Sera Mey New Prayer Hall (1996-2002)

 

Beginning of the construction of the new Prayer Hall. Click on picture above for more pictures of the beginning of the construction.

In 1996, while Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Jamyang was teaching in America, he received from His Holiness the Dalai Lama the letter of appointment as the Abbot of Sera Mey Monastic University. Immediately he left for India.

The officials of Sera Mey monastery along with many other monks welcomed him at Bangalore and escorted him to Sera Mey in Byllakuppe. The day of his arrival turned out to be most fortunate as it coincided with the arrival of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s visit to Sera Mey Monastic University as well.

As such, Khensur Rinpoche went to welcome His Holiness and pay his respects. On the next day, His Holiness the Dalai Lama asked for the new Abbot of Sera Mey Monastic University to come to him for a private audience. During this private audience, Khensur Rinpoche received many invaluable advice and guidance from His Holiness. He spend the rest of the day escorting His Holiness on a tour of all the monasteries in and around the Tibetan settlement in Byllakuppe.

On his visit to Sera Mey, immediately after settling himself on the throne His Holiness asked, “I thought that this prayer hall was not only beautifully designed but also of a perfect size. Now, it looks like a dark little prayer hall. Is it now able to accommodate all the monks?” When Khenchen Lobsang Jamyang explained the hardship the monks have to face because the Prayer Hall is not big enough to accommodate the increasing population of the monks, His Holiness said, “In that case, a new Prayer Hall is inevitable.”

On the following day, Khenchen Lobsang Jamyang was officially enthroned as the new Abbot of Sera Mey Monastic University. The age-old tradition of Enthronement Ceremony was meticulously followed and the dignitaries who attended the ceremony included the Abbots and head monks of the other

monasteries as well. At the end of the ceremony, Khenchen Lobsang Jamyang reminded everyone the advice given the previous day by His Holiness the Dalai Lama regarding the need for a bigger Prayer Hall for the monastery. Therefore, the initial plan to build a new Prayer Hall was established on this day. Khenchen Lobsang Jamyang was sixty-three years old at the time. Not long after this day….

Khensur Rinpoche (Geshe) Lobsang Rabga receiving blessings from His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

On March 13, 1997, Khenchen Lobsang Jamyang left for the United States of America. Following subsequent consultations with His Holiness the Dalai Lama regarding the project for a new Prayer Hall, it was decided that while Khenchen Lobsang Jamyang is gone to the States to raise funds, the monastery would be placed in charge of the Abbot Emeritus Gyalrong Ngawang Thegchog Rinpoche and Geshe Lobsang Rabga who both have always been most active in the welfare of the monastery. Acting on behalf of the Abbot, Khenchen Lobsang Jamyang, they shouldered the responsibilities with great skill and efficiency. In the U.S., Khen Rinpoche was able to contact many friends in faith and help the project to some extent…..In 1999, Khen Rinpoche led a group of monks to the United States of America and other countries in the West. This group included monks who were skilled in the performance of religious dances and opera. In order to raise funds for the Prayer Hall project, the monks, under the guidance of Khen Rinpoche, staged

Gyalrong Khensur Rinpoche Ngawang Thegchog is an Abbot Emeritus of Sera Mey Monastic University and one of the main teachers of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Jamyang.

performances, conducted religious rites and gave teachings. In this way, with great forebearance they engaged in many successful fundraising activities. Ultimately, due to the kindness of both the Emeritus and incumbent Abbot and the two most faithful and charitable patrons – Mr. King Ta and Mr. Wunching Ruwo – the dream to build a new Prayer Hall was finally realized….

Mid-Way Celebration of the construction of the new Prayer Hall. For complete gallery please click on picture above.

In 2000, Khen Rinpoche and Mr. King Ta came from the U.S. to visit the monastery and examine the progress of the Prayer Hall project…

In 2002, the construction of the new Prayer Hall was finally completed. The newly build Prayer Hall turned out to be a sight of delight and inspiration for all. It is not only big and spacious but represents the unique Tibetan architecture in all its aspects – the exterior and interior design as well as the the uncommon Buddhist appeal. Everyone’s wish and prayer was fulfilled when His Holiness the Dalai Lama accepted the request to inaugurate the new Prayer Hall.

The much awaited inauguration ceremony took place on November 27, 2002. On the first day of the opening ceremony, His Holiness lit the Golden Lamp on the altar of the statue of Buddha … and he consecrated and blessed the new Prayer Hall. When this was over, Khen Rinpoche addressed the August gathering which included the Abbots from the three monastic universities, the Jangtse Choeje Rinpoche, the Abbots Emeritus and the staff of the three monastic universities (Sera, Gaden and Drepung), the head lamas of the monasteries from all the traditions, the chief minister of the state (Karnataka), the minister of religious affairs of the Tibetan Government in exile, and the general public. In his speech, Khen Rinpoche laid out the factual account of the construction project as well as the genuine need for the new Prayer Hall. This was followed by the presentation of cultural performances by the students and the Tibetan public of Byllakuppe. The day concluded with the inaugural speech by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

On the next day, His Holiness sat on the new throne for the first time and began his teachings on The Essence of Eloquence on the Interpretative and Definitive Teachings – one of the major writing of Lama Tsongkhapa (Drang-nges Legs-bshad Snying-Po). During the main teachings, Khen Rinpoche sponsored tea and bread for all the monks and distributed a gift of two hundred Rupees (about five dollors) to each as a gesture of his respect and reverence to the community of the Sangha.

On the last day of the teachings, Khen Rinpoche made the Mandala offering to His Holiness the Dalai Lama (a type of religious offering representing the mind, body and speech). This type of Mandala offering involved the traditional practice of reciting a self-composed explanation of the offerings that reflected the highlights of the life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Khen Rinpoche’s unique explanation of the Mandala offering made everyone present stunned with admiration and faith. This was followed by a long-life Mandala offering to His Holiness the Dalai Lama by the representatives of the Tibetan public in Byllakuppe. At the end, His Holiness expressed his joy over the fact that the construction project for the new Prayer Hall, including the inauguration ceremony as well as the teachings, had now concluded smoothly without any hindrances and he thanked Khen Rinpoche and the others involved for their admirable contribution and hard work.

The total amount of funds raised from the United States of America by Khen Rinpoche amounted to one hundred lakh and three Rupees or Rs. 10,000,003 (about $250,000). This amount was earmarked for the expenses of the Annual Sadhana Practice of Buddha Maitreya and Medicine Buddha (Byams-Smon Sgrub-Mchod and Smen-Bla’-Sgrub-Mchod Chen-Mo).

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His Holiness presiding at the Inauguration Ceremony of the new Sera Mey Prayer Hall. Click on image for full gallery of the Inauguration Ceremony.

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