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About

building & grounds

Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center, Bloomington, Indiana

TMBCC is is a registered 501(c)3 Non-Profit Organization. To read legal documents (4 pages on pdf files) that His Holiness the Dalai Lama signed in 2005 turning over the directorship of the Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center to Arjia Rinpoche and the present Board of Directions, click here.

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The TMBCC is located on 108 acres of ground in the southeast corner of Bloomington, Indiana. Located on our property is the Kumbum Chamtse Ling Monastery, a Cultural Building, 2 traditional Tibetan Stupas (Tib.Chorten), 4 Retreat Cottages, a Teaching Pavilion, and 2 private residences.

We have a Cultural Building whose Big Room contains traditional Tibetan Butter Sculpture, and a library of books on Tibetan and Mongolian culture and Buddhism. Its walls are adorned with traditional Tibetan paintings of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. The Cultural Building has the Happy Yak gift shop with traditional Tibetan items and books for sale. We have 4 retreat rooms upstairs.

The Jangchub Chorten and the Kalachakra Stupa are traditional Buddhist monuments to the Enlightened Mind of the Buddha and were dedicated by His Holiness the Dalai Lama during his visits to the TMBCC.

Guided tours of the buildings and grounds are regularly available for individuals, with large group tours of 10 or more given for a modest fee of $35. Please call Sandy at 812-325-6549 to make arrangements.

The Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center is active in Earth Care, an interfaith group in Bloomington. Earth Care accepts our urgent moral responsibility to protect all life by curbing wanton climate change. For information about this organization, please click here Earth Care.

Our Mission

The following primary goals, offered by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, shape the development and planning of the Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center (TMBCC):

  • Fostering and preserving Tibetan and Mongolian Cultures in the USA.
  • Helping to preserve cultural and Buddhist traditions among the Tibetan exile communities, and the Mongolians of Kalmykia, Buyatia, and Tuvia.
  • Providing education in Tibetan and Mongolian cultures in the Bloomington community.
  • When possible, fostering cultural exchange between Tibetans inside and outside of Eastern Tibet.

In addition, through Kumbum Chamtse Ling Monastery, we are committed to:

  • Following the example of the renowned Kumbum Monastery in Amdo, Tibet as we offer the Buddhist teachings in the Western World.
  • Providing Buddhist teachings and services in the Bloomington, Indiana area.
  • Promoting interfaith harmony.

Our Board of Directors

  • Arja Jatso Rinpoche, President and Director
  • Brian Li, Vice-President
  • Sudhaka Koneru, Treasurer
  • Curtis Jones, Secretary
  • Elaine Irwin, Public Relations Chairperson
  • Lobsang Nyandak, Representative of His Holiness to the Americas
  • Robert Thurman, Professor of Buddhist Studies at Columbia University
  • Shirchin Baatar, Mongolian Representative


Kumbum Chamtse Ling Monastery, Bloomington, Indiana

The Kumbum Chamtse Ling Monastery (a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization) - located on the grounds of the Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center - is dedicated to the promotion of world peace and harmony. It fosters interfaith dialogue and is open to persons of all faiths who wish to come to the temple to meditate, participate in retreat programs, and attend Buddhist Dharma teachings.

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The monastery is a result of the vision of Thubten Norbu (Tagtser Rinpoche) who was determined to promote interfaith dialogue in the Bloomington, Indiana area and, indeed, throughout the world.

The Chamtse Ling Temple cornerstone was laid by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in July 1996 when he visited the center to give a teaching on "Aspirational Bodhichitta." At that time, he gave the temple its name: "Chamtse Ling" or "Field of Compassion."

Construction of the temple began in 2002 and was finally completed in 2003. His Holiness returned to the Tibetan Cultural Center in September 2003 and consecrated the temple in a ribbon-cutting ceremony that involved members of 11 faiths: Catholic, Episcopalian, Methodist, Society of Friends, Bahai, Jewish, Hindu, Shinto, Sikh,Unitarian, and Native American. Muhammed Ali, a member of the religion of Islam, was a special guest who co-hosted the ceremony with His Holiness.

Under the new direction proposed by His Holiness, the temple has been renamed "Kumbum Chamtse Ling Monastery" in honor of the great Kumbum Monastery located in Eastern Tibet. Arjia Rinpoche is in the process of creating "Kumbum West"--a learning institution to be located at the temple that will be dedicated to the teaching of Language, Philosophy, Medicine/ Astrologolical Sciences, and Meditation.

Spiritual teachers and Buddhist scholars from many traditions and from all parts of the world come to teach at Kumbum Chamtse Ling. Dharma teachings are offered each Sunday and meditation instruction is offered each Thursday. Retreats, lectures and special dharma instruction are offered monthly. Check the calendar for scheduled activities.

For historical information, click here.

Our Board of Directors

  • Arjia Rinpoche, Executive Director
  • Mike Kirsch, President
  • Sudhaka Koneru, Vice President
  • Michael Schofield, Treasurer
  • Patricia Ellis, Secretary
  • Geshe Lobsang Kunga
  • Mary Pattison
  • Winnie Edgerton
  • Elaine Irwin
    Kumbum Monastery in Tibet

    Kumbum Monastery is one of the six largest monasteries of the Gelugpasect of Tibetan Buddhism and the birth place of Lama Tsong Khapa
    (founder of the sect to which His Holiness the Dalai Lama belongs). Kumbum Monastery was once the home of 3,600 monks and well revered by the four well known
    Buddhist Colleges for higher learning: the Institute of Sutra, Instituteof Tantra, Institute of Tibetan Medicine, and the Institute of the Kalachakra(Cosmology).

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    Kumbum Monastery Today

    In the 1980s, with the revival of Buddhism in Tibet and China, Arjia Rinpoche reestablished the monastic life and traditional studies.

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    Planning the Reopening of Kumbum
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    Re-opening of the Monastery

    Through his life Rinpoche was tutored by specialized teachers in Buddhist philosophy, sutra and tantra teachings, as well as, Buddhist art and architectural design.
    He was also in charge of the renovations of Kumbum monastery in 1991 and launched several projects including: (a.) a Red Cross Organizationin Kumbum, (b.) Disaster Relief Project for local villages, (c.) a Clinicfor villagers run by monks of the Tibetan Medical Institute and (d) a schoolfor local village children.

    Kumbum is the home of the famous statue of "The Four Perfect Friends" which is in the monasterys courtyard.

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    Statue of the Four Perfect Friends

    Equally famous are the 8 Chortens that signify the 8 stages of enlightenment.

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    8 Chortens (stupas) at Kumbum Monastery

    For historical information, click here.

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Contact information

  • Physical Address:
    3655 Snoddy Road, Bloomington, IN 47401
    Mailing Address:
    P.O. Box 2563, Bloomington, IN 47402 Address
  • Phone: 812.336.6807 Phone
  • Fax: 812.334.7046 Fax
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