History of Karma Dupgyud Choeling Monastery


Karma Dupgyud Choeling Monastery was founded by His Holiness the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje. He blessed the site during his visit to Ladakh in 1967. The monastery was established according to the wish of H.H. the Gyalwa Karmapa with the intention to set up a   Buddhist centre in the region. His Eminence Choeje Chime Rinpoche had taken great pains to undertake the construction of the monastery without minding about the fund constraint and hardship involved.

The construction work commenced in 1975. In the same year, the then Prime Minister of India, the late Smt. Indira Gandhi paid a visit to the monastery during her visit to Ladakh. In 1976, the construction of the monastery was completed with four pillars and eight posts including a separate apartment for Rinpoche and private rooms for monks. With some 25 monks enrolled in the beginning, the holy sangha was thus established.

In the same year, H.H. the Dalai Lama visited Ladakh for the Kalachakra Initiation. As a result of prayers, His Holiness had very kindly graced the inauguration ceremony of the newly built monastery and performed the consecration as well. On top of that, His Holiness had also presided over the annual Purification Day (Sang Puja).

In 1976, H.E. Tai Situ Rinpoche visited Ladakh for the first time. Chime Rinpoche initiated the first Great Mahakala Puja in the monastery and Situ Rinpoche performed the Goma dance which is supposed to be performed by the Vajra Master. Drupon Tenzin Phuntsok led the Vajra dance as its head and Umze Samten carried out the role of the chant master respectively. After that, Situ Rinpoche stayed back for several months in Ladakh.

In 1984, H.E. Goshir Gyaltsap Rinpoche paid a visit to Ladakh and the Great Mahakala Puja was held under his leadership. He also performed the Goma dance. In that same year, both Chime Rinpoche and Gyaltsab Rinpoche participated in the Dorje Drolod Practice which was considered the rarest practice ever held in the monastery.

The Nyungney Lhakhang (Fasting Temple) was built in 1996. In 1998, H.H. the Dalai Lama had kindly consented to grace the inauguration ceremony of the said temple. One year later, H.H. Shamar Rinpoche also visited the Ladakh region and consecrated the whole monastery. He stayed there for a week and fulfilled the wishes of all devotees. The monastery has been providing basic necessities like meals and clothing apart from Dharma teachings to the monks.

In 1999, H.E. Chime Rinpoche passed away. Later in 2003, the Central Institute of Buddhist Studies, an institute under the Government of India was kind enough to introduce monastic school as its feeder school. Since then, the institute has been providing two teachers, scholarship and annual furniture to the monastic school.

On 2nd August 2006, following an incessant rainfall in the region the old monastery collapsed.  H.H. Karmapa advised and decided that a new monastery should be rebuilt. On the auspicious day of 12th September 2008, the young incarnation of Chime Rinpoche laid the foundation stone of the new monastery. Due to the shortage of funds and a harsh climatic condition in Ladakh as it is situated at a very high altitude similar to Tibet, the construction work could not be continued for more than five or six months. As a result of that, construction work took around seven years and finally, it is on the verge of completion this year. In the meantime, the monk body led by the late Chagzod La (general secretary) requested H.H. the 17th Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje for his blessing and gracious presence and H.H. Karmapa has very kindly consented to grace the inauguration ceremony as the chief guest.

The monks of Karma Dupgyud Choeling have been engaging in daily prayers and rituals, honing torma-making skills and practising musical instruments used in pujas. The novices are receiving education on various subjects from the monastic school. The monastery has no separate retreat centre and academic centre so far. Yet, the monastery is extending its full support to those who are interested in pursuing higher studies and retreat outside of Ladakh.

At present, the monastery has a total of around 70 monks including Chime Rinpoche, Lama Woeser, attendant of the late 16th Karmapa and some monks who are pursuing higher studies in various shedras (academic institutes) outside of Ladakh.

In its completeness, the monks of Karma Dupgyud Choeling Monastery are involved in upholding, spreading and preserving the holy doctrines of the Buddha in all aspects.

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