Welcome To Gaden Ngari Khangtsen
Help The Ngari Monks Build A Future
The Official Website of the Gaden Ngari Khangtsen at the Gaden Shartse Monastery
Exiled in Mundgod, India
GADEN NGARI MONASTERY
Established 1426 – 2011
MUNDGOD, KARNATAKA, INDIA
Through imperfect means, human beings strive for perfection and touch the divine. In the process, great civilizations come into being, diffuse joy and lend purpose and meaning to life for millions of people in different regions of the world. The process continues today in our midst today. A part of the Buddhist civilization, which flourished in the arid highlands of Tibet behind the mighty Himalayan ranges from the 6th century AD onwards, is one of the finest specimens of this magnificence of the human spirit and its potential.
Gashar Ngari Khangtsan: in Tibet
When Je Tsongkahpa (1357-1419) studied, researched, practiced and incorporated the salient features of all existing traditions of Buddhism in Tibet into one practice, young minds even from remote regions of northern India such as Lahaul, Spiti, and Kinnaur and others across the northern Himalayan belt also rode and trekked the long route into central Tibet, to study at his feet at Gaden Monastic University (founded 1914). These regions have had very close racial and cultural affinity with Tibet for centuries.
As the number of such foreign students and spiritual aspirants grew, Ngari Chikhang (‘common house for scholars from Ngari region’) was opened at Tsongkhapa’s monastery. Owing to its helpfulness and success, the chikhang gradually became Ga-shar Ngari Khangtsan (‘Ngari administrative house at Gaden Shartse Monastery’). It continued to receive and house and care for these students. After their studies, some returned to their native regions, and infused their regions’ perennial way of life and belief with the fresh vigor and sublimity of the wisdom and method of liberation from suffering and deep compassion and understanding towards all beings, giving existence and life itself a new dimension and meaning. Others stayed behind and covered themselves with glory.
Palden Gyatso for instance, excelled in everything and became, through his spiritual piety and accomplishments, the 40th Gaden Tripa (1654-1662) and successor of Je Tsongkahpa himself.
When Communist China entered and later overran Tibet in March 1959, like many other monastic institutions, only seven members of Ngari Khangtsan managed to escape to India. The rest died, dispersed, or disappeared behind prisons in Tibet.
When Gaden monks, now refugees in India, shifted en masse moved from the 1st Tibetan refugee transit camp at Buxa Duar in Bihar to south India in 1967 to start life as refugees in agricultural settlements, two out of these three came: Lozang Khyenrab and Lozang Sherab.
As Tibetans began their life in exile in the lush green countryside of south India, Lozang Khyenrab (49) and Sherab (35) dedicated their life to the re-establishment of Gaden Shartse Monastery. Lozang Khyenrab (photo) was asked to lead the monastery’s religious service branch in Shillong, India’s eastern state that borders on Yangon (Burma), to give solace and advice to surviving Tibetan refugees perform religious services, and to send any donations that trickled in to the south.
Sherab joined the new administrative board of Gashar Monastery. Without knowing it, he ended up serving, on voluntary basis without any remuneration (as all monastic posts are even to this day) for three consecutive terms of three years. And while at this post, he continued to attend on Ven. Lati Rinpoche who was reviving Shartse monastery from its very roots in India.
While the two last members submerged themselves in the larger undertaking to re-establish their monastery, Ngari Khangtsan, the administrative house for Indo-Tibetan race from the northernmost regions of India, began to sink into neglect..
Gashar Ngari Khangtsan Today
With no mass support base within the Tibetan exile community, Ngari Khangtsan languished. It could do little for itself, as its two members were occupied elsewhere. In a monastic college like Shartse, students live and are cared for in hostels provided by their respective administrative houses.
Some built large hostels; others, modest ones. But Ngari Khangtsan had none. Some new students came, became house students of our two elder members, and were housed in an abandoned shelter at the edge of the monastery which earned the name ’police check post’. Young students came –and left, after they had had enough of the ‘check post’ which had no proper amenities such as water and hygienic conditions.
Taking out whatever money they had collected and saved over the period of nearly a decade and half since 1967, and with additional help from Ven. Lati Rinpoche and Ven. Lochen Rinpoche, Lozang Khyenrab and Sherab built a modest eight-room, single-storied hostel was built in 1980 at a cost of INR 300,000:00 ($ 6,666). With the new hostel arrived new students from Spiti Lahaul, Spiti, and Kinnaur and its nearby regions. These young students, aged between 8-14, were either orphans, from extremely poor families, or from parents who wanted their children educated in their own culture.
The number of students joining us have grown steadily since then. The earliest students, who came and stayed, have become young and responsible Buddhist monks with piety and gentleness in their hearts. They have become responsible members. Each year as they return to their border regions below the Himalayas, they bring to their native lands a fresh and better understanding and appreciation of their regions’ centuries-old way of life. Creating new respect for their centuries old way of life.
At our centre today, Geshe Lharampa Kunchok Tenzin, was aged 9 when he was first brought to us, is now of the top Buddhist scholars in exile. He has been serving as the headmaster at Gaden Shartse’s monastic school after his graduation. Geshe Lobsang Jigme, another Geshe Lharampa graduate who joined us when he was 10, is now a young and responsible firebrand in all areas of Buddhist rites and rituals at Gaden Shartse and is at the current a lecturer at Ganden Shartse University; and Geshe Thubten Tendar, another capable and highly regarded graduate, has been an active member of the board of Gaden Shartse for the past several years.
Ngari Khangtsen today has a total of about 220 students of all ages, as well as workers, teachers and administrators. Though the number of students and members have increased, there had not been any increase in terms of living facilities. Within the hostel built about three decades back, six to eight students share a room by sleeping on the floor. Those who cannot be accommodated, they live in makeshift shelters or on rent.
As it was not possible to go on continuing like this in the future, Ven. Sherab, who was the sole surviving member of Ngari Khangtsen from Tibet in 1959, conveyed that he would be able to die in peace if a new hostel could be built where all the members of Ngari Khangtsen can live together as one family under one roof. Thus was born the idea for a cultural fund raising tour for Ngari Khangtsen. Ven. Sherap did pass away in 2008 following the completion of his 3 year retreat.
See Pictures of the Gaden Ngari 2008-2009 Cultural Tour and the new buildings which have resulted from that success tour by visiting our Photo Gallery
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