Karma Dhargye Chokhorling Monastery
His Holiness the 16th Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje named this Monastery as Pal Karma Choeghar Dongag Shedup Thupten Dhargye Ling. His Eminence Beru Khyentse Rinpoche founded this Monastery, and the lineage of this Monastery is Karma Kagyu.
His Eminence Beru Khyentse Rinpoche’s main seat, during the old society in Tibet was situated at Kham Nangchen Dokshok region. It was a very well developed Monastery with many statues, holy scriptures and stupas and with a large Sangha strength. But with the change of political situation in Tibet, this great Monastery too declined and turned to ruins. However, with the advent of favorable environment, this Monastery was reconstructed in 1987, and in 1998 Kham Dhargye Shedra Institute Shedup Namgyal Ling for higher Buddhist studies was established. Prior to that, in 1983, Kham Dhargye Retreat Center, Chagchen Ling was established. In 1990, Kham Dhargye Nunnery, Dechen Palmo Ling was established. Its branch near Lhasa Nyethang Tashigang, the Sakya Dhargye Monastery was reconstructed in 1992.
In India, Karma Dhargye Chokhorling Monastery was established in 1979 at camp no.2, Mainpat, a Tibetan settlement in central India. A three-year three-month Retreat Center was established at this Tibetan settlement in 1966, and it is called Samten Choeling Center. His Eminence’s main seat in exile, Karma Dhargye Chokhorling is situated at sacred pilgrimage place Bodhgaya, and it was established in 1982.
Karma Dhargye Chokhorling Monastery in Nepal was established in the vicinity of Boudhanath Stupa in 1987. In the Himalaya ranges, Nyeshang Manang Kagyu Monastery, an old Monastery with about three hundred years of glorious history has been offered to His Eminence as a branch of Karma Dhargye Chokhorling Monastery. His Eminence has decided to start a three years three months Retreat Center here in 2004.
The total number of establishments in India, Nepal and Tibet are: five Karma Kagyu Monasteries, one Sakya Monastery, two Retreat Centers, one Shedra Institute and one Nunnery, ten establishments in all.
Kuten (Holy Statues)
In the congregation hall of the Bodhgaya Monastery, as the main support of offering is a one storey high Buddha statue made of copper gilded with gold and life-sized images of both the attendants. On either side of this main image is the thousand Buddha statues, images of the sixteen Arhats and four Celestial guardians. Walls of the congregation hall has murals depicting the twelve deeds of Lord Buddha, these are all painted in fine Indian art style. Outside the main shrine hall, on either side of the door are huge pictures of the four Celestial guardians.
On the second floor, above the main congregation hall is the Golden Rosary shrine room. It houses life-sized images of Guru Rinpoche, Karmapa Rigpe Dorje and Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, made of clay and filled with texts, medicinal herbs and precious objects. Besides, there are forty-two eighteen inch clay images of Vajradhara, Tilopa, Naropa, Marpa, Mila, Dakpo Rinpoche and all great Kagyupa masters from first Karmapa Dusum Khyenpa to sixteenth Karmapa Rigpe Dorje who appears in the “golden rosary of Kagyupa”, Meditational Deities and Dharma Protectors. There are also numerous Nepali bell metal images of Buddhas, Lamas, Meditational Deities and Dharma Protectors.
On the third floor is Tara Shrine room; it houses one-meter high medicinal plaster images of Vajravarahi, Chakrasamvara, Red Chenrezig, White Tara and Green Tara. Images of twenty-one Taras made of yellow bell metal are also placed in this shrine room, besides there are thousand Tara statues made of porcelain.
In the Mahakala shrine room is life-sized clay images of Mahakala, Palden Lhamo and Dhamchen Dorje Lekpa. On the four walls are murals depicting Karma Kagyu lineage lamas, Meditational Deities and Dharma Protectors along with their retinues.
In the hundred million Mani great prayer wheel room is a huge one storey high prayer wheel made of gilded copper, a storey high image of eleven faced, thousand arm and thousand eye Avalokiteshvara, on the walls are murals depicting principal masters of eight great doctrine vehicles of Mahayana school of philosophy. Outside the Mani room, on both the sides of the door are murals of the Bhav chakra “cycle of existence” and Mandala of universe according to Buddhist cosmology.
Sungten (Support of Doctrine or Holy texts)
As a support of the doctrine of the Buddha Karma Dhargye Chokhorling Bodhgaya has two sets of complete Kagyur and a complete set of Tangyur. Beside it has Kabhums (hundred thousand precepts and teachings) of the trinity of KhyenKongChogsum (Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche and Chogling Rinpoche). A complete set of five great treasuries (kosha), scriptures instructing the stages of Mahamudra and treatise by great Indian masters. Besides there are Kabhums of past great masters of Kagyu tradition and volumes of Indian commentary, Tibetan commentary and annotated commentaries on the thirteen great treatise, and a collection of thousands of old and new volumes of religious texts of Kagyu and Nyingma traditions
The monastery has a complete set of wooden printing blocks of Vajravarahi rituals texts, Red Chenrezig, abridged and extended texts of Mahakala, Amitayu texts, daily rituals of Vajravarahi, Chakrasamvara, Red Chenrezig, Sutra of the great liberation, Guru yoga texts of Marpa, Mila, Dakpo Rinpoche Rinpoche and Jamyang Khyentse.
The monastery also has a set of printing blocks for prayer flags such as White Umbrella, Guru Rinpoche prayer for removal of obstacles and clearance of path, Guru Rinpoche prayer for complete realization of wishes, Tara Texts, Victory banner prayer (Gyaltsen Tsemoe pungjen) and wind horse etc.
Thugten (support of mind)
As support of mind there is a three-storey high Kalachakra stupa at Karma Dhargye Chokhorling Monastery, Bodhgaya.
In Mainpat Karma Dhargye Chokhorling, there is a big clay image of Buddha with his two attendants as the principal body representation, besides there are images of the thousand Buddhas. Walls of the congregation hall have murals depicting pictures of lamas, meditational Deities, Bodhisattvas, sixteen Arhats and four Celestial guardians.
As speech representation, there are more than hundred volumes of various texts including Kagyur, Sungbhums of great Kagyupa masters and Tantra ritual texts of Karma Kagyu tradition.
As mind representation there is a Bodhi stupa and a Marajit stupa at Karma Dhargye Chokhorling Monastery, Mainpat. Both these stupas are more than two storeys high.
In Nepal, Karma Dhargye Chokhorling, as principal body representation there are one-storey high medicinal plaster images of Buddha and Guru Rinpoche. Besides, there are life-sized images of Buddha Vairocana, Manjushri, Avaloketishvara, Acharya Bodhisattva and Dharma King Trisong Deutsen. In addition, there are about hundred fourteen inch images of Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and twenty one Taras made of Nepali bell metal. Murals on the walls of main congregation hall depict pictures of the lineage of Mahamudra, lineages of Chod practice, sixteen Arhats. In addition, there are about fifty paintings of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo in his various emanations as great masters of Nyingma, Kagyu, Sakya and old and new Kadampa traditions. Pictures representing the pure vision of great Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo are also depicted on the walls. There are wall size paintings of the Kalachakra and Tantras of the Marpa’s tradition too. On the ceilings of congregation hall are painted Mandalas of the Kalachakra, Vajravarahi, Chakrasamvara, Red Chenrezig, Vajrasattva and Akshobya Buddha.
In the Himalayan ranges, the Nyeshang Manang Kagyu Monastery, Karma Dhargye Chokhorling has, as its principal representation of body, a big Buddha image made of clay mixed with medicinal herbs. Besides, there are images of Guru Rinpoche, wrathful emanation of Guru Rinpoche, and Lion faced Goddess (Sengdongma). Also there are numerous old Nepali bell metal images of Buddha, Bodhisattvas, Meditational Deities and Dharma Protectors. On the walls are murals of the entire assembly of the five secret long life, and the entire assembly of the peaceful and wrathful deities, and different classes of Dharma Protectors. As speech representation there are about one hundred and fifty texts including the kagyur. As mind representation there is a one storey high, old Thongdrol (deliverance at sight) stupa. There are piles of rocks inscribed with texts such as Sangpo Choepa (Badracharya) prayers, great liberation stupa, mantras of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. This long heap of inscribed rocks stretches more than hundred meters long.
Dhargye Monastery, Shedra Institute, Retreat Center and Nunnery at Kham Nangchen, Tibet and Lhasa Nyethang Tashigang Dhargye Monastery have numerous statues, holy texts and stupas. But, in order to avoid a lengthy account, they are not described here on this occasion.