Contemporary Buddhist Centres of Karnataka

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The snow-clad Himalayas has always held mankind. We are spellbound by the magnificent and vibrant culture which develops there. Many cultures have bloomed there, and many aspire of being there. Tibet is one example of such a culture. Tibet has a rich heritage of religion and culture. Tibetan relates them with Vajrayana Buddhism which is an evolution of Mahayana. The Tibetian tranquility was disturbed in 1959 by the red army of China. Peaceful protest at Lhasa was suppressed forcefully and thousands of men and women including children became homeless. In March 1959 the religious head Dalai Lama with other cabinet and people marched across the Himalayas to take shelter n India. India the land of culture and goodness welcomed the Tibetan refugee. The then PM Nehruji and Dalai Lama had a meeting and plans were made to make rehabilitation camps for the Tibetans till the time they can go back. Many Chief Ministers were contacted and the then CM of Mysore State(Karnataka) huge granted agricultural land. In 1961 Lugsum settlement (Old camp) was established in the uninhabited villages of Gulledahalli, Gollarahosahali, Aralikumari, and Kailashpura. Settlers with the help of Indians cleared land. Dalai Lama visited Bailukuppe & Tibetan Dickey Larso and blessed the rehabilitators. Karnataka and India supported a lot by providing land and helping hands in each step of rehabilitation. Initially, schools and health care centers were run in attached huts. Houses were built in simple tile structures which look like any other village in India. Today Bailukkpe is one of the examples of such an ideal step. This town has developed a lot by the consistency and discipline of Tibetans and the support of Karnataka Govt and The Government of India. Gautam Buddha who was born as a prince renounced all worldly happiness and chose a path of enlightenment and graciously conveyed it to the world to help their spiritual salvation. Religious rituals are a way of life of Tibetans, the chanting of holy hymns even while working, Prayer wheels (wheel of dharma) at the temple and small handwheels, turning of prayer beads are all integral parts of Tibetian Livelihood. Bouddha devalayam (Buddhist Temple), monasteries, monks, and nuns are always engaged in intense studies of sutras. Most Tibetan join as a monk at the age of 8 or some do so even in later life. They are taught sutras and tantras by their senior Lamas Gelug, Nyingma, Kagyu, and Sakya are the four sects of Tibetan Buddhism. Monks tonsure their heads and wear robes which shows their dedication to reading the scriptures and cultures of Buddhism. Bylakuppe has monasteries of all four sects. The Namdroling Monastery of the Nyingma sect is known to many people. Acharya Padma sambhava buddha vihara is commonly used as Gold Temple with which we are more familiar. The walls are adorned with wall paintings related o religious events and symbolism. Painting has unique content and richness. Around 3000 monks reside there. This complex has around 16 different monasteries. In the main hall stands 3 giant statues. In the mid is Buddha Sakyamuni’s (founder of Buddhism) 60 ft tall statue. The other two statues of 58 feet are that of Acharya Padmasambhava (founder of the Nyingma sect) Buddha Amithayu (Protector from evil and demonic harm). Stupas serve as support for spirituality for the Tibetans. They circumambulate the holy place and turn the wheels as part of offering prayer. The nunnery of Nyingma houses about 750 nuns. Lighting butter lamps are individual and monastic offerings. Seraje and Ser Mey are the two schools of the Gelug Sect. Storage with 5000 monks is the center of studies for advanced Buddhist sciences and practices. The students from here can get a Geshe degree which is equivalent to a doctorate degree. Rituals and sutras learning is part of the curriculum. Sera Mey monastery symbolizes the Buddhist perspective of life and represents many themes in teaching. Each color used in the art of this monastery has a unique significance. Dharma Chakra at the terrace, along with many deers and dragons structures is seen on the campus. Each five color Pancha varna red, blue. Green, yellow, and, composite white all relate to divinity. In each monastery, there is a throne for the Dalai lama to adorn his teachings and discourses. The offering of Kada the white scarf is a religious and social ritual offered by Tibetans when they come to worship. Monasteries are decorated with colorful banners during festivals and devotees offer lamps. The eight auspicious symbols- the Astha Mangala are printed on the flag which flutters on the pillars in which it is hoisted and is believed to bring good luck. Tibetan SOS Children’s village at Bylukkuppe was established in 1981. This beautiful children’s village has 29 homes and 2 hostels for students up to class 12. Togetherness nurtures community which can be very well seen in Tibetans who voluntarily provide services. TDL handicraft centers are there where carpet weaving, Incense making with the use of perfumes from natural ingredients, Drepyu Kagyu monastery, Chanting is an important part which is done by monks administered by their seniors, in a style which is unique and the whole hall is revered by this. Sakya tradition has a lineage of gins derived from celestial beings. Khon Konchok Gyepo is the founder of the Sakya tradition. Commonness from Indian Yogic tradition is seen here. Musical instruments are played during prayer to create a different ambiance. Ghanta and Dorje are used in monasteries for prayer, accompanied by ting shaw(systematic hand gestures.) which are also used during rituals to accompany chant. Rabgay ling settlement Gurupura- Hunsur an agricultural settlement was established around 3 decades ago. Gyudmey Tantrik Monastery is a reestablishment of a monastery that belongs as long back as the 15th century in Tibet. This tantrik college has approx 500 monks. Dung and kangling are wind instruments accompanied by religious chants. They learn tantric and other rituals, drawing, etc. Other monasteries are also there in this settlement. Under the Asian classic input program, ancient texts are taken into print to preserve. Mundugodu settlement is a unique one with a Mahatma Gandhi statue, which was a living example of all the Buddha preached. Palden Drepung Tashi Gomang Monastery is an institution for learning Tibetan Buddhism. Monastries, monks, and nuns are the systematic institutionalized system of Buddhism engaged in constant study for sutras. Dhondeling settlement at foothills has a population of 6000 Tibetans. At top of hill is the private residence of the Dalai Lama. Though the facility of irrigation is absent people are having good Maize cultivation by maximum use of available resources. ough, irrigation Gautam buddha taught the meaning of life and the righteous path. To get salvation from the cycle of the misery of human existence. Indian national anthem is sung in all Central Tibetan. And Tibetan is taught as a part of cultural preservation. There are 5 monasteries namely Dzogchen monastery, Taksham monastery, Tanak monastery, Dhragyal monastery, and Bayoe monasteryDzogchen is located in the east is the natural primordial state of every sentient being. Tanak belongs to the Gelug sect., Hianaya and mahayana two sects. In later periods, Buddhism got divided into two sects: Hinayana and Mahayana. Vajrayana the spiritual and unique path is followed by Tibetians. This pantheon has many similarities to the Hindu pantheon in forms of worship as it has Sanskrit influence. Tibetan communities have intense respect for the old age people even in exile. This is the result of their discipline and culture that they have made their community socially and economically strong. The principle of Buddhism is being honored and followed as an integral part of the sentient being by the Buddhist community of Karnataka.