Thirty-five-year-old Tenzin Ösel Hita Torres is a 21st-century radical freethinker, environmentalist, humanitarian, documentary filmmaker, musician, father, friend, life-long-student, and a former Buddhist monk.
When he was just 14 months old Ösel was formally recognized by His Holiness the Dalai Lama as the reincarnation of Lama Thubten Yeshe, the revered Tibetan yogi, scholar, and teacher. He is the subject of Vicki Mackenzie’s acclaimed book, Reincarnation: The Boy Lama.
Ösel was born in 1985 in the village of Bubión at the foot of the Sierra Nevada, southeast of Granada, in southern Spain. His parents, Paco Hita and Maria Torres had been students of the late Lama Thubten Yeshe.
Ösel was enthroned as the reincarnation of Lama Yeshe in March 1987. In 1991, when he was six years old, he began life at Sera Je Monastic University in South India. He lived and studied at Sera Je until he was 18. Ösel, then, decided to leave the monastery to explore modern ways of life and thinking.
“The experience in India was really good. I appreciate it,” Ösel says. “There were times when it was hard to accept destiny. It was hard being treated differently. Is was hard feeling apart. Nonetheless, I am incredibly grateful for this difficult decision that many people made for me. Thanks to that, I have a big opportunity, today, to help many people. I am always going to be available at the service of people. That is my job.”
Ösel continued various formal studies, graduating from high school at St. Michaels University School, a private boarding school in British Columbia, Canada. From Canada, Ösel attended college in Switzerland to study Western philosophy, human rights, French language, and art.
Always evolving, always trying to find new ways to connect with people, between 2006 and 2008, Ösel apprenticed under Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Matteo Passigato, in Bologna, Italy. Ösel furthered his interest in film by moving to Madrid. There, he studied for diplomas in Director of Cinema, Director of Photography and Masters in Documentary Films at EIMA, International School for Audio-Visual Media.
In 2012, with Matteo as co-director, Ösel released his first short film, Being Your True Nature. This was filmed during the 2011 FPMT Universal Wisdom Education gathering in the south of France.
Being Your True Nature introduces a new form of education pioneered by Lama Yeshe, Universal Wisdom Education: helping modern people access ancient psychological tools to help them lead happier, more meaningful lives – “the language that speaks to universal human experience at its simplest and most profound,” says Ösel.
Ösel has also taken courses in Communications at Cabrillo College in Santa Cruz, California. “Communication is the foundation for human relationships. Life is all about sharing,” he says. “If you cannot share, then, what is the point? Even the wealthiest people who have all the material things and have everything that they can have for lifetimes, what they value the most is time, health, and money.”
From California, Ösel went to UH Maui College in Hawaii where he studied organizational and financial behavior. Several times Ösel returned to continue his Buddhist philosophical studies at Sera Je Monastery with his beloved teacher Geshe Genden Choephel. (Geshe Choephel died suddenly in 2016.)
Ösel makes a point to, also, seek out non-traditional learning and creative experiences. “Every experience is an opportunity to learn and grow,” he says.
Ösel has attended Burning Man festivals in the Nevada desert; learned to play the Djembe – music is near and dear to his heart; – has taken various cooking courses – “It is essential to have a healthy body to fully practice Dharma;”– and makes it a point to stay open, always open to learning from all of life’s opportunities and experiences.
Ösel even was homeless in Venice and Naples for a while.
“I did that kind of experience. I wanted to know what it was like to live on the street. I have many friends who live on the street and who have that kind of lifestyle. In my case, it was not a choice. Well, it was kind of a choice because I accepted it. I did not run away from it. So, I just kind of living on the street for some time. It was interesting to see how society sees you differently. Even your self-worth goes down because of the way society looks at you.”
There are many environmental, humanitarian, and educational visions dear to Ösel, including his Global Tree Initiative (GTI), Maha Space-an Ecovillage Community, and One World Orphanages Project, which will provide family, education, and support to the most destitute children in developing countries. These projects all spring from Ösel’s heart organization, Universal Clear Light.
Ösel will continue making documentary films and sharing his unique Being Experiences with people around the world.
In 2015, Ösel led a pilgrimage to India and Nepal. There, he co-founded, organized, and volunteered with Revive Nepal, a charitable initiative to provide relief to Nepalis who suffered in the devastating April earthquake that year. A key project was building an eco-friendly earthquake-proof school.
Ösel shares his thoughts and ideas with the people he meets around the world – in coffee shops, Dharma centers, on the beach, in the mountains. This planet is his home, a place where we all can help each other, every minute of every day. (One-Big-Love.com)
Ösel speaks fluent Tibetan, English, and Spanish. He is proficient in French and Italian. He is learning Portuguese as his son is part Brazilian.
He has lived in India, Nepal, Canada, Switzerland, Brazil plus Santa Cruz, California, and Hawaii in the U.S.