Jan 01

Droden Kunchab Chodey Stupa

Droden Kunchab Chodey Institute ~ Tashi Gomang Shedra
Founded by H.E. Dorje Chang Kabje Kalu Rinpoche

The monks of the Shedra study a number of subjects that include: Buddhist philosophy, Buddhist scriptures, Tibetan grammar, logic and debate, ritual music, English and Dharma in English. The monks have classes for approximately 8 hours a day. In some classes the monks have to memorize various texts and understand their meanings and are examined by their teachers. They have a half-day holiday on Sundays and a full day holiday on Mondays. In addition all the monks attend daily rituals of Green Tara and Mahakala. On special occasions such as Losar (Tibetan New Year), they go to Sonada Moanstery and join the monks there for special rituals and ceremonies.

In keeping with Kalu Rinoche’s wishes, the subjects of study will be expanded in the future to include Western science, history, geography, foreign languages, dance, art and music. Basic computer skills will also be taught once they have the equipment. Rinpoche wants to make sure that all his monks and Lamas have a well rounded general education for their own future as well as an education that will contribute to the future of Buddhism and of the Shangpa lineage. This will bring the most benefit to all sentient beings through wisdom, knowledge and skillful means.

Currently the Shedra has four teachers and thirty one students. In addition to the four teachers, the Shedra staff includes: a Disciplinarian, a Ritual Master, and Office Manager, a Store-keeper, a Shrine-keeper, two cooks and a Gate-keeper. The compound of the Tashi Gomang Stupa is open during the day for visitors and locals to visit, pray and pay homage to the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, offer butter lamps and request special prayers.

The Shangpa tradition has never been concerned with the number of monks or monasteries, how much land is owned, or its own renown. It has always been about the practice and the quality of the Lamas and practitioners. When Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Taye decided to revive the Shangpa lineage he did so with just 5 practitioners. For centuries the Shangpa lineage was virtually homeless. Jamgon Kongtrul gave it a home in Tibet, and Kyabje Kalu Rinpoche gave it a new home in Sonada and Salugara. The current Kalu Rinpoche continues the tradition with the task to make the Dharma easily accessible and relevant to everyone in these modern times.