In 1958, having foreseen the imminent coming of the communist Chinese, the 8th Khamtrul Rinpoche, Kalzang Dongyu Nyima, left for India with a group of 16 monks and reincarnate lamas. In Eastern Tibet he had been the head of Khampagar Monastery, which had over 200 branch monasteries, nunneries and retreat centers. It was considered one of the foremost monasteries of the Drukpa Kagyü lineage. In India, they settled first in Kalimpong in West Bengal, where many lay people from the Khampagar area in Kham came seeking refuge, and affiliated themselves with the newly formed community. In 1969, they moved to Himachal Pradesh in North India. There they settled in the peaceful Kangra valley on 37 acres of land, which was named Tashi Jong, Tibetan for Auspicious Valley. The late Tokden Amtin mentioned that at the time of the initial consecration of the land of Tashi Jong, both H.H. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and H.E. the 8th Khamtrul Rinpoche clearly felt this place to be the pure land of the Five Manjushris. Nowadays Tashi Jong includes:
A monastery of around 140 monks.
A lay community of about 400 people.
A group of highly realized yogis called Tokdens. In Tibet the Tokdens lived in retreat centers or in caves. In Tashi Jong there is a retreat center with all the facilities needed for extended periods of seclusion. Although they are fully ordained monks, the Tokdens display the matted hair and white robes of Milarepa’s traditional attire. At present, there are around thirteen retreatants, who have been practicing for many years, and who have not set a definite conclusion date as yet.
Other monks at Khampagar are studying Buddhist philosophy, and training in ritual activities and practicing different tantric rituals. Annually they perform ritual dances called Cham, generally known as ‘lama dances’. Cham is a tantric meditative practice adopting the form of very special dances, where the practitioners perform in full costume according to each particular ritual. Cham dances originated from visions of Guru Padma-sambhava and his eight emanations by Kunga Tendzin, the 3rd Khamtrul Rinpoche. They may be viewed by the general public.
Dongyu Gatsal Ling, a nunnery for young women from Tibet and other Himalayan regions, has been established near Tashi Jong by a western nun, Ven. Ani Tenzin Palmo, a disciple of the 8th Khamtrul Rinpoche, to fulfill her Guru's wish. Dongyu Gastsal Ling offers a strong program of Dharma education comprising all aspects of Dharma study, meditation and ritual practices. When completed, it will support 80 nuns.
The 8th Khamtrul Rinpoche, besides being a highly qualified Buddhist teacher, was an excellent artist. He encouraged the community to become a settlement specializing in the preservation of the Buddhist teachings, the Dharma, through their unique Tibetan culture. All facets of the traditional arts were encouraged. Hand woven carpets, woodcarving, and thangka (sacred) painting were carried on under the guidance of master craftsmen.
The community includes many monastic and lay artisans. They produce carpets, woodcarvings, prints, thangkas and other ritual and household ob-jects. Besides their production, a selection of handicrafts from artisans of the Himalayan region we have known for years is available. The profits from these activities help support the welfare services of the community: dispensary, facilities for the aged and needy, vocational centers and the like.
Tashi Jong is making a lot of news because the monastery is trying to mummify a monk there.
Tashi Jong, is 15 kilometers(almost 10 miles) from Palampur and 2 kilometers from Baijnath. This is a small village in between Paprola and Tara Garh (famous for its Taragarh Palace hotel and beautiful tea gardens and main indian Army base (Alhilhal)).
Tashi Jong is a famous Tibetan monastery and set on beautiful Dhauladhar mountains.
Tashi Jong is home to The Drukpa Kagyu tradition, which is one of the schools of the Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. It has a few sub-schools, though they are very similar and transmit the same core of teaching.
In the late 1950’s, the eighth Khamtrul Rinpoche, Dongyu Nyima, seeing that a great problem was imminent, left Tibet with many of his followers just prior to the Communist Chinese invasion. He led his followers to North of India in Himachal Pradesh and started a new Khampagar which they called Tashi Jong. At Tashi Jong, Khamtrul Rinpoche did everything he could to re-establish the various traditions that he and his followers carried with them from Tibet so that they would survive for posterity. Amongst many things, he envisaged a project for the complete restoration of the texts of the Drukpa Kagyu tradition and began the work by having copies of the texts that had been carried out of Tibet freshly transcribed and re-printed in Delhi. He also began work on a new edition of one of the most important written works of the Drukpa Kagyu tradition, The Collected Works of All-knowing Padma Karpo which has become hard to obtain
He assembled good editions of the texts, supervised the cutting of new wood blocks, and did the correction and editing himself. The new edition was not completed before he died but the wood blocks that had been cut were taken to the Bhutanese National Library where they became the basis of a completed work that was published in February, 2000. This is the best edition readily available.
Tashi Jong is also home to Dongyu Gatsal Ling .This Drukpa Kagyu Tibetan Buddhist Nunnery was founded in 2000 for young women from Tibet and other Himalayan regions like Ladakh, Spiti,and Kinnaur. http://www.gatsal.org
Diane Perry a British who became the first fully ordained Western Buddhist nun, Drubgyu Tenzin Palmo, runs this nunnery. She is a multi dimensional personality and has written many books. Her biography tells all about her and her 12 year solitary retreat in a cave in the snowy mountains of northern India, and the effects of her Buddhist experiences on her life thereafter. Tashi Jong - The location of the Khampagar Monastery, founded by the eighth Khamtrul Rinpoche, Dongyu Nyima, in the late 1950s. It is near Bir in Himachal Pradesh
The Khampagar Monastery in Kham, Eastern Tibet is the seat of H.H. Khamtrul Rinpoche. It was the head of over 200 branch monasteries, nunneries and retreat centers in Kham of the Drukpa Kagyu lineage.
In 1965, having foreseen the imminent coming of the communist Chinese, The 8th Khamtrul Rinpoche, Kalzang Dongyu Nyima, left for India with a group of 16 monks. In India, they settled first in Kalipong in West Bengal, where many lay people from Khampagar area in Kham came seeking refuge, and affiliated themselves with the newly formed community. In 1969, the community moved to Himachal Pradesh in North India. There they settled in the peaceful Kangra valley on 34 acres of land which was named Tashi Jong. .The 8th Khamtrul Rinpoche besides being a very highly qualified Buddhist Teacher was an excellent artist. He encouraged the community to become a settlement specializing in the preservation of Dharma, unique Tibetan culture and all kinds of traditional arts like hand woven carpets, wood carving, Thangka (sacred) painting etc.
Nowadays the community has a monastery of 160 monks and about 500 lay people in the settlement. The monastery is unique in many respects and it includes a special group of highly realized yogis called Togdens. In Tibet the Togdens lived in retreat centre or in caves. In Tashi Jong, there are retreat huts for the community of Togdens. Although they are fully ordained Bhikshu, the Togdens display the matted hair and white robes of the Milarepa traditional. At present, there are more then 15 Yogis from old and new retreat centre, who are undergoing this profound training which requires many years to complete.
The other monks at Khampagar are studying Buddhist Dharma philosophy, and training in ritual activities and practicing different tantric sadhanas. They also do a ritual dance called Cham. Cham dance is a tantric meditative dance practice which may be viewed by the full public, where by the practitioners dance in full costume according to a particular sadhana (ritual text). Cham dances originated from the visions of Guru Padmasambhava and his eight emanations which appeared to Kunga Tendzin, the 3rd Khamtrul Rinpoche.
Dongyu Gatsal Ling, a nunnery for young women from Tibet other Himalayan regions, has recently been established near Tashi Jong by a western nun Ven. Ani Tenzin Palmo, a disciple of the 8th Khamtrul Rinpoche, to fulfill her Guru's wish. Dongyu Gastsal Ling offers a strong program of Dharma education comprising of all aspects like study, meditation and ritual practices. When complete, the Dongyu Gatsal Ling will have 80 nuns.The late Tokden Amtin mentioned that at the time of the initial consecration blessings of the land of Tashi Jong, both H.H. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and H.H. the 8th. Khamtrul Rinpoche strongly felt this place to be the pure land of Five Manjushri
H.E. the eighth Khamtrul Rinpoche Dongyu Nyima had rebuilt his main seat, Khampagar, in Tashi Jong as he saw that Tashi Jong and its surrounding areas were the body, speech, mind, quality and activity mandala of Manjushri.
Khampagar Monastery is renowned for their Togdens or Yogis. A Togden is someone who has realized the nature of his own mind through practicing the Six Yogas of Naropa and Mahamudra meditation as well as all other Drukpa practices. He keeps the monk's vows while practicing Tantras, and is normally dressed in white and keeps his hair long, just like the great yogi Milarepa. This tradition of yogis has been very well-developed in the Drukpa monasteries in Kham, Tibet. In actual fact, the entire Drukpa lineage is the lineage of Togdens, and the people of the Drukpa lineage are supposed to follow the Yogis' path. From Tilopa, Naropa, Marpa and Milarepa of the past to the recent yogis of the lineage such as Drubwang Shakya Shri and Tipun Pema Choegyal, their spiritual attainments prove that enlightenment within one lifetime is possible through walking the path of a yogi.
Most of the living Drukpa masters that we meet today were educated and brought up by H.E. the eighth Khamtrul RInpoche Dongyu Nyima in Tashi Jong.
What to See and Do in Tashi Jong Monastery :
Visit the carpet factory. At the end of your walk, the showroom offers you a large selection of Tibetan handicrafts
Great merit accrues from circumambulating the wheels in a clockwise direction. You can also do it.
Khampagar Institute. Monks pursue studies on Buddhist philosophy. See in-charge for possibility of visiting
Kunga Raua temple. Daily ceremonies are held here. You can watch from the windows or the gate
The stupa of the previous Khamtrul Rinpoche. Behind, monks quarters and library, where sacred texts are kept
Main temple. Can be visited by contacting the in-charge. Enter through the door at the left of the main gate
A view of the monastery kitchens, dining hall and young monks school
Tokden Amtin was one of our greatest meditation masters. His shrine can be visited.
H.E. Khamtrul Rinpoche residence. You can meet him by previous appoint-ment. Contact the in-charge
H.E. Dorzong Rinpoche and V. Ven. Choegyal Rinpoche residence. Meeting possible by appointment
Yamantaka temple. Presently is a retreat center, non visitable. Spectacular panorama of Kangra valley. The main shrine in the temple is the center of devotion for both the monastic and lay communities of Tashi Jong. It was designed by the previous Khamtrul Rinpoche himself.
The entire building of this shrine, including woodcarving, gilding, painting, setting up, etc. was carried out by his disciples. He placed precious relics and mantras inside each one of the statues. Then he, together with his disciples and sangha, blessed and consecrated them.
Rinpoche chose to place the last Buddha that appeared on this planet, Buddha Shakyamuni (number 7 in the figure on the left) at the top center, and greater in size than the other manifestations in the shrine. He was preceded by six other Buddhas. Nine hundred and ninety three are yet to manifest during this cycle of the universe, for a grand total of 1000 fully enlightened beings.
Buddha Akshobhya. He lives in the pure realm known as "Sublime Joy" His blessings are effective for the purification of accumulated negative karma, especially anger. Therefore the meditations and practices of this buddha are emphasized in the lineage of this monastery, in order to bring peace and happiness to all beings. He is also a very powerful protector against dangers and obstacles.