Guru Sakya Monastery

Guru Sakya Monastery

Sakya Guru Monastery was inaugurated on 17th December 1909 under the leadership of Amdo Lama and a local committee of notable Buddhists of the time. It was the second monastery to be built in Ghoom after Yiga-Choeling Old Ghoom Monastery, and was originally called New Buddhist Monastery. The original statues still stand today, depicting Guru Rimpoche as the main deity, flanked by Lord Buddha. To the left of this you can see the holy Kangpur (Sutras) and a smaller image of Kenchen Bodhisatta. To the right is a complete set of ‘Rinchen Terzed’ with an image of Choegyal Duetsen. In the beginning, the monastery was headed and steered by Amdo Lama himself until his passing in 1918. At this time the monastery fell in to a period of neglect. From 1935 onwards the main temple was converted to a school consisting of two classes. This school functioned until 1946 when it was moved to a building near Yiga-Choeling Old Ghoom Monastery. In 1959 His Holiness the Sakya Trizin, who was in Darjeeling after fleeing Sakya, in Tibet, requested that Dakpa Babu and the committee members of the Monastery make it available to house a group of Sakya Lamas who had also fled Tibet. At this time the Monastery had over 90 lamas and was headed by Gadhen Ponlop Tashi Tenzin as abbot and Geshe Tuchi Wangchuk, Geshe Tashi Namgyal, and Geshe Sherab Gyaltsen as the senior tutors. It was during this period, under very trying conditions, that that the learned lamas began the difficult task of recalling from memory the sacred texts of the Sakya tradition which were then handwritten on a daily basis. The first prayer book, ‘Cho jod Molam’ was printed in Darjeeling with seed money of 20 rupees donated by Po Jayang. In 1961, upon the suggestion of His Holiness Sakya Trizin Rinpoche, Khenpo Sangay Tenzin was appointed as abbot (mkhan po) in the Guru Sakya Monastery at Ghoom, to take charge of the monastic community in Ghoom, and to provide the necessary leadership. Khenpo Sangay Tenzin, a learned scholar, began his task in earnest. During his time most of the sacred Sakya texts were transcribed and printed under the monastic order of Sakya Guru Lhakang Do-Ngag Norbu Ling Choede Chenpo, Ghoom, Darjeeling, as the new seat of the Sakya order in exile and also as the first ever Sakya monastery in exile. Khenpo Sangay Tenzin initiated ‘Yar-Nye’, a summer retreat for all monks from 1962, a tradition which continues to date. In 1979 the (Shedra) College was also founded by Khenpo. In 1987, with the formal handing over of the monastery, Sakya Guru Monastery was registered as a Society within the West Bengal government. Khenpo Sangay Tenzin passed away in 1990, having served His Holiness Sakya Trizin and the Sakya order very faithfully in its early and difficult period, supported loyally by the monastic community. In 1997 Khen Rimpoche’s reincarnation Sakya Khentul Kunga Tenzin Gyaltsen was formally recognised. He successfully completed all the formal monastic trainings in 2002, and currently studies Buddhist philosophy at Sakya College in Rimbick. From 1992 to 2004 the monastery’s noble activities were carried out under the guidance of the late Khenpo Thupten Sangpo and later, in the year of 2005 His Holiness Sakya Trizin appointed Khenpo Palden Phuntsok as a chief abbot of the Guru Sakya Monastery.

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