A note on Gebchak Gonpa’s welfare

Akong Rinopche with three-year retreat nuns some years ago at Gebchak Gonpa.

ROKPA INTERNATIONAL, a relief organisation founded by the Tibetan lama Chöje Akong Rinpoche, has been remarkably skilful in its efforts to preserve the cultural forms and vitality of the people on the Tibetan Plateau. In the early 2000s these efforts included reconstructing Gebchak’s 3-year retreat centre and its 16 Retreat Divisions – buildings which are central in the architecture of the Gebchak nuns’ spiritual lives. ROKPA further constructed a medical clinic at Gebchak and installed a resident Tibetan herbal doctor, Amchi Yeshe, who is the niece of Akong Rinpoche and helps to monitor the health and hygiene of the community.

Gebchak’s new central shrine hall.

Over the last ten years Gebchak Gonpa’s four home lamas have come of age and assumed responsibility for Gebchak Gonpa’s material welfare. Wangdrak Rinpoche works closely with Tsangyang Gyamtso to manage the Nunnery’s needs. He is instrumental in fundraising efforts for the nuns’ daily meals and vegetable production, healthcare education, the annual Gebchak prayer festival (Jamar Monlam), temple construction and the temple’s new statues. Several lamas, including Tsoknyi Rinpoche, Akong Rinpoche and Gebchak’s Ngaksam and Tsogyal Tulkus, came together to ensure completion of Gebchak’s new temple, and this saw the successful realisation of a shrine hall where the Gebchak nuns now spend much of the year in extended Vajrayana prayer ceremonies.

Gebchak nuns preparing for the consecration of their new temple.

The Gebchak nuns wholeheartedly maintain their practice curriculum, which entails around 10 hours a day of practice on average and various unscheduled retreats whenever there is extra time in the year. They practice out of deep devotion for the Buddhas, and out of a compassionate aspiration for all beings to be free from the causes of suffering. The nuns are grateful to all of the individuals and organisations who have worked to support their practice tradition and include everyone in their dedication of merits.