Appeals for Rebuilding Monasteries in India

The following article is from the Spring, 1988 issue of the Snow Lion Newsletter and is for historical reference only. You can see this in context of the original newsletter here.

SHELKAR CHOSDE GADEN LING

Lato-Shelkar Chosde monastery, located in Southwest Tibet, was one of the largest monasteries in the area, with a population of 300 monks of all ages. With the exception of a few young novice monks, all were taken away to prison camps during the Chinese invasion, where many died from the hardships. The . monastery was completely destroyed. The site of this once magnificent monastery is now a garbage dump. In 1983, two monks, Ngawang Chophell and his brother, Losang Samten, were released from the prison camp where they had spent 22 years doing hard labor. That same year, they escaped to Nepal. They have since written a book on the history of their monastery, and are now undertaking its reconstruction in Nepal.

Their aims and objectives are: 1. To re-establish the lost monastery; 2. To preserve its religious tradition; 3. To use this place as an institute where modern education and Tibetan medicine can be imparted to the young monks.

So far, the following progress has been made. Losang Samten has received the blessings and advice of H.H. the Dalai Lama for this project. A small piece of land has been purchased with money donated by Tibetans in India and Nepal. The reincarnation of Shelkar Linga Tulku, the head lama of the monastery who died in the Chinese prison, was recognized and blessed by H.H. the Dalai Lama in 1985 in Bodhgaya, India.

Young novices have gradually been enrolled. As of today, there are 34 monks. Currently, the monks, young and old, are living in a tin shack, which provides litde shelter from the monsoon rains and wind.

In order to construct a modest monastery on the plot of land that has been purchased, funding is needed. We ask that you donate any amount of money that you are able to. All donations will be kept in a special account and used strictly for this purpose.

Contributions can be sent to: Shelkar Chosde Gaden Ling, Phulbari House No. 7, Buadha Nath, Kathmandu, Nepal.

SERA JE TIBETAN MONASTERY

Unlike the Sera Monastery of old, an institution hidden from the world by the snowy peaks of Tibet and her policy of isolationism, the Sera Je of today has had to learns to cope with the modern world. The original 200 monks who settled in South India were each given three-quarters of an acre of land which was intended to provide them each with enough income for food. Today, thejoriginal land must support 600 monks and the amount of food which an elder monk receives as his ration must be shared with his students (unless they have sponsors). Of the over 600 monks who now live at Sera Je, about one third are children under 16. The children are trained in the traditions and scriptures of the Tibetan Buddhist monastic order as well as skills that will prepare them for active and effective participation in the world of tomorrow.

Since the re-founding of Sera in South India, lack of water, poor nutrition, and improper medical facilities have made diseases like tuberculosis a common occurence among the monks. And, as is always the case in such situations, it has been the children who have been hardest hit. The Abbot is planning to deal with these problems with a three-fold programthe improvement of nutrition through a better basic diet and nutritional supplements; the imrpovement of hygenic conditions through the construction of proper facilities and education; and the proffer adminsitration of medical treatment.

Funds are desperately needed for these endeavors. Sponsors for over 100 young monks are still required. A well and water storage tank are urgendy needed and the construction of toilets, bathing facilities, a dining room, and teachers' quarters must follow.

The cost of sponsoring food for an individual child is $150 a year. Sponsorship is a truly meaningful way of both helping and creating a strong connection with a young monk. The sponsor receives a photo and short biography of the child, regular letters from the child himself, reports of his progress at the school, and the school newsletter.

If you would like to make a general contribution towards the betterment of food, it would help us get off the ground until the full nutritional program can be implemented. Contributions in any amount towards the water and general building funds are also urgently needed.

Sponsoring a teacher is an excellent way to be of direct help to many children at once. The cost of one teacher is $216 per quarter. As with sponsorship of a child, it is a very unique opportunity for the sponsor to create a personal relationship with the school.

In addition to monetary support, you can be of help by sending us old or used textbooks. We are also in the process of setting up an internship program whereby volunteers can come to live and teach at Sera Je School for periods of six months to a year, receiving free classes in Tibetan language or philosophy in return. If you are unable to help at the moment, don't worrykeep us in mind. You don't have to be a Buddhist to help. The desire to see healthy children growing up in an open and conducive environment is beyond religion, it is a universal-jyearning of all mankind.

Contribution can be sent via registered mail to The Sera Je SchoolP.O. Bylakuppe (Mysore District) Karnataka State 571104 INDIA

REBUILDING TSURPHU

From the inspiration of His Holiness the XVIth Karmapa and his Lineage Holders, Tsurphu Monastery (seat of Karmapas in Tibet) is now being rebuilt. The Chinese government has granted permission for rebuilding the entire monastery, but only a portion of the funds were provided.

If you would like to participate in the rebuilding of Tshrphu, you are invited to send your contributions to KTD/Tshurphu Fund, Karma Triyana Dharmachakra, 352 Meads Mountain Road, Woodstock, NY 12498.

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