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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Wangdrak Rinpoche Australian Tour 2014 & Website Launch

Gebchak Rigpa Har-Sey Website Launched!

Australian website site launched!

Australian website site launched!

Gebchak Rigpa Har-Sey is an Australian-based organization whose inspiration is to preserve the female spiritual lineage and wisdom of Gebchak Gonpa. Their website launched in July 2014 in time to promote the next visit of Wangdrak Rinpoche to Australia.

Wangdrak Rinpoche Returns to Australia for 2014 Visit

Gebchak Wangdrak Rinpoche will soon be making his third teaching visit to Australia from 5 November to 8 December 2014. Wangdrak Rinpoche’s teachings follow Gebchak Gonpa’s teaching style and lineage of inspiration. This year Rinpoche will offer public talks, teachings and meditation retreats in Sydney, Canberra, the Blue Mountains and Melbourne. Whether you live in Australia, close by or even far away – we still hope to meet you one day. The world is small and our interdependence is strong.

Wangdrak Rinpoche’s first event in Australia will be an ‘in conversation’ with Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo at Sydney University. They will discuss female practice traditions in Tibetan Buddhism, and there will be an extensive Q&A session for the audience. This will be a rare opportunity to hear such well qualified Buddhist masters discussing this important area of Tibetan Buddhism.

More about the week-long retreat: This year Rinpoche will begin a series of retreats following the Tibetan Dzogchen path inspired by the Gebchak tradition. This is a very rare and precious opportunity to receive such authentic training. This retreat will be held in the Blue Mountains – a beautiful scenic area outside Sydney.  Read about it here.

FOR FULL DETAILS (venues, costs, times, contacts etc), please visit the Australian website here.  


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Happy Wood Horse Year, 2014

Wangdrak Rinpoche with the eldest - and the youngest - nun at Gecbhak.

Wangdrak Rinpoche with the eldest – and the youngest – nun at Gebchak Gonpa.

Dear Friends of Gebchak Gonpa,

March 2 is Tibetan New Year – Losar – at Gebchak Gonpa. The nuns and lamas are celebrating with prayers, wishing that all their relations, supporters and fellow sentient beings have a blessed and high-spirited Year of the Wood Horse ahead!

For the last ten days the Gebchak nuns have performed an intensive Mahakala ceremony to avert all traces of negativity for the New Year’s arrival. You have been included in their prayers and recollections. Your kindness is remembered each day as the nuns uphold their unique practice lineage.

As a New Year offering we’d like to share a teaching on Buddha Nature, given by Wangdrak Rinpoche last June, 2013. It can be read in our website’s Resources section under the Talks & Teachings heading.  Also, please enjoy our latest set of photos taken in autumn that includes one short video.

The Yushu orphans are also celebrating Losar with fun and games, together with Wangdrak Rinpoche and their extended families. After a short Losar holiday they will return to their classrooms, looking forward to the spring weather that Losar heralds. Here are photos taken of the orphans last September.

News: Wangdrak Rinpoche will be leading a retreat from 21 to 27 November, 2014, in the Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia. Full details about the retreat will be announced in May 2014. Rinpoche will also be teaching in Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney during November and December 2014. Enquiries about Wangdrak Rinpoche’s Australian teachings can be made here.

The first month of the new year is highly auspicious and so making offerings is highly meritorious.

For Australians making donations, please read here for important instructions.
USA residents are reminded that your donations via the DGLI web portal are fully tax-deductible.

On behalf of Wangdrak Rinpoche and the Gebchak nuns and lamas, Happy New Year and Tashi Delek!

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Autumn 2013 – a season for Gebchak News

Passing of Choje Akong Rinpoche

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

The Gebchak nuns are extremely saddened at the recent death of Akong Rinpoche and are engaging in 49 days of prayers for this great master as are many sanghas worldwide. Akong Rinpoche was the founder of ROKPA, an NGO that performs some of the most skillful charity and cultural preservation work in the world. Over the last ten years Akong Rinpoche has quietly supported the preservation of Gebchak Nunnery during a time of great change in Tibet. He rebuilt the Gebchak nuns’ 16 retreat divisions, the new 3-year retreat house, a medical clinic and installed a system of running water. Akong Rinpoche will live on in the nuns’ prayers, inspiration and the long-term preservation of the Gebchak tradition.

News agencies across the globe have reported on Akong Rinpoche’s outstanding life including The Telegraph and numerous others.


Jogema Dondrub Chomtso recounting her memories of Gebchak. Photo: CDR.

Autumn brings clear memories for the nuns at Gebchak Gonpa. Khenpo Tsultrim Lodrö, one of the most respected lamas in Tibet today, recently contacted Wangdrak Rinpoche, Abbot of Gebchak Gonpa, requesting written histories of the Gebchak’s “Jogema”. These elderly nuns are the pride of Gebchak Gonpa. Their enlightened examples have inspired an influx of new nuns at Gebchak since it was rebuilt in the 1980’s. Read more about the Jogema here. Gebchak has an amazing history of spiritual accomplishments that continues to this day, but so far little has been recorded. Now the nuns have begun to record all the memories they hold of Jogemas who survived the Cultural Revolution and returned decades later to re-establish Gebchak’s unique female lineage. Tibetan culture is radically – and rapidly – changing in China. Yet the Gebchak nuns still fan the flame of tremendous devotion to Tsangyang Gyamtso, their founder, and continue to engage in a practice system that is as rigorous and pure as it was in the beginning.

New Temple Construction Nearly Completed

Nestled in the middle of the Nunnery, the new temple takes shape. Photo: CDR.

Gebchak’s main temple is the nexus of the Nunnery, where all 350 nuns (plus surrounding nomadic communities) gather for prayer ceremonies throughout the year. In 2011 the old temple was demolished due to crumbling mud brick and rotting wooden beams, and a 7ft-deep foundation laid for a new temple to be built of steel, cement and local stone. This summer construction of the outer new temple was almost completed. Murals are scheduled to be painted on the inside in May 2014, when construction can resume in spring.

There are only two Jogema left today at Gebchak. One, the precious Jogema Dondrub Chomtso, despite her advanced years (now 86) constantly recites her prayers even while laboring on the temple. Her final wish is to gather for prayers in the completed new temple before she dies. With the successful momentum of temple construction so far, it is likely the surviving Jogema will live to practice in their beloved new temple.

Wangdrak Rinpoche has been at the helm steering the design, planning and onsite supervision, as well as spearheaded fundraising for the first two years of the temple’s construction. For the final (third) story other lamas have also generously contributed to help finalize construction. The Gebchak nuns are extremely grateful to all the supporters around the world who have contributed to the temple project. As the present generation of Gebchak nuns continue to preserve their lineage, they look with delight to the new temple as the hub that will hold their prayer ceremonies and keep their authentic practice strong. With outer construction nearly finished, any contribution towards the temple’s inner statues and mural paintings would be greatly appreciated, and bring enormous merit by supporting this centre of intense spiritual practice.

Prayer Festival – Jamar Monlam

Dressed as dakinis, these nuns join a long procession at Jama Monlam 2013. Photo: CDR.

Gebchak Gonpa hosted a Nyingma “Monlam” (a Prayer Festival) as they do each year in September. Ten full days of prayer lead up to the full moon. It is popularly known as “Jamar Monlam”, named after the place where it is held and located many hours drive away from Gebchak itself. Gebchak Nunnery organizes the entire event including feeding and housing guests, and collating prayers that they published as a book for distribution. The Gebchak lamas and other prominent lamas of Nangchen county preside at the Monlam, while the Gebchak nuns take the lead in ritual chanting and music. Many nuns and monks from Gebchak’s branch nunneries also joined the Monlam.

The atmosphere is very “Rimey”, or non-sectarian, in spirit. Nearby communities participated including Drikung Kagyu, Nyingma and Drukpa Kagyu monasteries. Thousands of lay people converged for this important event, supporting the Monlam in all manner of meritorious activities such as making offerings, raising prayer flags, prostrating and circumambulating around the temple complex. Jamar Monlam has become a key community and spiritual highlight for the region and the Gebchak nuns are highly respected for instigating it. Check out our online photo set of the Jama Monlam.

Revitalizing sacred land – Dongtsang Ritro

Guru Rinpoche statue painting was completed mid October.

On advice from a elderly Gebchak yogi, Wangdrak Rinpoche is currently building a hermitage named Dongtsang Ritro with the generous support of his Asian disciples. Located on the outskirts of Nangchen township, it will serve as a residence for Gebchak nuns who need to come to town for supplies, medical treatment or other work. A place of retreat, the hermitage will also serve as a restful place for Jogemas and those nuns who suffer from the high altitude at Gebchak itself.

Dongtsang Ritro is infused with blessings. It is said that the 12th century yogi, Tishri Repa Sherab Sengge, had his hermitage on this exact spot. Tishri Repa was a disciple of Barompa Darma Wangchuk – a disciple of Gampopa. Historically, the site is a vestige to Nangchen being hailed as “Gom De” or Land of the Meditators. Many high lamas and yogis have graced the land with blessings in recent months and consecrated a beautiful Guru Rinpoche statue in an uncommon form of “Guru Nan-Si Silnon“. Wangdrak Rinpoche was inspired to use this form after seeing a photo of H.H. Dilgo Khyentse striking a similar pose. View photos of Dongtsang Ritro here.

Yushu Orphans

Achyi, house mother, with orphans. Photo: K. Irvine.

Fortunately, all our orphans have passed their yearly exams and enrolled in subsequent classes in Yushu primary and secondary schools. Completing high school is essential for these children’s future prospects. The modern Chinese education system is efficient but fiercely competitive; if students fail their yearly exams they are denied a seat in subsequent classes. It is Wangdrak Rinpoche’s priority to see that all conditions are met for the orphans’ academic enrollment each year.

Yushu has undergone massive rebuilding since the 2010 earthquake, and residents who lost their homes are no longer permitted to live in tents. With the skillful help of ASIA Onlus our orphans now have improved provisions and accommodation in a building in Yushu. We look forward to working with ASIA Onlus – with its long experience of helping orphans in eastern Tibet – in fostering these children to adulthood.

Gebchak Wangdrak Rinpoche will be giving Dharma teachings in Singapore in November 2013. If you are interested in attending, please contact our Singaporean contact listed here.

On behalf of all the Gebchak nuns and lamas, Wangdrak Rinpoche is beaming heartfelt prayers, gratitude and Tashi Deleks to you!

From all countries across the globe you can make a safe online donation with our secure online system for any of Wangdrak Rinpoche’s activities. Donation instructions are here.

Posted in Events, Gebchak Lamas, Latest News, Nuns, Tour, Wangdrak Rinpoche, Yushu Earthquake Orphans | Comments closed

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