The Venerable

S. Chusang Rinpoche

The 5th incarnation of Chusang Rinpoche was born in Tibet on 4 June 1959. His family, like so many others, had fled Tibet in the face of the Chinese occupation of their country and had settled in Nepal. At the age of three, while travelling with his parents near Mt. Everest, the young boy recognised a passing man and called to him by name. This man, Sangye Choedak, the nephew of Chusang Rinpoche’s previous incarnation and a devoted monk of Chusang Monastery in Tibet, immediately prostrated himself before the reincarnation of his beloved teacher.


In 1965, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, confirmed the 5th reincarnation of Chusang Rinpoche, Ngawang Lobsang Thubten Dronme. Rinpoche began his studies under the guidance of Pelbar Geshe Rinpoche at a small retreat centre in Helambu. Following this, he studied for a further seven years in Dharamsala under the guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Ven. Lati Rinpoche. He received teachings on Sutra and Tantra from late Kyabje Ling Rinpoche and late Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche, too. Subsequently Rinpoche studied for 13 years at Sera Mey Monastic University in South India, where he obtained the traditional Geshe Lharampa degree (equivalent to a Ph.D.) in 1990.

Rinpoche is spiritual head and director of Chusang Monastery, now based in Kathmandu, and it is there that he spends most of his time. In 1991, he accepted the leadership of another monastery, Zhekar Choedhe in Kalimpong, India and has more recently agreed to take on a new role assisting the monks of Sertog Gaden Choekhor Ling Monastery in the state of Sikkim

In the years that Rinpoche has been directing Chusang and Zhekar Choedhe Monasteries, both communities have seen great changes. Under Rinpoche's enthusiastic guidance, both the spiritual and material wellbeing of his monks have benefited considerably. Chusang Monastery is now a haven of peace amidst the noise and bustle of Kathmandu and a community of nearly 40 monks now lives there is comparative comfort. Much of the fabric of Zhekar Choedhe is now newly built, thanks to Rinpoche's efforts. But there is still work to do. Nothing stands still and both monasteries are growing fast as new monks are received from Tibet to begin their new lives under Chusang Rinpoche's careful guidance. There is still a great need for support and sponsorship for these monasteries and the programmes of work there are described in detail in the following pages.

As well as taking care of his monks, Rinpoche has been an active ambassador for them and also for the Buddhist practice and the cause of the Tibetan people. He has travelled widely and is in great demand both locally and elsewhere throughout the world. Amongst many other duties, he is a member of the Human Rights Organisation of Nepal, advisor to the Himalayan Buddhist Culture Association in New Delhi and a spiritual leader to the World Buddhist Cultural Exchange Association of South Korea. Rinpoche was elected as Vice President of the International Gelug Society's Executive Committee at the first International Gelug Conference held in March 1999. At the third International Gelug Conference in Bodha Gaya, he was appointed President. In 2002 Chusang Rinpoche was re-elected as Vice-President of the International Gelug Society's Executive Committee. He edited the book "Tribute to the Dalai Lamas" (in Tibetan), and transcribed, edited and published the speech of His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso the XIVth Dalai Lama of Tibet given on the 6th of December 2000 during the 2nd International Gelug Conference in Dharamsala.

In 1999, Rinpoche was also awarded an honorary Doctor of Philosophy degree from Trinity College in the USA. " At Trinity College's 173rd Commencement, Hartford, Conn., USA, May 23 - Trinity College today celebrated the accomplishments and leadership of the Venerable S. Chusang Rinpoche, presenting him with an honorary degree during the institution's 173rd Commencement. Rinpoche is the spiritual leader of the World Buddhist Cultural Exchange in South Korea and vice president of the international organization of Gelugpa, the dominant Buddhist sect in Tibet and Mongolia. He was awarded the degree of Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa. "

The Work of Rinpoche's Monasteries

Although the primary role of a Tibetan monastery is to train and support monks in the practice of Buddhist spirituality, Rinpoche is keen to ensure that this does not go on behind closed doors. His monks are also actively involved in their local communities. For example, Chusang Monastery in Kathmandu operates a small clinic, connected with the Yuthok Tibetan Medical Centre in Kathmandu (of which Chusang Rinpoche is Chairman). The monastery clinic provides the services of a doctor qualified in traditional Tibetan medicine, Dr. Tsultim, also one of the senior monks in the monastery who oversees the preparation of traditional medicines. Other monks are engaged in serving the community's spiritual needs.


Ongoing Need for Support

Ongoing Need for Support -- Monastic and Other Programmes
Despite the success of Rinpoche has had over the years in bringing about much needed improvements in the living standards of his monks, there is always a need for support, both financial and spiritual, especially as further development work is required.

Most monks have limited, if any, financial support from their own families and it therefore falls to the monasteries to attract sponsorship in order to support their everyday needs. A sum of around US$300 per year needs to be raised in order to keep each monk fed, clothed and in good health.

In addition to the everyday needs of the monks, most of the institutions under Rinpoche's charge need further support to enable necessary expansion or improvement works to take place and allow them to embark on new spiritual and community projects.


Chusang Monastery


Chusang Monastery, Kathmandu, Nepal
This, Rinpoche's home monastery, has grown dramatically over the last few years and now houses nearly 70 monks. 30 new young monks (age 9 to 18) joined Chusang Monastery in October / November 2003. They all came from very poor families. Living conditions have again become cramped and most monks are now housed three to a room. Estimated expenditures for new residential rooms for the monks total US $53,000. In order to build new classrooms, a library, an office, and a dining hall, an additional US$ 64,300 is needed.

Donations are urgently needed to cover the cost of this vital work.

Rinpoche places great importance on providing education for his monks and it is particularly important that they learn both Tibetan and English. Sponsorship of around US$700 per year is needed to pay the salaries of each of the two local teachers who are engaged by the monastery to teach the monks. The Tibetan Clinic, which operates in the monastery, is engaged in the preparation of traditional medicines for use by a number of Tibetan doctors in the area. This close involvement with other doctors practising in the area is an important aspect of the work of the clinic. Funding is needed to guarantee the salaries of Clinic staff which amounts to some US$700 per year. Recently, the Clinic purchased a new machine for making of traditional, herbal medicines which will greatly assist all the local traditional doctors. This machine cost US$1500 to buy and donations are urgently needed to cover this investment.


Zhekar Choedhe Monastery

Zhekar Choedhe Monastery, Kalimpong, India
Recent, extensive building work has turned Zhekar Choedhe from a rather dilapidated monastery into a home that its monks can be proud of. Even still, a further 6 rooms must now be built at a cost of around US$700 each.

Potentially, a bigger problem is the health of the monks, many of whom suffer from tuberculosis. This is endemic in the region and the young and old monks are particularly susceptible. The disease can be treated successfully but a long course of treatment is needed which must be completed without a break. It is therefore vital that sufficient funds are available to ensure the necessary supply of medicine. Several hundred dollars are needed to cover the cost of each complete course of treatment.


Sera Mey Tsangpa Khangtsen

Sera Mey Monastery Tsangpa Khangtsen, Mysore, South India
Sera Mey is a vast, Tibetan monastic university situated near Mysore in South India. The university is made up of individual houses, or Khangtsen, each of which must support its own monastic students by attracting donations from outside. It was here, in the house known as Tsangpa Khangtsen, that Rinpoche lived for 13 years while studying for his Geshe Lharampa degree. In return for the kindness and support shown to him then, Rinpoche now works to raise funds to support his old house. He is also Chairman of the Sermey Tsangpa Khangtsen Executive Committee.

At the moment, Tsangpa Khangtsen needs donations totalling around US$4200 to build more living quarters to help relieve overcrowding problems. Medical facilities and services are also badly needed.


Sertog Gaden Choekhor Ling

Sertog Gaden Choekhor Ling Monastery, Sikkim, India
Following a meeting with a senior monk from this monastery in 1999, Chusang Rinpoche agreed to try to help them find new sources of sponsorship. In 2002 and 2003, living quarters for the monks were constructed. Financed by loans and funds from the monastery, it cost approximately US$20,000. Hopefully the loans will largely be repaid by donations. This monastery is in an isolated area in the north of Sikkim and the monks are keen to establish a monastery and medical centre in the capital Gangtok, which is more accessible. This work will require a great deal of resources but will allow the nine monks to play a more active role in the community.

The land in Gangtok is ready to start the construction work. Initially, donations are requested to cover the cost of four rooms at around US$700 each.



His Holiness the XVIIth Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje,
and Chusang Rinpoche with his father, Lama Bardok Chusang Rinpoche,
who is the reincarnation of Pa Dampa Sangye.



HOW YOU CAN HELP

It is clear from all this that Chusang Rinpoche is actively involved in a number of ambitious projects which will serve to benefit both the spiritual and material wellbeing of his own monks and the wider community. It is also clear that this requires considerable funding. Rinpoche has to raise all the necessary funds from sponsorship and charitable donations. Any help that you feel able to give, no matter how small, will be gratefully received and you may be sure, it will be put to good use in one of the projects previously mentioned.

Further information can be requested from:

Ven. S. Chusang Rinpoche
CHUSANG MONASTERY
G.P.O. Box 12350
Boudha, Jorpati
Kathmandu
NEPAL

tel./FAX: 977 1 4478029

e-mail: [email protected]






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