In 1980, Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok founded the Larung Ngarig Buddhist Academy (Tibetan, ZYPY: Larung Ngarig nangdän lobling, Chinese: 喇荣五明佛学院; pinyin: Larong Wuming foxueyuan), in the Larung Valley (喇荣沟) near the town of Sêrtar, Garzê Prefecture, Sichuan Province. The purpose of the Institute has been to provide an ecumenical training in Tibetan Buddhism and to meet the need for renewal of meditation and scholarship all over Tibet in the wake of China’s Cultural Revolution of 1966-76.
Despite its remote location, it grew from a handful of disciples gathering in Khenpo’s home to be one of the largest and most influential centers for the study of Tibetan Buddhism in the world, numbering to nearly 10,000 monks, nuns, and lay disciples by the year 2000.
Larung Gar is outside the main tourist routes and few foreigners find their way there. Occasionally officials have prevented foreigners from visiting the institute, but in recent years it has been mostly accessible. There is one hotel on the Northern ridge line, which is most easily reached via the new construction access road from the north, avoiding the congestion on the narrow streets of the institute. There are also a simple guesthouse and a few restaurants on the main square next to the main Gompa. A new “Temple of Death” has been built at the sky burial site about one kilometer north of the institute, turning this simple and practical ritual into a tourist attraction.