The Background of the Rigchung-Tsoklang Examination

The Precioustwin vehicle of Sutrayana and TantraYana developed well in Tibet long time ago. ShelkarChoedheGadhenLekshekling Monastery has a history of over seven hundred and fifty years since it was established. The great Lotsawa or translator LodoeTenpa visited the precious Tara Mountain and had done retreat, and he prophesied to his disciple LochenJangchupTsemo that in the future there would be a great Buddhist academic institution at that mountain. He also entrusted that his disciple should make whatever positive contribution for that to happen.Later Lhodak Situ Rinchen met the expenses and LochenDrakpaGyaltsen constructed a monastery there and enlarged it. Especially it is said that His Holiness the Lord GedhunDrupa introduced the study of the Pramannavartika in that monastery well and widely. During those days there were over twenty one departmental sections which study the philosophies of the Sakya School, the Gelug School and the Bodong School. But later on unfortunately there has been a period of degeneration.  Then the fifth Dalai Lama revived the Gelugmonastic system as before and since then that monastery developed into a great institute of learning which focused purely in the Gelugpa School. The study and practice of both the Mushastras (original Indian texts) and Sampradhayashastras (the commentaries by Tibetan scholars and practitioners) has developed so well. Through such an intensive study and practice of Buddhism the tradition of giving RigchungTsoklang examination, Lingsey Examination, Ramjampa or Graduate examination on Tibetan Buddhism was started in the ShelkarChoedhey Monastery every year until the political upheaval of Tibet in the year 1959 when the country as well as the monastery went through destruction and degeneration.  But then, in due course of time, owing mainly to the kind guidance from His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, the continuous kind contribution and support of the devotees and the hard work of the elder monks and teachers of the monastery, ShelkarChoedhey monastery is re-established in exile where the study and practice of the major Buddhist texts is revived. This is really a fortunate matter for both the monks of this monastery and it is also a good development for the Tibetan Buddhism in some way. To inculcate positive competitive interest in the study and practice of Buddhism and to make the academic system firm and productive starting from this year the monastery has revived the RigchungTsoklang Examination. We managed this purely through the kind blessing and guidance of His Holiness the Dalai lama who is the special spiritual Lord of the Land of Snow—Tibet.