Born in the Tsang region of Tibet in 1923, Geshe Lhundub Sopa is both a spiritual master and a respected academic. He rose from a humble background to complete his geshe studies at Sera Je Monastic University in Lhasa with highest honors and was privileged to serve as a debate opponent for the Dalai Lama's own geshe examination in 1959. He moved to New Jersey in the United States in 1963 and in 1967 began teaching in the Buddhist Studies Program at University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he is now professor emeritus. In 1975, he founded the Deer Park Buddhist Center in Oregon, Wisconsin, site of the Dalai Lama's first Kalachakra initiation granted in the West. He is the author of several books in English, including the five-volume comprehensive teaching, Steps on the Path to Englightenment.
Leonard Zwilling studied with Geshe Wangyal from 1967 to 1978 and graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a BA in 1970, going on to receive an MA in Hindu studies (1972) and a PhD in Buddhist studies (1976) also at UW-Madison. His dissertation, on apoha in Buddhist logic, was directed by Geshe Lhundub Sopa. He did predoctoral research in Sri Lanka (1973-74) and Nepal (1974-75) under Ford Foundation and Fulbright-Hays scholarships. From 1977 to 1983 Dr. Zwilling taught Asian religions, Sanskrit, and Tibetan at UW-Madison and elsewhere. He received an MLS from UW-Madison in 1985 and from 1986 to 2009 was the general editor and bibliographer of the Dictionary of American Regional English in the department of English at UW-Madison, where he is presently senior scientist emeritus. Dr. Zwilling has published in a number of fields, and since 2005 his work has centered on Ippolito Desideri and missions in Tibet. Michael Sweet received a PhD in Buddhist Studies in 1977 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison under the direction of Geshe Lhundub Sopa. From 1977-78 he taught and did research at the American Institute of Buddhist Studies. After later graduate studies, he was a psychotherapist in public and private practice (1980-2004) and a sometime lecturer at UW Madison, where he has been an assistant clinical professor in the Department of Psychiatry. He has written extensively on the history of sexuality in South Asia and on Buddhist Studies. Since 2001 his research has focused on Ippolito Desideri and the Catholic missions in Tibet. Current research focuses on the first mission to Tibet, led by the Portuguese Jesuit Antonio de Andrade.
"The translation of these two classic texts is elegant, Geshe Sopa's commentary insightful, and the introduction provides us with a model for what all historical and thematic contextualizations of Tibetan texts should look like." - Professor Jose Cabezon, Illiff School of Theology