- History of Khamgar Shedra in Tibet
- History of Khamgar Shedra in India
In Tibet, Protector of beings-Tsangpa Gyaray Yeshi Dorje, who is a manifestation of Avalokithishvara, and known to be great Pandit Naropa in India, is prophesied as a great being by Buddha. Since, he initiated Drukpa Lineage in Tibet, adherent of the lineage constantly kept exercising deep practice of Mahamudra, deep-path-six phenomena of Naropa, and six pith instruction of equalizing taste of all the phenomena. Consequently, the lineage spread into three different parts, naming Upper, middle and lower Drukpa lineage by lineage holder (Lorepa and Godtsangpa) and (Pariwa Kyang Nyi). Yet another lineage, which started from Wonray Dharma Singh and followed by his successor, known as nine masters with title of lion, and Rigsum Namtrul (manifestation of three Bodhisattvas) is named as seat holder lineage. In that way, as it was prophesied by Vajra Varahi , stating Drukp lineage would be spread as far as a distance that a vulture takes eighteen days to reach, Drukpa lineage was pervaded all over inside Tibet and out.
In the early of the 16th century, 4th reincarnation of Tsangpa Gyaray, Khunchen Pema Karpo, who held the title of omniscient, took great care of the practice and teachings descended from his ancestors. In addition to that, he expended the scriptural teachings (Lungi Tenpa) as well in great way. As a result, many intellectual and learned adherents appeared i.e. Khewang Sangjay Dorje, Bod Kheypa Gelek Namgyal and Dhue Shappa Pal Gyal Wangpo, who are recognized as pillar of oral-teachings, and their students’ students etc. Thereafter, he initiated an Institution for learning dialectic, which is known for Pekar Institution and it is the first dialectic institution in Drukpa lineage.
Later, fourth reincarnation of Khamtrul Rinpoche, Tenzin Choekyin Nyima set up a new institution for dialectic study, which is named Victorious Dharma Teaching Garden (Tsenyi Shedra Namgyal Choekhor Ling), at Jinphu Palgyi Yangwen in Chamdo, Kham. There were one hundred and eight students were learning on Sutra teachings. Therefore, many discerning and scholar emerged from the institution, and with their light of teachings enlightened the ignorant people and led them toward the permanent happiness. Similarly, seventh reincarnation of Khamtrul Rinpoche, Sangjay Tenzin considered to set up a proper dialectic institution at Khampagar. Therefore, he shared his planning to Kathoc Situ great Pandit Choekyi Gyaltso and received high appreciation. And, although Khenpo Tsedor was specially sent at Khampagar for organizing a new Shedra or institution of dialectic, it did not happen due to early passing away (Parinirvana) of Sangjay Tenzin, seventh Khamtrul Rinpoche.
However, 8th Khamtrul Rinpoche, Kalzang Dongyu Nyima made construction of two-story hall and well completed main temple, surrounded by eighty rooms along with Kitchen. He also invited Khenpo Lekshe from Kham and Khenpo Gedun Dharje from Kathoc, who incessantly taught five major texts of Buddhist and monks fondly continued learning and developed their writing, debating and teaching skills and widely spread the Buddha Dharma until cultural revolution took place in 1953.
After the revolution, Tulku Nyendak Gyatso, a brother of 8th Khamtrul Rinpoche, established a new main temple along with sixty rooms. On top of that, Bong Tul Rinpoche provided help on food and clothes to the students. In 1995, Khenpo Lawang Dorje from Pehying monastery was invited to teach. Subsequently, Khenpo Karma Tsewang from Gonphu monastery was invited for teaching as well. Although, they had been teaching constantly, learning and teaching could not last for long, due to passing away (Parinirvana) of Ven. Tulku Nyendak Gyatso and H.E. Drupga Rinpoche was so young. Hence, senior and elite students had to send to different direction and institution i.e. Serthang Larung Gar, Za SerShul monastery, Za Arig Gar and Dhingpa Che etc for studying.
Teaching ornament of salvation by Dakpo Rinpoche ( Dhakp Tharjen) to the lay people and monks by H.E. Drupga Rinpoche in 2007, though some of the student already left to India for study, other students studying at Serthang Larung Gar have joined back to the monastery. Thereafter, improving ample facilities of monastery, senior and elite students, who has been to other institution or monastery for studying were entitled with Khenpo degree. Students are, Tsewang Gyurmi, Nawang Namgyal, Karma Migyur, Damchoe Yongdul and Sonam Palzang, appointed as Khenpo.
After expanding the old monastery, it is newly built a four story monastery, including with one hundred and eight rooms for monks accommodation. Due to excellent teachings of Khenpos for around ten years, the number of learners and their proficiency has been increased in a great way. Right now, there are around one hundred and fifty monks who are studying, and within them there are five students, who have ability to assist teachings. Moreover, Khenpo Sonam Palzang has been teaching Grammar and hand writing etc. for many years and yet he is continuing the teachings to around fifty primary students.
In Tibet, due to Cultural Revolution took place in 1950s; Pal Gyalwa DhoKhampa 8th Khamtrul Rinpoche had to leave his own country (Tibet). Shortly after his arriving in India, he established an institution to preserve Tibetan Buddhism and culture, which was known as a Great Baksa non-sectarian Dharma Centre, where any student from the any sect of Tibetan Buddhism could join and study Buddhist Philosophy. In addition, during Khamtrul Rinpoche’s staying at Kalingpong, Dhalahouse and Tashi Jong, he organized classes to continue study Buddhist philosophy and also invited different Khenpos from different sect i.e, Nyinma Khenpo Tsondue, Kagyu Khenpo Choedar and Sakya Khenpo Rinchen to teach Tulkus and novice monks.
After the Parinirvana of 8th Khamtrul Rinpoche, philosophy teaching to monks couldn’t continue for sometimes due to not getting proper teaches (Khenpos). However, as Losal Zangpo Bodh was advised and indicated by 8th Khamtrul Rinpoche for taking care of philosophy teaching in the future, Losal Zangpo Bodh continued his philosophy study from Sakya Khenpo Rinchen and Nyima Khenpo Dazer. When Losal Zangpo Bodh completed his study, H.E Dorzong Rinpoche appointed and granted him the title of Khenpo in Tashi Jong. Since then, Khenpo Losal Zangpo Bodh had taught Buddhist philosophy to around forty monks including from Tashi Jong monastery and Bhutan etc. for many years. Those days, fundamental necessary of Shedra monks were provided from main monastery.
As 8th Khamtrul Rinpoche was so kind to Jamyang Khyentse Yeshi Rinpoche over both spiritually and conventionally and also had a great anticipation to have Buddhist philosophy institution, Jamyang Khyentse Yeshi Rinpoche built an institution for Buddhist philosophy (Shedra) to pay back the kindness of 8th Khamtrul Rinpoche. In addition to Shedra, Khyetse Rinpoche grant sufficient amount of funds for running the separate Kitchen of Shedra. Consequently, it was able to conduct an opening ceremony of Shedra under the presence of Pal Gyalwa DhoKhampa 9th Khamtrul Rinpoche Shedrup Nyima and commenced Shedra study in 2004. In the Shedra Kitchen incharge was organized from main monastery for some years.
In 2005, under the guidance of H.H. 9th Khamtrul Rinpoche, H.E. Dorzong Rinpoche and others Tulkus, monks from Khampagar in Tibet, Choeying Lhundup, Jampa Yonten and Nawang Zangpo etc. joined to Shedra and extended their helps on managing classes, subjects, teachings and rules and regulations along with Khenpo Losal Zangpo Bodh and Popa Tulku. Since Choeying Lhundup had studied in different institution of Buddhist philosophy for many years, 9th Khamtrul Rinpoche bestowed the Khenpo title and appointed him as Khenpo.
In 2006, seeking guidance and indication mainly from H.H. 9th Khamtrul Rinpoche, H.E. Dorzong Rinpche and others Tulkus, for separate Shedra office, Khenpo Losal Zangpo Bodh was given the responsibility of fund raiser for regular expenses of Shedra and Khenpo Choeying Lhundup, teacher Jampa Yonten and teacher Nawang Zangpo look after the classes, teachings, and office management etc. In 2008, new students around fifty were admitted in the Shedra and furnished their basic needs and study from Shedra and, also that year started to send a teacher to Dongyu Gatsal Ling nunnery from this Shedra.
Due to substantial increasing of new monks by every year in the Shedra, and concerning about Drukpa lineage’s degeneration because of its rare proper institution, where lineage follower can go and study, Khenpos and stuffs sought guidance from Khamtrul Rinpoche and others Rinpoche to organize a new team to build a new Shedra. In 2009, taking the guidance from 8th Khamtrul Rinpoche, Dorzong Rinpoche and Yogi (Tokden) Achoe la, Lhudup Palden, monk of Shedra, was handed over as an in charge (Nyerpa) of Shedra Kitchen. Moreover, while Popa Tulku was the vise president of Tashi Jong, he set up a day school for native Indian and Tibetan children. Later, on the request from the Shedra stuffs and Khenpos to Popa Tulku for offer that day school to Shedra so that Shedra could primary school over there. As the acceptance of Popa Tulku, more than fifty new monks had moved to the new primary school. Same year, it was also decided to built a new Shedra at the monastery field and teacher Jampa Yonten and Nawang Zangpo who were done their many years study in different institution, there were given the title of Khenpo by H.H. 9th Khamtrul Rinpoche.
In 2010, the construction of new Shedra was registered on the name of H.H. 9th Khamtrul Rinpoche and started the construction. A teacher Tsultrim Namgyal was given the title of Khenpo. In 2011, plot of the new Shedra consecration ceremony was done on the presence of H.H. Khamtrul Rinpoche and Dorzong Rinpoche and Dugu Choegyal Rinpoche. Nearly about this year, as Khenpo Zangpo Bodh recommended having a Dharma Centre in Malaysia, members of Shedra sought guidance from H.H. Khamtrul Rinpoche and set up a Dharma Centre in Malaysia and Khenpo Zangpo Bodh was the president of the centre. Similarly, around 2013, as Khenpo Nawang Zangpo also recommended for a Dharma Centre in Taiwan, through Shedra a Dharma centre is also set up in Taiwan where Khenpo Nawang Zangpo leads the centre.
In 2015, senior teacher Tenzin Topgyal and Tashi Gyaltsen were bestowed the title of Khenpo and the following year in 2016 senior teachers: Sonam Wangyal, Tenzin Jampa, Lodue Gyatso, Tsewang Dechen and Sonam Dakpa were designated as a Khenpo by H.H. 9th Khamtrul Rinpoche. Along with that we have started to work on our new construction, building new Shedra. On top of that we also sent some teachers to Zangskar, Ladakh region for teaching Dharma. In 2017, two teachers from Sera je monastery in south India have join this Shedra to teach. As a result, we are able to send a teacher to Janchup Jong monastery to teach Buddhist philosophy. A part from that we have invited several teachers from Dzongsar Institute and Sera Je monastery. In brief, under the guidance of H.H. 9th Khamtrul Rinpoche, H.E. Dorzong Rinppoche and Tokden Achoe, we Shedra members: Khenpo Zangpo Bodh, Khenpo Choeying Lhundup, Khenpo Jampa Yonten, Khenpo Nawang Zangpo, Tulku Popa and others teacher and stuffs are doing our best effort from all side to progress whether it is education, rules and regulation, funds, construction, or student. Blessing and inspiration of H.H. Khamtrul Rinpoche, currently more than two hundred monks and novice including teacher and students are learning Buddhist philosophy in this Shedra (Khamgar Druk Dharmakara College).