Shree Choephel Kundeling Monastery is a Gelugpa monastery in Lhasa, Tibet which was established in 1663 by the father of Mehame Ghukoling Youngen, Lama Choedrub Dewal Dougen Rinpoche. The word “Kunde Ling” means peaceful and happy in Tibetan.
Kundeling Monastery is one of the temples appointed by His Holiness the 5th Dalai Lama as a royal temple. The monastery is also known for its Lamas who are often selected to be the Regent of Tibet in between successive incarnations of the Dalai Lamas.
The head of the monastery is Kundeling Tagtsha Jetung Rinpoche, of which there have been 13 incarnations since the monastery’s establishment. The throneholders of Kundeling Monastery who hold the title “Tagtsha” are considered to be the incarnations of the Kundeling lineage. The monastery was renovated in 1951.
The 1st Kundeling Tagtsha Jetung Rinpoche was a great being considered to be an emanation of the master Baso Je Chokyi Gyaltsen. Baso Chokyi Gyaltsen was known to be one amongst the seven emanations of Manjushri prophesied to appear during Lama Tsongkhapa’s lifetime, the second lineage holder of the “Gaden Ensapa Ear-whispered Lineage” and owner of the ‘miraculously emanated scriptures’ of the “Gaden Close Lineage“. This was the set of teachings said to be the quintessence of the Sutras and Tantras, transmitted to Lama Tsongkhapa directly by Manjushri. It was in the form of a miraculous scripture, visible only to the one worthy of receiving it, and was passed first to Togden Jampel Gyatso, the holder of Lama Tsongkhapa’s close lineage teachings, and eventually to Baso Je Chokyi Gyaltsen.
He became the 4th successor to the Golden Throne of Lama Tsongkhapa and reached Enlightenment during a single lifetime. Baso Je Chokyi Gyaltsen’s reincarnations, however, continued to appear in Tibet in twelve successive lives. These successive reincarnations served as great masters of the Gaden Lineage, some as Kings or ruling Regents, while others were tutors to successive Dalai Lamas.
Today, the monastery stands at the foot of the Parma Ri Mountain, below the Gesar Temple, which it owns. It is near Beijing Middle Road. Two restored chapels are open to visitors. On an upper level there is a mural of the original temple, which was mostly destroyed.
In 2011, it was reported that there were 42 monks, of whom 10 were teenagers or in their early twenties. This is down from 80 in the 1990s. The young monks undertake most of the work of cleaning, cooking and minor repairs. Their life is austere, with no modern conveniences.
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