Buddha Shakyamuni with Arhats (18th c) © Himalayan Art Collection

Sonam Chhopel



Sonam Chhopel is a dharma teacher and translator at Bodhi Path centers in the United States.

His education includes a Shastri Degree (Bachelor of Arts equivalent) that he received in 1980, from Sampurnananda Sanskrit University in Varanasi, India. His studies included Tibetan, Sanskrit and English languages, as well as history and the five major areas of Buddhist philosophy.

From 1981 – 1983, he was a Buddhist teacher at Jamyang Khang School, Nalanda Buddhist Institute, Rumtek, Sikkim, India. In that capacity he taught Tibetan grammar, literature, and general Buddhist concepts to young monks.

In 1984, and continuing until 1986, he served as assistant and translator for Lama Tsultrim Dawa, the resident Lama for Karma Kagyu Hong Kong Buddhist Society. During his time in Hong Kong, Sonam Chhopel Lama also conducting meditation classes.

In 1986, Sonam Chhopel Lama accompanied a delegation of five lamas to the Karma Kagyu Buddhist Centre in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for the purpose of assisting them in their teaching of various practices and oral transmissions. In addition, he undertook the teaching of several important texts.

From 1987 to 1988, he performed similar duties for the Karma Kagyu Dharma Centre in Kaoshiung, Taiwan. Then in 1990, he moved to Karma Kagyu Ling in Tainan, Taiwan, where he remained until 2002. In this location, Sonam Chhopel Lama taught many aspects of Tibetan Buddhism. In addition, he served as the translator from Tibetan into English of the various teachings, transmissions and empowerments given by the Venerable Abbots Lhakpa Tsering, Pema Gyaltsen and Tsultrim Tharchin.

From 2002 to 2011, until he came to the United States, Sonam Chhopel Lama worked as a full-time employee as both teacher of Buddhist philosophy and interpreter at Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling Monastery in Boudhanath, Kathmandu, Nepal.