Diwakar Vihara Buddhist Research and Educational Institute.
Shri Diwakar Institute houses about 80 monks aged 14 to 30. Most
students are in their twenties and the school, or shedra, offers
the equivalent of a combined high school and university education.
Under the auspices of HH Karmapa and HH Shamar Rinpoche, the institute
teaches the traditional Tibetan monastic curriculum for scholars
leading to an advanced degree in Buddhist philosophy.
Students study Tibetan language and literature; logic and debate;
and Buddhist doctrine and philosophy as taught by past masters
of the Karma Kagyu and other Buddhist schools. Instructors include
HH Shamar Rinpoche himself. In Fall 2004, he taught a course in
poetics as codified by ancient Indian pandits. HH Karmapa is currently
finishing his own studies at the school.
Though the students specialize in philosophy, they are also introduced
to ritual practice and perform two daily chanting services. Resident
teachers and visiting instructors also teach Hindi and English
languages on a regular basis.
primarily ethnic Tibetans who come from four separate nations,
India, Bhutan and Nepal. In addition, there
are currently three students at the school from Taiwan. Before
coming to Diwakar Institute, students must have completed their
primary education at secular or monastic schools in their own countries
or at such magnet Buddhist primary schools as the Tilopa Institute
in India’s northwestern state of Himachal Pradesh. For entrance
to Diwakar Institute, students must also present a strong recommendation
from their local lama.
come to the school speaking various languages of the Himalayan
and beyond, the main language of instruction
is Tibetan. Only the most gifted graduates of the seven-year program
will receive the coveted degree of khenpo—doctor of Buddhist
studies—and will be authorized to teach Buddhist philosophy
at monastic academies like Diwakar Institute. The khenpo designation
is awarded by consensus among HH Shamar Rinpoche, the principal
of Diwakar Institute and other high lamas to graduates with the
deepest knowledge of Buddhist philosophy.
will return to their home countries and serve their communities
teachers. Some hope to bring vital social
services to their localities. “My aim is to start an orphanage
in Kathmandu, Nepal,” says one student. On graduating, other
students will complete the traditional Tibetan three-year retreat
before embarking on a teaching career. A few students have the
ambition to travel abroad, to East Asia or the West, to spread
the Buddha’s teachings further afield. With sufficient English
skills, this dream too can become a reality.
Established in the mid 1990s by HH Shamar Rinpoche, Diwakar Institute
is located on a hillside tract north of downtown Kalimpong, a town
of about 15,000 people perched on a high ridge about 4,000 feet
or 1,200 meters above the river Teesta in the temperate Himalayan
foothills of northeastern India. The school was built adjacent
to the early-twentieth-century-bungalow that currently serves as
home to HH Karmapa until he completes his studies.
located about 40 miles or 60 km. from Rumtek, in the adjacent
state of Sikkim. Rumtek is the monastic seat
of the Karmapas in exile, established by the late 16th Karmapa
in the 1960s and now the subject of litigation. Another nearby
point of interest is Kalimpong’s sister town of Darjeeling,
an old British hill station located about 35 miles or 50 km. away.
Diwakar Institute provides all instruction as well as room and
board to students free of charge. Students are responsible to pay
for their own clothes, books and incidental expenses. Many students
receive sponsorship support from donors in Europe, East Asia and
North America. But there are still opportunities for interested
sponsors to support the work of Diwakar Institute and the future
of the next generation of Buddhist philosophers in the authentic
Tibetan tradition. Please write to the Institute at the address
below or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Also, if
you are considering a visit to Kalimpong, please contact the institute
directly if you would like to take a tour.
Shri Diwakar Vihara
Buddhist Research and Educational Institute
11th Mile, Kalimpong-734301
Distt. Darjeeling, West Bengal
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