1. CHU SUP TSANG BUDDHIST MONASTERY & UNIVERSITY
Ven. LAMA GESHE TENZING TAMDING
Chu Sup Tsang Monastery, located in the village of Ventoselo (San Amaro, Ourense) is to be the first university centre of Buddhist philosophy in Spain and Europe in which formal studies are given of the Five Great Areas of Buddhist Knowledge (Tsema, Parchin , Uma, Dulwa and Dzo) – according to the model of the great Monastic Universities of India and Tibet, such as Ganden Monastery, from which stem our spiritual director Ven Lama Geshe Tenzing Tamding as well as the Masters that accompany him in this undertaking in Spain: His Eminence Nyare Tritul Rinpoche and the Ven. Lama Geshe Lobsang Yeshi.
A NEW GOMPA AND A LIBRARY
The construction of a library open to the general public, which will house nearly 30,000 volumes of sacred texts of Buddhism and which, at the express wish of the Lama Geshe Tenzing Tamding and Chu Sup Tsang Foundation, will also include texts from a variety of non-Buddhist religions and traditions present in the world. The aim of this project is that Chu Sup Tsang may become a place of interest for researchers of philosophy from around the world. This library will by its content be something unique in Spain and Europe, with the potential of becoming an essential reference for Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike.
The current Gompa – the place for meditation and prayer at any Buddhist Monastery- where teachings and lectures are given, can accommodate a maximum of 100 people. The future project includes a new Gompa with a capacity of up to 500 people. The Gompa will be integrated into the library building, forming the heart of the library. This new Gompa dedicated to meditation and teaching will be able to house, in addition to all the sacred texts and images that are kept in the current Gompa, the statue of Buddha Shakyamuni which arrived in Chu Sup Tsang from Asia in 2014. It measures almost 3m in height and weighs 350 kg (when hollow). In future it will be filled with millions of mantras written on small strips of paper, as well as different relics and sacred objects as established in Buddhist tradition – and will weigh over 900 kg. Already now, this statue is a reason for tourists and locals to visit, despite it remaining in its original packaging and awaiting- due to its size- its definitive and adequate location. When the future Gompa will be finished and this magnificent bronze representation of Buddha placed in it, it will undoubtedly become another attraction for Buddhist and non-Buddhist visitors alike.
CONSTRUCTION OF A STUPA
The third indispensable element of this monastic-university complex is the stupa figure, the geometric and architectural representation of the enlightened mind, a Buddhist construction par excellence whose explanation of meanings and symbolisms alone would take up thousands of pages. A place of meditation, pilgrimage and practice for Buddhists from anywhere in the world. A point of attraction and place of high cultural and touristical interest for any non-Buddhist. A monument to peace, compassion, wisdom and harmony among all beings. A source of blessing and peace for any place that shelters it, and of whose meanings and symbolic architecture we could talk, filling page after page …
MODULES OF STUDY AND MEDITATION
The educational and monastic complex of Chu Sup Tsang will be completed with the construction of several independent study- and meditation-modules for studies and retreats of short, medium or long duration.
2. GASHAR NYAGRE Kangtsen MONASTERY IN India
The Gelugpa Monastery of Gaden Shartse is located in South India, in the Karnataka region, where it was rebuilt as a replica of the destroyed Gaden Shartse Monastery in Tibet.
It houses a community of some 1500 monks, ranging in age from 4- 100 (!) years old – many of them are orphans. The Monastery provides them with accommodation, food and education, all free of charge. Monks at the Monastery study the complete study degree to achieve the title of Geshe Lharampa (the highest academic honour in the Gelugpa educational system, equivalent to a PhD in Buddhist Philosophy, according to the Indian University system).
The monks aim to be self-sufficient, living on their own crops, grown by seeds that were donated back in the day by the Indian Government; but the monsoon rain periods devastate their plantations every year – which is why they depend to a great extent on donations received.
Sanitary conditions are very precarious, and there are existing problems with lodgings, bathrooms, electrical light, drinking- water, etc. Only one medical visit per year is possible (for all residents of the Monastery)- however, some diseases such as tuberculosis, diabetes, heart problems, blindness – are not infrequent.
Another reason for many diseases is the Indian climatology, which is very different from the Tibetan climate.
Since most of the monks are Tibetan exiles, the harsh conditions during their exodus to India means that many of them arrive in pitiful conditions: having lost limbs or suffering from paralysis due to frostbite, or suffering from various ailments caught during the trip (diarrhea, fever,…)
For all these reasons, the Monastery greatly appreciates the help made by any person wishing to collaborate in its sustenance.
The Foundation collaborates with the residence of monks Gashar Nyagre Kangtsen, which belongs to Ganden Shartse Monastery. The collaboration project includes direct help to the Nyagre Kangtsen residence and indirect help through a sponsorship program. Part of the money received via this sponsorship is given to the sponsored monk – to cover his basic needs – and the remainder of the donation is destined to the improvement of the general community. Thus creating a connection – via written correspondence – between the monk and the person sponsoring him, who will be able to closely follow the monk´s personal and monastic evolution.
The amount of donation for sponsorship is completely flexible, because the Monastery is grateful for even the smallest help. As a reference, we can indicate that the average spending is 55 cents per day (which adds up to about 200 € per year). Due to the high cost of bank transfers, the Foundation transfers the sponsorhip money to the Monastery every six months or annually. At this moment it is the Monastery that chooses the monk to be sponsored, and will send the sponsor a photo of him.