Located in Darjeeling, India, the Korseong Monastery and Nunnery recently came under the stewardship of the Venerable Chhoje Rinpoche. The monastery is home to both monks and nuns who practice the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. It has quite a long history, as the location is considered to be a sacred and highly blessed site, one that magnetizes both lay practitioners and robed sangha alike. Most of the practitioners who utilize the main shrine room for devotional prayers and meditation are villagers of Nepalese descent. As is the case with most Tibetan monasteries in India and throughout the world, the monastery relies on support from the lay Buddhist community to continue its activities.
In 2011, representatives from the local community met with Chhoje Rinpoche to describe the various problems and urgent needs that had to be met to enable them to continue running Korseong. Padmasambhava Meditation Center’s goal is to help Rinpoche fulfill the commitments he made to the monastery and to the local community. These promises included revitalizing the main shrine room, rebuilding the access road and providing living expenses for the resident monks and nuns.
Progress Report as of June 2013
To date, the lhakang (main shrine room) has been provided with following upgrades: a new wood floor, traditionally decorated glass cabinets which now enclose all statues on the altar, new electrical lighting, and fresco paintings of numerous deities on the inner walls and on either side of the front entrance door. Seven bedrooms, one bedroom with attached bathroom (for the Khenpo) and bathrooms for the monks were completed and fully furnished.
Given the demand for incoming students, Rinpoche is adding a second story to that building. They have just erected two of the eight steel rods for the 100 monks’ residence and are also about to begin work on Rinpoche’s residence as well. Digging for the septic system of the monks’ residence will begin shortly — all of this work being accomplished by hand!
Chhoje Rinpoche plans to go to Siliguri shortly with Khenpo to order all the electric and plumbing supplies and to identify future purchases that Khenpo must make at each successive stage of construction.
Korseong Shrineroom Paintings
The walls and ceiling of the main shrine room have been repainted with frescoes and sacred images of the peaceful and wrathful Buddhist deities featured in numerous Vajrayana practices. These include the many forms Padmasambhava, Dakini Yeshe Tsogyal, Arya Tara, Vajrasattva, Vajrapani and the Dharmapalas (protectors).
These images are intended to be a source of blessing and inspiration, to help practitioners with their visualization of sacred space, phenomena, and human potential in its purest form. Four expert thangka painters worked on this project.
Korseong Monastery Access Road
In past years, access to the monastery was extremely challenging. Now, a new access road has been built, extending from the nearby main road to the entrance of the monastery. Suitable for larger vehicles, workers have constructed it with appropriate, long lasting and high quality materials.