In 1998, Ven Thubten Lama , the acting head of Palden Zhiwa Peace Monastery in Nagychu, Eastern Tibet came to live at Buddha Maitreya’s Sanatan Dharma Center near Boudha Stupa in Kathmandu, Nepal. There, he received food and accommodation from Buddha Maitreya as well as support for the costs of his education. He also received monthly sponsorship to help with living expenses for a group of 6 monks from the monastery including Choepak Rinpoche and Khenpo Tendar after they had finished their Khenpo ('Abbot') degree from the Sakya Institue in India.
Thubten Lama became a devoted student of Buddha Maitreya and his wife Mandarava Tara and in 2000, handed over responsibility for his Monastery in Tibet to Buddha Maitreya. The Monastery is in poor condition and Buddha Maitreya agreed to support the restoration of the existing monastery as a retreat center and rebuilding of Palden Zhiwa as an Institute for Higher Buddhist Studies in the valley below. An enthronement was planned for September, 2003 at Palden Zhiwa in Tibet but because the monastery is inaccessible and so hard to get to at the top of the mountain, it was not possible for Buddha Maitreya and Mandarava to travel there at that time.
In 2002, Thubten Lama, Choepak Rinpoche and Khenpo Tendar received support from His Holiiness to establish their own dharma center in Kathmandu, Nepal and in 2004, Buddha Maitreya and Mandarava Tara sponsored Choepak Rinpoche and Khenpo Tendar to visit and spend time with the Church and its western monks and nuns in the US on a peace tour to help raise funds and donations for the new Monastery project. To date nearly $55,000 has been given in sponsorship for the support of Palden Zhiwa and its monks.
About Palden Zhiwa
Palden Zhiwa Peace Monastery is built near the sacred site of one of Padmasambhava’s holy meditation caves in Tibet. Padmasambhava was known as Guru Rinpoche and was the precious founding father of Tibetan Lamaism in 700 AD. The old monastery situated on a steep mountain top at Yajiang Hsian, Sichuan province was destroyed in the Cultural Revolution. Because of the difficult nature of the hilly road and the extreme scarcity of water, visiting the monastery is always difficult. As such, plans to rebuild the monastery on the plain area of the adjacent village were made with the old location used as a retreat center.
Migyur monastery is one of the few ancient and reputed monasteries in Tibet. Founded by H.H Choeje Buyong Kachu in the 16 century, the monastery had 113 branches with the Peace Monastery being one of them. It belonged to the Sakya Ngorpa lineage. Soon after the establishment, Jamyang Phuntsok Rinpoche was appointed the first ever Abbot of the monastery. He was a man of great learning who has a profound understanding of Buddhism. He was an austere following of Vinaya (Ethics) and like an eye, he observed it throughout his entire life. He had more than 200 monks whom he taught from basic Ngorpa rituals to the highest level of Buddhist philosophy.
The Peace monastery was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution in 1959. Only Khenpo Jampa Gyatsen managed to survive and kept the lineage of vows intact. Later in 1980, when freedom of religion was restored, Khenpo started to rebuild the small monastery including about 50 monks with a sole purpose of preserving the lineage. After that he selected 15 qualified lamas and sent them to Sakya College in India for further studies. After graduating from Sakya College, the Lamas made efforts to reestablish the lost glory of Peace Monastery. Pleased with their achievement and behavior, His Holiness Sakya Trizin gave the title of Rinpoche and Khenpo to some of them.
The 15 graduated lamas wish is to reconstruct the Peace Monastery as an Institute for Higher Buddhist Studies which involves restoring the monastery and establishing it as a monastic college in order to educate the monks. However, the monks had little financial ability to construct such a monastery. Their earnings are minimal and sometimes not even enough for their own livelihood. In this situation they only look forward to receiving donations from generous benefactors. In order to accomplish this noble mission, the monks asked Buddha Maitreya to his support, encouragement and suggestions for both the financial and spiritual aspects of the project. Towards the end of 2002, Buddha Maitreya received plans for the new Monastery and gave the project his blessing and support.
Biography of Ven. Thubten Yonten Lama
Venerable Thubten Yonten Lama, was born in Kham Lithang in 1965 and became a monk at the age of 13. He came to His Holiness Tulku Buddha Maitreya’s center several years ago and became His devoted student, after finishing his 7 year term at Sakya Center in Dehra Dun India. Since then he has acted as the head Lama, overseeing the production of incense as well as the proper conduct of the monks and nuns at the center.
In the year 2000, Thubten Yonten Lama handed over to Buddha Maitreya Rinpoche the responsibility of his Monastery, The Palden Zhiwa Monastery, which is a branch of the Migyur Monastery in Nyagchu in Eastern Tibet. The Monastery is home to 57 monks and was in need of money to finish the reconstruction that was begun in 1981, after the devastation by the Chinese during their occupation and cultural revolution years.
In his words….
Biography of Choepak Rinpoche
It has been whole four years since I met Buddha Maitreya /Padmasambhava and be in a good relation with Buddha Maitreya. I came to know Buddha Maitreya through other people and people told me that there is Buddha Maitreya the reincarnation of Padmasambhava, then I went to his Dharma Center in Nepal and I had been staying there for four years.During my stay at his Center he sponsored me for every single thing Including my education . And he is also sponsoring my monastery in Tibet too. As my Monastery in Tibet in concern, there is nobody looking after the monastery and taking responsibility .since the head lama of the monastery met his demise early . Then after I met Buddha Maitreya , I requested him to take the responsibility, in charge of our Palden Zhiwa Monastery and he agrees with my request . Now these days, He is the only one who looks and care for the monastery. Buddha Maitreya is everything for this monastery. He has invested a big amount of money for this monastery in Tibet to do restoration. Buddha Maitreya is not only helping and sponsoring me he has been sponsoring many people and monasteries. These days I am not staying at his center since I would like to start a small center in Nepal because the monks from my monastery in Tibet who are here in Nepal and India have nowhere to stay. But with this small project Buddha Maitreya has been sponsoring me and he is the only one who support and helps me. He makes my project come success. Therefore, for all those reasons, I feel he is very, very grateful for me as well as all the sentient beings on this planet. At the end I would like to say I believe him as Buddha Maitreya Rinpoche.- Thubten Lama, April 2002
Tsultrim Choephak Rinpoche was born July 15th, 1974 in Singe village, Lithang, Tibet. His father's name is Dawa Tsering, and his mother's name is Sonam Tsepa. Rinpoche was admitted to the Palden Zhiwa monastery (Peace monastery) at the age of 9 years old. Rinpoche studied and practiced Buddhist rituals, sand mandala making, lama dancing, and how to practice meditative retreat. Then, in October of 1989, Rinpoche went to Dehradun, India to go on pilgramage to sacred, holy sites, and to study Buddhist philosophy at the Sakya Institute, the seat of the Sakya lineage. Rinpoche studied here for 4 years and received the Madhya Maka degree. After 3 more years of study, he received the Shastri degree (B.A. in Buddhist philosophy). After 2 more years of study he received the Acharaya degree (M.A. in Buddhist Philosophy). After 3 more years of study he received the title of Khenpo (PhD in Buddhist Philosophy). Then, in the year 2002, H.H. Sakya Trinzin, Head of the Sakya Lineage recognized Tsultrim Choephak Rinpoche as the reincarnation of the Zhiwa Rinpoche, who is the high Rinpoche of the Sakya lineage of Lithang.
Biography Khenpo Tendar
Khenpo-la is from the Palden Zhiwa (or Peace) Monastery in Tibet. He was born in 1973 in Kham Tibet, and became a Monk at 12 years of age. After studying for 5 years in Tibet, he set out on pilgrimage to many holy places throughout India and Nepal, then studied at the Sakya College and Sakya Institute in India. After intensive Monastic study and training Khenpo-la graduated in the year 2000 as a Khenpo, or Dharma Professor. In recognition of his meritorious work, Khenpo Tendar was awarded the “Pen Sha” red hat by the Sakya lineage head - the first time this honorific hat had been awarded since 1949. Khenpo has since devoted himself to teaching the Dharma and has helped to establish the Palden Zhiwa Center in Kathmandu with Tulku Buddha Maitreya’s support.