Autobiography of Venerable Choyang Kuten Lama

The Buxa community

North India
Finally we reached Buxa in northern India. There we met a Tibetan official called Phala Dronyer Chenmo. At his home he requested Kyabje Zimey Rinpoche to join the Tantric College re-established in Dalhousie. The Chushur Samkhar family was also sent to Dalhousie to a home for displaced people. I was left behind because I was not counted as a lama or an old person. So I stayed in Buxa with about 1500 monks from all traditions, not only Gelugpa.

I stayed at Buxa for ten years at the request of the officials of His Holiness and served as an oracle. Whenever there was a major decision to be made I was consulted, irrespective of any tradition posing the questions. I also served as a representative at many conferences in New Delhi and Dharamsala during this time.

When we first moved to Buxa I did not have many friends but the provisions provided by the Indian Government were abundant and sufficient for livelihood. Gradually I developed friendships with many people. I received many invitations from friends to live with them, because they thought that I had problems with my health at Buxa. However I decided that it would not be fair to leave Buxa community when rations were decreasing. It was getting very hot and the situation was deteriorating there. I thought it would not be appropriate to stay when it was fine but leave when it got difficult, so I carried on with my friends, the other monks, until we all left for a Tibetan Rehabilitation Centre in South India.

South India

When the Buxa community moved to South India, I moved with them despite invitations from my relatives to live with them in Mussoorie and Dharamsala in the north of India. They told me that the life in South India would be hard with field work in the heat. But I decided to stay with the Buxa community. It would not have been fair to leave with them. So since that time I have lived here in South India, serving the community as an oracle.

But I did not remain only as an oracle. I served as a sort of secretary of the monks' society of about 600 monks who came south. There are monks from the four traditions included in this society. I was appointed by election not just because the monks thought I was well educated or efficient but also because, as I am an oracle for the Dharmapala, many people believed in my honesty and my good motivations to help other people. Also, because I am an old Tibetan, people belived in my honesty. This is how I was appointed Secretary of the Co-operative Society.

At that time the structure of the Co-operative Society was such that it depended on the assistance of the Indian government. The settlement itself was poor so every decision had to be made with the Indian administrator responsible. I took my responsibilities for these decisions as my most important activity, and left my duties as the oracle as a sort of side activity. Because of my honesty and contribution to the community I was acknowledged both by the monks and by the Indian official himself. He also offered me a certificate saying that my contribution to the community was very valuable. He offered me a site (which is now the Rest House for Shartse College) and a house for me there. He also wanted to provide me with a livelihood by giving me a well-bred cow. This was given in a special ceremony in front of the other monks of the community here. This official was Katarbe. He acted as the officer for the Indian government for eight years after establishing the community in the Mundgod area.

During my tenure as Secretary I worked very hard for obtaining the funds for the monks' quaters, not only for Ganden but also for Drepung, and the Nyingma and Sakya monka as well. About sixteen quarters have been built, housing twenty monks in each building. Also two good committee halls have been built. In addition many cattle and two tractors were provided. All of these were provided by my appeals to the Indian government for help for funds and for special projects that were recommended strongly by the resident Indian officer here at the time.

In August 1973 I resigned as Secretary of the Co-operative Society but my service was not only confined to the monastic community here alone. I was also appointed to head the regional subcommittee of the Tibetan Freedom Movement, and I was their Vice-President in the Mundgod area.

During my tenure as Vice-President of the R.S.T.M., I took the heavy responsibility of announcing to the Tibetan public in Mundgod the various speeches given by his holiness the Dalai Lama and other official announcements. The Assembly of Tibetan People's Deputies has given me a certificate for my work.

In short, I have been engaged in this active public life, not just living as an oracle. I have tried to contribute as much as possible in many different ways because the situation of the Tibetan Comunity is very weak. All the responsibility has fallen on His Holiness alone, so I thought it was very important for each individual to make as much contribution as they could.

My companion who escaped to India with me have also contributed greatly to the cause of the Tibetan community. Kyabje Zimey Rimpoche has made great contributions to Tibetan education. When Tibetans first settled in India there was a need for schools, for textbooks, and for teachers adapted to the modern way of learning. All these activities were guided and performed by Kyabje Zimey Rinpoche. Also the Chushur Samkhar family have contributed much. They have only one child born in India. Their other six children have all grown up and are actively working in the service of the Tibetan government, fulfilling the wishes of His Holiness. So it is my personal experience of the evidence of the power of the Dharmapala that if you have a special relationship to the Dharmapala, a close connection with your spiritual guide and you keep commitments purely, then your life is very different from that of an ordinary person.

The re-establishment of the monastic education system outside Tibet (in addition to the lay education system) has come about. It is both sad and unfortunate that such high lamas as Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang, Kyabje Ling Rinpoche and Kyabje Song Rinpoche have passed away. It is, however, a matter of great consolation that the reincarnations of some of these outstanding high lamas ("H. H. Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche") have already come. This is certainly a source of tremendous hope for the future.

Text 1989 Choyang Kuten Lama

This autobiography was first published as a free publication (11 pages) in May 1989
by "Manjushri Institute" , Conishead Priory, Ulverston, Cumbria, England.

Through the merit of publishing this work
May all beings always be
Protected by peaceful and wrathful Manjushri
And thus attain the blissful state of Buddhahood!

This autobiography - a unique document - is presented on this website with permission from His Eminence Choyang Kuten Lama.

Other photos with His Eminence Choyang Kuten Lama on this website:
"Photo 1"
"Photo 2"
"Photo 3"

When printing these pages landscape orientation is recommended to be able to print also the photos.

Links to seats of H.H. Kyabje Trijang Chocktrul Rinpoche

"Trijang Labrang Europe" Feldkirch, Austria. The European main seat of H.H. Kyabje Trijang Choktrul Rinpoche

"Trijang Buddhist Institute" Vermont, USA. North American seat of H. H. Kyabje Trijang Chocktrul Rinpoche

Monks and lay people consulting the Dharmapala during a peaceful invocation.
The autobiography of Choyang Kuten
Lama in Tibetan. In this book are also
texts by H. H. The Dalai Lama and
H. H. The Panchen Lama. Choyang Kuten Lama published this book (262 pages) in
Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, Laximpur, Bylakuppe, Mysore, Karnataka, India
in 1997.

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12 March 2005