Dzongkar Choede Monastery Tibetan Buddhist Art Tour, North America

The following article is from the Summer, 1999 issue of the Snow Lion Newsletter and is for historical reference only. You can see this in context of the original newsletter here.


It is currently the responsibility of the ancient Tibetan monastery, Dzongkar Choede, to preserve sacred Tibetan ritual objects. After the Chinese military invaded and occupied Tibet, 18 senior Dzongkar Choede monks escaped into India, bringing with them many sacred objects. The monks then rebuilt a small monastery in southern India where they continue to preserve these ritual objects as well as to learn and practice the dharma. Currently, there are about 100 monks residing at the monastery.

Although many Tibetan tours have visited North America in recent years to both offer dharma teachings and introduce Tibetan culture, Dzongkar Choede Monastery's first North American tour provides a rare opportunity to host a special Tibetan exposition of sacred tantric objects, along with active viewing of the construction of a 3-dimensional wooden mandala, a truly unique Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Part of the exhibition will be the construction of a wooden Yamantaka mandala. According to beliefs in Tantric Buddhism, viewing and venerating a mandala will bring about great benefits for many beings. Yamantaka' means and represents the Destroyer of Death' Buddha, whose peaceful emanation body is that of Manjushri, the Buddha of Wisdom. In addition to the mandala, there will be an exposition of sacred precious objects. Some of the objects included in the tour will be Padmasambhava's Foot Print, ninth century; Atisha Hand Print, eleventh century; Mahakala Statue carved by master Rendawa, Tsongkapa's teacher; Shell Bangles of Marpa's Wife, eleventh century; and Angulimala's Sword.

The venerable Abbot Khenpo Thupten Tsundu leads the tour along with eight monks. The monks on the tour are able to provide dharma teachings, initiations, and public piyas upon request. Families may also invite the monks for private home visits to give special dharma teachings, tantric pujas for long life and pujas for the dead.

All donations will be used for the construction of the Dzongkar Choede museum.

For more information and to schedule a visit in your community, please contact: Mr. Dang Tan Hau (Damita), 17 Strathcona Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M4K 1K6 Canada. 416-462-8798; fax: 416-462-9822; email: [email protected].