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ORGANIZATION OF DREPUNG LOSELING PETHUB KHANGTSEN EDUCATION SOCIETY –SOUTH INDIA

The Je Yabse Sungbum Project was initiated by Drepung Loseling Pethub Khangtsen, which was established in 1979 in Mundgod, Karnataka state, and was later registered with the Karnataka government as DREPUNG LOSELING PETHUB KHANGTSEN EDUCATION SOCIETY – MUNDGOD (DLPKES-MUNGOD) pursuant to Indian law. Some years later, DLPKES-MUNGOD‘s application for authority to receive electronic funds transfers of donations from overseas to its bank account was approved by the Indian government. Around 2005, Ladakhi alumni of Drepung Loseling Pethub Khangtsen, having returned home, began to organize DLPKES-LEH, as a branch of DLPKES-MUNGOD. DLPKES-LEH was registered by the Jammu-Kashmir state government as a community-based non-governmental organization in 2012.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF DREPUNG LOSELING PETHUB KHANGTSEN EDUCATION SOCIETY

The largest school of Tibetan Buddhism, the Geluk tradition, was founded by Je Tsongkhapa Lobsang Drakpa (1357-1419). Three great Geluk-pa monastic universities — Gaden, Drepung and Sera (each composed of several colleges) — were founded around Lhasa, Tibet, in the 15th century.

Drepung was the largest of those institutions and was known as the Nalanda of Tibet due to its academic excellence. Before the Fifth Dalai Lama moved to the Potala Palace, Drepung was the residence of the Dalai Lamas. Until 1959, Drepung was composed of seven colleges.

Ladakhi monks of the Geluk school, after completing their basic education, journeyed to Tibet for advanced study at those great universities near Lhasa where they joined tens of thousands of monks from around Asia. Monks of each college were organized into regionally based Khangtsen (khang tsen). Khangtsen provided their members with accommodation and other community services. Pethub Khangtsen is the name of the organization for Ladakhis studying at the colleges of the three great universities. The 102nd Gaden Tripa and the 19th Bakula Rinpoche are included among the many Ladakhis who studied in Drepung Loseling’s Pethub Khangtsen, Lhasa, before 1959.

Since 1959, when H.H. the Dalai Lama led Tibetans into exile, Lhasa’s three monastic universities, each with two colleges, have been re-established in the province of Karnataka, on land that Prime Minister Pandit J. L. Nehru arranged as Tibetan Settlement areas for the exile community. Drepung’s two biggest colleges, Loseling (blo gsal gling) and Gomang (sgo mang), were established in a Tibetan Settlement near Mundgod town. As in Tibet, the monks of each college reside in housing provided by their native region’s Khangtsen. Today, Pethub Khangtsen is only organized in Loseling college. 25 Khangtsen in Loseling provide housing for thousands of monks.

About Author: Je Yabse Sungbum