Choje Lama Phuntsok's Autobiography
In 1988, I was doing my three-year retreat. When the very venerable 3rd Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche came to visit the retreat center, he asked me: “What would you like to do after the retreat?” I replied: “I have two ideas. One is to establish a Buddhist elementary school, the other is to do a life-time retreat.” Rinpoche then told me: “Generally speaking, it would be better to do a life-time retreat, but during this generation, it is actually more important to establish the study of Buddhist texts. So, you should go ahead and build your school.” That’s how in 1990 I began to organize the elementary school. However, financial hardship kept surging towards me like endless waves. I kept trying and striving for support and finally, in 2001, 11 years had passed by.
Next, I started to develop higher Buddhist studies. I began with only two hundred thousand Rupees in my hands, which didn’t throw me though. No matter what kind of difficulties I met with, mentally or materially, I just kept trying tirelessly to reach my goal.
I’m merely an ordinary monk. I was born in 1951, in a valley located in the Himalaya region of Nepal. In this realm of snow, I spent my first 16 years like an ignorant animal and never received any Buddhist or even conventional education. When the idea of becoming a monk first came up in my mind, my parents were not ready for that, because they only had one son, me, and a daughter, my sister. It was very difficult to get them to agree to my wish. My mother passed away when I was 16. Then something good happened when I was 17. My father took my sister and me on a pilgrimage trip within Nepal and the 1 6 th Karmapa was there!! It was such a great fortune!! Although my father still didn’t agree to my becoming a monk, I had determined to fulfill my wish and gain control over my own life.
Becoming a monk doesn’t mean being supported from then on. I had to support myself, there was no one there to help me financially. Beside the financial hardship, I could only go to the classes as an auditor. At that time, my monthly expense was 35 Rupees and I had to help with serving tea or work in the kitchen in order to get the chance to receive an education. When I reached the age of 40, I finally finished my retreat. On this path of practice, as an ordinary monk with a heartfelt wish to benefit all sentient beings, I finally step by step carved out this path of education for Karma Lekshey Ling Institute. I’ve been trying my best to perform virtuous activities of body, speech and mind. This is certainly my responsibility, and I hope to keep on doing it. As for Karma Lekshey Ling, it is definitely my duty to strive for it’s future and my aspiration will endure for as long as it can be.
Choje Lama Phuntsok
Choje Lama Phuntsok in his young age