Jangchub Ling Monastery
is the main institute of the Drikung
Kagyu Order in exile. The institute was founded in 1985 by
His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche. It is located
in the foothills of the Himalayas, outside Dehra Dun, in the northeast
of India. Jangchub Ling is an education center which emphasizes
both traditional monastic education and also present-day training
to meet contemporary needs. There are currently over 200 monks
studying in two different schools. The first group of students
graduated in 1996.
The Lower School
is programmed is like any other public school for young monks,
mostly aged between 8 and 17. They are taught Tibetan, English,
social studies, sciences, biology, mathematics, and stories relating
to Buddhism. They can stay up to the 8th grade. For their religious
education, the young monks are taught through reading and memorizing
a wide range of prayer texts, including Dhag-Dhag Ma (a collection
of prayers of D.K.), Zangchod (a prayer by Lord Buddha), Dolma
(Tara prayer) and Solkas (praise texts of Dharma Protectors).
After completing the Lower School, the monks join the Higher School.
The Higher School
is designed for adult monks, who are mostly aged between 16 and
30. Today, the traditional Drikung Kagyu monastic system of educating
monks is applied. It takes 9 years to complete the course. For
the first four years, the following books are taught as the main
subjects: Bodhisattvacaryavatara ("Engaging in Bodhisattva
Conduct" by Shantideva), Pramana ("logic and reasoning
science"), Madyamikashastra ("Middle Way System"
by Nagarjuna), Madyamikaavatra ("Middle Way System"
by Chandrakirti). In addition, there are languages classes in
Tibetan and English. On completion of the course, the monks are
qualified in Madyamika philosophy. Over the next three years,
the main subjects are: Abhidharma ("manifest dharma"),
Prajanapramita ("the perfection of wisdom"), The Treatise
of Maiteria and Gong Chik ("the one thought"). At the
end of the three years, the students are awarded the degree of
Tencho (Shastri). In the final two years, the main subjects are:
Vinaya ("monastic codes of conduct"), and sets of Tantric
teachings. The monks are then awarded the degree of Lopon (Acharya).
Postgraduate studies in the various branches of Buddhist philosophy
will earn the title of Khanpo.
A short biography of the present
Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche
Holiness' full name is Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Konchok Tenzin
Kunzang Thinley Lhundrup. He is the 37th throne-holder of the
Drikung Kagyu Order and is the 7th reincarnation of Konchok Rana.
His predecessor was Kyabgon Tenzin Shawe Lodro (1889-1943).
Drikung Chetsang Thinley
Lhundrup was born in 1946 near Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet.
At the age of 4, he was recognized as the reincarnation of the
previous Drikung Kyabgon, Shiwe Lodro, and was formally enthroned
in the seat of the head of the Drikung Kagyu School at Drikung
Thil Monastery. In 1957, at the age of eleven, during the great
Monkey Year Festival of Drikung Kagyu, Drikung Chetsang gave his
first public teachings and Phowa transmission. In 1959, his family
fled to India, his monastery was closed by the Chinese Government
and he was adopted by his former tutor, His Eminent Gyabra Rinpoche.
In 1960, Drikung Chetsang joined an elementary school in Lhasa
and was able to complete middle school in 1969, achieving great
success both in his studies and on the football field. In 1969,
he had to work as a farmer in the countryside. In 1975, he escaped
alone from Tibet to Nepal and his wish was fulfilled by two unknown
persons whom he met on the way and who helped him enormously.
On his arrival in India, Drikung Chetsang had an audience with
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and an official ceremony was
organized to again enthrone him as head of the Drikung Kagyu School.
After three months in India, Drikung Chetsang went to the United
States for two and a half years and was reunited with his family
after eighteen years of separation. In America, he took an adult
education course in English language and worked part-time in MacDonald's.
In 1978, he returned to India and resumed his monastic lifestyle
at Phiyang Monastery, in Ladakh, in the north of India. There
he engaged in religious studies. Drikung Chetsang then entered
into retreat for three years at Lama Yuru Monastery, under the
guidance of the master, Kyunga Rinpoche. In 1985, Drikung Chetsang
received his full monk's ordination law from His Holiness the
14th Dalai Lama, at Bodhgaya, where the Lord achieved his enlightenment
In 1985, Drikung Chetsang
founded the Jangchub Ling Monastery in India. The monastery has
now become the central Institute of the Drikung Kagyu Order and
is the center for many projects, including collecting all the
Drikung Kagyu texts (which are now rare) and setting up a "Computer
Library" and restoring and establishing new meditation retreat
centers, where many of the graduates will undertake a traditional
three year retreat upon completion of their training.
Though His Holiness the Drikung
Chetsang travels world-wide in the course of his religious activities,
he lives mainly at Jangchub Ling Monastery, in Dehra Dun, Northern