks to the generosity of many people, the centre sold its property in Mt Lawley and moved to its current location in the Swan Valley and built the first traditional Tibetan Buddhist temple in Perth.
Les continues to teach regularly and leads several retreats each year including two Highest Yoga Tantra retreats.
Les has also been State Manager for the first visit to Perth by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 1982, and was closely involved in the 1992 visit, and again was State Manager for the visit to Perth in 2007. Each of these visits has brought Les into direct contact with His Holiness, and each has successfully reached out to increasingly larger audiences.
While his knowledge is informed by long familiarity with core texts, equally important is his down to earth style and entertaining humour, making his classes enjoyable as well as valued learning opportunities.
Widely respected for his conscientious study of Dharma texts over many years, as well as his own self-discipline as a meditator, Les leads by example, with humility and humour. For more detailed information about classes and retreats taught by Les, please click here.
Our temple is the first traditional Tibetan temple in Western Australia. It was built following the inspiring example of our spiritual head, Geshe Acharya Thubten Loden, who constructed the first such temple in Australia, in Melbourne, in 2000.
Our temple was opened by Geshe-la in a blessing ceremony attended by monks, nuns, students and around 2000 visitors. Geshe-la was delighted to welcome many sangha from various Buddhist traditions as well as State and Federal members of parliament and local City of Swan dignitaries. He spoke of the great joy he felt that there are now two Traditional Tibetan temples in Australia – places to preserve the precious pure Mahayana Buddhist teachings and for students to learn about Buddhist meditation and philosophy as a basis for developing the special human qualities of kindness, compassion and care for others.
Above the entrance to the temple is the gold dharmachakra, a wheel of eight spokes, which symbolises the noble eightfold path taught by Lord Buddha. This is flanked by two deer, representing peacefulness and compassion. The deer are gazing up at the dharmachakra showing aspiration for the dharma. The parapet of the building has many golden disc-like ornaments represent good fortune and enjoyment. Under this are over 400 gold painted lotus petals. The lotus is a plant which grows in muddy, swamp-like conditions but when reaching the surface, produces blossoms of transcendent beauty. Lord Buddha taught, using the lotus as an example, that we can use difficult or unpleasant circumstances to attain transformation of our own minds.
As you enter the temple you see a large golden Buddha statue sitting on top of a decorated throne. The statue holds over five million mantras printed on pieces of paper hand-rolled by a number of our students over a period of four years. These mantra rolls are carefully positioned in prescribed places within the statue. The statue also contains a sandalwood central column, inscribed with gold painted mantras in Tibetan language and carefully wrapped in beautiful fabric. The statue also contains medicinal substances such as sandalwood powder and saffron, other precious items, a copy of each of the eight holy texts composed by Geshe Acharya Thubten Loden, and a Tibetan copy of Tsong Khapa’s Graduated Path to Enlightenment plus other holy texts.
Our temple is open for visitors between 3pm – 4pm on Sunday afternoons during teaching terms as well occasional Saturday afternoons throughout the year. Please see our calendar for term dates.