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Shedra upgrade to college begins

Construction launched with groundbreaking ceremony graced by the Gyaltshab

Drametse: Construction work to build a Nyingma Peling college has begun in Thegchhog Namdrol Ugyen Chholing monastery in Drametse, Mongar, with HRH Gyaltshab Jigme Dorji Wangchuck gracing the Salang Tendrel (groundbreaking ceremony) on March 29.

On the command of His Majesty the King, the construction is being done to upgrade the existing shedra at Thegchhog Namdrol Ugyen Chholing to a Buddhist college.

With an approved budget of Nu 107M (million) from the government, the construction includes a library, classrooms, dormitory, conference hall, administrative office, kitchen and dining hall.

The head of the Drametse dratshang, Sungtrul rinpoche, the 11th speech incarnation of Terton Pema Lingpa, said the construction of a drasha (hostel) for monks would be given priority, but the whole construction would be completed in two years.

About 40 carpenters and masons from three gewogs of Drametse, Narang and Balam in Mongar will be working on the project.  Drametse is the seat of the Peling tradition.

“Once it starts, the college will teach Zhungchen 13 and Rigney that are also taught in colleges both within and outside the country,” he said. “The students can also learn painting and English  subjects.”

Rinpoche said the project was dedicated to the Fourth Druk Gyalpo’s 60th birth anniversary celebrations.

Drametse gup Tshering Dorji said the college would benefit the six eastern dzongkhags, and allow interested children to study at home.

After completing class VI (zindra 6), Lhuendrup Dorji, 33, couldn’t continue his studies because of health problems.  But he is now hopeful that he can continue and also learn English.

A carpenter, Kipchu 48, from Balam gewog said the college would help preserve and promote the Peling tradition, as well as offer a chance to those interested, to study the tradition.

The dratshang currently offers an eight-year course (class I-VIII) in Buddhist studies, and will offer a higher level of Buddhist studies, in line with the Goendey’s heritage of Nyingma Peling tradition of Buddhism.

The Gyaltshab, who was accompanied by Ashi Yeatso Lhamo, also installed the Sachue Bumter during the groundbreaking ceremony.  HRH also visited the monastery and offered prayers for the wellbeing of His Majesty the King, His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo, the country and all sentient beings.

On the sideline, the Gyaltshab also inspected the ongoing renovation works of the monastery’s utse.

Later, the Gyaltshab granted an audience and tokha to more than 1,500 people, who had come to attend the event.

Terton Pema Lingpa’s granddaughter Ani Choeten Zangmo founded the Drametse monastery in the 15th century.

The monastery has been expanded to the current structure over the centuries to accommodate the increasing number of disciples, devotees and dharma practitioners.

By Tashi Phuntsho, Mongar

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