Jonang Buddhists seek representation in Tibetan Parliament in Exile

Shimla: Jonang Kalachakra school of Tibetan Buddhism seeking recognition have demanded due representation in the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile.

Monks from the Jonang sect, who are masters practitioners Kalachakra have been writing to the Tibetan government-in-exile to consider their demand as there already is representation for other Buddhist schools in the parliament.

Out of total 46 seats in Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, 10 are reserved for the religious community, with two seats each for Nyigma, Kagyud, Sakya and, Gelug schools of Tibetan Buddhism and another two seats for Bon Buddhists, whose origins some scholars date to pre-Buddhist lineage in Tibet.

In a minority, the Jonang School has a monastery at Sanjauli in Shimla were 120 monks are being imparted learning about preserving and promoting the Kalachakra traditions.

The sect believes that by getting representation in the parliament in exile would help to promote and preserve their rich culture and traditions.

Choekyi Nagpa, a senior monk and master of Kalachakra says that there are about 1.5 lakh followers of Jonang school of Buddhism in Tibet and over 1000 of them living in exile.

Thanka painting of the Mind Mandala
Thanka painting of the Mind Mandala

“For long we have been seeking our democratic rights within the Tibetan Buddhist community,” he said.

We don’t have the much political power but His Holiness The Dalai Lama has recognized our monastery and it is surviving only with his support and blessings,” said the senior Lama.

“Politics is not important for us as Buddhist but our line of the Kalachakra practitioners is hardly notice despite the fact that there are 60 monasteries and over 10,000 Jonang monks inside Tibet.  We have been demanding representation in the Parliament-in-Exile and are hopeful that the new government will accommodate us,” said the Kalchakra master.

Jonang School is said to have been founded about 700 years in Tibet at a place called Jomonang and later flourished in the provinces of U-Tsang, Kham and Amdo.

The Jonang monastery in Shimla was founded in 1999 and has been petitioning the Tibetan government for due representation since 1998.

Though the Sanjauli monastery was set up by Lama Jinpa of the Gelugpa school in 1962 and was offered to the Dalai Lama as a birthday present in 1990.

With the Dalai Lama recognizing Khalkha Jestun Dharma as the reincarnation of the great scholar Jestun Taranatha, who was the 27th head of the Jonang School, the monastery was handed to him and is in now popularly known as the Jonang monastery.

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