Inkarri Cultural Association has collaborated for more than 20 years with Tibetan monasteries with the objective of helping to keep Tibetan Buddhism alive, a cultural and spiritual tradition which still maintains it’s original practices and rituals.
It’s important to remember that after the invasion of Tibet by China, many monks had to abandon their country and go into exile in India, where their basic health and educational needs were not always met. It has been our objective to collaborate with certain monasteries so that they may continue to support and educate their monks with the aim of keeping this beautiful lineage alive. It has also been our intention to bring the knowledge and benefits of this culture and it’s ritual practices (which are so powerful for physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health - helping to establish Inner Peace) to the West. For this reason, we have called the tour that the monks undertake with us throughout different countries, “The World Tour for Inner Peace.”
GADEN SHARTSE MONASTIC UNIVERSITY
One of the most important communities of monks that has gone into exile since the Chinese invasion in 1959 is Gaden Shartse, located in the South of India. The monastery is a non-profit cultural and educational institution that covers the costs of its upkeep thanks to the cultivation of 84 hectares of land which were donated to them by the Indian government. The income they obtain by the selling of their produce goes towards covering the daily running expenses of the monastery. Owing to this, every resident, at the age of 17, begins to work in the fields from anywhere between four to six months a year.
We have been supporting Gaden Shartse since 1992. Through the World Tour for Inner Peace funds are raised from the donations that are received in exchange for the activities the monks offer - this allows for the improvement of Gaden Shartse, it’s different buildings and facilities. These funds also assist in resolving the health and educational challenges they are facing. Although not all the activities take place in Inkarri Centers we coordinate and organize them, including the lodging and travel arrangements of the monks, in the different countries in which we work. These groups of monks share their knowledge, rituals, medical and astrological consultations amongst others activities on these tours.
GADEN SHARTSE IN TIBET
Shartse was originally founded in Tibet by Tsongkhapa (1357-1419), the
great Tibetan Buddhist cleric, saint and scholar. In the year 1409
Tsongkhapa established Gaden Shartse Monastery and from the time of its
founding began to develop the Gelupa School of Tibetan Buddhism also
known as the ‘Yellow Hat Sect’.
The monastery was
situated approximately 30 miles from Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. There
are two university colleges within the monastery of Gaden, Shartse to
the east and Jangtse to the west. Gaden was known to have a population
of more than 3300 monks during the first years of the 20th century.
in 1950 the population of the monastery increased to almost 5000 monks.
Gaden soon became famous for both it’s moral discipline and it’s
academic and spiritual excellence. The residents were composed not only
of those monks who observed the rules of Vinaya or moral discipline, but
also of other monks who arrived from all across Tibet, Mongolia, China,
Japan and Northern India.
GADEN SHARTSE IN INDIA
The beginnings of the Gaden monastery in India were very challenging owing to the dramatic climatic differences from Tibet and the intense heat. Despite all the difficulties, in 1970 Gaden Shartse was founded by 85 refugee monks close to the remote village of Mundgod, in the state of Karnataka in Southern India.
Three years later the first group of new students arrived whose ages ranged from between approximately 10 and 16 years old. In four decades, the population of Shartse increased to more than 1400 monks. With the constant increase in the number of students, they continue to struggle to provide the basic services of food, health and education.
Education, the development of the Tibetan culture and it’s conservation are the principle priorities of Gaden Shartse. The rector of the university, who is also the abbot of the monastery, is personally chosen by H.H. the Dalai Lama. The administration of the center is, for the main part, under the coordination of the resident members and many administrative auxiliaries who work on a voluntary basis.
PROJECTS AND DIFFICULTIES/CHALLENGES
There are many problems to be solved and projects that need to be developed or brought to conclusion. Among them is the building of study halls, the improvement and maintenance of the library and the sanitary and hygiene facilities and especially that of feeding 1400 monks. The monks food consists of a cup of tea and a piece of bread for breakfast and lunch, followed by a cup of sweet tea at 3pm and then rice and lentils for dinner.
As well as the Tour for Inner Peace, we collect funds for the improvement of primary education, assisting in projects for the sponsorship and equipping of children so that they can finance their studies.
An area of special attention for us has been in seeking support for the preservation and diffusion of Tibetan medicine. Their ancestral practices constitute a unique branch within the health sciences. We feel that it’s disappearance would be a loss for humanity. Owing to this, as well as hosting Tibetan medical consultations in our centers, we are exploring several different projects to support the preservation and flourishing of their medicine.
Some of these projects can be found in the “Solidarity” section in “Products”.