Jangchug Ling Monastery

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 monks of Jangchup Ling Monastery

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

HIs Holiness the Drikung ChetsangHis 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 India.

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 India.

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