Sangchen Rabten Norbuling
Situated at the heart of Kyimolung (The Hidden Valley of Happiness) is Sangchen Rabten Norbuling; a remarkable community of over 100 monks and nuns, steadfastly practicing the Longchen Nyingtik Cycle of Teachings from the authentic and unbroken lineage of Dodrupchen.
“In future times, when there are warfare, strife, and difficult circumstances in the world, will there be a safe haven where people can go to for practice?” enquired King Trisong Deutsen. In reply, Guru Padmasambhava said, “There will be five ‘lungs’ (valleys) where warfare will never enter: Sambu Lung, Jonpa Lung, Ribtsen Lung, Phakri Lung, and Kyimo Lung.”
Kyimolung (The Hidden Valley of Happiness) is the present day Nubri; a location within the Himalayan regions of Gorkha District, Nepal. Nubri has at its core, the blessings of the Dharma and a raw, untouched beauty. The remoteness and inaccessibility of this area prevents encroachment from the outside world, thus providing a serene and undisturbed environment perfect for the practice of the Dharma. Hidden within the mountains of Nubri is a wealth of Termas (spiritual treasures prepared by Guru Padmasambhava for the benefit of future generations) in the form of texts and sacred objects. A variety of these important Termas have been revealed, especially in the mountain of Sringi Himal (Tashi Palsang in Tibetan), while others remained hidden for the protection of the Earth. Specifically, the great Terton (Treasure Revealer) Garwang Dorje (1640 – 1685), revealed six Terma scriptures in this area. In addition, Milarepa (c. 1052-1135), the exalted Tibetan yogi, had also conducted meditation retreats in the caves of Kyimolung.
Situated at the heart of Kyimolung is Sangchen Rabten Norbuling (The Steadfast Treasure Island of the Great Secret Doctrine), also widely known as Serang Monastery or Nubri Monastery. Established centuries ago by the great yogi Chokyi Gyaltsen, a practitioner of the Jatson Nyingpo and Jangter (Northern Treasure) Teachings, the practice lineage of Serang Monastery has since been passed down from father-to-son, till the 11th lineage holder, the late Nubri Lama Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche. The late Nubri Lama Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche took the vows of full ordination from the 16th Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, hence putting an end to the birth lineage succession of Serang Monastery.
Connecting to the Mandala of Dodrupchen
One of the root teachers of the late Nubri Lama Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche is the previous Nuptul Tenpei Nyima Rinpoche, who asked him to study under H.H. 4th Dodrupchen Rinpoche and H.E. Lopon Kunzang Thegchok Yeshe Dorje Rinpoche. From these two distinguished masters, the late Nubri Lama Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche received the entire Longchen Nyingtik (The Heart Essence of the Vast Expanse) Cycle of Teachings, and thus, became an important spiritual disciple of this lineage. After completing a three-year retreat at Chorten Monastery in Sikkim, the main seat of H.H. 4th Dodrupchen Rinpoche, he returned to his ancestral monastery at his Guru’s advice. Saddened by the dilapidated conditions of Serang Monastery, the late Nubri Lama Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche put great efforts into its renovation. He was assisted by his older sister, Ashe Yeshe Sangmo, who dedicated her life to support this endeavor.
Thereafter, the entire newly renovated Serang Monastery was offered to H.H. 4th Dodrupchen Rinpoche as a mandala during its consecration ceremony in 1992. As a sign of acceptance, a new name, “Sangchen Rabten Norbuling”, was bestowed upon Serang Monastery by H.H. 4th Dodrupchen Rinpoche. Teachings from the nine volumes of Jigme Lingpa’s Terma, the Longchen Nyingthik, were also imparted in great details and many disciples received support on the path of ripening and liberation.
A Remarkable Community for Learning and Practice
Following the advice and guidance of H.H. 4th Dodrupchen Rinpoche, a monastic community was subsequently established at Sangchen Rabten Norbuling, with the vision to preserve the Buddha’s teachings and specifically, to uphold the practice of the Longchen Nyingtik from the authentic and unbroken lineage of Dodrupchen. The establishment of an ordained monastic community was unprecedented in the history of Nubri, where most practitioners followed the yogic traditions. Lopon Tashi Tenzin and Karma Migyur Dorje Rinpoche of Chorten Monastery were invited, whereby they imparted many teachings and instructions to the various disciples according to their dispositions.
Since becoming connected to the mandala of Dodrupchen, the community of practitioners at Sangchen Rabten Norbuling has grown to over 100 monks and nuns. A remarkable learning environment for hearing, contemplating, and meditating on the Buddha’s teachings was gradually developed. Today, Sangchen Rabten Norbuling remains an important and reputable monastic institution of Buddhist learning and practice for disciples within Nubri and from afar.
Sangchen Rabten Norbuling has been providing retreat facilities for monks, nuns and lay practitioners since the 1990s. According to the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, one should accumulate profound experiential understanding through deep spiritual meditation practices, after hearing and contemplating on the teachings of the Buddha. The purpose of undergoing a retreat is to train one’s mind and enhance the quality of one’s spiritual practice.
In 1992, shortly after the inauguration of the renovated Sangchen Rabten Norbuling, the late Nubri Lama Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche established the retreat centre for monks under the guidance of H.H. 4th Dodrupchen Rinpoche, who then bestowed the name of Drubde Legmon Shingta Gyatso to the retreat centre. In 1995, the late Nubri Lama Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche also built a retreat centre for nuns under the guidance of H.H. 4th Dodrupchen Rinpoche. The name of the nun’s meditation centre is Drubde Pedmo Doshal.
Since the establishment of the retreat centres, many groups of practitioners have completed the traditional three-year-and-three-month retreat practice.
Monks’ Retreat Centre: Drubde Legmon Shingta Gyatso
Nuns’ Retreat Centre: Drubde Pedmo Dosha
Help us to sustain this ancient monastery and its community of monastics by donating it to the Sangchen Rabten Norbuling Sustenance Fund as a recurring donor or make a one-time contribution. Your generous donation will go towards providing food and basic necessities for the monks and nuns, as well as the maintenance of their living quarters and the shrine halls.