Gebchak Gonpa

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Gebchak Gonpa - also spelled Gecha Gon, Gechak, Gechag, and Gebchak Gompa - lies in the remote mountains of Nangchen, Eastern Tibet. It is the home of a spiritual lineage of female practitioners, or yogini, a nunnery of 345 nuns and the heart of a renowned practice tradition. Their practices come from the Kagyu and Nyingma schools within the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. The third Wangdrak Rinpoche is the current abbot of Gebchak.

Gebchak Gonpa is renowned for its training of female practitioners. Its yogini nuns are famed for their accomplishments in profound yogas and meditation, particularly in tsa lung and Dzogchen. Elderly nuns resident today say they witnessed practitioners attain the rainbow body of spiritual accomplishment in the early days of the nunnery.

History[edit]

The first Tsoknyi Rinpoche instructed his heart son, Tsang-Yang Gyamtso, to build nunneries so that women would have the opportunity to practice, thereby bringing balance to an unbalanced world. Tsang-Yang Gyamtso, along with the first Wangdrak Rinpoche, founded Gebchak Gonpa in 1892 and over time great numbers of women came from many parts of Tibet came to join in its unique system of practice. According to Tulku Urgyen

Tsang-Yang followed Tsoknyi’s command and built two major nunneries, one of which had thirteen retreat centers. His benefit for beings became broader than his master’s. Most of the nuns practiced the revealed treasures of Ratna Lingpa, which include Hayagriva as well as the peaceful and wrathful deities. Each retreat center focused on a different cycle of these treasures.[1]

Gebchak Gonpa's intensive retreat system includes a three-year retreat for all nuns followed by entry into one of sixteen retreat divisions, where they remain in practice for the rest of their lives.

During the cultural revolution of the 1960s Gebchak Gonpa was almost completely destroyed and the remaining nuns were dispersed, threatening to destroy the tradition entirely.

Today the nuns have returned to preserve this endangered tradition. Despite extreme physical hardships the few remaining elder nuns are striving to pass on their spiritual heritage to a new generation.

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