Journey of Palpung Sherabling…

Arrival at the Monastery

Shedra and Stupas

There are 15 students from 4 different nationalities in my class. Among them 11 are monks, 3 are nuns, and one lay person(myself). we all are pursuing the Rime Geshe curriculum at IBD (Institute of Buddhist Dialectics) which is situated at a beautiful hill station called Dharamshala. This year at the end of June my whole classmates went to study at Palpung Sherabling Buddhist Monastic University, known as Sherabling Monastery for three months. This monastery is around 70kms away from Dharamshala which takes about 2 hours by car.

Brief introduction of the Monastery

In 1975, the present 12th Kenting Tai Situpa’s disciples from Derge and Nangchen region who settled in Bir, Himachal Pardesh Northern India, donated a protected pine forested land located in the foothills of the Himalayas. Here he started to establish Palpung Sherabling, which later became his seat in India. The building was designed by Kenting Tai Situpa, and is built of modern materials and finished in traditional Tibetan architectural fashion. The concept of design follows the ancient science of geomancy. Palpung Sherabling cultivates and preserves the artistic lineage of the Palpung tradition. The monastery, only a few miles from the nearest town, retains its calmness and isolation.

It has 250 monks’ quarters, (which accommodate over 500 monks) three shrine halls, six shrine rooms, and all of the traditional and modern monastic features. Palpung Sherabling also has retreat houses for monks and nuns and individual cabins for lay practitioners.

The 12th Kenting Tai Situpa is progressively developing Palpung Sherabling according to his ideal: from an ordinary point of view, to build a seat for a great master; from a more profound level to establish a place to display and maintain the culture and lineage of Tibetan Buddhism and a place to educate the masters of the next generation; from the foremost and most profound level, to transform this pure land into the Wisdom Deities’ Mandala.

Audience with His Eminence Tai Situ Rinpoche

Audience with H.E.Tai Situ Rinpoche

After settling down at the monastery for studies, we got opportunities to get an audience with H.E. Tai Situ Rinpoche. Rinpoche is the head and founder of this monastery. He gave us a piece of advice about studies and the importance of the Dharma. He said that nowadays facilities increasing but the number of students decreasing day by day. The revival of the Buddha dharmas is in our hands and for that, we should try our best. This institute is open to all people who wish to learn dharma, meditation, philosophy, medicine, and astrology. Rinpoche is the teacher of 17th His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa, Urgyen Thinley Dorje.

Classes Begin

With teachers

Since we are pursuing Rime Geshe(non-sectarian Geshe) so we came here for studying the philosophy of Kagyud tradition. During these three months, we studied Je Gampopa’s Thagpo Thargyen( Jewell ornament of liberation in Tibetan-དམ་ཆོས་ཡིད་བཞིན་གྱི་ནོར་བུ་ཐར་པ་རིན་པོ་ཆེའི་རྒྱན། middle way philosophy ༼དབུ་མའི་ལྟ་བ།༽ of His Holiness 8th Gyalwang Karmapa Mikyo Dorje and commentary on Pragyaparmitasutra༼ཤེས་རབ་སྙིང་པོའི་འབྲེལ་པ།

In the everyday evening, I joined the debate with the monks of the monastery. Monks were so kind to me while debating or discussing various topics of Buddhism and philosophy. I did not find ego in any monk which is base of the life. ego is the biggest enemy and creates obstacles in the process of learning and training the mind. We might be different in philosophical fields because everyone has their own choice in the process of peace of liberation or Nirvana but we should not keep an egoistic mind to prove our own philosophy.

Attend the Nonsectarian Conference

Group Photo with speakers and participants

it was my honor to participate in the 3rd National Non-sectarian Conference on Sutra and Tantric Philosophy for two days organized by the First Indian International Association of Non-sectarian Tibetan Religion and Palpung Sherabling Monastery. I was very much moved to listen to the presentation of all six religious traditions of Tibet i.e. Bon, Nyingma, Sakya, Kagyud, Jonag, and Geluk. All scholars put their philosophical views very intensively and clearly. I found that such kind of conference should happen more and more between all existing major philosophical schools. There are many common grounds in every tradition which can bring all religious traditions together. the great 14th His Holiness the Dalai Lama is sharing these non-sectarian thoughts for the last many decades and it also shows the result. His Holiness always says that don’t stick to your own tradition and religion. His religion is compassion. Lay people must so much interested in such kinds of conferences or seminars.

Fun time with friends

Fun time

The surrounding of Sherabling is very beautiful and there are many fountains and rivers with flow down from the Himalayas. A few times with friends went swimming and bath in the rivers and fountains. There is a world-famous paragliding site called Billing, Bir is within walking distance from the monastery. A few times during the weekly holiday I went for long walks, jogging with friends and had tea, laphing, paratha, and so on. The first picture is taken at the oldest tea shop at Baijnath. The shop is made of mud and wood but the test of chai was super.

Last night at Sherabling

Singing and talking

This was our official final last night at the Sherabling monastery and the monetary organized a tea party or farewell party for us. The abbot, teachers, discipline masters, and all students gathered together for the party. The monks were from different states of India, mostly northeast states. they sang songs and made jokes. it was a very emotional moment for me to depart from there after three months. Though I never sang a song publically I take this chance to sing and I did well. everyone in the hall sang with me. I sang an old song which means “never say goodbye”. Chalte Chalte,Mere Ye Geet Yad Rakhna. Kabhi Alvida Na Kahna…

In the end, I really want to thank H.E.Tai Situ Rinpoche, teachers, abbots, discipline masters, teachers, and staff who took the best care while I was there for the purpose of Dharmas studies. You all will remain in my heart always. I can say definitely that I made a good relationship with the monks of Sherabling monastery which I feel is very much important in life.

4 comments on “Journey of Palpung Sherabling…

  1. Pratibha bauddhh September 28, 2022 4:08 pm

    Information about Tibetan culture in one of your most beautiful, through this article, you will feel a new information by sharing this information that you have worked in your very own wain👍

  2. Elad Fein September 29, 2022 1:57 am

    Sound like an amazing experience, in the beautiful sherab king. What an opertunity to understand and experience rime and different tibeten sect in first hand. When I was chair of dharma friends Israel (which mainly follows gelukp) I tried to open it to the kagyu tradion as well and noticed how hard was it to accept…

    • Kailash Bauddha September 29, 2022 9:08 am

      thank you so much for your valuable comment.

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