He was considered a remarkable scholar from a young age, and even before completing his own geshe degree examinations, he was chosen as one of the Dalai Lama's debate examiners during the annual Prayer Festival in 1959.
Sopa has retired since from his professorship.
To meet the request of students for Buddhist teachings, Sopa founded the Deer Park Buddhist Center in Oregon, Wisconsin in 1975. The Kalachakra Tantra initiation was given in the West for the first time at Deer Park July, 1981.
- Cutting through appearances: Practice and Theory of Tibetan Buddhism, co-authored with Jeffrey Hopkins
- Wheel of Time: the Kalachakra in Context, co-authored with Roger Jackson and John Newman
- Peacock in the Poison Grove: Two Buddhists Texts for Training the Mind
- Steps on the Path to Enlightenment: A Commentary on the Lamrim Chenmo, Volume 1: The Foundation Practices
- Teachings from Tibet: Guidance from Great Lamas, co-authored