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dividerThe Gyuto Foundation, a Tibetan Buddhist monastery located in East Richmond Heights, California, is a charitable non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of Tibet's living cultural and spiritual heritage. The Foundation supports activities dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Tibetan culture through teaching, hosting local University students, interfaith dialogues and cultural programs.

The Foundation also supports charity programs for the Himalayan children's education and healthcare funds, Tibetan seniors living in the Bay Area and new immigrants. 

Your contribution for the monastery is greatly appreciated. Your generosity will allow for the development of this unique facility for local community and supporters. Please visit our
WISH LIST and see if you can help us with anything.

Thank you.

Gyuto Photo Albums:
1 - Grand Opening
2 -
Past Events and 15th Anniversary
3 - Recognition Awards
4 - Our History 

5 - Church Property before renovation
6 - Interfaith Program Hosted by Gyuto
7 - His Holiness the 17th Karmapa's visit to Gyuto

Gyuto Foundation Videos:
His Holiness the 17th Karmapa's visit
Radio Free Asia interview Ven. Donyo about Gyuto Foundaion (in Tibetan)
Radio Free Asia's interview with Ven. Donyo (in Tibetan)  

Losar - Happy Tibetan New Year!
Tuesday, February 9
10:00 am - 11:00 am
Please join us for brief Tibetan prayers and incense offerings. Everyone is welcome to visit the monastery anytime during New Year's Day.
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Venerable Khensur Lobsang Jampa Rinpoche
We are very excited and privileged to have the former Abbot of Gyudme Tantric Monastery, Gyudme Khensur Lobsang Jampa Rinpoche, teaching at the Gyuto Foundation.
Ven. Khensur Lobsang Jampa Gyudme Khensur Lobsang Jampa Rinpoche is a scholar of great knowledge and understanding, and a holder of many traditional teaching lineages. His generous presence and contributions to the Sera Mey Monastic University have proven to be indispensable. A living example of Buddha's teachings, he divides his time between personal meditation, practices, and teaching a growing network of western and Tibetan students. He is highly qualified to teach on all levels of Buddhist practice and to conduct all Buddhist rituals. He regularly teaches at Guhyasamaja Center in Washington, D.C. and Do Ngak Kunphen Ling in Redding, Connecticut.

Please note: There is no Heart Suttra teaching on January 23rd. Because Rinpoche has to travel to the East Coast for a personal matter. We will resume teachings after Rinpoche returns.
The Heart Sutra is the most widely known and sacred text of the Mahayana tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. It is a presentation of profound wisdom on the nature of emptiness. It is chanted, studied, and meditated on by those aspiring to attain the perfection of wisdom. As a result of this insight into the concept of emptiness, progress can be made through the stages of spiritual development to reach full enlightenment. 

"The Heart Sutra contains Buddhism's most direct, most succinct teaching about the nature of being and of all reality. These subtle and easily understood teachings lie at the very heart of all Buddhist wisdom, and a thorough understanding of them is essential for attaining an unmistaken view of reality - a view that brings about true liberation from the source of all suffering." - His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Essence of the Heart Sutra - the Dalai Lama's Heart of Wisdom Teachings.

This event is open to the public and we welcome everyone to join us. There is no charge, but donations are greatly appreciated. 

divider Special News from Ven. Thupten Donyo

Greetings and Tashi Delek,

May I take this opportunity, on behalf of all Venerable monks of Gyuto Monastery, to sincerely thank His Holiness the Dalai Lama for his blessings and his tireless effort to bring peace, happiness and religious harmony throughout the world.

I would like to express my sincere thanks to all the supporters; because of their generous contributions, I'm very happy and proud to say that the Gyuto Foundation is now well established.

I also would like to thank all the members of the community who helped us in creating a beautiful Dharma Center here in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Today, I have special news for you:

At the end of 2016, after 15 years of serving as Director, I'm officially handing over the management of the Foundation to the main Gyuto monastery in India, because I want to focus more on supporting our Himalayan Children's Education and Healthcare Project.

Many of the children in the Himalayan regions can't afford to go to High School or College. Many children in that region don't even have a single toy to play with.

Therefore, from now on, I want to dedicate my life for the benefit of the Himalayan children.

I thank you all for your continued support of the Gyuto Foundation.

Again, I wish you all very well and have a wonderful, Happy New Year with your family and friends.

Thank you and Tashi Delek,
Venerable Thupten Donyo
Monastery Roofing Project Please donate (here).

 We have a humble request for all of our friends. Since moving to our new location in Richmond, we've completed all major renovations, except for replacing the 45 year old roof on the monastery. Last winter we had leaking from the roof, and we are expecting more leaks this winter. We would very much like to request that our members and friends help us in raising funds to replace the roof before the rainy season arrives.

We have consulted with several roofing companies, and they suggested that we replace the roof as soon as possible. According to estimates provided by two roofing companies, the cost will be $45,000 - $60,000 to replace it in entirety. We are so grateful for the generous support from all of our members and friends throughout the years and would greatly appreciate donations, in any amount, to help with these final renovations.
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All donations are tax-deductible.
Please donate here.
Thank you very much and Happy Holidays.

10 Billion Mantra Prayer Wheel Project

We have plans to install 365 Prayer Wheels that will surround the monastery and give eveyone an opportunity to circumambulate and turn the wheels. It is suggested that one recite the six syllable mantra - OM MANI PEDME HUNG - while turning the Prayer Wheels. When circumambulating, one can contemplate compassion and develop bodhicitta. Those who spin Prayer Wheels not only create benefit for themselves, but all sentient beings.
We have received donations from 160 sponsors for individual Prayer Wheels for the first phase of the project. We welcome donations for the Prayer Wheel project, in any amount, but currently we are not taking any more individual Prayer Wheel sponsors. The second phase of the project, which will include the remaining 205 wheels, will resume pending approval of the building permit. 

We are also looking for donors to sponsor the printing of Compassion Buddha mantras - OM MANI PEDME HUNG - to enclose in the Prayer Wheels. We are looking for sponsors for pringing mantras and we’ll need 100 or more boxes of Buddha of Compassion mantras, each box will cost $150. 

In addition, a large prayer wheel has been sponsored (like the beautiful one at Land of Medicine Buddha, displayed in the photo below). It will be enclosed in a gazebo and will contain 10 billion Buddha of Compassion mantras - OM MANI PEDME HUNG - as a dedication for the benefit of all sentient beings. 
LMB Large Prayer wheel 2Need Volunteers
We are looking for volunteers willing to help us build Prayer Wheel frame structures to enclose the small Prayer Wheels. We will buy all woods and other materials. Please let us know if you would be available to help us build the Prayer Wheel frames. (510) 926-3969. 

Donations for the Prayer Wheel Project are most welcome. Any amount of donation will help us to complete the project. Construction already begun.
Blessing the ground

Ven. Donyo will be leading a Buddhist Pilgrimage to India in 2016

A short video (WALK WITH THE MASTERS) -the story of the sites of the Buddha.Header
Venerable Thupten Donyo, Director of the Gyuto Foundation, is organizing his sixth Buddhist pilgrimage to India and Nepal that will take place October 29th - November 12, 2016. Ven. Donyo will be leading the pilgrimage with prayers and this pilgrimage has taken place every 2 years.
Pilgrimagepilgrimage dinner

Please note: during the tour we will be staying in 2 to 4 star hotels that are often fully booked during pilgrimage season between November - February. Our hotel names are listed in the itinerary below. Ven. Donyo will be traveling with the group to make sure out members and friends have a pleasant tour while in India and Nepal. While in Nepal, we will not be visiting Kathmandu, but will visit Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha which is located just near the border area. During the tour we will be flying two times, at the beginning and end of the tour, and traveling by charter bus the rest of the tour. 

Joining the pilgrimage with Venerable Donyo will benefit by not only developing your spiritual path, but also in helping fund the Himalayan Children's Education and Healthcare Project. Ven. Donyo recently transferred the Directorship over the Gyuto Foundation, which he founded in 2000, to the main monastery in India, and is now dedicating his life to the Himalayan Children's Education and Healthcare Project. Ven. Donyo's short message for his charity project.

A pilgrimage is a journey to a sacred place as an act of devotion and faith. Many enlightened beings have advised to visit the place where the Buddha was born, the place where the Buddha attained Enlightenment, the place where he preached the first teaching, and where he passed away into Mahaparinirvana.

During the pilgrimage we will visit the major holy sites of the Buddha such as: Lumbini - birthplace of Buddha, Kushinagar - where Buddha passed into Mahaparinirvana, Rajgir - where Buddha gave teachings on the Heart Sutra, Varanasi - where Buddha preached his first discourse, and finally Bodh Gaya - where Buddha attained enlightenment. We’ll also visit the Taj-Mahal, one of the 7 Wonders of the World. Please see below for the complete list of sites and the corresponding itinerary.


A limited number of people will be accepted on join the pilgrimage. Interested members should contact Ven. Donyo for registration by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at (408) 204-8724. Registration will be taken on a "first come, first serve" basis and is open to everyone. Registration is open now.

To register for the pilgrimage, please call or send email to Ven. Donyo to make sure there are still seats available. Once you register, you will need to send a photocopy of your passport for hotel reservation in India. You'll also need to send a $500 non-refundable check only payable to Gyuto (please write pilgrimage on the memo line) and mail it to: 6401 Bernhard Ave. East Richmond Heights, CA 94805 to ensure your place on the pilgrimage. Without the deposit your registration will not be confiremed. Your deposit will be part of the payment.  

If anyone wishes to join the pilgrimage from other states or other countries, they are welcome to do so. However, registration is still required and all participants must arrive in New Delhi no later than Oct. 31st, 2016. Those members who are interested to join the pilgrimage but not fully sure if they are going. If so send us your registration now without deposit to put your name on the list. You can send your deposit 90 days before depature with copy of your passport to ensure your place on the pilgrimage. Then full payment of the trip must be paid in full no later than 60 days. Once you registered with deposit we'll send you the confirmation with Indian and Nepalese visa information. However, without the deposit your registration will not be confiremed. Your deposit will be part of the payment. 

Ven. Thupten Donyo and the group will be flying from San Francisco to New Delhi and will be returning from New Delhi to the U.S. However, you are welcome to extend your stay before or after the pilgrimage as you wish with your own expenses. We have arranged a group reservation as (Donyo's Group) with Third Eye Travel in Fremont and I recommend booking your flight with  When you contact Third Eye Travel, ask for Sonam at (510) 487-9010 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and make sure that you are making reservation with Donyo's Group. Third Eye Travel has always been very helpful to our previous trips and they have helped us with successful pilgrimage in the past. However, you are welcome to book your ticket anywhere you like, but please make sure that you must arrive in New Delhi on the same day according the schedule. If you arrive in Delhi before or after the group all the additional expenses will not be included in the package. 

India and Nepal Visas:
All members please apply for your Indian visa before you book your airline ticket. India and Nepal visa instruction.


During the trip you will be sharing rooms that have twin beds. If you prefer not to share a room and prefer to have single accommodations, there will be an extra charge and reservations are subject to availability. If you are travelling alone and wish to share accommodations, we will try to match you with a roommate. However, if no roommate is available you will be charged the single accommodation room rate. Therefore, we advise you to encourage your family and/or friends to join the pilgrimage so you can share a room with your family or friends. We will make the greatest effort to make you as comfortable as possible.
Gyuto Photos 2008 463Tour bus pilgrimage

2016 PILGRIMAGE COST will be $2,600 per person without international air fare. All prices based on shared rooms, twin beds. If you would like a single room there will be an additional $500- $700 per person. We do not recommend to book single room because it will be costly. Invite a family member or friend to join the pilgrimage. Interested members, please register below.

register now iconIMPORTANT:
There will be limited seats available and those seats will be available on a first come first serve basis.

Visiting Ancient Buddhist Caves

We are also planning to visit ancient Buddhist Caves in South India right after the pilgrimage. It will require an additional 4 days to visit the Caves near Mumbai. We are still working on the details. Once we have full details we'll post here. Interested members please send us your names for registration. 

  • * Flight from New Delhi Gorakakpure
  • *  Return flight from Varanasi to New Delhi
  • *  All meals are included during the entire trip
  • * 10 days transportation by A/C deluxe coach bus
  • * 12 days lodging in twin bed, shared rooms in 2*-4* hotels
  • *  English speaking tour escort at all times
  • *  All entrance fees to the sites
    1. International airfare or visa fees
    2. Travel Insurance
    3. Beverages
    4. Airport taxes if any
    5. Expenses of personal nature
    6. Excess baggage
    7. All personal expenses such as DRINKS, LAUNDRY, MEDICAL, etc.
    8. Insurance of any kind
    9. Any incidental charges such as flight delay/cancellation due to unforeseen happenings.
    10. Bank charges for fund transfer.
    11. Costs which are not included above in “Cost Includes”
    12. On the last day we request that all members offer small gifts to our tour guide, bus driver and driver's assistant. They always expect some gift from us at the end of the service.
    13. Those members who arrive in Delhi before or stay behind the tour schedule, all additional expenses will be covered by the individual including meals, hotel and transportation from the airport. We encourage that everyone travel on the same flight or try to meet our schedule if flying with different flights or flying from differnet states in order to keep the cost for the tour.

    If you decide to cancel and notify us in writing before departure, we will refund your money after subtracting the following fee:
    More than 60 days ............$500
    30 - 59 days....................... 50%
    Less than 30 days .............No Refund

     There will be no refunds if you leave the trip for any reason, after the trip has begun. No refund will be made for meals and accommodations if not utilized.


  1. Lumbini is the sacred place where the Buddha was born, located in Nepal. There is an ancient shrine there with an image representing his birth as Prince Siddhartha. At this site Asoka's pillar is found, which is engraved with an inscription commemorating Emperor Asoka’s pilgrimage.  

  2. Sravasti is said to have been Buddha's residence for 25 years while living in the monastery of Jetavana in Sravasti. Sravasti is the only place where Buddha was supposed to have astonished rival teachers by performing miracles. It is in Sravasti that Buddha transformed Angulimal from a dacoit into a Buddhist monk. The two 21-meter high pillars erected by Emperor Ashoka mark these sites.

  3. Vaishali is the place where one of the eight portions of the Buddha's relics have been enshrined in the foundation after the Maha Parinirvana of Buddha. Buddha first visited Vaishali in the fifth year after his enlightenment and is where he spent the whole rainy season. Later King Ashoka built a stupa there.

  4. Kushinagar is the place where the Buddha lay down and passed into Mahaparinirvana. There are sites that are related to Buddha's Nirvana. A large mound nearby marks the place where a great stupa once stood, and where the Buddha was cremated.

  5. Bodh Gaya is the place where the Buddha attained enlightenment. To the west of the temple is the Bodhi tree and sandstone seat where the Buddha is said to have sat when he reached his full enlightenment. It is the place which should be visited and seen by a person of devotion and which should cause awareness of the nature of impermanence.

  6. Rajgir is known as Vultures Peak, this is where the Buddha gave teachings on the Heart Sutra. The first Dharma council was also held there just after Buddha passed into Mahaparinirvana. 

  7. Nalanda is home to the Monastic University that became famous in the centuries following the Buddha’s passing. Nalanda was a flourishing center of learning and for centuries was famous for its learned and versatile teachers. 

  8. Varanasi is where Buddha preached his first discourse after attaining enlightenment at Bodh Gaya. Emperor Asoka built a Stupa there which stood at a height of about 150 feet tall, the impressive ruins of which can still be seen.

  9. Taj Mahal is regarded as one of the 7 Wonders of the World, and some Western historians have noted that its architectural beauty has never been surpassed. The Taj Mahal is the most beautiful monument built by the Mughals, the Muslim rulers of India. Its stunning architectural beauty is beyond adequate description, particularly at dawn and sunset. 

Important: When you book your flight please make sure you fly from San Francisco to New Delhi. Please contact Sonam (510) 487-9010 at:

Saturday, Oct. 29th, 2016 - Depart from San Francisco to New Delhi.

Oct. 30th. - Still on flight.

Oct. 31th. Arrive in New Delhi.
Meet and assist on arrival at Delhi international airport and transfer to hotel. Check-in hotel on arrival. After breakfast, sightseeing of Delhi or at leisure. Overnight at Hotel Aagami 3***.

Nov. 1st. Delhi – Varanasi
After breakfast, departure transfer to airport to board flight to Varanasi. Check-in hotel on arrival and overnight at Hotel India 4****.

Nov. 2nd. Varanasi
After breakfast, excursion to Sarnath to visit Dharmek Stupa in Deer Park, Sarnath Museum, other Buddhist Temples around Sarnath. Overnight at Hotel India 4****.

Nov. 3rd. Varanasi – Bodhgaya
Early morning visit to River Ganges to witness the Sunrise, Bathing Ghats and Cremation Sites by riding boat. After breakfast, drive straight to Bodhgaya. Check-in hotel on arrival. After lunch, visit Mahabodhi Temple/ Bodi Tree under which Prince Siddhartha meditated and finally obtained NIRVANA – The Enlightenment, Giant Buddha Statue, Tibetan Temple and other Buddhist Temples around Bodhgaya. Overnight at Kirti Guest House. 

Nov. 4th. Bodhgaya (Rajgir + Nalanda)
After breakfast, excursion to Nalanda and Rajgir. Nalanda is the site of a Buddhist University of great repute which came up much after Buddha passed into Mahaparinirvana. Visit the ruins of the University. Then proceed to RAJGIR where Buddha has delivered many of his sermons. Visit Vulture’s Peak, Japanese Peace Pagoda. Thereafter return back to Bodhgaya. Overnight at Kirti Guest House. 

Nov. 5th. Bodhgaya - Patna
After breakfast, visit Mahakala cave. On the way back to Bodhgaya, visit Sujata Village/Temple. After lunch drive to Patna. Enroute visit Vaishali where Buddha has delivered his last sermon. Thereafter proceed straight to Patna. Check-in hotel on arrival and overnight at Hotel Chanakaya 5*****

Nov. 6th. Patna – Kushinagar
After early breakfast, drive to Kushinagar. Check-in hotel on arrival. After lunch, visit Mahaparinirvana Temple, Matha Kaur Shrine, Ramabhar Stupa - Cremation Site of Buddha. Overnight at Hotel Lotus Nikko 3***.

Nov. 7th. Kushinagar – Lumbini
After early breakfast, depart to Lumbini. Check in hotel on arrival. After lunch, visit the birth place of Buddha, Ashoka Pillar and various Buddhist temples around Lumbini. Overnight at Hotel Yeti 2**.

Nov. 8th. Lumbini – Sravasti
After early breakfast, drive to Sravasti. Check-in hotel on arrival. After lunch, visit Jetvana Garden, Petalled Lotus and Ashok Pillar. Overnight at Hotel Lotus Nikko 3***.

Nov. 9th. Sravasti – Gorkhakpure – Delhi
After breakfast, drive to Lucknow to board flight to Delhi. On arrival at Delhi airport and transfer to hotel. Check-in hotel on arrival and overnight at Hotel Aagami 3***.

Nov. 10th. Visit Taj-Mahal

After early breakfast, drive to Agra to visit Taj-Mahal. Evening return to Hotel Aagami.

Nov. 11th. Full day Delhi sightseeing and board flight back to US, or their individual itineraries.

Nov. 12th. Arrive home to San Francisco or your final destination.
  • Pilgrimage ends here

    South India Trip to visit Ancient Buddhist Caves: Ajanta and Ellora 

    The caves were built in two phases starting around the 2nd century BC, with the second group of caves built around 400–650 AD. Buddhist Monks used to retreat to this serene place during the monsoon, and as they had plenty of time during such retreats they used it for deepening their religious quest through prayer and discussion.
  • Nov. 13th. Fly to Mumbi 
    Nov. 16th. Fly back to Delhi and return home
    Tour Ends
Details will be posted here soon

All participants are advised to check with their health insurance carrier regarding coverage abroad as well as their medical professionals for any precautionary medical treatments for travel to Nepal and India. Emergency medical facilities may not be readily available at all times in Nepal and India. 

Below is a list to help you organize everything you'll need prior to travel:

  1. Advised to travel as light as possible
  2. Roundtrip Airline Ticket (s): Please confirm flight details beforehand
  3. Be sure to arrive to the airport at least three hours prior to departure
  4. Valid Passport with Indian visa
  5. Extra Copy of Passport: Just in case!
  6. Extra passport photos- Email yourself a copy so you have a digital copy as well
  7. Cash: you may need approximately $1,000 - $3,000 for personal needs
  8. DO NOT bring traveler's checks from small banks!
  9. Money, passport and tickets need to be protected at all times and carried on your person throughout the entire trip
  10. Travel insurance: not necessary, but recommended.

  1. November is good weather in Nepal and India but may get a little cold in the morning and evening, so we recommend some warm clothes and/or extra layers just in case
  2. Comfortable shoes for a lot of walking
  3. A small, light blanket can be very useful on the bus 
  4. Modest clothes - skin exposure and figure hugging clothes are not commonly worn in India and Nepal and will bring a lot of unwanted and annoying attention
  5. If you are taking any electrical items, you will need 220 volt (NOT 110 volt) and the correct adapter plug for India
  6. Small camera and reliable alarm clock
  7. Hat and sunglasses -the sun can be quite strong even in winter 
  8. Tylenol, cough drops, bandages, and so on for basic first aid/medical needs

  1. A small hot water bottle 
  2. Strong plastic bags for wet or dirty clothes 
  3. Padlock(s) - mainly for luggage
  4. Wet wipes or wet towels, very useful in India
  5. Dried fruit & nuts/ snacks for yourself on the bus
  6. Blow up neck ring cushion
  7. Small flash light 
  8. Small first aid kit
  9. Some candies for kids in the rural areas
If you have any questions about the pilgrimage, please contact Ven. Donyo directly at (408) 204-8724 or at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You can watch our previous pilgrimage video on YouTube Part One and Part Two. 

Thank you and Tashi Delek,

Ven. Thupten Donyo


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Our History Since 1474

Due to the untiring efforts of enlightened leaders, scholars and translators, Buddhism was established in Tibe...

Gyuto Branches Worldwide

Gyuto Foundation, California The Gyuto Foundation is a charitable non-profit organization dedicated to the pr...

Delek Children's Foundation

The Gyuto Foundation recently expanded its programs to include social and charity programs to help the Tibetan...

Tibetan Community Programs

The Gyuto Monks offer a variety of services to the local Tibetan Community, such as: Prayer services at the Ce...

Multimedia Gallery

Photos, videos, and audio files of past programs and events held by Gyuto Centers. ...

Message From Ven. Thupten Donyo (Founder & director)

Dear Friends, I, Thupten Donyo, director and founder of Gyuto Foundation would like to express my deepest grat...

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Gyuto Foundation Inc.
  6401 Bernhard Avenue, 
       Richmond Heights, CA 94805, USA
  (510) 926-3969 / (510) 926-3973
  (510) 926-3973
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