April 30, 2010

Buddhist college in Bhutan

Source: Bhutan Observer

25 April 2010

The construction of Tango Thorim Lobra, a new Bud dhist college, will begin next month in Dodena, Thimphu.

Funded by the govern ment of India, the Nu 250-million college will be con structed over an area of 12.87 acres. It will cater to about 300 monks who have completed their higher sec ondary studies from reli gious schools.

The college will provide a three-year bachelor’s degree course in Buddhist Studies and Philosophy and a two-year master’s degree in Bud dhist Studies and Philoso­phy. English will be included in the syllabus but as an op tional subject.

The academic session will start from June 2013.

The college will function under Zhung Dratshang and Dratshang Lhentshog. The certificates from the college will be equivalent to that of any university.

The college will have eight residential blocks for the students with terraces for laundry and lounges for relaxing. Each room will ac commodate two students. The basement will have in door sports facilities.

Ten classrooms, including two lecture halls, will be con structed alongside a library.

There will be recreational facilities like an open basket ball court with spectators’ gallery, football field and the internet.

The buildings will be con structed with traditional de signs. The main academic and administration block and assembly hall will be in the shape of a mandela.

Duplex for principals and four block flats for 20 lectur ers will be constructed apart from six deluxe guest rooms along with infirmary in the basement with first aid ser vice.

The kitchen will use elec tricity instead of firewood. The kitchen will have show ers for the cooks to maintain health and hygiene.

“The college will not only impart values education, but also help preserve and pro mote religious and cultural values. There will be whole some education for the stu dents with modern technolo gies,” said Ugyen Tshering, the policy and planning of ficer of the Council for Reli gious Affairs.

Under Dratshang Lhents hog, there are three shedras offering bachelor’s degree – Tango in Thimphu, Sanga Chhoekhor in Paro and Kan glung in Trashigang.

There are 12 higher sec ondary schools and some 200 primary schools under the jurisdiction of Dratshang Lhentshog.

At present, there are about 160 monks from Japan, Ne pal and Bhutan in Tango She dra pursuing Buddhist cours es. There are nine lecturers and 14 other staff members in the shedra.

By Eshori Gurung

April 20, 2010

His Eminence Thuksey Rinpoche passed away

Source: BBS

April 19: His Eminence the Lhalung Thuksey Trulku popularly known as Thuksey Rinpoche passed away in Thimphu yesterday. He was 59-year-old.
His Eminence was the 10th reincarnation of Terton Pema Lingpa’s son, Thuksey Dawa.

He conducted numerous religious ceremonies in the country, including oral transmission of Peling Choekhor and oral transmission of Kangyur.
The date and place of the purjang or the cremation are yet to be decided.

April 13, 2010

His Holiness lauds Drukpa Council

Source: Kuenselonline.com







Chairman of the annual Drukpa council, the ninth Khamtrul rinpoche, Jigme Pema Nyinjadh

2 April, 2010 - The annual Drukpa council (ADC), which commenced on April 8, is a source of inspiration to Buddhism and many people around the globe, according to His Holiness the Je Khenpo.
His Holiness, on behalf of the zhung dratsang (central monastic body), was conveying their appreciation to His Holiness the 12th Gyalwang Drukpa Rinpoche who is presiding over the meeting. His Holiness Gyalwang Drupchen Rinpoche is the reincarnation of Drogon Tsangpa Gyare (founder of the Drukpa lineage) and recognised and revered as the spiritual head of the Drukpa lineage.

In his message, His Holiness said, “Today, in this degenerated age, Buddhism in general and the glorious Drukpa tradition in particular are facing numerous challenges. In such a critical time, your skilful and visionary initiative of instituting the Drukpa Council is a great achievement in itself.”

The council, according to his Holiness, has not only provided a strong base for confidence and a sense of direction to the followers of the glorious Drukpa tradition, but also provided a source of inspiration to Buddhism.

Gyaltshen trulku rinpoche, the representative of HH the Je Khenpo to ADC, read out the message. While addressing the gathering on April 8, Gyaltshen trulku said, “The entire spiritual community takes pride in expressing their deepest appreciation for this unparalleled initiative that Your Holiness has taken up.

Around 300 Bhutanese monks and nuns are taking part in the world largest gathering of Drukpa masters, scholars, yogis and practitioners in the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu.

The theme of the second annual council is “Respect and appreciate through love and understanding.” The chairman of the council, the ninth Khamtrul rinpoche, Jigme Pema Nyinjadh, said the council is a forum that brings various people from different backgrounds and makes them understand the cultures and values through respect and understanding, to bring harmony and peace in the lineage without losing culture and values.

“We need to appreciate and respect different cultures because of their unique richness,” he said. Khamtrul rinpoche said he felt the impact of the first ADC in many ways, as many Bhutanese, after attending the council, came to know about the Drukpa lineage outside Bhutan. “Similarly many people from Ladakh and Garsh in India also visited Bhutan to learn about the Drukpa lineage,” said the Rinpoche.

The spiritual benefits of the council, according to Khamtrul rinpoche, will be the wisdom gained from listening to the teachings of different masters. “Understanding wisdom means understanding Buddha’s teachings and ultimately understanding enlightenment. Understanding enlightenment comes from teachings and teaching comes from great masters,” he said.

By Tenzin Namgyel

April 11, 2010

What meditation really is – Sogyal Rinpoche

robertrigpa — May 05, 2007 — Sogyal Rinpoche explains that there is much more to meditation than saying mantras and burning incense. Find out more - http://www.rigpa.org/

April 9, 2010

Heritage site in sore need of restoration

Source: The rise and fall of the ‘iron castle’ | Kuenselonline 

Heritage site in sore need of restoration







History In Passing: A place central to the evolution of Buddhism in Bhutan stands neglected

Chagkhar Lhakhang 9 April, 2010 - On the way to Kurjey, the most visited lhakhang in Bumthang, stands an ancient monument, historically and spiritually significant in the evolution of Buddhism in the country - the Chagkhar lhakhang.
The lhakhang, also called ‘iron castle’, built on the site of Sindhu Raja, the king who first invited Guru Rinpoche to Bhutan, is, however, in dire need of renovation. Located just next to the road opposite the Chagkhar guesthouse, the 400-year old lhakhang has never been renovated properly, according to the caretaker, Tenzin, who is also the son of the owner, Chakar lam.

On a closer look, the inner wall of the lhakhang is cracked, which was worsened by the September earthquake last year. Old timber, damaged by pests, and walls plastered with mud indicate that not even an attempt at restoration has been made. Tenzin said that the present lhakhang was the same one that was restored once by Terton Dorji Lingpa. He said that, while carrying out a partial restoration last year, they saw timber that was completely eaten by pests. “There could have been some sort of renovation during our forefathers’ time, because some timbers aren’t as old and damaged, but it was never given a full restoration,” said Tenzin.

Tenzin, who lives on the ground floor of the lhakhang, is building a separate house so that the lhakhang can be renovated. “The rich heritage will vanish if it’s not restored,” said Tenzin, adding that, being a private lhakhang, it is difficult without fund.

Crack on the inner walls of the lhakhang

The Bumthang dzongkhag support Tenzin is partially restoring the lhakhang last year. Tenzin say that Chagkhar lhakhang plays big role in Jamba lhakhang drup, from providing masks and other things to guiding the ritual as Terton Dorji Lingpa introduced it from there. “But there’s no support from the public,” he said. The lhakhang is still not connected with drinking water, as some residents refused to let the water line pass through their land.

Chagkhar lhakhang is central to the introduction of the Nyingma tradition of Buddhism in the country, starting from the invitation of Guru Padmasambhava in 746 AD by Chagkhar Gyab Sindhu Raja, and later becoming the residence of Terton Dorji Lingpa in 1374 to spread his teaching.

Sindhu Raja, who lost, in one of the family feuds with Naoche, the king of Duars in India, was forced to live in exile with his retinue in Bumthang. He invited Guru Rinpoche to rescue him from a serious illness.

After Sindhu Raja, the daughter of Sindhu Raja and one of the consorts of Guru Rinpoche, Moenmo Tashi Khewdren, is believed to have lived here until she died, before Langdarma destroyed the iron castle.

Later, in 1374, Terton Dorji Lingpa visited Bumthang and restored the Chagkhar dzong for his residence, which became the Chagkhar lhakhang that he also renovated. He also extended Jamba lhakhang, introducing the tradition of Dzogchen.

By Samten Yeshi, Bumthang

April 1, 2010

Zungney Lhakhang, Bumthang

Source: Overlooked original lhakhang (Kuenselonline.com)








The Zungney lhakhang

Zungney Lhakhang, 31 March, 2010 - Apart from the vast stretches of lush plain valleys and serene landscapes, it is the spiritual landmarks that attract visitors, both tourists and Bhutanese alike, to Bumthang every year.
Of the many sacred monasteries and historic monuments that dot the region, most visitors to the dzongkhag fail to notice tiny Zungney lhakhang in Chumey, unaware of its spiritual and historical significance.

Every Bhutanese traveller or tourist, stopping by to buy yathra or visit the factory, walk past the monastery located just next to it.

The monastery is said to be one of the 108 temples the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo built in 659 AD or during the 7th century.  Legends have it that the monastery was built in a day.

Five of the 108 temples that Songtsen Gampo built are in Bhutan, of which four are in Bumthang and one in Paro.

He had built Kyichu lhakhang in Paro while Jampay, Kenchosum, Aaa Nying and Zungney Gaynen lhakhangs are all spread in Bumthang’s Choekhor, Tang and Chumey valleys.

It is believed that the monasteries were built after a supine demoness was trying to stop the spread of Buddhism in the valley.  The temples were built on land resembling the shape of the lying demoness.  Old timers said the three monasteries in Bumthang were built atop the main parts of the demoness’s  body.

Zungney Gaynen lhakhang’s caretaker Sonam Dorji said a religious text, known as ka-thang dey-nga, has all the names of the lhakhangs that the Tibetan King built within a day.

Sonam Dorji said a fire destroyed the lhakhang in the 8th century and that Guru Rimpoche rebuilt it.

“The inner structure has never been touched since Guru Rimpoche rebuilt it,” he said. “Even the murals, besides being renovated to preserve them, are as old as the inner structure.”

In the late 1960’s, Sonam Dorji said, the old lhakhang was left to ruin without anyone caring for it.

“Late scholar lam Pemala, who knew how sacred the monastery was, volunteered to take care of the it,” said Sonam Dorji, who happens to be the late lam’s nephew. “Since then our family has been looking after the moastery.”

Many bus passengers and travellers said they always thought the lhakhang was a mani dungkhor (prayer wheel house).

Sonam Dorji said there were only a handful of people, who knew about the lhakhang’s sacredness and they visited it frequently.

“It’s very small for people to notice,” Sonam Dorji said. “It is, nevertheless, very important that people know its historic background.”

It is believed that visitors to the lhakhang would gain wisdom and freed from evil that afflict them.

By Samten Yeshi