Karma Gon Monastery - Structure


The hundred-pillar Assembly Hall was once one of the largest in Tibet, containing 12 chapels and magnificent murals illustrating the deeds of the Buddha and historical scenes relating to the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism. It used to contain three gilded brass images of the 'Buddhas of the Three Times' in its inner sanctum and there was a large central image of Shakyamuni Buddha on a sandalwood throne which 8th Karmapa personally designed. The surviving buildings show a remarkable synthesis of Tibetan, Naxi (Jang) and Chinese styles which attest to the influence of the monastery as far south as Lithang. There a number of statues and other relics, some of them ancient, and an upstairs room sealed off with a curtain of chain mail where 100 monks study the commentaries of the 8th Karmapa.

"Adjacent to the great temple, in the Khandro Bumtang meadow, where Karmapas would perform the Black Hat ceremony, there are three ancient stupas, containing the relics of the First Karmapa, the First Situ Rinpoche and Wangchuk Chobar, who was a senior student of the former. Behind these is a chapel containing the gilded stupa of Karma Pakshi (1204–1339), replete with sacred tooth relics, and a newly build monastic college which will hold 500 monks ... ruined hermitages are in the crags above the temple, alongside that of the first Karmapa, which is nowadays marked with prayer flags. There are, however, two active retreat centres above the monastery, dedicated respectively to the practices of Chodruk and Dorje Drolo."

In the 13th century, Karma Pakshi, 2nd Karmapa Lama, considered a child prodigy, had become an ordained monk at the age of 22. He had received the complete series of Kargyu teachings and was the dharma protector of Kargyu lineage. He was the 2nd Gyalwa Karmapa. During his visit to this monastery, after noting the poor state of repair of the monastery, he had ensured during his time, complete restoration of the monastery to its original state.

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