In the 1960s, Western ‘seekers’ met Lama Thubten Yeshe and his main student Lama Zopa Rinpoche in Northern India, and having requested teachings from the Lamas, together they sought out a suitable site for instruction.
They found property on Kopan Hill in Kathmandu, Nepal, and the first annual 'One-Month Meditation Course' was held at Kopan Monastery in November 1971. In response to the ever-growing demand from their Western students, the Lamas decided to open a sister centre which was intended to be used for retreats and they decided to locate it in McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala, which was home to many of their teachers.
In 1972, along with a few of their Western students, Lamas Yeshe and Zopa bought an old colonial house on a hill above McLeod Ganj (near the village of Dharamkot), and Tushita Retreat Centre (which was later renamed Tushita Meditation Centre) was founded. Tushita means ‘The Place of Joy’, the pure land of the coming Buddha Maitreya.
During these early years, students came mainly from Kopan monastery; after having done the famous November course at Kopan Monastery they did retreats at Tushita, some stayed for months, some even for years.