A key goal: finish the shedra classrooms by fall 2010.
The first use of the classrooms at the Surmang shedra will occur this fall—if we can provide sufficient financial support for their completion. The Surmang Khenpo, who is directing the shedra rebuilding, is now in Tibet, purchasing materials and making arrangements for workers to resume construction in May.
In addition to the monks at Dutsi Til, there are as many as 100 boys studying in the old lhakang. The new shedra classrooms will provide an appropriate study space for the first time since 1959. Khenpo reports that local girls will also start attending classes once the shedra classrooms are usable.
Other major elements of the 2010 construction plan, if funding is available, include both exterior and interior painting, flooring, and plumbing. Even though the interior of the main shrine room will not be finished this year, completion of the classrooms will mark a key stage in the return of Surmang Dutsi Til as an important dharma center.
The people of Surmang have become increasingly enthusiastic and energized as the shedra approaches completion. The monastery, with the help of volunteer labor from the local lay population, has built a monastery store, which includes a small restaurant. They have also built a two story kitchen flanking the old lhakang. In anticipation of the the shedra’s completion, at least 7 or 8 small houses are under construction by local residents to house family members planning on attending the shedra. (The residential space inside the shedra will house about 65 students, which is only a portion of those who would like to attend.)
Chökyi Senge Trungpa XII Rinpoche. The opening of the shedra will provide the opportunity for the Trungpa lineage, in the person of Trungpa XII Rinpoche, to once again take their seat as the abbot of Surmang Dutsi Til. Trungpa Rinpoche, who will turn 21 this year, has meanwhile been continuing his studies at Serta gar. He stays periodically at Dutsi Til, and was there recently to preside over the annual Chakrasamvara dance. 50 monks participated in the dancing, while another 50 monks and 600-700 local lay people observed. Chögyam Trungpa XI Rinpoche, who worked tirelessly to build the Surmang shedra in the 1950s, is still greatly revered at Surmang, especially by those old enough to have known him personally.
Support for Surmang:
If we can provide sufficient financial assistance, Surmang Dutsi Til will take a crucial step forward this year in its re-emergence as a major dharma center.
Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche has frequently voiced his strong support for the rebuilding of Surmang, commenting, “I have run nine marathons over the past years to support the rebuilding of Surmang Dutsi Til…it’s now time…to complete the vital dharma projects that we are supporting there.”