Sampheling Monastery in the Chatreng District of Kham, Tibet is the personal monastic seat of His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche. Despite being destroyed during the Cultural Revolution, the monastery has since been rebuilt by the devoted students of Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche. It is the community’s unwavering devotion to their Guru that has allowed the foundation of Dharma to remain vibrant in this part of Tibet.
One of the iconic features of this beautiful monastery is the three-storey high Lama Tsongkhapa statue inside the monastery’s prayer hall. Today, Sampheling Monastery remains the pride and crown jewel of the people of Chatreng. It continues to serve the people of the region and is a pilgrimage destination for many Dorje Shugden practitioners.
On 5 – 12 March 2014, more than 400,000 people from Chatreng and the nearby villages attended the Monlam Festival at Sampheling Monastery. The Gelugpa Monlam Chenmo (Great Prayer Festival) is one of the most significant and important religious events in Tibetan Buddhism which is celebrated with great grandeur annually. The festival was established by Lama Tsongkhapa, the lineage founder, in 1409.
The incredible turn-out to Sampheling Monastery’s Monlam celebrations is a testament of the tremendous faith that the local Chatreng populace have for Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche. As the traditional throne holder of Sampheling Monastery, Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche’s influence in the rich history of Chatreng is unquestionable.
One of the greatest masters of our time, Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche is the lineage lama of practically every Dharma practitioner within the Gelug school, be it directly or indirectly. An erudite Dharma master who received the bulk of his knowledge, initiations and practices from the illustrious Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche, Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche eventually took on the great responsibility to serve as the junior tutor to H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama.
Up until this day, Chatreng and its people will forever be remembered and celebrated for their role in facilitating the safe escape of the 14th Dalai Lama from Tibet in 1959. Through the Venerable 6th Panglung Kuten who took trance of Dorje Shugden, an esteemed group of warriors known as the Chushi Gangdruk were specifically chosen to escort the Dalai Lama to safety in India.
The people of Chatreng were chosen because of their renown for bravery, loyalty and immovable faith and devotion towards Dorje Shugden. The Chushi Gangdruk acted as His Holiness’ personal bodyguards in his escape to safety and, although many of them perished on the arduous journey, their heroic deeds will always be cherished and commemorated. It is indirectly through them that the doors for Tibetan Buddhism to flourish in various parts of the world were opened.
The heroism of the Chatrengpas is witness to their steadfast faith and practice of Dorje Shugden, which was taught to them by their Guru, Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche. The people of Chatreng and their impeccable practice of Dharma is a beacon of light in the darkness itself, and an inspiration for all Dharma practitioners all over the world.
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