The Vancouver Monastic Center is a home for Western monks in the Vancouver, British Columbia area. The brain child of Lama Karma Tsewang Samdrup, the monastery is open to Western monks of any recognized Buddhist monastic lineage who are interested in pursuing Buddhism.
Lama Tsewang began a three year retreat under the Venerable Kalu Rinpoche in Canada in 1982. First ordained in 1977, he returned his vows and married and had a son. However, at the age of five, his son expressed interest in becoming a monk, so they both ordained as samanera in 2004. The summer of 2005 Lama Tsewang again took Gelong (Bikshu – full monk) vows. Realizing that many Western monastics do not have the support to fully pursue their study and practice of the Dharma, Lama Tsewang has graciously opened his home with a view to create a monastery for Western ordained Buddhist monks.
Many Western monastics do not have the opportunity to fully pursue their study and practice of the Dharma. This comes in part from a lack of understanding of the value of monasticism in our cultures. However, the next generation of fully qualified teachers will not come from communities of people, either lay or ordained, who must fit practice and study into a busy schedule that revolves around material survival. There simply isn’t enough time to completely absorb the traditions or to do proper, intensive retreat.
Without the support of many lay patrons, the great monasteries that produced such luminaries as the Venerable Kalu Rinpoche, H.H. the 16th Karmapa, not to mention H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama would not have existed. These teachers and many others too numerous to name have benefited many by introducing the Dharma to the West. It is the purpose of the Vancouver Monastic Center to provide an opportunity to celibate monks in the West to pursue a full course of education and training in the Tibetan tradition, regardless of their ordination lineage. Monks may stay at the center rent-free.
In the future, it is the hope of Lama Tsewang that many teachers will be born from the training here, and that the roots of the Dharma will grow deeper in the West.
For more information please contact us via our Contact Page.