top two buildings comprise the Institute
Shri Nalanda Institute (KSNI) is a fully accredited
institution for higher buddhist studies. It was founded
by His Holiness the Sixteenth Gyalwang Karmapa and is
affiliated with the Sampurnnant Sanskrit University
of Varanasi. KSNI and the Sanskrit University offer
the Acharya degree (master of buddhist studies) and
Ka-rabjampa degree (doctorate of divinity). KSNI is
a monastic college and students are mainly young monks
between the age of 13 to 35. The Institute faculty are
composed of lineage mastersabbots and other qualified
monastic and lay teachers. The standard of education
is one the best in the Tibetan Buddhist education. Major
subjects taught include Buddhist philosophy, psychology
and education courses, as well Buddhist history, and
Tibetan literature and art and also English, Hindi,
Pali, Sanskrit and other Tibetan studies.
AND OTHER FACTS
Shri Nalanda Institute is located just above the main
monastery of Rumtek, in eastern Sikkim, 24 kilometers
away from Gangtok, the capital of the Sikkim, India.
Rumtek is situated at an altitude of about 5800 ft (1,547
metres); the climate in Summer averages between a maximum
of 20.7 and minimum of 13.1 (deg.C°.); in Winter,
maximum 14.9 / minimum 7.7. The best season to visit,
in terms of weather, is March to late May, or from October
EVENTS OF THE YEAR
good time to visit is during the public events held
each year by the monastery. Two of the most festive
and important events are held each summer and winter
. In the fourth lunar month of the Tsurphu Tibetan calendar
either the Guru Rinpoche or the Vajrakilaya Drupchen
(great sadhana practice retreat) take place. The practice
events lasts for ten days and are followed by the traditional
sacred lama dance of the eight manifestations of Guru
Padmasambhava (on the 10th day), Yidam dieties, and
other protectors. At the end of the lunar year, in the
12th month (usually sometime between February and March),
Rumtek holds another festive ten-day practice of the
Mahakala Protector. This is followed by the traditional
sacred lama dance of Mahakala (on the 29th day). The
Tibetan New Year (1st day of the 1st month) celebration
of the new year follows, which usually lasts for 3-8
days, with the cultural and spiritual festivities, typically
involving many Tibetan opera dance performances. These
are some of the most festive and important holidays
for Rumtek. These events provide an unique opportunity
for both practitioners and the general public to visit
and enjoy the traditional sacred lama dance performances,
intense week-long practices, and the cultural celebration
of the Tibetan New Year.
TO GET THERE
: The nearest airport is Bagdogra (124 kms). Both government
and private airlines operate flights to and from New
Delhi, Calcutta, Patna, and other cities.
Rail: The nearest railway stations are in Siliguri
(114 kms), New Jalpaiguri (NJP) (125 kms). Train service
runs to and from New and Old Delhi, Calcutta, Gaya,
Varanasi and other cities and towns of India.
Road: Good motor roads connect Gangtok with Siliguri
(114 kms), Darjeeling (139 kms), Calcutta (725 kms),
and Guwahati (589 kms).
Bus Service: Regular bus services connect Gangtok
with Bagdogra, Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Siliguri and Calcutta.
Sikkim Nationalized Transportation, which is a state
government bus service, and other private services operate
within Sikkim as well as outside the state.
Holiness the 16th Gyalwang Karmapa
Holiness the XVIth Gyalwang Karmapa, the supreme head
of the Kagyu order of Tibetan Buddhism, founded the
Karma Shri Nalanda Institute (KSNI), a monastic college,
in November 1981. Nalanda, according to Buddhist historical
records, was the name of a renowned Buddhist University
in ancient India, and was chosen as the name of the
contemporary Institute by His Holiness. It has been
one of the main visions of His Holiness since he was
at Tsurphu in central Tibet to establish and restrengthen
the monastic college and the rich educational tradition
of the Karma Kagyu lineage.
construction of Karma Shri Nalanda Institute started
in 1980 with the funds raised by His Holiness during
His trip to North America in that year. With the blessings
of His Holiness the XVIth Gyalwa Karmapa, the Institute
was completed in 1982 and inaugurated by the appointed
Directors of the Institute, their Eminences Shamar Rinpoche,
Situ Rinpoche, Jamgon Rinpoche, and Gyaltsap Rinpoche;
and Mr. Dhamchoe Yongdu, the General Secretary of His
Holiness the XVIth Karmapa. The first group of students
consisted of less than fifty monks. Today there are
over one hundred students at the KSNI.
Eminence Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche III
the Institute grew in the early 1980's, it became necessary
for more classrooms, students' dormitory, and bigger
library space to be built. Under the Directorship of
His Eminence Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche, the construction
of an annex building began in 1985. Through the tremendous
effort of His Eminence, the annex was completed in 1987.
This five story annex includes a small library, auditorium,
classrooms, and students' quarters. The building is
constructed in the traditional Tibetan architectural
style, beautifully ornate, painted in bright colors
and symbolically significant to Buddhists. Their Eminences
Jamgon Rinpoche and Gyaltsab Rinpoche, the Acting Director
of KSNI, inaugurated the annex in 1987 at a ceremony
attended by the Chancellor of Sampurnannt Sanskrit University
(Varanasi, U.P.), the Secretary of the Ecclesiastical
Department of the Government of Sikkim, representatives
of various Buddhist Institutes, scholars, teachers and
many other friends and supporters.
students are required to have an eighth grade level
or equivalent education for admission to the Institute.
After completion of seven years of study, students attain
the shastri degree, and with two more years of study,
the acharya degree (master of buddhist studies), is
awarded from Sanskrit University. After completion of
nine years, the ka-rabjampa degree (doctor of divinity)
is offered from KSNI.
programs of acharya and ka-rabjampa are offered at KSNI:
Acharya: Since 1987, KSNI has been officially affiliated
with Sampurnannt Sanskrit University, in Varanasi (U.P.),
India. Sanskrit University is one of the oldest government-recognized
educational institutions in India and is a fully accredited
university. The University governs examinations of the
KSNI and Acarya (master of buddhist studies) degrees,
which are awarded jointly by KSNI and Sampurnannt Sanskrit
Ka-rabjampa: Karma Shri Nalanda Institute offers the
traditional ka-rabjampa degree (doctor of divinity)
in accordance with the 800-year-old educational system
of the Karma Kagyu Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism.
two principal teachers are Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche,
chief abbot of the Karma Kagyu lineage, and the senior-most
Abbot, Khenchen Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche. Both were
appointed by H.H. the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa. There are
many other faculty members of the Institute over the
years, such as Junior Khenpo Chodrak Tenphel, and teachers
of debate, Tibetan literature, history, Pali, Sanskrit,
Hindi, English, and others. Please check for the latest
schedule with the office of KSNI.
the abbots, Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche and Khenchen Tsultrim
Gyamtso Rinpoche, have developed new textbooks and commentaries
in response to curricular needs, and which are now regularly
used at KSNI. Under their guidance, a fundamental curricular
structure and teaching methodology have been established
at the Institute.
administration and curriculum for KSNI is governed by
"The Constitution, Code of Conduct and Curriculum
of Shri Karmae Nalanda Institute for Higher Studies"
written by His Holiness during the summer retreat in
1981. Under the Constitution, the Directorship of the
Institute is shared among the four regents of the Kagyu
order, who, in conjunction with an appointed and qualified
abbot, are responsible for overseeing the Institute.
was initially directed by His Eminence Jamgon Kongtrul
Rinpoche and Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, the Chief Abbot
of Kagyu Lineage. Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche worked diligently
to execute the vision of His Holiness the Sixteenth
Gyalwa Karmapa. He was assisted on a daily basis by
junior Abbot Khenpo Chödrak and some senior students.
Through their efforts, the present infrastructure was
established. H.E. Goshir Gyaltsab Rinpoche succeeded
H.E. Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche as Director in 1986. In
1989, H.E. Shamar Rinpoche succeeded to the Directorship
and served until 1993. H.E. Situ Rinpoche, the current
Director, assumed his term in 1993. Since 1993, their
eminences Tai Situ Rinpoche and Goshir Gyaltsap Rinpoche
directs the Institute under the guidance of His Holiness
the Seventeenth Gyalwa Karmapa, Orgyen Drodul Trinley
required curriculum at KSNI includes a variety of Buddhist
philosophy and psychology courses. The elective courses
are English, Hindi, Pali, Sanskrit, Tibetan and Buddhist
history, Tibetan literature, art, Tibetan astrology,
and Tibetan medicine. The fundamental training is based
on a rigorous, traditional Tibetan course of study with
some influence from modern educational systems. In addition
to their academic pursuits, the students engage in various
daily schedule begins at four o'clock in the morning
when all the students gather in the main auditorium
and chant the Manjushri (bodhisattva of wisdom) prayer
to sharpen their wisdom. The classes start as early
as six in the morning and finish around eleven-thirty.
The elective courses are mainly taught in the afternoons.
The students pursue their individual studies and complete
their homework in the afternoons and evenings. Also
in the evenings, the students gather to practice traditional
individual debate, and on every Tuesday night there
is a larger gathering for debate among all levels of
following is an example of a daily schedule for those
who are in the acharya degree program:
- 05:00 am Morning Practice Session
05:00 - 06:00 am Break
06:00 - 07:30 am Morning Study Period
07:30 - 08:30 am Breakfast
08:30 - 10:30 am Main Class (major subject)
10:30 - 10:45 am Break
10:45 - 12:00 am Class Discussions and/or
Meditation (in the classroom)
12:00 - 01:00 pm Lunch break
01:00 - 02:00 pm Language Class
02:30 - 04:00 pm Afternoon Debate Practice Session
04:00 - 05:00 pm Tea break
05:00 - 06:00 pm Class or Study Period
06:00 - 07:00 pm Dinner break
07:00 - 08:00 pm Evening Practice Session
08:00 - 09:00 pm Evening Debate Practice
or Other Assignments
09:00 pm End
of daily activities.
students at KSNI come from different ethnic backgrounds
and are mainly from the Himalayan regions. Many of them
are Tibetan refugees; others are from Bhutan, Nepal,
Ladakh, Sikkim, and other parts of India. The Institute
relies upon the financial support and assistance from
various foundations as well as from private donations.
The donations for KSNI provides free education, text
books, food and lodging for anyone who wishes to pursue
monastic study at KSNI. Most of the faculty members
are either volunteers or are paid through philanthropy.
Students' Welfare Union of KSNI
1982, with the support of some teachers and with the
permission of H.E. Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche, the Students'
Welfare Union was founded. The main aim of the Students
Welfare Union is to provide help and support to poor
and sick students, provide medical aid, and assist in
arranging ceremonies at the Institute. The Welfare Union
staff is elected by the students every two years.
1986, the senior students of KSNI formed a volunteer-based
committee to raise funds to publish urgently needed
rare texts. The Committee has been responsible for publishing
textbooks, sponsoring the creation of woodblock editions,
obtaining thangka paintings for the Institute, and the
publication of the Nalandakirti Journal.