Lama Gelongma Zangmo first became a practising Buddhist when she arrived at Kagyu Samye Ling in 1977 and took refuge with his Holiness the 16th Karmapa. Having received teachings from many highly respected lamas who visited Kagyu Samye Ling, she was inspired to enter the four-year closed retreat in 1984, during which time she became ordained as a Buddhist nun.
When the next long retreat started in 1989 Lama Zangmo wished to further her retreat experience and she was also asked to help and advise the new retreatants. Having completed that retreat in 1993, Lama Zangmo then entered a third long retreat and became the resident retreat teacher to the other women retreatants. That retreat ended in 1997, bringing the total number of years Lama Zangmo spent in retreat to eleven and a half.
Choje Akong Tulku Rinpoche and Lama Yeshe Losal then asked Lama Zangmo to put her experience to good use by helping to run the Kagyu Samye Dzong Centre in London, which was officially opened in 1998. Since then the London Centre has flourished under Lama Zangmo's guidance and established itself as a much needed Dharma Centre in the capital city, providing a full and varied programme of teachings and events throughout the year.
In 1998 Lama Zangmo was one of a group of nuns who accompanied Lama Yeshe Losal to India, where she became fully ordained as a Gelongma (Bhikkuni) at a historic ceremony in Bodhgaya. This will in turn enable others to take full Gelongma ordination with the Tibetan Buddhist tradition in the future.
Lama Zangmo's strong connection with Kagyu lineage and in particular with Choje Akong Tulku Rinpoche and Lama Yeshe Losal has inspired her to work tirelessly and joyfully in service to the Dharma and helping others. In recognition of her long experience, selfless qualities and commitment, she became the first person in the UK to be honoured with the title of Lama by our organisation at a heart warming ceremony in Kagyu Samye Dzong London in June 2001.