History of Gyuto Tantric Monastery
Jetsun Sherab Senge
Jetsun Kunga Dondrub's Disciples
The Monastery's Administration
Present Situation of the Monastery
Annual Activities in the Monastery
The Syllabus and Course of Studies Ngagrampa Studies
Tantra and the Role of Gyuto
Monastic Training and Daily Schedule
From its inception in 1474 until the monastery served as the greatest center of Buddhist esoteric teaching through its regular and special activities. Strict discipline was observed and its unique monastic traditions were maintained and handed on with care. Its system and tradition of tantric ritual spread to thousands of monasteries in Tibet, Mongolia, Ladhak and other neighboring countries.
The monastery, which began with thirty-two monks, during the last few centuries had between eight and nine hundred monks. As a result of the Chinese atrocities in 1959 only some sixty monks were able to escape to India as refugees. The rest were either killed in bombardments or imprisoned in concentration camps. Ramoche temple and most of the priceless images and other sacred antiquities enshrined in it were destroyed. The image of the Buddha was broken into two pieces and transported to mainland China with other bronze articles to be used as raw material in the production of ammunitions. The damaged Buddha image was however, eventually located, reassembled and repaired in 1984. Nothing apart from this could be traced.
The few monks who managed to flee to India initially settled in Dhalasose in the north western foothills of the Himalayas where they started a small handicrafts’ center to maintain themselves. Between working hours they tried to perform all their religious activities and keep alive their traditional teachings and practices. When their material position had improved slightly they began to admit a few new monks each year to keep the monastery alive.
In 1974, on the advice to the Council of Religious Affair of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the monastery moved to a Tibetan Settlement Tenzin Gang in the eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam India as part to a land settlement project. The land was mainly used for orchards and vegetable growing. Workers were hired to do the cultivation as that the monks could devote more time to study and practice. Thus, but for a few exceptions, most of the regular religious activities were performed in accordance with the tradition that had been followed in Tibet.
The number of resident monks has now increased to over 500 hundred. The younger monks receive some modern education in English, arithmetic, general studies and other subjects in addition to their normal monastic education. Several monks have been appointed to look after the financial interests of the monastery in different places in an attempt to make the monastery self-supporting.