Khenpo Kunga Dhondup is from Lo-Monthang, the capital city of Mustang, Nepal. Khenpo-la became a monk at the age of 10 and was ordained at Choede Monastery in Lo-Monthang. At the age of 21 he studied at Sakya Monastery for 4 years and then an additional 3 more years perfecting his skills as a ritual master (including Tibetan astrology).
Khenpo-la visited the US in 1998 and upon meeting Khenpo Pema Wangdak agreed to open a monastic institute for the Vikramasila Foundation. With the guidance and blessings of His Holiness the Sakya Trichen, Pema Ts’al Sakya Monastic Institute was inaugurated on March 13, 1999. Khenpo Kunga joyfully accepted the position as principal. This temporary rental building held 30 monks until the current Institute was moved to Pokhara, Nepal in 2001, where it has grown to a beautiful educational and religious complex due to the kindness and generosity of many donors and benefactors who share the same like-minded vision.
Pema Ts’al Sakya Monastic Institute both traditional monastic and modern education. The monks follow the academic curriculum designed by Nepal Government. Presently, the school has 122 impoverished students studying from Upper Kindergarten till class VIII and 15 well-qualified, dedicated teaching staff members.
The goal of the monastery is to:
- To provide free education and complete care for the Tibetan children of the most destitute families in Mustang and other regions through traditional monastic training combined with modern school level education.
- To create a model for the community, where education is highly valued by providing a better opportunity for learning through discipline, dedication and hard work.
- To inspire an awakening among the community to preserve its cultural identity and ethical values in this changing world.
- To awaken a consciousness in the heart of the students as they will be a responsible part of the larger community and uplift all humanity through prayers and blessings.