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Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche has announced that he will be running the Chicago Marathon on October 22, 2006 as a benefit for the shedra (school) at Surmang, Tibet.   The goal is to provide $50,000 to "raise the roofs," that is, to get the roofs completed on the shedra buildings, including the lhakang, which contains the main shrine room and classrooms. Surmang monastery is the home monastery of the renowned Trungpa lineage of Buddhist meditation masters.   The shedra project is the largest rebuilding effort at Surmang since the monastery's destruction in 1959.

August 2006 ~ Front entry to the lhakang (shrine room and classrooms)

The Surmang shedra will be open to both monastics and lay people, men and women, adults and children.   Both scholastic and dharma teachings will be offered.   There are no schools at present in the remote Surmang valley, where the illiteracy rate is more than 90%.

Khenpo Tsering Gyurme, on-site manager of the shedra project, says that, if this funding is provided, and weather permitting, the roof work, which will cap the major structural elements of the shedra buildings, can be completed this fall.   That would permit the focus to shift next year to finishing work and preparing for the start up of educational programs.   This is the third year of construction on the shedra, which is a collaborative effort between the Tibetan community at Surmang and the international Shambhala sangha.   The Konchok Foundation, whose President is Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, is serving as the collection point for donations to Surmang.

Please give generously to support the Sakyong in his run for the Surmang Shedra

Please consider giving $1, $5 or $10 for each of the 26 miles of the Marathon. For all donations over $100, we still have remaining packets of special Surmang Dutsi, prepared by the Surmang Monks last winter as well as the protection cords prepared by the 12th Trungpa Rinpoche. We also have brocade wrapped relics from the wall of the ruins of the Castle of Adro Shelumbum (Surmang living quarters of the 11th Trungpa Rinpoche)

The Sakyong has agreed to do a special calligraphy in honor of his running the Marathon for the Surmang Shedra. We will hold an online auction for this calligraphy on our website after the Marathon, and we also plan to make high quality copies of it and provide them to all donors of $10.00 a mile or $260.00.

You can donate online. This page also contains information for Americans and Canadians on how donate by check.

We also have lovely art, Dharma Art, and "teacher photos" abvailable at our online donation gifts store.

To get a copy of a free 20 minute DVD about the Surmang shedra, please contact Ginny Lipson


September 2006 ~ complex Surmang lhakang concrete forms

You might enjoy reading these excerpts from comments about Surmang made by members of the Mukpo family at a Konchok reception in Halifax in June.

Lady Diana Mukpo.   I, for one, when I went to Surmang Dutsi Til, was so impressed by the cheerfulness of the people, who in spite of having so little, had such inherent spirituality.   In their faces, I could see Trungpa Rinpoche's smile.  

We have had Trungpa Rinpoche and they had nothing, yet they've still been able to maintain their spirituality, without any material resources to speak of at all.   Without physical resources, amidst tremendous political hardship...I see the completion of the shedra project as a huge expansion of the Shambhala Kingdom.   Not only are they receiving benefit from us, but we can have some sort of cross-benefit.

We can go and take teachings from them, in the long run, and they're going to be able to more freely access here.   I see it [as] not even that different [from] building SMC or Karmê-Chöling.   I see it as a complete expansion of our world, and in fact, further expanding to our Tibetan family the richness of our world.

I hope that all of you will consider coming when it opens.   Because it was somewhat [a] physical hardship, but on the other hand, the kindness, the generosity, the open-heartedness of the people, was [a] magical experience that was extremely powerful.   I hope you can all share in that.  

Gesar Mukpo.   There is no doubt that the benefit of rebuilding a shedra will affect the entire community of Surmang, not just the monastery.   It'll affect the local villages through work, through education, and just making the community vibrant again....[In] 1980, there was absolutely nothing there.   So it's come a long way.

...We're very fortunate to have Karma Senge Rinpoche with us.   I was struck when I first met him in Tibet, that what he was saying reminded me a lot of things that I've heard before from my father. I said something about that to Dr. Levy [and] he said, "Well, you know, it is the same tradition."   It took a little while for me to realize, but what's going on there is exactly what's going on here. I would hope that, if we were in the same situation, they would offer us any support that they could.   What we're doing is, we're helping our community, we're not helping some distant remote poor people.   We're encouraging the growth of our community....If you can help, do.   But please do it out of developing a connection with the lineage.

Ashoka Mukpo.   Our world here would not exist, quite obviously, if it wasn't for the blessings that we received from Surmang monastery, which is where the Vidyadhara learned and where the Vidyadhara was taught....

...We [are] making an investment in the buddhadharma and in our world...The teachings that are going to come out of Surmang with this renewed shedra could be of great benefit to all sentient beings, and certainly of great benefit to our sangha.

David Mukpo.   ... There [are] a lot of things that we can say about Surmang, like the fact that 95% of the people don't get an education.   Or the fact that we should start giving back to Trungpa Rinpoche's lineage.

...The only way for that to actually happen is if we start doing it.   I feel like we can get easily caught in talking about it, and not doing it, and this is a perfect opportunity for us to not just give back to Trungpa Rinpoche's vision, but give back to a community that's full of the most cheerful and wonderful people you'll ever meet, that share the same path as us, and the same vision.

July 2006 ~ L-R: Khenpo Tsering, Trungpa Rinpoche, Aten Rinpoche   

Trungpa XII Rinpoche is presently spending time with his family in Derge and is expected to soon return to his studies at Surmang Namgyaltse.   He is now 17.   Konchok Foundation is contributing financially to his support.



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