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Life at Nubri Monastery

It Is Just Simply A Place for Dharma

The monastery is small and surrounded by rocky mountains. The area itself is very poor. Property is not an issue. Dodrup Chen Rinpoche considers that everything will turn out well here, now that Karma Tulku has established residence as head of the Monastery and the people have developed confidence in him. 

Ultimately, Kyimo Lung has only its raw untouched beauty and the blessings of Dharma. Difficult transportation and the lack of communication prevent the outside world from encroaching; remoteness and inaccessibility provide a serene and undisturbed environment perfect for the practice of Dharma.

Kyabje Dodrup Chen Rinpoche formally accepted the role of spiritual head of Sera Gonpa (Nubri) Monastery in order to continue the benefit of the 11th Nubri lama’s endeavors.  The local people are devoted, but life is very hard here.  It is no longer possible for these people to independently support the monastery. They need help from outside.  Even obtaining the bare essentials is problematic. For example, rice has to be bought in the market in the lowlands; then porters must be hired to carry the rice on their backs up to Kyimo Lung.  So, even rice is prohibitively expensive.  As Rinpoche made a commitment to Nubri Monastery, he currently provides financial support. Rinpoche is now old so the Monastery need to find other means of support.

Since the Monastery became connected to Dodrup Chen Rinpoche, the religious community has grown to over 100 monks and nuns. The 11th Nubri Lama had originally intended to keep the monastery small, but Rinpoche feels that in this degenerate age it is rare to find those with motivation for Dharma, so anyone who comes to Nubri to practice should be accepted.  Life at the monastery is hard. For example, there is no electricity or running water.  Only the most dedicated practitioners brave the hardships.

One of the extraordinary things about this monastery is that the hierarchies which often exist in traditional monasteries that limit nuns to very specific roles do not exist in Nubri.  The fifty or so nuns are educated in the exact same manner as the fifty monks.  The nuns can read, write, make ritual objects (tormas), and conduct all ceremonies of the lineage.  They make up exactly half of the monastery’s population.  Other than living separately, they have equal access to all the Gonpa’s opportunities.  Since the dedication of the monastery, both monks and nuns engage in the traditional three year retreats.

Nubri monastery is the central monastery in the region and there are twelve outlying monasteries.  Because of Sera Gonpa's (another name for Nubri Monastery) reputation for high quality Dharma education, Monks and nuns come from these twelve to study at the Nubri Shedra (Scripture College). The Nepali people seek out the Nubri monks and nuns for their request for prayers (zhabten), for the living and the dead, because they have great confidence in the Nubri religious community and hold it in high esteem.  Khabje Dodrup Chen Rinpoche says that the religious community of Nubri: live well, pray well, and study well.  They are very far away from the towns and the cities, they are respectful and they only do Dharma practice.  Their lives are useful and meaningful and it is important for us to help them.