Khyentse Foundation supports monastic and secular education in Nepal
Tharlam Sasang Namgyaling Monastery in Kathmandu, established in 1977 by the third Deshung Tulku Lungrig Tenpai Nyima, provides monastic and secular education for children in poor, remote areas of Nepal and Tibet. In July 2010, the monastery received a one-year Khyentse Foundation grant of US$5,000. The institution is committed to programs that enable students to understand and interact with the modern world from a solid foundation of Buddhist practice and thought. Sixty-five students, ranging in age from 7 to 75 years, are currently enrolled.
The monastery office writes that “Sometimes very poor families insist on us admitting their child before the minimum required age [8 years]. In such cases, we admit their children [as young as] 6 years old, considering their financial status. The families of monks do visit the monastery to get blessings and to see their child/children. And those monks who have their families in the village visit their families during vacations.”
The institution depends entirely on donations for its continuing operation, and the KF funds directly support students in the fields of education, social and cultural awareness, and Buddhist philosophy. The funds also pay the salaries of five secular teachers. The monastery emphasizes all-around development; instruction in monastic ritual and Buddhist philosophy is balanced with English, Nepali, and Chinese language study. One student says, “The classes of other languages will make us independent. We won’t have to depend on others for correspondence and also [our independence] will be a great help for the monastery.” A teacher writes, “I am very happy to see the monks studying other subjects apart from Buddhist philosophy. I think this will provide them a basic education, which will be very useful for them when they go for higher education. Beside that, these language classes will also facilitate them when interacting with people from different countries.”
Venerable Pema Gurung, General Secretary of Tharlam Monastery, writes that the institution has “long-term plans to include new subjects like computer science, mathematics, and art in our program of imparting modern education to our monks. And we also look forward to upgrading our school library with more useful books. But for this, we need more teachers, books, and other means to succeed. Therefore, we look forward to your continuous support and assistance…. We would like to express our profound gratitude towards His Eminence Khyentse Rinpoche and Khyentse Foundation for the support and generosity you have shown our monastery and monks. We distinctly rely on your grant as our Rinpoche is young and is studying in Sakya College.” Dezung Rinpoche Ngawang Kunga Thekchen Chokyi Nyima is 20 years old and has attended Sakya College for the past five years. Three recent graduates of Tharlam have also been admitted to Sakya College in Dheradun, India, and one monk will receive higher education at Dzongsar Institute in Chauntra, India.