In the West, Buddhism is fairly recent and it is growing. This is partly because the Dalai Lama and his people were forced, by the Chinese occupation, to leave Tibet and live in exile in India. It is also partly because Westerners have begun to discover the true values of life.
Buddhism began in India with Buddha Shakyamuni’s enlightenment over twenty-six centuries ago. Passed from one generation of practitioners to another, the Buddha’s teachings flourished throughout Asia and have recently spread to the West. Since the Buddha’s time, monastics have been responsible for preserving the teachings.
By living a life of simplicity as exemplified by the Buddha and described by the Vinaya, monastics provide a healthy challenge to society’s concepts of success, power, and consumption. They demonstrate the possibility of community life centered around spiritual practice, and in doing so, they have sustained the Buddha’s teachings to the present day.
Until now, Buddhism in Europe has mostly been focused on Dharma centers where lay students learn the Buddha’s teachings. Now that these are well established, it is time to build monasteries where women and men can study, practice and train in the monastic lifestyle.
Monastics require a conducive environment in which to develop spiritual practice from the beginning of their ordination, to help maintain that ordination and practice during their lives and especially for the last days before they die. There are few places in the West for monastics to live relatively free from distractions, providing the best opportunity for study, meditation, and spiritual practice.
Just as a house should only be built upon firm foundations, establishing the most beneficial situation also encourages stability in the Sangha community enabling growth and progress along the path. Younger members can support and benefit elder monastics and in turn, follow and learn from their example. In this way a strong, healthy community practising an ethical life nurtures and supports the growing understanding of many aspects of Dharma such as compassion, interdependence, love, mindfulness and wisdom in order to benefit others.
Having a positive, peaceful Dharma environment in a secluded area allows the possibility of both long and short retreats for monastics. Retreat is a crucial part of the Buddhist path allowing the wisdom of contemplation to arise after studying and understanding. The project addresses this need.
Lhungtok Choekhorling (the Associazione Sangha Onlus) follows the spiritual authority of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet and Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche. It is in the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT) network of centres, projects, services and probationary centres, projects and services. FPMT teachings come directly from Buddha Shakyamuni, in accordance with the lineage of Lama Tsongkhapa, and the unique lineage of Lama Thubten Yeshe and Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche.
Lhungtok Choekhorling (the Associazione Sangha Onlus) follows the spiritual authority of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet and Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche, and is part of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT) network of centers, projects and services. The FPMT teachings come directly from Shakyamuni Buddha according to the lineage of Lama Tsongkhapa, and the unique one of Lama Thubten Yeshe and Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche.
It was founded through the inspiration of the Venerable Geshe Jampa Gyatso, in response to the spiritual needs of our times. Its purpose is to contribute to the preservation and transmission of the ethical and spiritual values of the teachings of the Buddha by providing a suitable site and buildings for Lhungtok Choekhorling Buddhist Monastery.