Nyima Changra

The poor educational level in his monasteries was of greatest concern to the 6th Chetsang Tenzin Shiwe Lodro (1886–1943). He therefore established in 1932, with the help of generous sponsors like the aristocrat Khyungram, the Nyima Changra Shedra (nyi ma lcang rwa bshad grwa), an academy of higher Buddhist studies.

In earlier times the building had been the summer palace of the 5th Chetsang Thukje Nyima (1828–1885). It was named Nyima after him and received its epithet, Changra, because it was surrounded by a park with beautiful willow trees (lcang ma). Shiwe Lodro persuaded Nyarong Tulku Jamyang Wangyal of Kham to come and teach at the Nyima Changra.

Thus the institute grew in fame, and Drikung enjoyed an intellectual upswing. The institute’s basic texts, the Thirteen Great Treatises on Buddhist Philosophy, were newly edited and new wood printing blocks were commissioned. The Drikung community was convinced that it was the blessing of the Chetsang Rinpoches, Thukje Nyima and Shiwe Lodro, that had brought about the Nyima Changra’s fame and rise to prominence.

The most intelligent monks from all the nearby Drikung monasteries were sent to study at the Nyima Changra Shedra. In the beginning 30 monks were studying at the Shedra. With the spread of its fame, more monks arrived to study there, many of them from other monasteries and schools of Tibetan Buddhism.

Unfortunately the Nyima Changra enjoyed only a brief period of flourishing as it was destroyed after 1959 and especially during the time of the so-called Cultural Revolution. On the ruins of the Nyima Changra Shedra the new town of Drikung Qu, with its dreary, monotonous buildings, was constructed.