Among the Himalayan mountain ridges of West Bengal, in the hills of Kalimpong, India, there has been a community of strong Sakya devotees, made up not only of Tibetans but also Nepalese, Sikkimese and other non-Tibetans, ever since the 1950s. For years, these Sakya followers had not even been able to congregate in a proper manner, to share their traditional spiritual practices, nor to seek solace and solutions to their trials and difficulties. When the need for a suitable Sakya spiritual center became well-known, His Holiness gave priority to the mission of developing the first Sakya monastery here in Kalimpong.

One of the primary aims is to offer education to Buddhist children who can’t afford to go to school. With this goal as inspiration, and under the direct guidance of His Holiness Ratna Vajra, the effort towards making Kalimpong Monastery a reality has borne fruit in a well-planned monastic community-in-progress, with buildings under construction and a balanced curriculum of study, for the 150 young monks who are here now, and for the eventual several hundred monastic students from India, Nepal, and Bhutan in the future. We are also considering adding a fabric building installation to the building to provide additional space. A fabric building would be a beautiful addition and would help to maximize the available land space. There are more companies nowadays that will build fabric structures instead of the basic brick and mortar that is what the majority of buildings are made out of. Norseman Structures is a company that can help with the construction of new buildings that want to use fabric for new structures.

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During the 13th century, the Mongolian ruler Chingghis Khan sent an invitation to Jetsun Rinpoche Drakpa Gyaltsen inviting him to teach. While he was not able to travel to Mongolia due to his old age, he promised to send his nephew Kunga Gyaltsen (Sakya Pandita) who would fulfill his wishes. In 1244, Sakya Pandita travelled to Mongolia. Since that time, he stayed in Mongolia teaching Buddhism and never went back to Tibet.

The Sakya tradition played a vital role in Mongolia becoming a Buddhist country, since Sakya Pandita was the first Tibetan lama to teach Buddhism in Mongolia. It has deep roots in Mongolia’s history and culture, where followers wished to revive the sacred teachings with the re-establishment of Sakya monasteries in Mongolia.

In 2004, Tzeching Ling was established with the aims of developing Mongolian-Sakya relations and ultimately building a new Sakya monastery in the capital Ulaanbaatar. In 2006, Tzeching Ling was reorganised to form Sakya Pandita Dharma Chakra Monastery, a monastic centre with the aim of accommodating 50 monks to study and practise the Dharma.

While much progress has been done in the last six years, there are still lots of work to be completed. To complete the construction of the dormitories for the monks and the main temple building next year, a further US$92,000 is needed. To learn more about this project, please refer to the monastery’s WEBSITE