The History of Shechen Monastery
The original Shechen Monastery was destroyed during the Chinese occupation of Tibet in the 1950s. Nevertheless, its essence was preserved by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche who was exiled to Nepal and who established a new home for the monastery here. Thus, while the building itself is quite new and vibrant, the philosophies, culture and practices that you find within its walls are as old as time itself. The new Shechen Monastery is situated near the Bodhnath Stupa and is quite easy to find. The Shechen Monastery is one of the six main Nyingma monasteries of Tibet even though it is now located in neighboring Nepal.
When Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche set his mind on rebuilding the monastery he knew that no ordinary building would do. The building had to not only provide the perfect atmosphere for the traditional philosophies and arts of the monastery to blossom, it had to be a beautiful example of Tibetan art since it would be seen by many people who were not from Tibet. So in 1980 he chose a building site in the Kathmandu Valley and he started searching out skilled craftsmen who could do the job. He searched high and low for stonemasons, sculptors, goldsmiths, tailors and painters who all worked together to create the sort of Tibetian masterpiece that the Shechen Monastery has become. The work was carried out under his own supervision and attention to detail was given the utmost importance. Khyentse Rinpoche was not concerned with how quickly the job could be done but rather how well it could be done and the building of the monastery carried on for years and years. Guilded with gold and filled with immensely beautiful artworks and statues with spiritual significance, the monastery is a very special place today.
Today the Shechen Monastery has become home to more than 300 monks who have come from different places across the Himalayan region and beyond, to study and live here. The monastery teaches music, dance, painting and Buddhist philosophy. The elementary school section also serves to provide a modern education for children between five and fourteen years of age. After this, a student may choose to begin a two-year course of learning which may eventually enable them to qualify to enter the Shechen Institute. Many of those who now serve as teachers were once students here themselves and learned teachers from across the region are often invited here to share their enlightenment with students. The monks at the monastery try to serve the spiritual needs of the community and they organize events for the public. So visit this fascinating place and learn more about the Schechen Monastery and its many monks.