Happy Lunar New Year of the Fire Bird

Happy Tibetan ‘Losar’ New Year!

From the highlands of Nangchen, Tibet the Gebchak nuns and lamas send their warmest wishes for a happy new year of the fire bird! They remain focused in a life of devotion and meditation dedicated to the wellbeing and harmony of everyone in this world. They are grateful in return for your support and prayers that they can continue their contemplative tradition.

Shortly after Losar celebrations, a group of 22 nuns will exit Gebchak’s 3-year retreat centre and a new group of nuns will begin. The life of a Gebchak nun entails various retreats, short and long, and the 3-year retreat falls after a course of preliminary training. It is in the 3-year retreat where the nuns become proficient at the meditation and yogic practices that characterise Gebchak’s tradition. There is always a waiting list of nuns to stay in the 3-year retreat centre; some need to wait 6 or 9 years for an opportunity.

Click here for a recent album of photos from Gebchak Gonpa. 

Gebchak remains an environment where the nuns have strong inspiration and few distractions from accomplishing their spiritual aspirations. They are extremely fortunate to be valued and supported by an international community who understands the importance of the heart and right view for a peaceful world. Please know that you are always connected to the Gebchak nuns and their practices by the power of their dedication prayers.

Many cheers and Tashi Delek on behalf of Yushu orphans (who are also well and enjoying a Losar holiday from school) and Gebchak Gonpa!

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Guru Rinpoche enshrined in Gebchak’s new temple – July 2016

Gebchak nuns and lamas proudly welcome new Guru Rinpoche statues to their temple

Gebchak nuns and lamas proudly welcome new Guru Rinpoche statues to their temple. Note the elderly nuns Kaying and Dondrub Chomtso in the foreground.

Although Gebchak Gonpa is a quiet nunnery in a remote Nangchen valley, it has plenty of news to share. The nuns are now able to gather in their new temple for their 20 annual drubchens (extended sādhanā ceremonies) that last 10 days each. At the conclusion of a recent Kabgye (Eight Herukas) drubchen, new statues of Guru Rinpoche, his two Ḍākinī and Eight Manifestations were brought to Gebchak Gonpa from the factory in Chengdu where they were crafted. The statues were received by the nuns in the same way that living, human gurus would be. Soon the statues will be filled and consecrated, and installed on the central shrine where they will serve as supports for the nuns’ devotional prayers and practice for many generations to come. Click here for a photo album of the statues’ arrival and other recent religious ceremonies at Gebchak Gonpa.  

The two eldest nuns at Gebchak – Dondrub Chomtso and Kaying, both in their 80s – continue to participate in nunnery’s annual drubchen schedule. They were present for the arrival of the Guru Rinpoche statues and, along with the rest of the Gebchak community, proudly welcomed them into Gebchak’s new temple.

Wangdrak Rinpoche with nuns and their new polytunnel

Wangdrak Rinpoche with nuns and their new polytunnel

The Gebchak nuns’ diet and healthcare continue to improve with the development of two polytunnels, in which they grow green leafy vegetables for four months of the year. Dawa Choephel, a Tibetan social worker and friend to Gebchak Gonpa, has helped the nuns considerably with the polytunnels, healthcare education and waste management. Click here for a photo album of these developments as well as of the Yushu orphans.  

As usual, the Yushu orphans are healthy and kept busy with their schoolwork. They are presently in the midst of annual exams and keen for any free time to play outside in the summer weather. Since 2010 they have lived in the same home on the Palchu River at the centre of Yushu (“Jyekundo” in Tibetan), within walking distance of the government schools they attend.

The children with their carers at home in Yushu.

The children with their carers at home in Yushu.

The children benefit enormously from your moral and financial support. Simply knowing that they are cared for by supporters around the world makes a difference in their wellbeing.

Contributions to the works mentioned above are at all times most welcome and beneficial. Methods of contributing to the Gebchak nuns and Yushu orphans can be found here.

On behalf of the Gebchak nuns, lamas and the Yushu orphans, heartfelt gratitude, prayers and many tashi deleks!

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October 2015 (with photos to share)

Dear friends of Gebchak Gonpa,

jubilant nuns khata

Joyful nuns await the arrival of their visiting Gurus.

Lately it’s been a newsworthy time at Gebchak Gonpa! Two weeks ago the nuns were honoured and overjoyed to have Drubwang Tsoknyi Rinpoche, H.H. Gyalwang Drukpa and Drukpa Choegon Rinpoche preside at the consecration of their new temple. The 360 nuns at Gebchak have waited 4 years for their new temple to be completed, and now they can gather altogether as before for their 20 annual sādhanā ceremonies (drubchens). Two elderly nuns who lived at Gebchak in the 1930s are thrilled that their prayers to gather in the new temple before they die have come true. To see photos of the temple’s consecration ceremony please click here.

Side view of the new temple on the day of consecration.

Side view of the new temple on the day of consecration.

There were many obstacles to constructing a temple at Gebchak’s remote, high-altitude location (it is hard to keep labourers when there is no TV, phone service or Chinese food!). Gebchak’s nuns, lamas and neighbouring families feel immense gratitude to all donors who provided for this sacred space that is the hub of their communal spiritual life. Statues, ritual objects and wall paintings are yet to be installed inside the temple. Contributions are still very welcome towards these sacred images that will support the practice of hundreds of Gebchak nuns for generations to come.

with Awang

A moment with Awang (photo by Diane Barker)

The Yushu orphans are all going to school and learning to deal with the ups and downs of life. They are fortunate to have the steadfast care of Awang and her husband Choten, who live nearby the orphans’ home and are a regular caring presence in their lives. As the children get older the pressures of the Chinese school system increase, as do school fees. Your continued support makes a tremendous difference for their wellbeing. To see photos of the children taken in August 2015 please click here.

Regular supporters of the Gebchak nuns and Yushu orphans, please note that we have changed our online donation platform for international donors to PayPal.com, as this saves processing fees that can be used by the nuns and children. Donations by US residents remain tax deductible through Dongyu Gatsal Ling Initiatives, and Australian donors can now pay directly within Australia via Gebchak Rigpa Harsey. Please visit this page for more details.

With Love, prayers and much gratitude,

On behalf of Wangdrak Rinpoche and Gebchak Gonpa

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Happy Wood Sheep Year!

Happy Wood Sheep YearAt the Tibetan Lunar New Year Losar – the Gebchak nuns send greetings and prayers from the Nangchen highlands! As usual at the end of the year the nuns just completed a week-long Mahakala prayer ceremony to clear away negativity. With their winter cycle of drubchens (extensive prayer ceremonies) now over, the nuns are busy with celebrations and prayers to welcome an auspicious lunar new year and spring season ahead.

As a New Year offering we’d like to share two video interviews with Gebchak nuns. Gebchak’s unique yogic tradition continues today due to the courage and kindness of the elderly Gebchak nuns who survived the Cultural Revolution and returned to re-establish the Nunnery in the 1980s. The story of these elderly nuns is the shared theme of these two interviews. We hope you will find treasured inspiration in watching them.

                                             (click on these links)
Jogema Dondrub Chomtsoon seeing it all and dying
Konchok Yangchenon remarkable old nuns, preserving a female lineage… and practice

Construction of Gebchak’s new temple is now completed and finishing the temple’s interior will begin in May. Painting, furnishing and installing statues could take years as funds are still lacking. But the nuns are expecting to begin using the temple for prayer ceremonies by September 2015. The two Jogema, or elderly nuns, still living at Gebchak have high hopes to pray in the new temple before they pass away.

The Yushu orphans are also excited to be celebrating Losar with extended family and friends. During the current long winter break from public school, the children are learning Tibetan language in seminars taught by monk relatives. They are healthy and very grateful for the care of financial supporters around the world.

On behalf of the Gebchak nuns and lamas, we wish you a blessed and meaningful New Year of the Wood Sheep!

To make a donation from anywhere in the world for the Gebchak nuns or Yushu orphans, please visit our donation page.
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