The following article is from the Winter, 1994 issue of the Snow Lion Newsletter and is for historical reference only. You can see this in context of the original newsletter here.


The North American Seat of the Personal Monastery of H.H. the Dalai Lama




A spectacular tract of land has been donated to Namgyal Monastery Institute of Buddhist Studies as the site of a future Tibetan style temple, guest house and retreat center. This gift marks the beginning of a possible second phase of development that would allow Namgyal Monastery's spiritual and artistic legacy to reach a much wider audience. Major donors are now being sought in response to this gift. If sufficient financial support is found, Namgyal will accept the land and initiate development.

The new guest house and retreat site is partially a response to frequent inquiries from persons interested in visiting the monastery for personal contact with the monks or for individual retreat in a structured setting with access to authentic Tibetan Buddhist instruction.

Founded in 1992, Namgyal Monastery Institute is staffed by Tibetan Buddhist monks and Western scholars and provides the opportunity for systematic study in English of Tibetan Buddhism, as well as comprehensive instruction in the Tibetan language. Over 80 students have studied at the Institute since formal programs began in fall 1992, and more than double this number have attended summer retreats.

Located about twenty minutes from Namgyal Institute's downtown Ithaca location, the rural site occupies the highest hilltop in the area with spectacular views of the surrounding Finger Lakes woodlands.

The gift of this land is intended to spur matching financial contributions from benefactors who share our interest in helping to preserve the best of Tibet's sacred culture.

If you would like to become a founding benefactor to help make this vision a reality, please write to the Founding Benefactor Program, Friends of Namgyal, Namgyal Monastery, P.O. Box 127, Ithaca, NY 14851. With your help, we believe this goal can be met within two years.


A Traditional Temple

Initial sketches for the new assembly hall, guest house and retreat center reflect traditional Tibetan temple architecture with lodging quarters for guests and retreatants. The 3-story temple would include a ground floor with a large shrine room for teachings, initiations and rituals, a 2nd floor to house resident monks, and a small third floor apartment for H.H. the Dalai Lama.

The open courtyard would be surrounded by a dozen or more private rooms for guests wishing to spend time in personal study with the monks or in retreat.

The downtown Ithaca site would continue to house scholar monks and serve as the site for Namgyal Institute classes. Additional monks would reside at the retreat site to host visitors and conduct special programs and retreats. This facility would also allow more Namgyal monks to live in the U.S. and be available for travels to create sand mandalas, conduct rituals and provide instruction.

Living Culture

Namgyal Monastery is noted for its mastery of exquisite sand mandalas and other sacred arts. These arts are a traditional way of transmitting spiritual knowledge. A major goal of the Institute is to preserve the very best of these seriously endangered sacred arts, including the traditional monastic instructional culture. The proposed new guest house and assembly hall will enable many more people to come in contact with Namgyal's profound spiritual and artistic legacy.


Namgyal Monastery Institute of Buddhist Studies was founded in 1992 as a teaching institute and North American Seat of the personal monastery of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Namgyal Institute was conceived to bring to the West the study program designed by H.H. the Dalai Lama for Namgyal Monastery. Open to qualified men and women, this unique 4-year program enables serious students to follow a consistent, progressive and authentic program of study in Tibetan Buddhism.

To round-out this rich and carefully designed curriculum, Namgyal Institute also offers courses and workshops in the arts and culture of Tibet, such as thangka painting, music, and mandala construction. The Institute's adjunct faculty gives special lectures and weekend programs from time to time. The Monastery provides personal guidance in practice to those wishing it as well as non-program classes and summer retreats. Students may pursue this program on either a full or part-time basis.

For application forms or further information regarding programs contact: Admissions Office, Namgyal Institute of Buddhist Studies, P.O. Box 127, Ithaca, NY 14851

Click here: NAMGYAL MONASTERY Updates, Teachings & Events, and Support


Compassion and the Individual, a booklet by H.H. the Dalai Lama, is now available in Chinese, published by Namgyal Monastery Institute of Buddhist Studies. A Friend of Namgyal got the idea of publishing the book in Chinese after hearing that His Holiness would visit Taiwan. She discussed the project with the Monastery and the Office of Tibet, arranged for the translation and provided the funds for publication. The booklet is available in both simple and literary Chinese and can be obtained free of charge from Namgyal Monastery and the Office of Tibet.


Namgyal monks (beside those at the Monastery in Ithaca) are also now living, studying or teaching in: Los Angeles (2), Bloomington, IN (1), Philadelphia (IX New York City (3), New Jersey (1) and Wisconsin (1). All monks in North America have been invited to Ithaca for the Tibetan New Year (Losar). As many as 15 monks may be present.

Ven. (Pema) Losang Chogyen, Director of Namgyal Institute, earned his M.A. in religion and continues his PhD. studies at Columbia University.



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