Dzongsar shedra

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The newly built shedra at Dzongsar attracts students from across the Tibetan plateau and from all four schools of Tibetan Buddhism. photo courtesy of Matthew Pistono

Kham-jé Shedra at Dzongsar - Even though a small shedra existed, it is generally considered that it was founded in 1918 by Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö on account of his major influence on the development of the institution. The first khenpo to teach there was the great Khenpo Shenga. The shedra was destroyed with the rest of Dzongsar Monastery by the Chinese invasion in 1958. It was rebuild in 1983 and now welcomes more than 400 students under the direction of Khenpo Pema Damchö and Khenpo Puntsok Namgyal.

In exile

Parallel to the rebuilding of the shedra in its original location, in exile Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche reinstated the Dzongsar Shedra in 1982 in Geylshing in Sikkim. The classes resumed in 1983 with the coming of Khenpo Kunga Wangchuk after more than 20 years in Chinese prison. It was soon moved to Bir in the Himachal Pradesh state of India, 70km east of Dharamsala. Under the extraordinary efforts of Khen Rinpoche the shedra steadily developed attracting more and more students thanks to its renewed reputation as one of the foremost centre of learning. In 2004 His Holiness the Dalai Lama inaugurated in Chaundra, 6 km from Bir, a brand new complex which can house more than 1000 monks and is called the Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö Institute. The DKCL complex includes eleven classrooms, a library, computer and reading rooms, and a temple whose main hall can accommodate more than 4,000 people. The institute now has a faculty of highly trained khenpos and hundreds of students enrolled in an intensive nine-year graduate program.