Bodh Gaya: Gandhen Phelgye Ling

The abbot Ven Ngawang Samten built Gandhen Phelgyeling Bodhgaya Monastery on the 3rd of February, 1938. He built this monastery with the intention of giving his most sincere service to the progress of the Buddha Dharma. He sought help from the government of Tibet and worked hard for many years gathering offerings and material supplies from India and the Kham province in eastern Tibet. He built the monastery, providing it with all the sacred images and holy texts. The primary image of Lord Maitreya stands 13 feet tall. Along with this there are three complete sets of Buddha’s discourses, and one set of treatises composed by Indian scholars.

New students who enter the monastery must undergo a strenuous course of study which includes Buddhist logic, the Tenet system composed by chang-kya Rolpai Dorjee, the path of tantra. In addition to this they must memorize all the tantric texts and Sadhanas of Guhyasamaja, Yamantaka, Heruka, and Kalachakra, and also the thirteen deities.

During an Abbot’s tenure at the monastery they teach Lamrim, mind training text, and Vanaya texts. At present there is one substitute Abbot for the 45 monks residing there. The monastery is located in the main pilgrimage centre and provides any help to Tibetan and foreign pilgrims.

On the 3rd of April 1997, five representatives from the Bodhgaya Monastery, namely master Lungtok Gyatso, disciplinarian Tamdin Dorjee, Gen Kelsang, and Thupten Namdol had an audience with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. At this meeting they relayed their story of success to the Dalai Lama and also their concerns. One of their biggest concerns regarded maintaining the quality of the monastic education in the field of both Sutra and Tantra studies. They felt it would be beneficial if Namgyal Monastery were to take full responsibility by integrating Bodh Gaya Monastery into Namgyal, there by taking responsibility for the restoration of monastic study and general maintenance.

In January 1998 Namgyal Monastery accepted the proposal to make the Gandhen Phelgyeling Monastery an integral part of it. Later, on 19 December 1998, a small meeting was held with cabinet minister Kirti Rinpoche, the general secretary for His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Lobsang Jinpa, the senior working tenure of Namgyal Monastery, and the working tenure of Bodhgaya monastery. It was at this time that the rules and regulations to maintain the standard of the monastery concerning both facilities and study were established.

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