Kopan Monastery is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery near Boudhanath, on the outskirts of Kathmandu, Nepal. It belongs to the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), an international network of Gelugpa dharma centers, and once served as its headquarters. The monastery was established by the FPMT founders, Lamas Thubten Yeshe and Thubten Zopa Rinpoche, who bought the property from Nepal’s royal astrologer in 1969. Its name comes from the name of the hill on which it was built.
Kopan has become especially famous for teaching Buddhism to visiting Western foreigners. The first of what would become annual month-long (November–December) meditation courses was held in 1971. These courses generally combine traditional Lam Rim teachings with informal discussion, several periods of guided meditation, and a vegetarian diet.
Technically, “Kopan” now encompasses two separate institutions – the Monastery itself, on top of Kopan Hill, and the Khachoe Chakyil Ling Nunnery (known as “The Kopan Nunnery”), located nearby. The nunnery was established in 1979 by Lama Thubten Yeshe to provide a spiritual and practical education modeled upon that received by the monks. Starting in 2009 the nunnery began raising money to expand its housing and education capacity, which has grown from 4 to 400 in less than 35 years, using such sites as GoFundMe.com.
In recent days, Kopan Monastery has also established itself as a popular recreational destination for Kathmandu residents and local tourists as well. The weekend holiday of Saturday receives quite a visit from hundreds of families and individuals to the beautifully decorated hillock and its gardens. The monastery is not open to public on other days.