by Wasfia Nazreen
Photo: Wasfia Nazreen
Karzey (Kaza), Spiti Valley, July 9, 2009 - His Holiness the Dalai Lama today blessed the Spiti valley of Himachal Pradesh, reputed for being the Deva-Bhumi or the land of Gods, earlier this morning. The Tibetan leader who turned 74 on Monday inaugurated the new Sakya Tenggyu monastery where he was offered Mandal Tensum and Long life prayers (Tenshug). Also present on the occasion were Honorable Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh Prof. Prem Kumar Dhumal and Local MLA Dr. Ramlal Markanda. Local residents of Spiti valley entertained the guests with performance of cultural dances.
H.E. Khangsar Shabdrung Rinpoche, in his opening speech said: “I take great honor to pay my solemn reverence to the holy lotus feet of the spiritual guidance of fellow sentient beings; the light of the world; the ocean of wisdom; Messiah of the people who are denied of their fundamental rights; Kalayanmitra of fortunate ones who is seeking the path of ultimate happiness; Buddha of present era; Noble laureate; His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso.”
His Holiness performs the blessing ceremony at the monastery's entrance, photo: Wasfia Nazreen, July 9, 2009
H.E. Khangsar Shabdrung Rinpoche also expressed his gratitude to His Holiness for his blessings and teachings. He said it was near impossible for the monks to live at Tenggyu monastery at Gomic during winter and that Ngor Khangsar Khenchen Ngawang Khyentse Thupten Nyingpo, who had come from Tibet in 1960s had kindly built a new monastery at Kaza at the special request of the local community. Even though His Holiness had visited the region several times Tenggyu Sakya monastery had not been able to welcome His Holiness until now due to the lack of facilities and infrastructural needs.
His Holiness will deliver religious teaching tomorrow, followed by the Avalokiteshwara initiation (chenresig wangchen) on July 11th and 12th at the Karzey (Kaza) Tenggyu Monastery. Brief History of Tenggyud Sakya Monastery:
According to H.E. Khangsar Rinpoche, there exist various viewpoints to narrate the history of Tenggyud Monastery such as accounts passed through generation-to-generation and authentic accounts found in histories. It is written in the biography of the great translator, Lochen Rinchen Sangpo (958-1055) that he built over one hundred and eight temples and monasteries in dedication to his mother. History and time testify that Tenggyud Sakya Monastery is also one among them. One can also infer from the fact that during the excavation work at the remains of the former Gomic monastery, some old artifacts and fragments of statues of four Buddhist Guardian Deities were found and they are identical to the statues of Tabo Monastery, which is believed to have been founded by Lochen Rinchen Sangpo.
locals perform traditional dance, photo: Wasfia Nazreen, July 9, 2009
A further reason is given by the words of the great master Choepal Sangpo (14th and 15th Century). While he traveled to Spiti, he said that there exists Sakya monastery at the present site of Nonga (Rongtong) and, other in a Zong (fort) at the vicinity of Gomic. Later on, he combined both the monasteries into one and designated a name for it as “Tenggyud Lhundrup Chokhor Ling”. This great master Choepal Sangpo was direct disciple of Bodong Choklay Namgyal (1376-1451) and Vajradhara Ngorchen Kunga Sangpo (1382-1456). Ngorchen Kunga Sangpo traveled three times in to far western Tibet (Tod Ngari) where he bestowed during his second visit, the empowerment and instruction of Kalachakra and Vajra-Panjara tantra. Among the disciples who received those teachings also was Khenpo Rinchen Sonam from Spiti. As illustrated by these histories, it is evident that the Tenggyud monastery of Spiti has a history of at least 800 years.
The newly built monastery which was inaugurated by His Holiness, stands on the spot where the old monastery known as Tenggyud Lhundrup Choekhor Ling monastery remained for the past 35 years which is directly connected to the old Tenggyud monastery.