The Chokyi Gyatso Institute (CGI) in Dewathang, Samdrup Jongkhar, Bhutan, started as a small temple built by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche's maternal grandfather, the late Lama Sonam Zangpo. His great aspiration was for Khyentse Rinpoche to develop Dewathang into a ‘shedra’, a Buddhist college. In 1990, to fulfill his grandfather’s wish, Khyentse Rinpoche founded the CGI.
In 2003, the CGI entered a ten-year period of renovation. After a great deal of hard work supported by many different people, the new monastery has now entered its final stage of reconstruction.
The CGI offers more than 130 monks a thorough education in Buddhist philosophy. It also upholds the tradition and practice lineage of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, including annual drubchos and drubchens, based on Khandro Sangdu, Pema Tseyi Nyingtik, Vima Ladrub, Minling Dorsem and Phagma Nyingtik, as well as many other practices. As such, the CGI now functions as a ‘shedrub’, where monks are now able both to study and to practise the Buddhadharma.
Chokyi Gyatso Institute
The monastery has a very close relationship with the local community. But what makes the shedra truly outstanding is its commitment to the environment and the community. The monastery is one of the first to declare a Zero Waste policy, encouraging the community to reconsider the habit of offering packaged biscuits and snacks, instead putting great value on traditional weavings, home-churned butter, locally grown organic vegetables. The monks have learned and instituted a number of sustainable practices since 2012.
Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche’s vision is to have a body of socially engaged, educated monks who are informed and involved in the world around them. Young monks at the shedra are participating in a pilot project to develop alternative, holistic curricula, integrating art and the environment into the classroom. The ground-breaking new curriculum introduces novitiate monks to the core concepts of the Dharma through interactive play, music, and arts.
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