The original Nyanang Shedrup Gaden Phelgyeling Monastery was located in Nyanang, Tibet close to the border with Nepal. Records indicate that Phelgyeling Monastery was...
The original Nyanang Shedrup Gaden Phelgyeling Monastery was located in Nyanang, Tibet close to the border with Nepal. Records indicate that Phelgyeling Monastery was originally established as a Kagyu monastery, with Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden installed as their Dharma Protector during the time of His Holiness the 5th Dalai Lama.
The Dorje Shugden statue personally made by H.H. the 5th Dalai Lama
In fact, one of the most revered and treasured holy objects in Phelgyeling Monastery is a statue of Dorje Shugden which was personally made and offered to the monastery by the 5th Dalai Lama. In her book, Ursula Bernis describes the statue to be about 12 – 16 inches tall with only the face visible since, like many Buddhist statues, it is covered in brocade and kept in a glass-covered container high up on a shelf.
In 1665, when Phelgyeling Monastery converted from Kagyu to Gelug, the propitiation of Dorje Shugden continued in the monastery. In fact, in Nyanang there were Kagyu and Nyingma monasteries who practised Dorje Shugden as well. Phelgyeling Monastery was also famed for performing the ritual cham dance of Dorje Drolo, which is predominantly a Nyingma practice. This highlights the inter-lineage harmony that existed surrounding the practice of Dorje Shugden.
Following the 1959 Tibetan crisis, Phelgyeling Monastery was re-established in Kathmandu, Nepal with the help of Serkong Tsenshab Rinpoche. It is located at the foot of the Swayambhu mount, one of the holiest places in the Himalayas and closely associated with Lord Manjushri. It is said that on one side of the Swayambhu stupa is the entrance to an underground lake where nagas live and from where Manjushri brought the Prajnaparamita Sutras.
A prayer session at Phelgyeling Monastery
Serkong Tsenshab Rinpoche also established the monthly schedule of rituals and prayers for Phelgyeling Monastery and in 1966, advised the monastery to engage in Dorje Shugden’s monthly kangso, or fulfilment ritual. Prior to this, the monks had only engaged in a Dorje Shugden ritual to request activities.
Today, Phelgyeling Monastery still uses the four exhortation verses (‘phrin bskul) to Dorje Shugden composed by the 5th Dalai Lama and the rituals composed by His Holiness Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche.
Phelgyeling Monastery is also home to several other very precious religious artefacts. Due to the close proximity of the original monastery’s location, Nyanang, with the border, these rare and holy objects were successfully brought to Nepal and are preserved to this day. The items enshrined in Phelgyeling Monastery today include:
A Tara image which is famous throughout the Himalayan region due to its ability to speak to those with pure minds. Many have come to Phelgyeling Monastery to behold this treasure and ask Arya Tara for her blessings.
A slab capturing the footprints of His Holiness the 6th Dalai Lama, Tsangyang Gyatso (1682 – 1706).
A rare statue of Jetsun Milarepa (1052— 1135 CE) made during his lifetime by his heart-disciple Rechungpa.
A statue of Buddha Shakyamuni that dates back to the time of King Langdharma of Tibet, who reigned from 838 to 841 CE. King Langdharma is well known for his suppression of Buddhism. It is said that he ordered all statues to be destroyed unless the statue could prove its worthiness by actually speaking. This particular statue is believed to be one of the statues that spoke directly to King Langdharma, and thus was spared from destruction.
The interior of Phelgyeling Monastery’s prayer hall
The famous Tara statue that speaks to those with pure minds
The footprints of H.H. the 6th Dalai Lama, Tsangyang Gyatso.
A statue of Jetsun Milarepa made during his lifetime by his heart disciple Rechungpa.
A statue of Buddha Shakyamuni that spoke to King Langdharma of Tibet.
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I am travelling to Lhasa in 10 days' time and am planning a 5 day itinerary in and around Lhasa. Please can you indicate key places of pilgrimage outside of the usual ones. For example, I've been trying to locate Chusang Hermitage near Lhasa but without success. Also, do you know of any Dorje Shugden gompas in Lhasa? Thank you so much,