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HomeHiking & TrekkingKopan Monastery: A Complete Guide

Kopan Monastery: A Complete Guide

Kopan Monastery, located on top of Kopan hill in Kathmandu, is a popular tourist destination for those seeking a spiritual retreat. The peaceful environment beautiful architecture and breathtaking views of the Kathmandu valley, make it a perfect place to relax, meditate and reflect. Visitors from all over the world come here to attend courses and enjoy the spiritual atmosphere of the place for study and practice. With awe-inspiring shrines, paintings, thangkas, statues, and stupas of enlightenment, Kopan Monastery is a representation of the teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha.

Quick Facts

  • Location: XH74+R9 Kathmandu, Nepal
  • Establishment: 1975
  • Altitude: 1,640 meters (5,380 feet) above sea level
  • Area: approximately 12 acres
  • Best time to visit: October to December for clear weather and November for the annual meditation course
  • Entry Fee: The entrance fee is NPR 500 (approximately USD 4) for adults and NPR 250 (approximately USD 2) for children
  • Available Transport: Taxis and buses are available from Kathmandu

The monastery offers visitors a unique opportunity to learn about Buddhism and the customs and traditions of the monks who live there. It is the biggest Gelug monastery in Nepal and is home to more than 360 monks, lamas, teachers, and workers who come from all areas of Nepal and Tibet and have devoted their lives to the study and practice of the teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha. Visitors can attend regular courses on Buddhism held in the gompa, named after the Buddha of compassion – Chenrezig gompa.

One can also relax, meditate in the peaceful gardens, listen to the morning puja, have a glance at the spectacular view of the Bouddhanath Stupa, and admire the beauty of the place.At the core of Kopan Monastery’s mission is the belief that through the study and practice of Mahayana Buddhism, individuals can cultivate qualities such as compassion and wisdom and ultimately reach their full potential to serve others.

This is why the monastery offers various opportunities for individuals to engage in prayer sessions, group retreats, and community service projects. By creating a harmonious environment that encourages a sense of collective duty, Kopan Monastery strives to help all beings reach their full potential for the betterment of others and society.

History and Facts of Kopan Monastery

  • The monastery was established in the early 1970s by Lama Thubten Yeshe and Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche.
  • Before the establishment of the monastery, the land was used as a meditation retreat by Lama Thubten Yeshe and his students.
  • The monastery was originally built to provide a place for Westerners to study Buddhism and meditation.
  • Kopan Monastery follows the Gelug tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, which was founded by Je Tsongkhapa in the 14th century.
  • The monastery is affiliated with the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), a global network of Buddhist centers and projects founded by Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche.
  • Kopan Monastery is renowned for the courses it offers on Buddhism and meditation, which attract visitors from all over the world.

ALSO READ: Lumbini : Exploring The Birthplace of Gautam Buddha

Kopan Monastery

Major Attractions

Kopan Monastery also offers visitors a chance to experience the history and culture of the region. Some of the major attractions at Kopan Monastery include:

  1. The main temple: It houses the 20-foot statue of Lama Tsong Khapa, the founder of the Gelug tradition, as well as other important Buddha statues and thangkas.
  2. The Tara Shrine: The first statue offered to the monastery when it was established. It features beautiful statues of the eight Nalanda masters and 21 emanations of Tara.
  3. The debate hall, which is adjacent to the Tara Shrine and boasts stunning murals of the four Dharma kings of Tibet.
  4. The Enlightenment Stupa, which is dedicated to the memory of the previous abbot, Khensur Lama Lhundrup.
  5. The Great Thousand Buddha Relic Stupa, which stands next to the Enlightenment Stupa and features a circular pond in front of it with a statue of the Buddha of Compassion, Chenrezig.
  6. The Chenrezig gompa, where regular courses for visitors are held
  7. The Tantric College, where 60 monks are trained in Buddhist rituals and mandalas.
  8. The prayer wheel, which contains millions of mantras of the Buddha of Compassion, Chenrezig.
  9. The eight stupas of Enlightenment, located outside the Tantric College, symbolize the eight great deeds of Shakyamuni Buddha.

Things to do in Kopan Monastery

Here are some things you can do in Kopan Monastery:

  1. Attend a Meditation Course: Kopan Monastery offers meditation courses throughout the year, ranging from a few days to several weeks. These courses are led by experienced teachers and provide an opportunity to learn and practice meditation in a peaceful and serene environment.
  2. Visit the Monastery: The monastery is open to visitors and offers a glimpse into the daily life of the monks. Visitors can explore the prayer halls, the library, and the various meditation rooms.
  3. Attend Puja Ceremonies: Puja ceremonies are held regularly at Kopan Monastery and provide an opportunity to witness traditional Tibetan Buddhist rituals.
  4. Explore the Grounds: The monastery is set on a hilltop and offers stunning views of the surrounding area. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll around the grounds and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere.
  5. Volunteer: Kopan Monastery welcomes volunteers to help with various tasks around the monastery, such as gardening, cooking, and cleaning. This is a great way to contribute to the community and learn more about Tibetan Buddhism.
  6. Shop at the Gift Shop: The monastery has a gift shop that sells a variety of souvenirs, including prayer flags, Tibetan handicrafts, and Buddhist literature.
  7. Attend a Retreat: Kopan Monastery offers several retreats throughout the year, ranging from introductory meditation retreats to advanced teachings. These retreats provide an opportunity to deepen one’s practice and connect with like-minded individuals.

How can you get there:

  • By Taxi: You can hire a taxi from anywhere in Kathmandu to reach Kopan Monastery. Taxis are easily available and the fare may vary depending on the distance.
  • By Local Bus: You can take a local bus from Ratna Park Bus Station or Chabahil Bus Station in Kathmandu. The bus may not drop you directly at the monastery, so you may need to take a short walk.
  • By Private Vehicle: You can also hire a private vehicle to reach Kopan Monastery.

Image source: Google Images

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