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The dates given here are according to the Tibetan calendar.


Daily Practice


Four-fold Mandala Rituals for Removing Negative Forces


  • Function and benefit: Removing obstacles and negative forces (of the mental and external world); this ritual protects one’s life force from harm and helps especially in cases of illness and fear.
  • Deity: 21 forms of Tara
  • Application: ~ 60 monks participate


Rituals for Long-Life (condensed)


  • Function and benefit: Extends the life span and dispels obstacles; this daily ritual is performed at Gongkar Choede Tsedrup temple for the well-being His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
  • Deity: White Tara
  • Application: 11 monks participate; on demand: ritual recitation of a hundred times (Gyatsha)


Ritual of Entrusting the Protector Deities (condensed)


  • Function and benefit: Overcoming obstacles and granting success to ones undertakings; this ritual is usually requested prior to important undertakings or events in life.
  • Protectors: Mahakala of the Tent, Four-faced Mahakala & Sridevi (Gur shal lha sum)
  • Application: 5 monks participate


Weekly Practice


8th, 14th, 23rd and 29th Day of the Tibetan Month – Propitiative Rituals to the Protector Deities (extensive)


  • Function and benefit: Averts obstacles and increases success; this ritual is the monastery’s most extensive practice incorporating the protector deities; it consists of self-generation (dagkye), torma offering (torngo) and appeasement practice (kangso); the local community make offerings for this practice in case of obstacles and prior to important undertakings or events in life.
  • Protectors: Mahakala of the Tent, Four-faced Mahakala, Sridevi (Gur shal lha sum)
  • Application: ~ 25 monks participate; four times a month; practice is also conducted on demand


Monthly Practice


10th Day of the Tibetan Month – Feast offering to Guru Rinpoche on the 10th [Day]


  • Function and benefit: Accumulation of merit; (participation and) contribution to this feast offering reinforces ones Padmasambhava practice.
  • Deity: Padmasambhava
  • Application: ~ 25 monks participate


25th Day of the Tibetan Month – Feast Offering to Vajrayogini


  • Function and benefit: Accumulation of merit; (participation and) contribution to this feast offering reinforces ones Vajrayogini practice.
  • Deity: Vajrayogini
  • Application: 5-8 monks/nuns or more participate


Annual Practice


15th Day of the 1st Tibetan Month – Display of Miracles Festival at Gongkar Choede


  • Function and benefit: Public offering and prayer festival to recollect the Buddha’s miraculous powers and pray for world peace; this festival welcomes everybody to take part in vast offerings accompanied by prayer recitation and an offering procession by the Sangha; further parts of the program include the unfurling of a large cloth thangka and the well-known Gongkar Drum Dance (Nga cham), which was formerly performed during the Golden Procession Festivities (tshogchoe sertreng) in Lhasa.
  • Deity: Buddha Shakyamuni
  • Application: 100-150 monks participate; approx. 300-350 visitors


12th Day of the 2nd Tibetan Month – Sarvavid Annual Practice Session


  • Function and benefit: Ritual practice for the elimination of the sufferings of beings in the lower realms.
  • Deity/Object: Sarvavid (Tib. Kunrig)
  • Application: ~ 25 monks participate; on the occasion of Gragpa Gyalsen’s annual death anniversary; duration: 4 days


19th – the 25th Day of the 3rd Tibetan Month – Hevajra Annual Practice Session Marking the Death Anniversary of Dorjedenpa Kunga Namgyal


  • Function and benefit: Intensive Hevajra practice in form of a mandala construction, ritual practice, propitiation rituals (23rd – 24th) and a large feast offering on the death anniversary of Gongkar Choede’s founder Kunga Namgyal (25th day); this is the most significant religious event of the year at the monastery.
  • Deity/Object: Hevajra, Gongkar Kunga Namgyal
  • Application: ~ 25 monks participate; duration: 1 week


6th-10th Day of the 5th Tibetan Month – Great 10th’s of the 5th’s [Month]


  • Function and benefit: Extensive practice session dedicated to Padmasambhava; practice consists mainly of ritual practice of Guhyasamaja and feast offerings to Guru Rinpoche.
  • Deity: Padmasambhava
  • Application: ~25 monks participate; duration: 5 days


8th Day of the 3rd Tibetan Month – Death Anniversary of Kunga Namgyal’s chief lama Dragthogpa Sonam Sangpo


  • Function and benefit: Guru puja with extensive offering to the Lamdre Lineage masters of the Dzongpa tradition
  • Object: Dragthogpa Sonam Sangpo and the Lamdre Lineage masters
  • Application: 60 monks participate


15th Day of the 4th Tibetan month – 1000-fold Namgyalma Offering Rituals for Long-Life


  • Function and benefit: 1000-fold offering to Ushnisha Vijaya (Namgyalma) on the occasion of Saka Dawa celebrating the Buddha’s birth, his enlightenment and his passing into Nirvana; extensive offering for the accumulation of merit; practice is performed to remove obstacles regarding one’s life force, to prevent accidents, illness and to extend the life span.
  • Deity: Ushnisha Vijaya
  • Application: 60 monks participate; the offering ceremony is performed at Gongkar Tsedrup Temple and involves participation of the local community at Lakhanwala.


14th Day of the 11th Tibetan Month – Death Anniversary of Sakya Pandita Kunga Gyaltsen


  • Function and benefit: Guru puja and feast offering for Sakya Pandita
  • Object: Sakya Pandita
  • Application: 60 monks participate


23rd – 29th Day of the 12th Tibetan Month – 7-day Torma Offering on the Twenty-Ninth [Day]


  • Function and benefit: Appeasement and thread-cross rituals for the protector deities; practice is aimed to clear away obstacles that have been accumulated in the past year, this particular form of practice goes back to the monastery’s founder Gongkar Kunga Namgyal.
  • Protectors: Chief protectors are Mahakala of the Tent, Four-faced Mahakala & Sridevi (Gur shal lha sum)
  • Application: 30 monks participate; duration: 1 week


Prayers for the Confession of Spirituals Downfalls


  • Function and benefit: Three-fold confession of spiritual wrongdoings (salutation, confession, rejoice & dedication); this practice aims at eliminating negative karma derived from non-virtuous deeds; the scriptural basis for this practice is the Phungpoi Sumpaido (phungpoe sumpae do).
  • Deity: 35 Buddhas (desheg so nga)
  • Application: number of monks on demand; recitation: a hundred times


Reading Recitation of the Perfection of Wisdom Sutra in Hundred-Thousand Verses


  • Function and benefit: Accumulation of merit; practice is performed in order to uphold and spread the Buddha’s teachings and to bring peace to all living beings; reading aloud the Perfection of Wisdom Sutra is a well-known means to plant many positive imprints for one’s spiritual progress.
  • Application: 20-30 monks participate; duration: 4 days; recitation of the sutra in 8.000 and 20.000 verses on request.


Medicine Buddha ritual


  • Function and benefit: Ritual to cure sicknesses and to increase the efficacy of medical treatment.
  • Deity: Medicine Buddha
  • Application: 5-10 monks participate; recitation: 100 times


Dispelling Hindrances by Reciting of the Heart Sutra


  • Function and benefit: Removing hindrances with regard to the four negative forces (maras) that bind us in cyclic existence; this practice contains 28 torma offerings and is used to cure illnesses and to increase the life-force.
  • Application: 6 monks participate


Vairocana and Avalokiteshvara Ritual for the Deceased


  • Function and benefit: Extensive ritual practice of Vairocana (slightly condensed rituals for Chenrezig) for the deceased; rites include the ‘name card ritual’ (jang chog) to guide the deceased to a better rebirth by using an effigy-card.
  • Deity: Sarvavid-Vairocana (kunrig nampa nangdze) or Chenrezig
  • Application: 5-20 monks participate; duration: daily prayers for the first three days and then weekly for 49-days (dun tshig); completed with an annual ritual (lo choe).


Besides the services listed the monks of Gongkar Choede perform minor rituals and purification ceremonies for lay community including cha-sum, lu-tor and lha-sang.