Bokar Ngedon Chokhor Ling

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Main Monastery

In general, a monastery is a place where the teachings of Buddhism can be studied, practiced, and preserved. At Bokar Monastery the monks engage in a full schedule of both practice and study.

As a foundation, the young monks attend daily classes in Tibetan language, grammar, and hand writing. They memorize the most important teachings, liturgies, and prayers, and train in the manifold elements of ritual practice as preserved in the rich Tibetan tradition. Some of the components include: training on an assortment of instruments, learning to make elaborate offerings, reviewing various chanting melodies, practicing different hand gestures or mudras, and training in traditional dances.

These various components are incorporated in the practices that comprise their daily, monthly, and yearly events. A wide array of practices, as preserved by the Karma Kagyu and Nyingma traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, are regularly preformed. Nearly each month sees a weeklong group intensive practice which includes constructing a sand mandala, sculpting intricate offerings, melodious chanting, and traditional music. Great care is taken to preserve the tradition as it has been passed down from the past masters of the lineage.

Further, each year there are detailed presentations of the most important Buddhist texts during the Great Spring Exposition and the Great Summer Exposition. The range of material that is presented is vast, covering the entire range of literature that had its origin in India and was later taken to Tibet where it was preserved and further developed. From the words of the Buddha himself, the vinaya, or the code of monastic discipline, and the central sutras, or the actual discourses of the Buddha, are taught. Principal texts from the Mahayana or Greater Vehicle’s tradition are presented including the BodhicaryavataraEngaging in the Bodhisatva's Conduct by Shantideva and the Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa. Finally, within the genre of the tantras, a wide range of commentaries are periodically taught—the root tantras and commentaries of both the Kalachakra and Hevajra tantras being two examples.