More about Drepung Gomang Monastery
Drepung Gomang Monastic University is one of the most reputed centers (the three great seats: Drepung, Gaden, and Sera) for learning, contemplating and practicing Tibetan Buddhist thought and science. It is notably known as the second Nalanda University in Tibet.
Drepung Monastery was founded in 1416 near Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. Gomang Dratsang or College is the oldest of the four colleges of Drepung. In 1959, before the invasion by Communist China, Drepung Monastery was home to more than 10,000 monks, with about 5,500 belonging to Gomang.
Since its beginning, Gomang College has produced many eminent Buddhist masters and has been a very important Tibetan and Buddhist learning center. Each of the colleges of Drepung has its specialty; the focus of Gomang is philosophy – logic, and debate.
In 1949 the army of the People’s Republic of China invaded the sovereign country of Tibet. Despite pleas for assistance, no nation came to the aid of Tibet so that the violent occupation was complete by March 1959. The political and spiritual leader of Tibet, Tenzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, was forced to flee his country, followed by 80,000 refugees.
Since then refugees have continued to stream from Tibet, often at great peril to their lives. Since 1949 more than 1.2 million Tibetans have died at the hands of the Communist Chinese government. This oppressive regime is destroying the environment and culture of Tibet and displacing the population with ethnic Chinese so that now, in many areas, Chinese settlers outnumber the Tibetan population.
Since1959 the Chinese Communist government, whose motto is “Religion is Poison”, has destroyed more than 6,000 of Tibet’s monasteries, including Drepung, and have imprisoned, tortured, and executed thousands of Buddhist monks and nuns.
Only 100 Gomang monks managed to escape with His Holiness the Dalai Lama when he fled Tibet in 1959. After ten years living in Boxa, North India, the 62 surviving Gomang monks were given 42 acres of land in Mundgod, South India by the Indian government. There they started to rebuild Drepung Gomang Monastic Dratsang in exile.
Today approximately 2000 monks live, study and work on these few acres. The Monastery includes Administrative Offices, an outstanding Dharma Library, a handicraft center, medical store, dairy farm, a home for aged monks, a school for young monks, debate grounds, and philosophy education for all student monks.
About 200 monk staff members work to help the monastery function smoothly, giving many years of service. Most are volunteers with no salary as such paid to them.
Gomang is part of a larger Doeguling Tibetan settlement of 16,000 persons in Mundgod. In addition to the monastery, this settlement includes nine camps for lay people, a Cultural Tibetan Administration office, one school for lay Tibetans, a hospital, a medical center, a nunnery, an old person's home, a bank, a café, and a guest hostel.
Gomang Monastery interacts with the larger Tibetan community, teaching the three R’s in school, assisting in the hospital, Old Folk’s home, and providing training in Tibetan arts and crafts for the young people of the settlement while offering employment for the local
Tibetans and Indian people.
The monks also serve the community by performing religious ceremonies for the Tibetans.
Visit Drepung Gomang Monastery website at www.DrepungGomang.org