To continue the Buddhist heritage, fulfill the root master’s prophesy, and promulgate Guru Rinpoche’s Dharma activities, H.E. Yeshe Sangpo Rinpoche founded and presides in the Samye Memorial Buddhist Vihara. The Vihara was established for devoted Buddhist practitioners to study precious and authentic teachings.
Following the prophesy made by H.H. Dungse Thinley Norbu Rinpoche, one of his root masters, the most venerable H.E. Yeshe Sangpo Rinpoche based in Nepal and started propagating his learned realizations of Dharma and had benefited numerous sentient beings. When Rinpoche once gave teachings in India, local residents developed such a strong faith in the Dudjom lineage and great admirations for Rinpoche’s knowledge and virtues that they beseeched to follow him as disciples. Unwilling to turn down these residents’ earnest requests, Rinpoche started admitting disciples for the first time, sowing the seeds of founding the Samye Memorial Buddhist Vihara.
Only through Dharma (Buddha’s teachings) can all sentient beings be liberated from the sufferings of the Samsara. This is because Dharma, one of the Three Jewels, is the infinite doctrines expounded by the omniscient Buddha Shakyamuni, who knew how to subdue the minds of all beings and strived to help overcome all the sufferings. Dharma can be passed on only through the Sangha (ordained Buddhist monks and nuns), who learn and practice Buddha’s teachings. Therefore, the Sangha plays the most important role in preserving Dharma and in continuing the Buddhist heritage. For this reason, Rinpoche takes the Sangha education as the top priority among all the Dharma promulgating activities. Without a rigorous and comprehensive Sangha education, even with all the magnificent Buddhist temples and stupas, there will be no qualified teachers to pass on precious teachings, let alone benefiting all sentient beings. Establishing a Buddhist institute is thus the superb approach to fostering Sangha and continuing the precious Buddha’s teachings.
There exist many magnificent monasteries in India, Nepal, and Tibet in the past. As time goes by, these monasteries have become increasingly difficult to find; some stand in ruins, or worse, exist in name only. Feeling the urgency to preserve the Dharma and the Buddhist heritage, Rinpoche made every effort searching for an auspicious site to establish a Buddhist institute. Upon the occurrence of all favorable circumstances, Rinpoche acquired a piece of auspicious land in Kathmandu and founded the Samye Memorial Buddhist Vihara on the 22nd of the 9th Tibetan month, 1988, also known as Lhabab Duechen (the day the Buddha descended from the heaven).
The Samye Memorial Buddhist Vihara is named after the Samye Monastery – the first Buddhist monastery in Tibet – to commemorate the following history regarding the development in Tibetan Buddhism: In the eighth century, Guru Rinpoche (Padhmasambhava), the Tibetan King Trisong Deutsen and Shantarakshita (Khenchen Bodhisattva) established the Samye Monastery to promulgate all Buddha Shakyamuni’s Mahayana and Vajrayana teachings. They invited one hundred and eight panditas from India, together with Tibet’s most learned scholars, including Vairotsana, Kawa Paltsek, and Chokro Kluyi Gyaltsen. These saints translated the Buddhist scriptures into Tibetan, so Buddhism in Tibet flourished even more than Buddhism in India. In terms of chronology, though first introduced to Tibet in the sixth century, Buddhism became truly flourishing soon after the Samye Monastery was founded in the eighth century until the eleventh century. The Tibetan Buddhism in this period was later referred to as “School of the Ancient Translations” or “Nyingmapa.” The Nyingma School, together with the other three schools (Kagyu, Sakya, and Gelug) formed after the eleventh century, constitute what we know today as the four major schools in Tibetan Buddhism. For this reason, the Nyingma tradition is also known as the “Ancient Tradition”.
The Samye Memorial Buddhist Vihara, situated between the thousands-year-old worldly renowned Buddhists’ holy sites, the Boudhanath Stupa and the Swayambhunath Stupa, offers a twenty-year comprehensive curriculum, including the eight-year pre-school education, the nine-year formal curriculum, and the three-year retreat. During the eight years of pre-school education, disciples need to complete the basic courses such as the listening, speaking, reading, and writing of Tibetan, the production of mandalas and Tormas, and the practice of Dharma. After then, they receive the nine-year formal curriculum from Bodhicharyavatara to the most profound Mahayana and Vajrayana teachings such as Guyagharva Tantra, with an emphasis on teachings from the Dudjom lineage. H.E. Yeshe Sangpo Rinpoche’s own classic The Lamp That Illuminates the Treasure House of the Three-Fold Training (written altogether in Tibetan, Chinese, and English) provides the solid evidence of the rigor of the curriculum and the extreme focus on the Sangha education in the Vihara. The Samye Memorial Buddhist Vihara has become the landmark and spiritual sustenance for disciples and one of the most prestigious Nyingma Buddhist Institutes in Nepal, laying a long-lasting foundation for Guru Rinpoche’s altruistic teachings and Dharma activities.
Since its inception, the Samye Memorial Buddhist Vihara have achieved significant milestones. It nurtured dozens of well qualified teachers, who completed both the curriculum and the three-year retreats. Starting several years ago, these teachers were invited to various countries to give teachings. Honorably qualified to teach Dharma, these teachers assume the great responsibility of preserving the Buddhist heritage and continuing the precious lineage of the Nyingma tradition. This is the very reason why H.E. Yeshe Sangpo Rinpoche founded the Vihara even through all difficulties and hardships he had to overcome during the process.
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