Continuing our series “Bodhi Seeds,” we asked representatives from education programs and schools that Khyentse Foundation supports to respond to quotes by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche about education. This second issue features Lhomon Education, a 4-year program for young monks under Chökyi Gyatso Institute in Dewathang, Bhutan. Currently, 70 monks aged 8 to 17 are enrolled in the program, which integrates Buddhist principles, values, and wisdom into mainstream academic learning. In 2022, Lhomon expanded its outreach to include young people, parents, and teachers from both the local community and other regions in Bhutan.
Lhomon Education (LME) was established in 2011 at the request of Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche as an educational program for young monks at Chökyi Gyatso Institute for Buddhist Studies. Based on Buddhist principles and grounded in Bhutan’s philosophy of Gross National Happiness, the LME program qualifies students for both monastic and lay life. Its well-developed curricula, innovative teaching methods, and creative activities combined with a dharmic, inquiry-based approach informed by the Buddhist understanding of wisdom and compassion have become a model for Buddhist education across the country.
LME’s goal is to educate more connected, involved life-long learners, grounded in Bhutan’s ancient wisdom traditions, principles, values, and practices. To do this, LME has identified five key competencies to help students live meaningfully and contribute to a well-functioning society: thinking creatively and logically; participating and contributing; managing the self; relating to others; and using language, symbols, and texts.
By the power of its example, Lhomon Education’s reach has expanded far beyond Rinpoche’s Chökyi Gyatso Institute. Bhutanese youth and educators, including school principals, administrators, teachers, and monastic khenpos, are taking an active interest in LME’s offerings. In addition to classes that subtly introduce Buddhist concepts such as emptiness and interdependence, lessons incorporate many of the learning objectives found in the standard Bhutanese educational system, such as math, science, social science, technology, and health.