International Drikung Kagyu Council
Honoured to organise the 800th Commemoration of Lord Jigten Sumong's Maha Parinirvana.

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Songtsen Library - Advisory Board

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  • His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche, Patron and Chairman
  • Subash Kumar, Commissioner, Garhwal Division & Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, UA, India
  • Dr. Tashi Samphel, Director, Songtsen Library, Dehra Dun, India
  • Tashi Densapa, Director, Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, Gangtok, Sikkim
  • Dr. Wangchuk D. Negi, Associate Professor, Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies, Sarnath, Varanasi, U.P., India
  • Tashi Tsering, Director, Amnye Machen Institute, Dharamsala, H.P., India
  • Dr. Paljor Tsarong, Independent Scholar, Dharamsala, H.P., India

Songtsen Library - Academic Activities

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Libr008Songtsen Library supports innovative research projects. It is the venue of biannual multi-disciplinary International Conferences and it organizes regular workshops on the conservation of the Himalayan environment. Every winter Songtsen Library offers a 3 month intensive Tibetan language course for beginners. 

Songtsen Library’s publication unit prints the biannual journal Songtsen Tsangyang. The journal’s purpose is to preserve and promote the precious cultural heritage of Tibet and the Himalayan regions. Papers published in the journal deal with a variety of issues concerning the Himalayan region, especially about the region's history, as well as research on the Tibetan Language. The Library also publishes books on a variety of subjects both in Tibetan and in English and a Newsletter is published from time to time and can be downloaded as a PDF-file from the Library’s website.

Songtsen Library - Collections

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Libr005The Library has a comprehensive collection of important books as well as rare manuscripts on Tibet and the Himalayas. Of particular interest is the collection of books on the Dunhuang documents. The wealth of texts in various languages dating from the 4th to the 11th century discovered in Dunhuang include manuscripts in several languages, Chinese, Khotanese, Kharoshti, Uighur, and Tibetan. The subjects range from bilingual glossaries to military affairs, political and economic history of the Tibetan empire, the pre-Buddhist Bon religion, ancient legends and rituals, geography and neighboring peoples, medicine and Buddhism. The Dunhuang library materials provide the researcher with a vast array of material on the earliest period when Tibet became a united realm under a dynasty of emperors that lasted for over two hundred years.

Libr004Another important part of the Library Collections are publications in various languages of the Buddhist Kangyur and the commentaries of great scholars. The Bon Kangyur and Tengyur are also in this collection.

In addition the institution also houses the private library of the famous German Buddhist philosopher, monk and artist Anagarika Govinda (1898–1985), who lived in Almora, Uttarankhand for two decades. It is a treasure-trove with many of his personal books and works bearing his handwritten notes.

The Library has the latest computer technology for the reproduction, storage and retrieval of rare and fragile manuscripts, films and photos. Internet facilities are available and the Library also has an audiovisual section with audio material and documentary films on Tibet and the Himalayas.

Songtsen Library - History

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Libr006Songtsen Library is the fruition of a long-held vision of His Holiness Drikung Chetsang Rinpoche. The construction of the institution began 1999 and was completed in July 2001. It was inaugurated on March 6, 2003 by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. 

Since the preservation and promotion of Central Asian art as epitomized in the paintings and sculpture of the Dunhuang caves is one aspect of the Library’s mission, much artwork has been created for the Library based on extensive research and consultations with Tibetologists to insure historic accuracy of details. Paintings on the ceiling of the reading room depict Buddha Shakyamuni with Shariputra and Maudgalyayana, Avaloketeshvara with the bodhisattvas Manjusuri and Vajrapani, King Nyatri Tsenpo (2nd century BC), the first king of Tibet, and Thonmi Sambhota (c. 800 AD), the great translator of the first Buddhist texts that came to Tibet. The painting style and colors reflect the light colors of ancient paintings of the Dunhuang and Guge regions. Statues of the three Dharma Kings Songtsen Gampo (617-650 AD), Tri Ralpachen (806-841), and Trisong Detsen (742-785) carved from Indian sandstone are placed in the reading room. 

The tower on top of the Library building houses a shrine room with a beautiful statue of the 1000-armed Avalokiteshvara. The statue was made in Tibet with the rare medicinal wood agaru, famed for its aroma. 

Libr007A Statue of King Songtsen Gampo on horseback in front of the Library depicts him according to a vision of the 10th Panchen Lama, in his peaceful aspect carrying a text and Dorje. The sculpture, executed by the Western nun Khenmo Drolma, has traits reminiscent of the artwork of Gandhara, where contact between the cultures of Asia and the occident generated a magnificent aesthetic symbiosis.

Songtsen Library

History  |  Collections  |  Academic Activities  |  Advisory Board  |  Contact

Libr001Songtsen Library functions as a non-political institution. Besides its aim to collect and preserve books on Tibetan and Himalayan Studies, it is also engaged in research and publication on various subjects related to Tibet and the Himalayas. The institution is named after the 33rd Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo (617-650). The building's architecture is inspired by Yumbu Lhakar (yum bu lha mkhar), Tibet’s oldest known building, popularly known as Tibet's first castle, predating the era of Songsten Gampo.

Songtsen Library has received official recognition as a Research Resource Center for Tibetan and Himalayan Studies by Hemwati Nandan Bahugana Gharwal University in Srinagar, Uttarankhand.

The Library is located on a beautiful and tranquil peace of land. The stillness of the place is very conducive to study, and there is excellent modern accomodation for students, visiting scholars, researchers, and guests.

For detailed information please visit the Songtsen Library website.

The Birth of Buddha
Buddha's Renunciation
In Search of Truth
Turning the Wheel of Dharma
Buddha's Parinirvana
Buddha's Teachings

The Four Noble Truth
Dharma Practice

What is the Mind?
Loving Kindness and Compassion

What is Vajrayana?
Why Practice Vajrayana?
Authentic Vajrayana
Levels of Vajrayana
Attachment and Vajrayana
What to Meditate On
Sitting in Meditation
Preparing for Meditation
The Meditation Session
A Meditation Schedule

The Kagyu Lineage
Meaning of Hung Symbol
Meaning of Drikung
Life Story of Achi
The Three Protectors