DZONGKAR CHOEDE MONASTERY

DSC03817DZongkar Choede Monastery is historically one of the oldest monasteries in Tibet. It was established in western Tibet, Mang-yul upper Gung-thang region, in 1270 by the Tibetan king Tri-bum-de-gon, who was the last great scion of Tibet’s royal descendants. The king built the monastery facing opposite to his palace Phodrang Khunzong Karpo (“The White Nest of Eagles”). The monastery, through the time, became a thriving spiritual community in western Tibet and also became a focal point of Tibetan civilization. Over the time it emerged as one of the largest repositories of Tibetan folk and monastic art, music, dance, artifacts and spiritual training. There existed upper and lower Zongkar Choede within the same wall, each having over 300 monks. The inmates followed Buddhist studies, meditative practices and tantric ritual arts. Hundreds of highly realised monks dedicated their lives for the continuation of the monastery to date. In the tumultuous decade that followed between 1950-1959, the peaceful land, its people and all their way of life fell under the communist Chinese. The destruction reached its climax during the Cultural Revolution, which made Tibet native values and institutions the target of its fury.

DZongkar Choede monastery was razed to the ground and monks had to escape. Of the original 600 monks of the monastic community of Zongkar Choede before the destruction, less than 5% survived to tell the tale. A decade and a half elapsed in this historical twilight to alive in exile. Reconstruction began in the lush green forests and farmlands of coastal South India near the Arabian Sea in 1972 under the auspices of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Government of India. Mud and bamboo thatches became living quarters, community kitchens and prayer halls for the new Zongkar Choede in exile.

small monksToday Zongkar Choede is a monastic community of 300 monks out of which 190 are school going monk students. It is an active cultural center open to everyone. At the core of its monastic study programs are Zongkar Choede’s unique heritage: Tibetan monastic chanting, ancient Tibetan monastic ritual mask-dance, art of butter sculpture, sand mandala, for which the monastery is renowned throughout Tibet and the world. The monks also study Buddhist logic and debate following Sera Jeh monastic university text. The monastery also runs kg class to 1st class to 10th secondary school with library, Medical Social Care Centre for the young monks providing modern education with traditional ritual practice and philosophy debating etc. There is also a small traditional Tibetan thangka painting class and traditional incense-making center to preserve and promote Traditional Tibetan art and also to offer job opportunity to young unemployed Tibetans. The monastery is fully dependent on devotees’ offering and sponsorship program for its young monks. It has not received any financial support/assistance from the State and government so far.

Lobsang Rigsang

Place and Date of Birth:  May 10, 2008/Tawang  
Code No: ZCM 331

Lobsang is old from very remote area of Tawang, North Eastern Part of India. He has two brothers and two sisters, one brother and one sister are smaller than him, staying home.  Both parents are farmers and the income which they earns is not sufficient to take care of their children. Lobsang was sen the monastery to study Buddhist Philosophy.

Thupten Choegyal

Place and Date of Birth:  April 4, 2010/Nepal
Code No: ZCM 418

Born in Rasuwa District, Kathmandu Nepal. Both parents are farmers and it’s difficult for his parents to take care of their four small children. Due to major earthquake hit Nepal. Life was difficult over there. Their village was badly affected by the continuous hit. The whole village was destroyed. There was no proper place to stay, food to eat and clothes to wear at that time.

Thupten Dawa

Place and Date of Birth:  April 3, 2005/Nepal
Code No: ZCM 419

Thupten belongs to a very poor family in small village in Nepal, Kathmandu. He has one brother, his family does farming and it is very difficult to take care of his family and alto to look after grand father and grand mother. Thupten was sent to the monastery to study buddhist philosophy and for better life.

Thupten Phuntsok

Place and Date of Birth:  November 2, 2009/Nepal
Code No: ZCM 417

Thupten belongs to a very poor family in small village Rasuwas, Kathmandu. He has two brothers, both family does farming for the small plot of land and financially it is not sufficient to take care of his family. Thupten was sent to the monastery to study buddhist philosophy and for his better life.

Thupten Tsering

Place and Date of Birth:  January 15, 2009/Nepal
Code No: ZCM 413

Thupten belongs to a very poor family in small village Rasuwas, Kathmandu. He has one small brother, staying with his parents, both family does farming for the small plot of land and it is not enough to meet the expenses of his family. Thupten was sent to the monastery to study buddhist philosophy and for his better life.

Thupten Phengyal

Place and Date of Birth:  November 1, 2009/Nepal
Code No: ZCM 416

Born in Goldhunga village, Kathmandu Nepal, He has two brothers and two sisters. His parents are farmers, there is no other source of incomes other than whatever grows in their fields. It is not enough for their family to survive relying only on their farms. Thupen was admitted to the monastery on February 2018 and was happy to be part of this Dzongkar Choede Monastery.

Thupten Chomphel

Place and Date of Birth:  January 29, 2005/Nepal
Code No: ZCM 414

Born in Dandabas Village, Kathmandu. He belongs to poor family.  He has two brothers and one sister.  His parents are farmers and depends only on agriculture. Their source of income is so low that majority of his family faces difficult to provide three time meal to their families. Thupten was sent to the Monastery for better life.

Thupten Kalsang

Place and Date of Birth:  September 6/Nepal

Thupten is from a small village Tatopani, Kathmandu Nepal. Both parents passed away, he was taken-care by his grand parents, who are farmers and it’s difficult for them to take care of their four grand children.There is no other source of incomes other than whatever grows in their fields. Thupten was sen to the monastery to study buddhist philosophy text and for his better life.

Thupten Rinzin

Place and Date of Birth:  February 30, 2006/Nepal
Code No: ZCM 417

Thupten is from very poor family in small village Golhunga Village, Kathmandu. He has one brother and one sister, both family does farming for the small plot of land and it’s not sufficient to take care of his family. Thupten was sent to the monastery to study buddhist philosophy and for his better life.

Thupten Topden

Place and Date of Birth:  May 1, 2005/Bylakuppe

Thupten is from Tibetan settlement in Bylakuppe, South India. His parents does farming work in their small plot of land, he has three brothes and two sister. are farmer Lobsang is old from very remote area of Tawang, North Eastern Part of India. He has two brothers and two sisters, two of them are small staying with their parents. It’s difficult for his parents to take care of their children. Thupten joined the monastery to study Buddhist Philosophy.

Please note that from September 2015 onward, The Tibet Fund will charge a $5 fee for each quarterly sponsorship payment to partially cover the cost associated with credit card fees, wire transfers to India, and other processing fees.

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