November 23, 2015:
His Holiness Karmapa conducts the consecration ceremony for the first three buildings of the KCE

The monks of Shri Diwakar Institute, the monastic sangha of Rumtek, many followers of His Holiness from Sikkim and the surrounding areas, as well as KCE supporters from all over the world attended the opening ceremony. The Karmapa Center of Education is a project of South Asia Buddhist Association, a charitable trust of His Holiness Gyalwa Karmapa.

After welcoming His Holiness, the program started at 10:00 AM with the consecration puja (Rabne) and auspicious prayers by His Holiness and the monks. Once he had performed the symbolic cutting of the ribbon, His Holiness blessed the buildings and the beautiful site.

Following the consecration ceremony, Ms Diane Brodkorb, the SABA manager, delivered the opening speech in which she extended a warm welcome to all those present and and gave a short presentation of the Karmapa Education of Center.

Since the main objective of His Holiness’ charitable trust SABA is to support the monastic Sangha, the newly established KCE is a pilot project which will explore completely new forms of education. The educational concept combines – for the first time – the precious traditional teachings of the Buddha dharma as usually taught in the monasteries, with a modern education that allows students to follow the Indian school curriculum. The uniqueness of this teaching concept can be further illustrated by the example of three pillars:

The first pillar constitutes the heart of the project: Buddhist Education – aligned with the monastic system – comprising subjects that are usually only taught in the monasteries such as Buddhist knowledge, rituals and Tibetan language – this pillar will be taught by venerable monks.

The second pillar is the state-approved curriculum – the school curriculum of KCE is aligned with a recognised school curriculum – in which the primary and secondary levels are taught by qualified teachers. Local and foreign teachers will be working and teaching together as a team.

The third pillar, which could be called the Holistic Approach, – will integrate alternative teaching methods, in order to better promote the students’ individual abilities and practical skills – it will include subjects such as arts and crafts, gardening, and the enhancement of environmental consciousness.

After this introduction, Gyalwa Karmapa addressed the gathering and gave a speech on the importance of the monastic sangha. Among the topics mentioned, His Holiness pointed out that the future generation of the monastic sangha will depend largely on the youth and that the Karmapa Center of Education had been founded with this very aim in mind: to strengthen the monastic Sangha.

His Holiness also expressed his gratitude to everyone who has an interest in supporting this project and offered his deepest aspirations so that it may bear its wonderful fruit: none other than the development of a proper monastic sangha.

The vote of thanks was delivered by Ms. Deki Wangchuk, a trustee of South Asia Buddhist Association.

After lunch, the opening celebration ended in a joyful atmosphere, with many inspirational exchanges of thoughts and ideas on how to work towards this great vision.

⇒ Read Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje's complete speech
⇒ View more pictures

March 5, 2014:
H.H. Karmapa's second visit at the KCE

Much has happened since Karmapa Thaye Dorje visited the land in January 2012 for the first time: Aside from the construction planning, the building application process and the site development, the start of construction work began in October 2013 with the traditional ground-breaking ceremony. According to the Tibetan Astrology, it was scheduled on a precisely calculated day and was performed by a person with an auspicious connection with the project.

Although Karmapa is actively involved as a decision maker in the planning and implementation of the school and receives regular project updates, the land visit in March was seen as a special occasion and it was a great pleasure for the KCE team to show Karmapa and Jigme Rinpoche the progress of the work while inspecting the construction site. After the inspection of the first three buildings, which in March were still under construction, the Naga-Vase-Puja was conducted by Karmapa and his accompanying monks.

After the puja, the group continued to the opposite hillock. The scenery seen from this part of the land is astoundingly beautiful as it opens up to a great view over the valley and the surrounding mountains. For this occasion, a bamboo pavilion and a covered bamboo bench were specially built where refreshments were served to all attending.

People from the surrounding village communities were already awaiting Karmapa. The neighbours of KCE are simple mountain farmers and it was good to see how these people cordially welcomed Karmapa and requested his blessing. Also children from the area happily welcomed the exceptional visitor and thereby unique group pictures were taken.

⇒ More pictures of Karmapa's tour of the school site,
the Naga Vase Puja and a picnic afterwards.

Scheduled opening of the school

The construction of the first three houses is progressing well, and the opening of the school is scheduled for September 2015. The division of rooms for the first phase of the school's operation is designed to provide enough space for the accommodation of the administration, teaching staff, volunteers and approximately 25 students for the first school year.

The new buildings will also house the student dormitories, classrooms, a library and an office. The kitchen and common room will be located temporarily in the first building. As part of the second building phase a large kitchen and a common room which can hold 150-200 people will be accommodated in a separate building.
See architectual concept.

Along with planning the construction, in the past months a team of educators have been working on the new educational concept which is based on three pillars.
See educational concept.

Outlook and vision

After the school's opening the implementation of the masterplan will continue depending on the budget so that the school can gradually expand.

It is also a wish of Karmapa that in addition to the school operation KCE becomes a place for further events and meetings.

In future it is planned that KCE will serve as a platform for all kinds of workshops, sporting events for young people and as a location for discussion forums for guests from the local community as well as guests from all over the world.

Januar 2012: Karmapa visits the new site for the first time

It was on January 30, 2012 , that His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje visited for the first time his newly purchased land in Kalimpong, India.

Nestled in the serene foothills of the Himalayans, the property covers an area of 40,000 square meters. The site extends across terraced fields and woods and offers a splendid panorama of the small valley and surrounding mountains.

It is obvious that the land formation and location carries the features of an auspicious site. Moreover, the place is well-known among the older villagers to be the place where Buddhist practitioners lived and meditated some decades ago. The foundation of their residence can still be seen.

Education is one of the main focuses of His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, with this motivation, the new land is intended to become a new education centre with school facilities where students will be instructed in the timeless values and wisdom of the Buddha Dharma, while maintaining the standard requirements of a modern education.

Beginning in the early morning, students of the Kalimpong Shedra were eagerly making preparations for the visit of Karmapa, and a Tibetan tent was erected for the traditional welcome ceremony where tea and sweet rice were served to everyone.

Although Gyalwa Karmapa's visit was unannounced, and only a few attendants accompanied him, the news of the arrival of such a prominent guest spread quickly and many local people came to welcome him and in order to receive his blessing.

The three former owners - two brothers and a sister - handed over the heritage land of their ancestors, praising the purpose of establishing a school here and announcing that the merit accrued through this positive action would be dedicated to their late parents who had worked so hard cultivating the land. Karmapa Thaye Dorje expressed his thanks and deep appreciation for this noble wish, saying that in this time of personal economic pursuits to attain wealth, it is rare to find such noble aspirations to support spiritual education.

After the welcome ceremony, Gyalwa Karmapa, together with his retinue, were shown around the land, making good wishes on this explorative walk. Assessing the possibilities of the land, the 17th Karmapa assured all present that he would personally see to it that this place will be developed into an education centre. As a first step, the focus will be the construction of school facilities for about 100 students where all students will be granted free education and boarding.