Druk Amitabha Mountain was initially dedicated to Amitabha Buddha. I had first wanted to build only a statue, according to the wish of his mother. The original plan was to build a two-storey high Amitabha statue on the site of the current Bairo Ling Monastery in Boudhanath. This land was originally bought to set up a family residence in the early 80’s, but His Holiness’s mother had seen many insects killed there when excavation work was taking place, therefore she dedicated this land to be used for a beneficial purpose for others, so that the millions of insects killed there would be directly or indirectly liberated. Later on due to objection from the Aviation Department, the Amitabha statue was not permitted to be constructed in Boudhanath.
It took us a few years to find a place that had all the right geomancy. I had viewed the spot from the Kathmandu valley many times and thought it could be the right place, but everybody said that there was no such land available and no road access, and furthermore, was very far from the city, among other considerations. One evening, I saw from my residence a sharp light coming out of the mountain and it provoked me to go and visit that mountain. The next morning, I went up onto that point, and met none other than our Venerable Khenpo Shedrub as a pleasant surprise. He was also there to see if there was an appropriate site for Amitabha.
We found out that the spot was perfect as far as the geomancy was concerned, but the land that was available then was too small. I did not really worry about it, because I thought that if it was meant to happen, despite any of the circumstances, we would eventually be able to break through all the difficulties. To cut a long story short, we decided to build the statue there. We were very blessed by our Gurus and all the divine spirits to have found this great site for the project.
Eventually the site for the Amitabha statue evolved into what it is today – the Druk Amitabha Mountain, a center for spiritual practice and for humanitarian causes, with a multi-purpose pillar-free assembly hall (seated capacity of 2000 people) and three-storied clinic near completion, a full-fledged retreat center, a well-equipped library, an administration office for the Drukpa Lineage, residential blocks for nuns, area for livestock saved from butchers in the Kathmandu valley and land for cultivating agricultural food crop to subsidize food expenses on the mountain. While the statue which has been completed two years’ ago has yet been moved to the present site due to many reasons, there may even be a change in the original plan of putting an Amitabha statue on the top of the mountain, the spiritual activities being conducted there with pure motivation have definitely transformed Druk Amitabha Mountain into a pure land of its own beauty and reverence.
Presently, Druk Amitabha Mountain is the home of Druk Gawa Khilwa Nunnery, where approximately 300 nuns reside and practice. Everyday, they wake up at 3am and finish their day at about 11pm. The youngest nun is about 9 years’ old and the oldest, about 60 years’ old. They come from remote places in Tibet, Ladakh, Lahaul, Bhutan and Sikkim.
I am very proud to say that it is managed actively by nuns. They now run a coffee shop, a souvenir shop and eventually a guesthouse with about 27 rooms. The nuns all wish to be financially independent so that I am free to use resources presently dedicated for Druk Amitabha Mountain for my other activities.