Grand Opening of Serpom Monastery, 18 December 2011

December 18th, 2011 was a historical day as it was the long awaited, much anticipated official opening of Serpom Monastery. Serpom is located in South India, a five-hour pleasant drive from Bangalore. Built by the kind donations of sponsors and devotees, it has taken a few years to construct and now houses over 800 monks.

Sera Mey Monastery has many *Khamtsens of which one is Pomra Khamtsen which was the largest in Sera Mey Monastery. Pomra has over 800 monks and its principal Dharma protector for hundreds of years is Dorje Shugden. The growth of learning, study, and practice was very successful in Pomra Khamtsen as attested by the many scholars, tulkus, abbots, and masters it has produced for centuries.

In 1959, it was the abbot of Sera Mey (who hailed from Pomra Khamtsen) and also 30 monks from Pomra who acted as bodyguards to personally escort His Holiness the Dalai Lama out of Tibet into India for safety (see video: ).

Within Pomra Khamtsen there is a famous shrine to Dorje Shugden and various other protectors such as Jowo Chingar, Setrap and Kache Marpo. The oracle monk blessed and trained by His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche also resides in Pomra Khamtsen.

The oracle monk will take possession of Shugden or Kache Marpo to answer the questions of both Sera Jey and Sera Mey Monasteries prior to the ban. Thousands of lay people would congregate yearly to hear the advice of Dorje Shugden and Kache Marpo via the oracle in trance. The trances were famous and accurate and was an integral part of the benefits Pomra Khamtsen has to offer to the public and Buddha Dharma.

When Dorje Shugden or Kache Marpo took trance, high lamas, incarnate tulkus, abbots, administrators, scholars, attendants would all come to make offerings, pay homage, and ask their questions or simply just to get a blessing. Because Dorje Shugden and Kache Marpo are enlightened protectors the holy Sangha will invite them to take trance within the Monastery in the presence of the Sangha.

Yearly during Losar or Tibetan new year’s, four protectors will take trance in Pomra Khamtsen. Dorje Shugden, Setrap, Jowo Chingar and finally Kache Marpo to bless the Sangha/lay people, accept offerings and give highly sought after accurate prophecies for the Monastery. The lay people very much sought the blessed rice given by these protectors which can be used for protection, healing, averting negative weather conditions, spirit afflictions or simply as a powerful blessing.

The monks lived in peace in harmony with Buddha’s teachings till recently when His Holiness the Dalai Lama ordered a ban on the practice of Dorje Shugden. When the ban was forced on Sera, Gaden, Drepung and the whole Tibetan exile communities, many were confused.

How can a deity practiced by the highest lamas such as Gaden Tripas, powerful incarnate Tulkus, Abbots, Mahasiddhas and Sangha suddenly be bad. How can such an ‘evil’ being escape the notice of so many elite and attained Sangha for hundreds of years till now suddenly. Many were confused.

How can hundreds of attained masters be wrong in trusting Dorje Shugden and only the Dalai Lama is correct in asserting Dorje Shugden is harmful? Even the all knowing Panchen Lama himself practiced Dorje Shugden and has a special Chapel for him within Tashi Lunpo (see here: )?

The ban increased in intensity where the Dalai Lama forced the Sangha to choose sides. Those wishing to practice Dorje Shugden must be expelled from the Monasteries (see video: ). Those who give up their practice handed to them by their root gurus may stay in the Monastery.

Forced swear-ins within the monateries were enforced and for the first time Sangha were forced to take an oath against Dorje Shugden (see video: ). This tore the spiritual communities apart.

They could not turn against the advice given to them by their root gurus but at the same time they could not disrespect the Dalai Lama. A famous saying was whispered throughout the communities, “If you stand up you hit your head, and if you sit, you hit your behind.”

The high lamas and Sangha were very confused. How can their root lamas all be wrong and only the Dalai Lama is correct. When the Dalai Lama said their teachers were wrong in teaching Dorje Shugden it shook the foundation of Tibetan Buddhism to the core (see video: ).

If the teachers are wrong in worshipping Dorje Shugden, then their other teachings are wrong also. It would mean no other teachers have attainments, foresight, meditational results or erudite knowledge besides the Dalai Lama in Tibet. How can that be true?

His Holiness is a great Scholar and very learned but he cannot be the only one. He is not the only one. Even the great all knowing Panchen Lama devotedly practiced Shugden. His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s root teacher of over thirty years (H.H. Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche) is a great practitioner of Dorje Shugden for many incarnations (see biography: ) and conferred thousands of hours of teachings, transmissions, initiations and empowerments to the Dalai Lama.

If Trijang Rinpoche is wrong in practicing Dorje Shugden, then Trijang Rinpoche should be wrong from the core of his being and therefore all the teachings conveyed to Dalai Lama are corrupted, not just Dorje Shugden’ practice. Dalai Lama should not be giving many of the teachings he gives today around the world as it was received from Trijang Rinpoche and Ling Rinpoche. **Ling Rinpoche also worshipped Dorje Shugden.

If the Dalai Lama opens the doors to saying his teachers can be wrong, then this can open the doors for his students to say he is wrong also. If Trijang Rinpoche can be wrong, then it would be safe to surmise that the Dalai Lama can be wrong too. How can every teacher be wrong except the Dalai Lama?

The other side of the coin is Trijang Rinpoche is not wrong and cannot be wrong but is a perfectly attained teacher. If so, how can his practice of Dorje Shugden be wrong, debates the scholarly monks of Gaden, Sera and Drepung. Either way you look at it, it does not make sense to see Dorje Shugden as negative.

But some who are narrow minded, not understanding this point, consider this Dharmapala to be like an ordinary worldly being and, with supposed faith in the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama, disparage him; or else they indeed admire this great Dharmapala but criticize the Dalai Lama or Panchen Lama.

Using either one as a reason not to admire the other and speaking badly about either in any way is the conduct of an ordinary being who, under the influence of attachment and hatred, just tries to help friends and hurt enemies; it obscures the increase of these great holy Aryas’ deeds and creates the karmic cause to experience unbearable suffering in the future.

- Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche’s advice in “Music Delighting The Ocean Of Protectors”, 1967


This manifestation of the Buddha has no equal. If you are really determined to tame your mind, he will even give you his heart.

~ Geshe Rabten about Gyalchen Dorje Shugden


In order for someone to become convinced that Dorje Shugden was a worldly spirit , “A mountain of absurd consequences, previously non-existent distorted ideas, would have to be accepted.

~ Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche in “Music Delighting An Ocean of Protectors”, pg. 9

When the unfair swearing in was enforced, many monks left the monasteries rather than swear in against their own root teachers. Over 800 monks separated from Sera Mey Monastery from Pomra Khamtsen. Sera Mey Monastery in total comprised of 2,000 monks and 800 have left. The 800 monks formed Serpom Monastery which is located next to Sera Mey Monastery.

If you notice, Serpom is combined from the two words Sera and Pomra. The meaning is the monks are from Sera Pomra Khamtsen now known as Serpom Monastery. The same happened in Gaden Shartse Monastery 12 hours away by road. Gaden Shartse has 1,500 monks and 500 monks seperated from Gaden Shartse to form Shar Gaden Monastery. Shar Gaden is a formulation of Gaden Shartse reversed becoming Shar Gaden Monastery which is located right next to Gaden Shartse Monastery (see video: ).

The monks of Shar Gaden and Serpom mean no harm to His Holiness the Dalai Lama but they wish to continue their pure practices as passed down from a long line of lineage gurus. It is interesting to note that Shar Gaden also has their oracle monk blessed by His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche and Kyabje Dagom Rinpoche who takes trance of the same as Sera Oracle.

Both Shar Gaden and Serpom Monasteries have close relations and are in contact. Study, practice, learning, pujas and monastic disciplines are carried out very well. The generous and democratic Indian government protects these two Monasteries from Dalai Lama’s ban and the sometimes fanatical lynch mobs of the Tibetan local populace egged on by the Central Tibetan Administration.

The Indian government allows all religious worship and practice without any prejudice, bias or discrimination unlike within the Tibetan communities governed by their exiled Central Tibetan Administration.

Here in this extremely rare video it shows the grand opening of Serpom Monastery attended by hundreds from around the world. High Lamas, Abbots, Indian dignitaries and government leaders came to celebrate the monumental opening of this monastery that stands as a testament to religious freedom and the great faith many have in Dorje Shugden.

The first abbot of Serpom is the holder of the Gaden Nyegu (secret oral lineage) His Eminence Kyabje Yongyal Rinpoche. You will see Kyabje Yongyal Rinpoche being invited into Serpom for the first time to take up the reigns of his abbotship in this auspicious video. The Sangha makes offerings to Kyabje Yongyal Rinpoche in great happiness.

Dorje Shugden, Setrap, Jowo Chingarwa (red hat) and then finally Kache Marpo takes official trance to receive offerings from Serpom Monastery, Sangha and guests. They also bless the monastery and give prophecies regarding the welfare and future of the monasteries.

You will see in the end Kache Marpo taking trance and rising from his seat to make offering to Kyabje Yongyal Rinpoche and the abbot of Shar Gaden Ven. Geshe Lobsang Pende. ***Kache Marpo requests the long life of the abbots and is visibly pleased with them.

The video is well done and is a testament to the resilience of faithful practitioners of Dorje Shugden who will not be silenced nor fade. Their courage in the face of the ban (see here: ) and tremendous discrimination shows clearly results of Dharma practice and superb learning.

Share this incredible video with friends and fellow practitioners. Create awareness of Serpom and Shar Gaden Monasteries who bravely carry on the sacred teachings of Lord Buddha, Je Tsongkapa and their erudite discipeles.

We at proudly and with great joy in our hearts watch the the brave monks carry on their lives with no malice, hatred or anger toward the Dalai Lama or CTA. They continue the practice as passed down for centuries by their teachers.

The monks of Serpom and Shar Gaden are not allowed to attend any of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s gatherings and functions. They are not allowed to integrate or associate with mainstream Tibetan population. The Dalai Lama has forbidden any contact with Dorje Shugden practitioners saying they have the democratic right to practice as they like but they may not associate with any other Tibetans nor enjoy the rights to Tibetan hospitals, businesses, government incentives whatsoever.

This democracy is ‘unique’ of the Dalai Lama perhaps. Which world leader today in the 21st century would openly speak out no less ban a religious belief system which has roots for hundreds of years? It is political suicide.

Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Jains, Sikhs, Buddhists, atheists, wiccans, witches, Satanists, free thinkers and everything in between may join in the Dalai Lama’s public talks and Kalacakra initiations but not Dorje Shugden practitioners. Only Dorje Shugden practitioners may not join in the talks of the Nobel Laureate His Holiness the Dalai Lama.


*Houses within the monastery that are grouped together according to the region in Tibet, Mongolia or India in which the monks are from. They are grouped together because the dialects can be very different.

** His Holiness the Gaden Tripa Kyabje Ling Rinpoche did not take Dorje Shugden as a principal protector but worshipped Him also take Him as one of his practices.

***Kache Marpo is one with Hayagriva and is the main minister of Dorje Shugden.

Assorted Videos from Serpom’s Grand Opening

Video of the Grand Opening of Serpom Monastery

Or view video on YouTube: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4

Video of the Oracle taking trance at Serpom Monastery

Or view video on Youtube

Video of the Grand Opening of Serpom Monastery (official video by Serpom Monastery)

Assorted Pictures from Serpom’s Grand Opening

Serpom Monastery at dawn

Preparing Protector throne

Preparing Protector Throne. Preparing for the Oracle to take trance of Dorje Shugden, Setrap, Jowo Chingar, Kache Marpo to bless the new temple

Protector Hat of Jowo Chingar

King Dorje Shugden’s hat.

Setrap and Dorje Shugden’s hat to be worn by oracle during trance of the respective deities

Kache Marpo’s holy hat

Altar Main Prayer Hall

Guests arriving at the Monastery

Shitze or peaceful Dorje Shugden in the Protector Chapel of Serpom Monastery

Classroom in Serpom Monastery

Prayers in Protector Chapel of Serpom Monastery

Arrival of the Abbot (Kenpo) Kyabje Yongyal Rinpoche for Official Opening

Cutting the ribbon to enter the new prayer hall by the abbot

Kyabje Yongyal Rinpoche enthroned as the first historic abbot of Serpom Monastery on the throne leading the new prayer hall

Monks making offerings to Abbot

Monks making offerings to Abbot

Many lay people lining up to make offerings to Kyabje Yongyal Rinpoche

Gameng Dulzin Kuten Lama arrives from the USA to attend the special opening seated here

Jowo Chingar (Atisha’s protector) painted onto the wall of main gompa

Panel of Indians sitting in front of the altar in main gompa – Amongst them Honorable Karnataka Minister and Mysore Minister, His ExcellencyS. A. Ramdas, Shri K. Venkatseh (member of legislature assembly)
The Indian Government supports Serpom Monastery as it is a religious institution. The Government of India guarantees all religious worship and practice under their democracy. They make no bias or discrimination based on religion. The Indian Government protects where CTA does not.

Main hall of Serpom Monastery

Indian Govenment official from Bangalore (who officiated the opening) talking with Yongyal Rinpoche

Famous and learned Geshe Thupten from Switzerland

Chonzey-la from Trijang Ladrang

Massive prayer flag fluttering in the wind during sunset

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3 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. “This manifestation of the Buddha has no equal. If you are really determined to tame your mind, he will even give you his heart.”
    ~ Geshe Rabten about Gyalchen Dorje Shugden

    Once the mind is tame, there is no different between buddha and yourself. in this world of troubling time due to the precedent on fame, power, egoism and materialism, Sangha plays a vital role to nurture social well beings through its teaching and meditational prayer. For sangha to achieve this noble role, Sangha has to be self exemplified in a well tame mind not involving fame, power in secularism and materialism, even in buddhism pursuit and tradition, purely on vegetarians meal and indulge in the joys of meditational prayers and teachings and most beneficially, in the common interests of all sangha as all beings is Buddha and all tradition is buddhism :D

  2. Monks making offerings to Abbot is a very pleasant and insightful sight. It is so awesome and pleasing to look at the sangha community in that picture. They are living in pleasant joys amongst themselves like father (abbot) loving their child and children feel for their father. The child will become father one day and the child has no desire and competition to achieving this noble status, unlike secularism framework :D May all sangha be wholesomely and be wisdom bliss so that the future is bright not because there are alot of followers, but the followers themselves have benefited from its noble sharing experiences and achieve the status of abbot as that of Buddha. :D

    May all be well, be safe, be healthy and be radiant :)

  3. I love it I spent two summers there with the monks in the early 1970 s, feel like it was yeadertsy in looking at your painting now, and am reflecting now on changing/not changing life patterns. Ah, thank you!. I can almost identify the spot you painted from in my mind’s recollection of that beautiful forked canyon and the chanting and the silence oh, such gifts.Martha Murchison is a neighbor and sent this photo of your painting on to me!

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.…Instead of turning away people who practise Dorje Shugden, we should be kind to them. Give them logic and wisdom without fear, then in time they give up the ‘wrong’ practice. Actually Shugden practitioners are not doing anything wrong. But hypothetically, if they are, wouldn’t it be more Buddhistic to be accepting? So those who have views against Dorje Shugden should contemplate this. Those practicing Dorje Shugden should forbear with extreme patience, fortitude and keep your commitments. The time will come as predicted that Dorje Shugden’s practice and it’s terrific quick benefits will be embraced by the world and it will be a practice of many beings.

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