There are a few Rabten Monasteries founded by Venerable Geshe Rabten Rinpoche in Europe including Rabten Djangtchoub Ling in France, Püntsok Rabten Haus in Germany, Rabten Choeling in Switzerland, Rabten Jigme Ling in Holland, Rabten Tashi Ling in Hungary, Rabten Chödarling in the Czech Republic and Tashi Rabten in Austria.
Geshe Rabten Rinpoche was born in Tibet in 1920 and passed away in 1986. After Geshe Rabten’s passing, these monasteries have been under the guidance of Geshe Rabten’s heart disciple, H.E. Gonsar Rinpoche.
Tashi Rabten Monastery in Austria is situated near Feldkirch, a medieval city in the western Austrian state of Vorarlberg. It is the second largest town in Vorarlberg in terms of population. It is also the westernmost point of Austria and lies on the River Rhine, at the tripoint border between Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
The building which houses Tashi Rabten is an old building known as Letzehof. It is situated on a hill outside Frastanz, a market town in Feldkirch district. It has the view of the town from the front of the building and the mountains in the far distance from the back. The building is reminiscent of the manors of old Europe with its sloping roof and rich timber interior.
The grounds are spacious and there is even a wooded area together with a forest. Back in 1366, it belonged to the municipality of Nenzing but the forest was transferred to the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem in Feldkirch.
After the dissolution of the order by Emperor Joseph II at the end of the 18th Century, the ownership reverted back to the state. In 1807, the Royal Bavarian government, who was at the time the temporary legal owner, sold 8 acres to Johann Zimmermann. Zimmerman was the landlord and owner of an oil mill in Feldkirch and he farmed half the land and left the rest as a wooded area. Within the farmed area, he built Letzehof and also created a fruit plantation with several hundred trees.
The next owner, Christian Getzner bought the estate at the auction after the death of Johann Zimmerman. Getzner was interested in the forest for his Turkish Red Dye works nearby. In 1848, the ownership of the land went to Josef Getzner, the nephew of Christian Getzner. Josef Getzner was not enamoured with Letzehof, finding it inconvenient. He then built a new residence across the road, remained on the estate and expanded the property considerably.
The Getzner family continued to farm the property until the turn of the 19th Century. Thereafter, the farm was leased to various farmers who worked the land and lived at Letzehof until 1960. When Letzehof or ‘Getznerhof’ as it was known at the time was inherited by Helmut Gassner, a Getzner grandson, he offered the estate to refugee monks from Tibet as their new home. This brought a new lease of spirituality to the community, enriching their religious life and providing them the means for intensive training of the mind.
Nowadays, the Letzehof at Tashi Rabten houses ten resident Buddhist monks, consisting of both students and qualified masters. It also hosts young monks from Tibet and Mongolia who have been awarded scholarships from the monastery to complete their traditional education within five years.
Trijang Ladrang at Letzehof is the main European seat of His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Chocktrul Rinpoche, who resided in Tashi Rabten while completing his advanced studies in Buddhist philosophy. In an interview, he stated:
The reason for studying the Dharma is to tame the mind. If we do not put these precious instructions into practice, they can inspire hatred or competitiveness. So it is important to understand that the reason for studying is to tame the mind. If we do not tame the mind, by not putting the spiritual teachings into practice, then there is no peace and this brings many consequences like conflicts and so on. H.H. Kyabje Trijang Chocktrul Rinpoche – http://archive.is/herIi
Visiting Tashi Rabten
Many schools, organisations and private groups come to visit the monastery each year. Members of the public are also most welcome to pass by, stay in the temple for quiet meditation or ask a monk for information on Buddhism in general or specific topics – free of charge, of course. The languages available for such discussions may depend on the persons present, but usually German, English, French, Tibetan, Czech and Russian are possible.
Several public seminars are given throughout the year. Buddhist philosophy and meditation are taught by the most outstanding Lamas of our time. On the first and second Wednesday of each month, evening lectures on meditation are held for the general public.
The meditation hall of Tashi Rabten can be visited any time during the day. The book shop is open from 3 – 5pm. Meals are served at noon and in the evening at 7pm.
Daily in the mornings and evenings at 8.30am and 6pm except Sundays and Mondays, the monks gather to pray. Every two weeks, on the 10th and 25th day of the Tibetan calendar, all the monks as well as lay students gather for extensive prayers and offerings (tsok). Visitors are most welcome.
Several guest rooms are available for anyone who wishes to experience monastic life, do a retreat or just wants to spend some days in the calm atmosphere and beautiful surroundings of the monastery.
Please support us so that we can continue to bring you more Dharma: