TABO MONASTERY SANGHA
Young monk in Tabo Monastery. Photo: D. Klimburg-Salter, 1999
45 monks currently live and study at Tabo Monastery, keeping alive the vibrancy of Buddhist study and practice within the ancient walls.
The daily schedule includes puja and prayers at 6 am followed by Buddhist philosophy classes and English language classes.
The youngest monk at Tabo is 6 yrs old.
Abbot Geshe Sonam Wangdui is the eldest, born in 1929.
Since 1975 Geshe Sonam Wangdui has been the Abbot of Tabo Monastery, caring for the monks, sometimes teaching texts and always committed to the welfare of the local people and the monastery.
Serkong Tsenshap Rinpoche and Geshe Sonam Wangdui in front of the Monastery class rooms.
Kyabje Serkong Tsenshap Rinpoche is considered the Head Lama of Tabo Monastery. In Rinpoche's previous life (1914-1983) he visited frequently, giving teachings and guidance. The local people held Rinpoche very much in their hearts and every household in Spiti would have a picture of Rinpoche on their altar. The connection was so strong that Rinpoche's next life was born in Spiti.
Presently Serkong Tsenshap Rinpoche is studying in Gaden Jangtse Monastery. Rinpoche visits Tabo Monastery regularly.
Traditionally in Spiti culture the second son becomes a monk. Tabo Monastery therefore provides the Buddhist philosophical education for these local monks to be able to either study and practice at the monastery or be suitable candidates for the monastic universities such as Gaden Monastery. The young monks also receive a conventional primary school education as well.
Ven Tseten Zangpo (Tabo Monastery administrator, on right) with Thupten Sherap (attendant to Serkong Tsenshap Rinpoche, left)
Abbot Geshe Sonam Wangdui, Tabo Monastery administrator Ven Tseten Zangpo and several other Tabo monks coordinate the education and operation of Tabo Monastery and its sangha, as well as overseeing many aspects of the Serkong School and the new Dharamsala hostel for senior school students. Some senior Tabo monks are involved with teaching at the Serkong School.
A SPECIAL APPEAL FOR THE SERKONG SCHOOL
We created the Serkong School in order to help support poorer students, by providing free room and board.
The school presently has 310 students, but the old school building is need of renovation. The growing
student population also needs an additional dormitory (hostel) building, and funding for these efforts
is urgently needed.
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PERMIT REQUIREMENTS TO VISIT SPITI
Indian nationals do not require a permit. Foreign tourists are advised to apply at the DC office
(District Collectorate office) at Shimla or Rekong Peo, Himachal Pradesh, for a permit to visit
Tabo from Kinnaur side.
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