Kagbeni, located at the entrance of Upper Mustang, just half an hour ride by jeep from Jomsom is an oasis with its apple and apricot orchards and barley fields, vibrant with color standing against the vast landscape of silver gray river, stones and stark, brown cliffs on the edge of the Kali Gandaki River.
Here on the precipice of a steep cliff and bordered by the Kali Gandaki and the Dzong Khola rivers, sits the Kag Chode Thupten Samphel Ling Monastery founded by the renowned Sakya scholar, Tenpa Gyalsten of Tibet in 1429.
The monastery being the center of spiritual life for the local community, who live here, has been well cared for during the past 570 years. Until the middle of the 18th century this monastery housed nearly 100 monks from twelve different surrounding villages practicing Dharma and keeping alive Tibetan Buddhism. Local economic condition and the lack of school and health care facilities have forced many village people to take their families and relocate to larger villages or eventually go to Pokhara, Kathmandu or India leaving the village and more importantly, the monastery with only a few senior monks, too old to leave.
Unfortunately, in many areas of the Mustang District there are no monastic schools where young monks can attend for the spiritual studies. More and more young monks are leaving the area to seek their studies elsewhere and often never return to their village, leaving the monastery empty except for their caretakers.
In order to preserve the practice of Tibetan Buddhism as well as to maintain the integrity of the culture and religion of the local residents, it is instructed by H.H.Sakya Trizin Rinpochen to establish a monastic institute at the Kag Chode Thupten Samphel Ling Monastery in Kagbeni, overseen by Khenpo Tenzin Sangpo, who was appointed as Khenpo personally by H.H.Sakya Trizin Rinpoche in 2001.
This would not only allows us to provide the spiritual teaching necessary for monks, but also would assure that the rituals and the study of Tibetan Buddhism would be passed down to the young monk and continue to be practiced in the community.
It was the goal of Khenpo Tenzin Sangpo to proceed as instructed by H.H. Sakya Trizin Rinpochen to establish a monastic school and hostel in the premises of the monastery.
Through the kind support of other as well as local communities, a monastic boarding school has been established at Kag Chode Thupten Samphel Monastery in the year 2009, which provides an opportunity for the young monks in the village of Kagbeni and surrounding community to study both religious and secular subjects under a traditional Tibetan monastic discipline. The first phase of the construction work of the school building is completed in the year 2011.
In the first two years, we are able to accommodate only 20 young monks to stay and study at our monastic school. We wish to increase the number of the students and grow yearly once the second phase of the school building is complete and a permanent fund for the operation is secured. Currently, this monastery is under the administration and leadership of Khenpo Tenzin Sangpo. Since the monastic school here has just taken its root, there are many needs before it turns out to be a promising center for the study and practice of Buddha Dharma. Therefore, contribution from any individual or organization in any form is highly appreciated. Please feel free to contact us at the following email address or contact no for further information.