Restoration of Kutsab Ternga Monastery
གློ་སྨད་རྫོང་གསར་པའི་རི་འདབས་སུ་ཡོད་པའི་སྐུ་ཚབ་གཏེར་ལྔ་དགོན་པ་ནི། ལོ་རྒྱུས་ཀྱི་རང་བཞིན་དང་ལྡན་པའི་དགོན་པ་ཞིག་ཡིན། དགོན་འདིར་ཨོ་རྒྱན་མ་ཧཱ་གུ་རུ་མཆོག་གི་ཞབས་ལྷམ་སོགས་ཀྱི་མཚོན་པའི་བྱིན་ཅན་ནང་རྟེན་བཞུགས་ཡོད། ལོ་དྲུག་ཅུའི་སྔོན་ནས་ཤངས་པ་རིན་པོ་ཆེ་གོང་མ་ཕེབས་ནས་ཉམས་གསོ་གནང་ཡང་ད་ལྟའི་ཆར་ཉམ་རྒུད་ཅི་ཆེར་སོང་རྟེན་ཕྲན་ནས་དེང་དུས་དང་མཐུན་པའི་ནང་རྟེན་བཞུགས་ཡུལ་དགོན་པ་གསར་བཞེངས་བྱ་རྒྱུའི་ཆེད་འདིར་འབྱོར་ནས་ས་ཆོག་སྐབས་སུ་བསྒྲོན་པའི་སྤར།།
The historical place of Kutsab Ternga enshrines the Guru Rinpoche’s shoes and many other treasures. More than 60 years back, my past life Shangpa Rinpoche did the renovation but now it is not in a very good condition. I am going to build a new temple that suits today's generation. With everybody’s support, I am sure it will be accomplished. This is the groundbreaking ceremony of the new temple.
Shangpa, 9 November 2018
History and Importance of Kutsab Ternga Monastery
Kutsab Ternga Monastery is situated at Jomsom, in the Mustang district of Nepal. The monastery was established by the great yogi, Lungten Urgen Palsang Rinpoche, and formally inaugurated by his master, Rigdzin Tsenpo Duddul Dorje Rinpoche in the 15th century. It is less than an hour from the Annapurna circuit (a major trekking route of Nepal), yet very few people know of this place.
Great Lama Lungten Urgen Palsang travelled to Tibet at a tender age and met his Guru Rigdzin Tsenpo Duddul Dorje Rinpoche who was a Terton (treasure revealer). After receiving all the teachings and instructions from his master, the Kutsab Ternga (five representative treasures) was entrusted to him. His Guru instructed, "You must bring the precious Kutsab Ternga to your village, build a monastery to house the treasures and pay respect to them daily. They will bring forth immense benefits to all the sentient beings and peace will prevail everywhere."
In Tibetan, "Kutsab" refers to the representative of the body (i.e. the body of Guru Rinpoche). "Ter" means precious treasure and "Nga" means five. The five representative treasures consist of:
1) The statue of Guru Rinpoche (Guru Thongwa Donden)
- this statue was made by Yeshe Tsogyal and consecrated by Guru Rinpoche himself
2) The wrathful statue of Guru Rinpoche (Guru Dorje Drolo)
3) The statue of Dakini Yeshe Tsogyal
4) The Dhagam (cloak) of Guru Rinpoche
5) One of Guru Rinpoche's shoes
After much hardship and several days in search of an ideal location, the great Lama finally found a place in his village, Gharap Zong. It was said that when the great Lama prayed to the Dharma Protectors for blessings, a crow took a plate of his Torma offering. He followed the crow, which finally dropped the plate at Ozer Gang. In Vajrayana, crows symbolise the messengers of the Dharma Protector Mahakala. He read this as the sign given by his Guru and the Dharma Protectors. Thus, he built the monastery at that very spot.
When the monastery was completed, he invited his Lama from Tibet to inaugurate the monastery. During the consecration ceremony of the monastery, a beautiful rainbow appeared and remained in the skies for three days. Melodious celestial music was heard. Dakinis danced joyously on the roof of the monastery and left their footprints on the silk cloth, which can still be seen by fortunate devotees who are endowed with great blessings. Since then, the monastery was named Kutsab Ternga.
Over several hundred years, the temple was restored many times. Finally in 1954, there was a major renovation done by the 1st Shangpa Rinpoche from Tibet, who was well loved and respected in the Himalayan region where he travelled to rebuild monasteries and stupas. When he arrived at Kutsab Ternga during his pilgrimage, he saw a dilapidated temple that was unfitting to house the five treasures of Guru Rinpoche.
He felt very sad and started to raise funds from Tibet and Nepal to rebuild the monastery. As many people had great devotion to Rinpoche, he managed to raise some funds for the great cause. Rinpoche supervised the design and construction of the temple, which took more than two years to complete. Most of the locals volunteered to work on the monastery restoration for free. When the work was completed after four years, Rinpoche was full of joy and performed a 15-day long puja and consecration ceremony. He ordained several monks and handed over the monastery to the villagers. Thereafter, he left for Tibet.
Message from Shangpa Rinpoche
In 2001, I was invited to Mustang and visited Kutsab Ternga during the same trip. Over time, the monastery had deteriorated significantly because it was made of stones and mud, which could not withstand the harsh weather. Due to concerns of safety and security, the five treasures were kept in different homes in the village instead of being enshrined in the monastery.
The Lamas and villagers requested that I rebuild the temple. After much deliberation, I finally decide to rebuild the monastery. Since then, 17 years have passed and I would like to commence the project this year, despite undertaking multiple projects concurrently and the lack of funds.
It will not be a mere renovation but a major restoration with additional structures and buildings to the existing monastery. As this would be the first showcase of Guru Rinpoche’s five representative treasures, I ensured that the design of the temple caters to every pilgrim’s wish to venerate to and receive blessings from the five sacred objects, as well as to enjoy the pristine environment.
There will be a main hall at the ground floor for puja and gatherings. The 1st floor will enshrine the five treasures, with a meditation place. Rinpoche and Sangha’s rooms will flank the shrine hall. There will be a dining area and a small café for pilgrims to take a break and have some refreshments.
I feel \this project is very important as it conserves a rare historical site and revives the Buddha Dharma in Jomsom. In lower Mustang, this is the earliest temple ever built that is enshrined with holy objects of Guru Rinpoche. It is also the legacy of the 1st Shangpa Rinpoche’s mission to make the place available to every Buddhist who visits this region. It is especially meaningful to ensure the continuity of the Buddha teachings across generations.
I sincerely wish that every devotee of Dharma would support this project to fruition. May you resonate with this project, and may you receive the great blessings of the Kutsab Ternga.
Contact us to find out how to contribute to the restoration project
- Singapore: Yonten +65 8268 7966
- Malaysia: Polly +60 12 4849663
Kutsab Ternga Monastery
The 1st Shangpa Rinpoche
The monastery still houses a number of the old monks who can recall the time of my past life. During each of my visits, they would tell me stories of how the monastery was built and what the 1st Shangpa Rinpoche had said and so on. Therefore, I feel that I am back to the moment of the past and a sort of blissful feeling arises, every time I visit the monastery.