Message from Shangpa Rinpoche
The Beginning of an Idea
The walls of the old monastery I was studying in as a child are the boundaries of the memories I have of my childhood. I had many teachers as a child reincarnate and these teachers have never failed to amaze me with their immense patience. No matter how I would make fun of them or tease them, they would always return it with kindness and compassion. I still hold their compassionate guidance and kind words of heartfelt advice close to my heart. They remain fresh in my memories and I still think about them from time to time; especially Ven. Dupsing Rinpoche, probably because he was the one who took care of me right from the time when I first stepped into a monastery. He was also one of the first teachers I came in contact with. It seems like it was just yesterday that we were sitting by the fire in his room, talking.
I also still remember how my teachers would impart all of their knowledge in Buddha Dharma completely and selflessly, both in theory and in practice. I owe my spiritual developments to the complete devotion and selfless dedication of the teachers who have taught me. I also remember being so inspired by what they do that right from the time when I was a child I aspired too to be a teacher like them, selfless and dedicated. I told myself that one day, I would want to build a school that will be filled with all these wonderful teachers so that many can also share this inspiring experience that I have been through, that many will learn to be selflessly devoted and completely dedicated to the teaching and the propagation of Buddha Dharma. I wanted to share my experience with the whole world. I think it was at that point of time that the seed of aspiration was planted in my heart, that one day I would build a Buddhist Institute.
Along with the days that passed, the lessons grew in terms of the length of time and the depth of difficulty. I had more opportunities of learning from even more Lamas, Rinpoches and Khenpos who were equally inspiring. Always joyful and kind, they were a source of great inspiration. The days that passed turned into years but I became even more resolute in accomplishing my dream to set up a Buddhist institute.
His Holiness Karmapa's Blessing
The age of 21 was a turning point in my life. It was when I was 21 years old that my teacher, His Holiness the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa wanted me to be the Abbot of the Jangchub Choeling Monastery in Pokhara. I was a young Rinpoche who had just graduated from Varanasi University in the Buddhist Higher Institute in India. I was totally inexperienced and at a complete loss of knowing how to run a monastery. I only had experience being a student and nothing else. The immense faith that His Holiness the late 16th Karmapa had in me gave me all the confidence I needed to handle the task he had wanted me to take on. I remember it as if it was just yesterday that my late teacher, the 16th Karmapa told me: "Face difficulties and obstacles in the course of your Dharma work with perseverance and confidence and success will be your reward at the end of the day."
Till this day, the words of His Holiness still ring in my ears. These words of wisdom are the answers to whatever obstacles I meet up with, whatever difficulties that may come in my way in whatever project that I am handling and whatever obligations I am suppose to fulfill.
An Opportunity Presents Itself
In 2000, I was asked by the late Lama Kunkhyab Rinpoche to assume the responsibilities for a monastery located at Kirtipur. Although I did not decline his request, it was not something that I could immediately commit to as I was quite occupied with other projects and I did not want to be half-hearted in my involvement. However, after due consideration, it occurred to me that this would be a good opportunity to realize my goal of establishing an institute of Buddhist Studies to cater to the general public. It is my vision that a place of learning would have far more scope than a monastery in propagating the Dharma to benefit as many sentient beings as possible.
There are many reasons why Nepal, as a country, is such a rich source of Buddhism. I feel that Nepal is the ideal location for this Institute. The most obvious reason would be the fact that Lord Buddha was born in this country. He prophesied that the nation would have great potential for spiritual practice and development. It has been proven to be so before 700 C.E. as many great accomplished masters, including Atisha and Marpa Lotsawa transited here while traveling from India to Tibet where Buddhism was flourishing.
The country is graced with numerous ancient stupas, temples and monasteries which have been preserved and are still functioning today. Though modern technology has made inroads into the society in general, local traditions and native cultures are still kept intact and are still in practice till this day. Such an environment will be truly conducive for studies in the philosophy of Buddhism.
The Institute itself is situated in Kirtipur on the outskirts of the capital city, Kathmandu. This special plot of land has been blessed by His Holiness 16 th Karmapa for the future development of Buddha Dharma on two occasions. It is enveloped by quiet, scenic beauty that calms the heart and soothes the mind.
Goal and Vision
Buddhism is gaining popularity internationally. The number of people who are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with their unhappy modern lifestyles are ever on a rise. They are only beginning to reap the benefits from the wisdom of the Buddha's teachings and understand that the profound path of Buddha Dharma can lead them to peace, liberation and ultimately, enlightenment. In order to achieve this bStudent Testimonials : Kagyu Institute of Buddhist Studieslissful state of enlightenment, it is necessary to receive the teachings from a perfect master under conditions which are favourable for learning and receiving these necessary teachings.
The Institute's goal is to provide a venue for followers from any part of the world to gain spiritual knowledge and enhance their spiritual development. This educational facility will offer guidance to all; whatever their aspirations may be. A variety of courses are available at the Institute and they are structured for all levels of study. A temple is located on the grounds for devotional practice. Accommodation is available for live-in students. There will also be a library and an internet cafe.
The Institute is significant because it is the first of its kind in the Karma Kagyu lineage in Nepal . May it serve to bring the light of the Dharma to as many sentient beings as possible.
Acknowledgement and Thanks
When I embarked on this project, I merely wanted to realize my vision and my childhood dream. I had very little funding. To add onto that, a great deal of planning and organizing was necessary in varied fields of expertise like architecture, construction, interior design, curriculum development and hostel management. With His Holiness Karmapa's blessing, many people from Nepal and overseas offered their talent and financial assistance without hesitation. It is because of their suggestions, collaboration, effort and generosity that this site has been completely transformed. Without their valuable contribution, the noble task of establishing this Institute would not have been possible.