At Surmang Dutsi Til and its associated nunnery Kyelaka, the lunar new year is a bustling time for practice and education, ritual and celebration.
Chakrasamvara and Lama Dances at Surmang
The busiest time of year for the annual cycle of dharma practices at Surmang Dutsi Til monastery takes place shortly after Losar (Tibetan New Year). Meditative dances are among the practices performed at this time. A Chakrasamvara dance, particular to Surmang, and a lama (masked) dance, drawn from a terma revealed by Chökgyur Lingpa, are traditionally done each year at Dutsi Til. Chögyam Trungpa XI Rinpoche was a proficient dancer during his time as the young abbot of the monastery and the present Trungpa XII Rinpoche has also participated as a dancer.
One Hundred Nuns at Surmang Kyelaka
The nearly one hundred nuns at Kyelaka are diligent practitioners. They undertake group or individual retreats throughout the year, plus they also sometimes take work breaks during the day to help maintain the nunnery. This winter the nuns completed one hundred day retreats, at which time they mostly conducted individual practices at their small homes on the nunnery grounds. After Losar, many of the nuns attended various of the special practices that took place at Dutsi Til.
Children’s Education Programs
This year, the children’s programs took place at two Surmang locations: Kyelaka (which was more easily accessible for the majority of students than Dutsi Til) and a smaller program at Gyamshi. About 115 children participated in total.
As always, the students are provided with meals, which represent the largest cost for the program. (The other costs are for stipends for the teachers and cooks, and for materials for the students.) Two nuns served as the cooks. Monks who had experience in teaching were the instructors. As has been the case for many years, Gesar Fund in Europe participated with Konchok Foundation in sponsoring the programs.
Chögyam Trungpa’s Parinirvana Commemoration
Another of the dharmic activities that take place at Surmang in the period after Losar is the annual commemoration on April 4 of the parinirvana of Chögyam Trungpa XI Rinpoche, who has become a renowned figure in Tibet. Nuns from Kyelaka attended at Dutsi Til. The program included recitations, in Tibetan of course, of the Sadhana of Mahamudra and the Dharma Sagara guru yoga.
As it has for many years, Konchok Foundation continues to provide support to the monks on long term retreats at Dorje Khyung Dzong and Dechen Choling retreat centers near Surmang Dutsi Til.