Tashi Lhunpo Monastery is seat to the Panchen Lama, the second most important spiritual leader of Tibet. In 1447 the Monastery was founded by His Holiness the 1st Dalai Lama, Gyalwa Gendun Drup, in Shigatse, Tibet's second largest city. It is one of the four great monasteries of Central Tibet and was supervised and looked after by the Dalai Lamas and Panchen Lamas of the Gelugpa, or Yellow Hat tradition. It has the glory of producing thousands of renowned scholars in the field of Mahayana Buddhist Philosophy and Tantra.
During the 1960s many senior lamas and monks left Tibet and helped re-establish new monasteries in India, Nepal and Bhutan.
Since 1972, when His Holiness the Dalai Lama gave his blessing for the re-establishment of Tashi Lhunpo Monastery in the Tibetan settlement of Bylakuppe, in South India, the Monastery has continued to offer the highest levels of teaching to its students.
Joining the monastery at between the ages of 9 and 11, the monks follow the same pattern of philosophical study as they would have done in Tashi Lhunpo in Shigatse in Tibet. In addition, the Monastery now offers a modern education in its new school, where the young monks study Tibetan language and literature, Hindi, Chinese, English, Maths, Science and Social Studies.
During the sixteen years of Lobnyeir, Higher Studies, the monks will cover the arts of healing, dialectics, Sanskrit. metaphysics, art and the philosophy of religion. The system of Dialectical Debate reinforces their understanding of the meaning of the texts and written and oral examinations are held twice a year. After completing their higher studies and the six-year Gelugpa examination, monks attain the degree of Kachen (Doctor of Divinity).
Upon achieving the qualification of Kachen, many monks will choose to join the Tashi Lhunpo Maha Tantric College and study the four branches of Tantra, as well as the mudras, the making of torma cake offerings, construction of mandalas and the art of sacred music and monastic dance.
The incense that we offer here has been made at the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery in India.