CENTRAL INSTITUTE FOR BUDDHIST STUDIES
A recipient of Padma Bhushan in 1988, the late Bakula Rinpoche who was the founder of CIBS remains the most prominent Buddhist leader of Independent India. However, it was his contribution to the revival of Buddhism in Mongolia as an Indian diplomat following the collapse of the Soviet Union that genuinely stands out.
Need for CIBS
Ladakh is known for Buddhist monasteries and living Buddhist culture. Earlier prior to 1959, scholars, novices and monks of Ladakh used to go to famous Buddhist monastic Mahviharas, like, Sera, Drepung, Tashi Lhunpo, Gadan, Sakya, Sangag Chosling, Dege, Digung etc. in Tibet for their higher monastic education. In 1950s, this practice abruptly came to an end due to political reasons in Tibet. As such the need of an institute of higher Buddhist monastic learning was felt in Ladakh for the formal Buddhist education of monks and novices of the region. Accordingly the ‘School of Buddhist Philosophy’ was established and inaugurated by H.E. Skyabje Ling Rinpoche (the senior tutor of H.H. The 14th Dalai Lama) at Leh on October 23, 1959 with 10 monks of 10 different monasteries of Ladakh. The famous Tibetan Buddhist Scholar Ven. Yeshe Thubtan appointed as the first Principal of the institute (1959-1967). Two teachers were appointed to instruct the students in Tibetan Literature and Buddhist Philosophy. The entire expenses of the students and the teachers were born by these 10 monasteries of Ladakh for 3 years. In 1962, the institution was shifted to Pethub (popularly known as Spituk) village about 8 kilometers west from Leh.
In 1962 at the behest of Ven. Kushok Bakula Lobzang Thubstan Rinpoche and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, the institution was given full financial support by the Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India. The School of Buddhist Philosophy was registered as an Educational Institution in the year 1964 under the J&K Societies Registration Act of 1941. Later on the institution was renamed as Central Institute of Buddhist Studies and had its new set up at Choglamsar, 8 kilometers South-East of Leh on Leh-Manali Highway in the year 1973. The same year the institute was affiliated to Sampurnanand Sanskrit University, Varanasi (U.P.) and the courses suitable to the students of the frontier Himalayan region were introduced. The names of the incumbent Principals/Directors of the Institute are: