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Dec 29
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Progress at Surmang

An update on Konchok Foundation activities in the Surmang region of Tibet

by Lyndon Comstock

The Children’s educational program at Surmang is starting its winter 2016-2017 program this month.  Last year more than 150 children participated; a similar number is expected this year.  Donors to the Konchok Foundation provide all of the support necessary for this program, including food for the children and teachers, teacher stipends, and books and materials.

Although the Surmang shedra has been structurally complete since 2010, many finishing details still needed to be done.  Completion of these is expected in spring 2017.  In a significant development, the entire monastery, including the shedra, now has AC electrical power brought in on transmission lines.  Due to the cost of the electricity, its use will largely be restricted to lighting.Up to this point, the shedra has principally been used for children’s programs, except for a couple of years when the shedra lhakang served as a shrine hall while the monastery’s main lhakang was being rebuilt.  The monastery’s goal is to start shedra programs for adults in fall 2017.  The programs for children will continue.

Surmang kargenma, residence of the Trungpas

Surmang kargenma.  Choseng Trungpa XII Rinpoche made the decision last winter to commence on a project dear to the heart of the people of Surmang.  The kargenma, which was originally the castle of the local landowner who donated the land for Surmang Dutsi Til monastery, was the traditional home of the Trungpa lineage of teachers.  (Chogyam Trungpa XI Rinpoche’s drawing of it has served as the Konchok Foundation’s logo.)  It is built on the Surmang “Dutsi Til,” meaning ‘hill of amrita,’ which gives the monastery its name.  The Chakrasamvara dance, a major practice particular to this monastery, is said to have been transmitted at this spot.  The kargenma, which had served for hundreds of years as an iconic presence, was destroyed after 1959.  The local people have long wanted it to be rebuilt.

Significant progress has been made on the reconstruction, as can be seen in the accompanying photo.  Although Konchok Foundation’s principal commitment is to the shedra (school), we’re pleased to modestly participate in the kargenma construction.  A number of donors have come forward since last summer with donations for this purpose, which have already been passed on to Trungpa Rinpoche.

Children studying inside the Surmang shedra

Konchok Foundation continued in 2016 to provide support for the educational programs for children led by Karma Senge Rinpoche at Wenchen nunnery and Kyere monastery, to monks on retreat at Surmang Dutsi Til, and for modest living support for Trungpa XII Rinpoche.  Much of this support was from donor-designated funds.

If you would like to make either a one-time or a recurring donation of any amount to support the Surmang shedra or Konchok Foundation’s other program activities, please visit here.  You have the option of restricting your donation to a specific program if you wish. If you are able to give $1000 annually, or $75 per month, please join the Surmang Trust to support the ongoing educational activities of the Surmang shedra.

Donations to the Konchok Foundation are tax deductible in the United States.  Donations can be made from anywhere in the world by credit card or Paypal and also by check in the U.S.  Canadian donors may provide tax-deductible support for Konchok Foundation’s work at Surmang by donating to Shambhala International in Canada, making use of the instructions at the Konchok Foundation website here.  Shambhala International provides 100% of the funds donated in this way to Konchok Foundation to support the Surmang shedra.

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