The Important Kopan Monastery
Kopan Monastery lies on the Kopan Hill, not far from the city of Boudhanath, overlooking the Kathmandu valley and surrounding areas. Previously the Monastery was situated on the Himalayan mountain range where Lama Zopa Rinpoche fulfilled a promise he had once made to build a monastic school for the children in the nearby locality. The school was called the Mount Everest Center, the name of the highest mountain in the world.
In 1971 the monks that had taken up residence here at the school moved to Kopan hill because of the harsh weather conditions experienced during winter. Today Kopan Monastery is a thriving institute housing up to 360 monks with its sister building, the Khachoe Ghakyil Ling Nunnery housing 380 nuns. The monks and the nuns come mainly from Nepal, Tibet and other Himalayan countries and are looked after by the abbot Khen Rinpoche Geshe Lhundrup Rigsel and guided in a spiritual sense by the Lama Zopa Rinpoche. From as young as seven years monks and nuns come to the Kopan Monastery to receive a good monastic education.
The educational program covers a wide range of subjects, including the traditional philosophical subjects. The Kopan Monastery also makes time twice a day for students to stop classes and get together where they can pray and meditate. Nearby there is a small college that provides the students with training in rituals for example chanting, ritual dancing and torma making. Everything that the monastery provides the students with, like board and education, is given freely to anyone wanting to lead their lives in this way.
Once the students have gone through all the education that Kopan Monastery can provide them with, some move on to Monastic Universities to continue their studies. Other students are more interested in dedicating their lives to the monastery and pursuing a variety of religious activities and services. The Kopan Monastery is run purely on contributions, sponsorships and money obtained from the meditation program they run for visitors.
There are many rituals and ceremonies that are carried out throughout the year according to the Tibetan calendar. The monks every year observe different monastic rituals in an attempt to praise the holy deeds the Buddha has performed for them. These rituals can take the form of retreats, prayers, ritual dances and spiritual practices.