Kyabje Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche
Kyabje Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche

Some 50 years ago, His Holiness the 16th Gyalwang Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpé Dorje, uttered the following prophesy to one of his principal gurus, Kyabje Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, Dharma master of Lachab Gompa in Kham: “If you go to Nepal, it will further the Buddhist doctrine and benefit sentient beings.”

In accordance with His Holiness the Karmapa’s wish, Kyabje Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche left his monastery in eastern Tibet and crossed over the soaring snow-capped Himalayas into neighboring Nepal to settle in the capital city of Kathmandu.

In 1963, His Holiness placed Kyabje Tulku Urgyen in charge of Nagi Gompa, a secluded nunnery nestled high on the northern slopes of Kathmandu Valley. Kyabje Tulku Urgyen quickly expanded the hermitage to include a main temple and simple dwellings for about 80 nuns.

In 1972, Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche and Tsikey Chokling Rinpoche joined their father, Kyabje Tulku Urgyen, and their mother, Künsang Dechen, in Kathmandu. Since childhood, the brothers had studied under the close guidance of the Karmapa at Rumtek, his monastery in Sikkim. Based on the Karmapa’s further command, Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche and his family began construction of Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling Monastery on 2½ acres of farmland just north of the ancient and legendary Jarung Khashor Stupa in the village of Boudhanath.

Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling Monastery, shortly after completion.
Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling Monastery, shortly after completion.

Upon completion of the monastery in 1976, His Majesty King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah enacted the official inauguration — the first time a Nepalese monarch had ever performed such a ceremony for a Buddhist monastery. Immediately thereafter, H.H. the Karmapa appointed 24-year old Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche as abbot of the new monastery, and 22-year old Tsikey Chokling Rinpoche as its master of rituals.

H.H. Karmapa then carried out the elaborate consecration ceremonies. Several thousand monks, nuns, and lay people, both local and from faraway lands, offered traditional white scarves to symbolize their intention for an auspicious link with the monastery and its teachers. Later that day, the local Nepalese celebrated the grand opening with a medley of colorful folk dances and songs.

His Holiness the Karmapa in Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling Monastery, 1976
His Holiness the Karmapa in Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling Monastery, 1976

During the following weeks, H.H. the Karmapa remained at the new monastery and, seated on the highest throne in its spacious main temple, offered to the assembled monks, nuns and general public the complete transmission of the Kagyu Ngak-dzö cycle of teachings and practices. Since that time, Tulku Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche has served as abbot of the monastery while Tsikey Chokling Rinpoche has served as the monastery’s dorje lobpön, or Vajra Master.

In keeping with its promising beginnings, Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling swiftly blossomed in all directions. Additional floors, extra rooms, an annex and more have been added. Its original gathering of resident monks has grown from 30 to almost 400. In recent years, several more acres of land have been acquired to further enlarge the overall complex.

His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche in Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling Monastery
His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche in Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling Monastery

As the decades passed, the ceremonial thrones of its serene shrine-hall have been graced by the presence of a host of high Lamas of all four traditions of Tibetan Buddhism.

Each Losar (New Year) has ushered in a flourish of auspicious activity. Under the capable, ever-present, ever-watchful direction of the distinguished family lineage of high Lamas, its unique mandala has evolved into a haven for Buddhist clergy seeking to share spiritual insights and an oasis for wayfarers searching for the heart of wisdom amid the high Himalayas.

During the devastating earthquakes that struck Nepal in April and May of 2015, the original temple was damaged beyond repair and a new temple will be constructed. You can view the proposed temple design and learn how you can support this precious project here. In the meantime, the monastery has transformed the first floor of Rangjung Yeshe Institute‘s new building into a shrine hall, where the monks perform daily pujas and our Rinpoches give teachings.

Photo gallery:

His Holiness 16th Karmapa at Rumtek, India
Kyabje Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche
Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche with his mother Kunzang Dechen Paldron and his brother Chokling Rinpoche. Sikkim, Circa 1960
Kyabje Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche with young nuns at Nagi Gompa Heritage
Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling Monastery construction time
Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling Monastery main shrine hall construction time
Boudhanath Stupa and Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling Monastery in eary days
View from Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling to Boudhanath Stupa in early days
Monks and devotees awaiting the arrival of His Holiness 16th Karmapa
King Birendra greets His Holiness Karmapa
Kyabje Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, His Holiness 16th Karmapa and King Birendra
HH the 16th Karmapa arriving with King Birendra Shah for Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling’s inauguration. March 1976
HH the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa Granting Initiation at Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling Monastery. 1976
His Holiness 16th Karmapa
Kyabje Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche circumambulating Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling Monastery
Young abbot Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche
Young Vajra Master Tsikey Chokling Rinpoche
Kyabje Thrulshik Rinpoche, HH Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche during a Dharma play
Jamyang Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche and young lamas
Kyabje Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche on top of the monastery
Chokling Rinpoche giving Phurba blessings
Chokling R., HH Dilgo Khyenste R., Mayum Kunzang Dechen, Kyabje Tulku Urgyen R.and Chokyi Nyima R. in Nagi
Rabjam Rinpoche, Chokling Rinpoche, HH Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche, Tulku Pema Wangyal
His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche
Sharmapa and Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche
Thrangu Rinpoche
Bardor Tulku and Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche
Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche, Chokling Rinpoche and Kalu Rinpoche
Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche and the Four Karma Kagyu Regents at Nagi Gompa
Sharmapa at Nagi Gompa
Kyabje Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche on the rooftop at Nagi Gompa
His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
Chokling Rinpoche
Tulku Pema Wangyal, Kyabje Tulku Urgyen, HH Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Rabjam Rinpoche, Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche
Chatral Rinpoche, Mayum Kunzang Dechen, Kyabje Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche and young Phakchock Rinpoche
Mingyur Rinpoche, Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche, Tsoknyi Rinpoche
His Holiness Sakya Trizin
His Holiness Mindroling Trichen Rinpoche
Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche, Chatral Rinpoche, Chokling Rinpoche
Chokling Rinpoche, Chogye Sakya Trizin Rinpoche, Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche
Kyabje Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche and Adeu Rinpoche
Kyabje Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche and Nyoshul Khenpo Rinpoche
Phakchok Rinpoche and his younger brother Dilgo Khyentse Yangtsi Rinpoche
Dilgo Khyentse Yangtsi Rinpoche and Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche
Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche
Thinley Norbu Rinpoche, Chokling Rinpoche and Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche
Tenga Rinpoche
Beiro Khyentse Rinpoche and Tenga Rinpoche
Lama Putse, Sang Sang Rinpoche and Orgyen Tobgyal Rinpoche
Tsikey Chokling Rinpoche and Neten Chokling Rinpoche
His Holiness Chetsang Rinpoche and Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche
Kyabje Trulshik Rinpoche presiding over the enthronement ceremony of Tulku Urgyen Yangtsi