Chökyi Gyatso Institute

Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche commissioned the building of the Chökyi Gyatso Institute (CGI) in the early 2000s to fulfill the wishes of his maternal grandfather, Lama Sonam Zangpo (1888-1982). Lama Sonam had built a small temple in the hope that one day the grounds would be used for a monastery. CGI has been functioning as a shedra (monastic college) since 2015, offering both traditional and modern approaches to monastic education. While providing courses and training in Buddhist philosophy and methodology that uphold the Rimé practice lineage of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, CGI actively explores and implements innovative approaches to Buddhist monastic education. With the wish to promote socially engaged, educated monks who are informed and involved in the world around them, programs include alternative, holistic curricula that focus on integrating art and the environment into the classroom.

CGI is unique in its commitment to the environment and the community. Collaboration with Lhomon Education and the Samdrup Jongkhar Initiative has led to the implementation of many sustainable practices. The monastery was one of the first to declare a Zero Waste policy and is setting an example for the entire community. For instance, one of the many services that the monastery offers the community is the hosting of pujas, which involve donations of food and other goods. Rather than promoting the standard offerings of heavily packaged biscuits and snacks, the monks encourage offerings of home-churned butter, locally grown organic vegetables, and traditional weavings. CGI plays a significant ongoing role in the spiritual and social well-being of the community.