Namgyal Monastery Institute of Buddhist Studies

This profile was last updated in 2002

Research was conducted by Dr. David Reis and the Wells College Pluralism Project.

History of the Practice

The original Namgyal monastery was established in Tibet in 1575.  It was called Namgyal Dratsang, which means “victorious monastery.”  However, in 1959, after the Chinese invasion of Tibet, Namgyal followed the Dalai Lama in exile to Dharamsala, India.  Although the location changed, the basic principles of the monastery have remained.  Men must prove themselves through difficult training in order to be accepted into the monastery.  Once accepted, the monks must complete 13 years of intensive study with particular emphasis on sutra and tantra.  These 13 years lead to a Master of Sutra and Tantra degree, which is unique to Namgyal.

History of the Center

In 1992, a new branch of the Namgyal monastery was founded in Ithaca, New York by the Late Venerable Pema Losang Chogyen.  The building was originally a private home and is located in a residential area.  In 1992, six monks were selected by his Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama to come to New York and establish this new branch of Namgyal in Ithaca.  The monastery houses three to five monks who come on an exchange from the parent monastery in Dharamsala.  These monks stay for approximately three years and offer a curriculum open to eligible women and men based on the curriculum at Namgyal in Dharamsala.  The resident monks teach courses in English, with the exception of the Tibetan Language courses.  In addition to the regular courses, many weekend intensives and retreats are also offered.

Activities and Schedule

Monday through Friday there is meditation at 5:15 p.m. with tea/social following meditation on Friday from 6:00 to 6:45 p.m. On Saturday there are earthquake prayers at 6:00 p.m.

Classes and Retreats Offered

In the Spring of 2002, the classes offered were: Special Insight, Mind Training, Lamrin, Meditation on Compassion, Bodhicaryavatrara, Paths & Ground of Sutra, Meditation on Karma, Tibetan Language Instruction, Paths and Grounds of Sutra

The Monastery also offers regular retreats and intensive programs.  Topics in the past have included Death and the Intermediate State and The Wheel of Life.