Serpom Monastery is based in South India and is the home and school for over 600 devoted students of the unbroken Gaden lineage. The monastery has produced many elite masters and scholars over the years as a result of following a strict academic and spiritual curriculum.
On the day of Serpom Monastery’s official opening, the traditional facade featured prayer flags fluttering in the breeze and the Dharma wheel on the roof reflected the sunlight. The smell of incense offerings permeated the air as thousands of monks and lay practitioners gathered to celebrate the inauguration of this monastic institution.
The inauguration of Serpom Monastery lasted five days from 18 to 22 December 2011 and included many auspicious activities including teachings, commentaries, debate sessions, prayers and speeches from invited dignitaries.
In accordance with tradition, monks played long horns, clarinets and cymbals while a golden parasol welcomed His Eminence Kyabje Yongyal Rinpoche, the abbot of the monastery and the 4th incarnation of his lineage as recognised by His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang.
Cutting the ceremonial ribbon, Kyabje Yongyal Rinpoche led the senior monks into the main prayer hall for the consecration ceremony and puja. Those who were visiting a Tibetan monastery for the first time were awed by the experience and the grandeur of the main altar, featuring a large statue of the founder of the Gelugpa lineage, Lama Tsongkhapa, in the centre, Buddha Shakyamuni on the left and Medicine Buddha on the right. The younger monks, guests and lay practitioners were then allowed inside to make offerings and pay their respects.
Thousands of devotees from all over the world were present to witness Buddhist history in the making. Monks, high Lamas, tulkus, geshes, and abbots from different monasteries in different countries gathered on that auspicious day to celebrate the historical event. Those present included:
- H.E. Kyabje Yongyal Rinpoche
- H.E. Zawa Rinpoche
- H.E. Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Phende
- H.E. Achok Rinpoche
- Kuten-la from Gaden
- Representatitves from Rabten Choeling
- Representatives from Domo Geshe Ladrang
- Representatives from Gangchen Ladrang
- Representatives from Trijang Ladrang
- Representatives from Geshe Thubten Trinley Rinpoche
- Representatives from Chatri Rinpoche
- Representatives from Phegyeling Monastery
Joining them were guests and sponsors from Taiwan, China, Tibet, America, France, Switzerland, Australia and Italy all sharing one purpose, to spread the Dharma.
The highlight of the event was a series of trances of various Dharma Protectors via the renowned Venerable 7th Panglung Oracle. Monks heralded the Panglung Oracle’s arrival with sonorous chanting and recitation of auspicious prayers. This renowned oracle, trained by His Holiness Domo Geshe Rinpoche and His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang, was received with three prostrations. Incense was offered while attending monks assisted him in donning the official regalia.
Amongst the Protectors who entered the oracle to bless Serpom Monastery and those present were Dorje Shugden, Kache Marpo and Setrap. Dorje Shugden performed a vajra dance and then took his seat on the throne while Kyabje Yongyal Rinpoche led the sangha in making offerings and receiving blessings. To show his pleasure and support for Serpom Monastery, Dorje Shugden beat his breast plate and said,
I am with you, I will fulfil your needs.
After approximately fifteen minutes, Dorje Shugden left and the attending monks prepared for the arrival of another wrathful Protector. With a shrill cry, Protector Setrap Chen entered the oracle and announced his arrival with a vajra dance. About five minutes later, Setrap left after bestowing blessings. Setrap’s energy is extremely powerful thus he cannot stay long lest he harms the oracle’s body.
Next, Serpom’s female Protector deity, Chingkar Jowo arrived. She was gentle and peaceful and blessed everyone present. The last Dharma Protector to take trance was Kache Marpo. After entering the oracle, Kache Marpo walked to pay his respects to Kyabje Yongyal Rinpoche and then gave a Dharma talk in Tibetan. It was a great blessing for all present to hear the speech of an enlightened being. The entire series of trances lasted for about an hour and a half.
Later in the afternoon, there were official speeches by Geshe Jampa Khetsun, monastic spiritual advisor, followed by Kyabje Yongyal Rinpoche and then by His Excellency Shri S. A. Ramdas, Honourable Minister for Medical Education from the Health and Family Welfare Department and Mysore Distric Minister who spoke about integrating Dharma into our lives to make our existence more meaningful.
His Excellency also spoke about how Buddhism started in India during Buddha Shakyamuni’s time and it was the Buddha’s wish to benefit all regardless of religion, race or sect.
The Honourable Karnataka Minister, Mr. Shri K. Venkatesh (Member of the Legislative Assembly for the Periyapatna Constituency) also gave an inspirational speech followed by the Venerable Abbot of Shar Gaden Monastery. This very auspicious day ended with the presentation of the Serpom Peace Award to Mr. Venkatesh.
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