History in Exile
His Holiness envisioned that if the monastic communities could be established in places where Tibetan refugee settlements have been founded, it would be beneficial for the preservation of the Buddha Dharma; this would also improve and stabilize the livelihoods of the monastic communities, which, at that time were really poor. In accordance with the compassionate guidance of His Holiness, all the major monasteries got established in various Tibetan settlements where they were given land. Accordingly, Sera Mey, Sera Jey and Kagyu monastery were given lands at Bylakuppe Tibetan settlement in Mysore. Sera got shifted there on 13th Dec, 1969.
In 1949, the Chinese Liberation Army started from the east the invasion of Tibet. In 1959, as destruction and violent repression in Tibet became irresistible, it became evident that the intention of the Chinese government and it’s army was to eradicate Tibet’s religion and it’s rich culture. It also became clear that by staying back in Tibet there was no prospect of preserving the rich heritage of the profound Dharma and the rich culture of Tibet so that these could be passed on to the future generations. As such, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama left Tibet to seek asylum in India. Subsequently, more than ten thousand Tibetans followed His Holiness to India. As soon as they reached in exile, His Holiness founded Thoesam Thardoeling – an institute in Buxhall where monks from all schools of Tibetan Buddhism studied together – for the preservation of the Buddha Dharma. Though it was not easy at that time with new environments and different food habits to adapt to, pioneered by the eminent abbots and ex-abbots and the monk scholars at the time, the monastic community re-established the same tradition that they had practiced back in Tibet; this continued for ten years.
After some years, with donations from sponsors from abroad, the common administrative building for Sera Jey and Mey called ‘Sera Lachi’ was constructed. Around this time, each monastery constructed a library, which occasionally, was also used for holding prayer sessions. In 1978, Sera Mey started the construction of a new assembly hall and it was completed by 1979. The prayer hall looked beautiful that all cherished it. For two decades, all the major monastic ceremonies were held in this hall.
This Buddhist Monastic University is widely known as Sera Mey Monastery and registered as SERA MEY DRATSANG CULTURAL SOCIETY is purely a non-profit, charitable and educational institution registered under the Karnataka Societies Registration Act 1960 as vide No: 2/1987-88 dated 01/04/1987, Foreign Contribution Regulation Act 1976 as vide No: 094590064 dated 26/11/1985, Income Tax Exemption U/s 80 G of the IT Act 1961 as vide No s-165/12A/80G/CIT/Mys/2007-08 dated 14/09/2007 w.e.f.01/04/2006.
As the number of monk students kept on increasing, again, the prayer hall was found to be too small: a new one was needed. In 1998 when His Holiness visited Sera monastery, His Holiness commented that though the assembly hall used to look beautiful at one time, it looks quite dark and small now. His Holiness then asked if it was big enough to occupy the existing number of monks. The abbot venerable Geshe Lobsang Jamyang related to His Holiness that there were problems of the assembly being too small. His Holiness then told him, “So there is no other option than to build a bigger one”. With this approval in mind, the abbot Geshe Lobsang Jamyang started planning for a new spacious assembly hall.
There was hardly any hindrance in the planning, the actual construction process and the finally out come of the new assembly hall. With the compassionate guidance and blessing of His Holiness, the indestructible blessing of the monastic congregation, the swift activities of Sera Mey’s Dharma protector Tha Ok Choegyal Chenmo, the extensive responsibilities shouldered by the most venerable ex-abbot Khyabje Khensur Rinpoche Jetsun Ngawang Thekchok and abbot Khyabje Khen Rinpoche Jetsun Lobsang Jamyang, and through the great financial supports of our sponsors, in 2002, the new monastic assembly was ready for inauguration.
Finally, on the auspicious day 26th Nov, 2002 – 22nd day of 10th month, year 2129 of Tibetan calendar – His Holiness graciously inaugurated the assembly hall and gave teachings on the incomparable Tsongkhapa’s text the Excellent Instruction called the Essence that Skillfully distinguishes between the Definite and the Interpretable contents of the doctrines of the victorious one [Drangnyes Lekshed Nyingpo].