Thubten Shedrup Ling Monastery
|The monastery with the mountains in the background|
Nestled in the mountains of lower Solu Khumbu is a branch of Kopan Monastery, Thubten Shedrup Ling. The area is beautiful - valleys surrounded by white peaks of the Himalayan range. Close to the trekking trail to the Everest base camp, it is still quite isolated, and not many foreigners come by. It is a very poor region of Nepal; with very few jobs available, most people are living from portering during the trekking season, trading or surviving on subsistence farming.
Initially the monastery was founded by the Tibetan Government in Exile to provide a spiritual center for the many refugees who came from Tibet after 1959. In the late 1990's it requested Kopan Monastery to take over the care and management of the monastery, and its resident monks.
The monastery is very poor, as is the surrounded area. Living conditions are difficult: the high altitude makes it very cold in winter, which can last quite long; resources are scarce, and communication s difficult. Help has to come from the outside, as the locals hardly have enough to feed their own families.
The monastery provides an opportunity for the young people from Buddhist families to receive an education, to live in the vows in a monastic environment, and study and practice the teachings of the Buddha.
Geshe Yonten, a senior monk from Kopan and the abbot of the monastery, now takes care of thirty six monks between the age of 10 and 23. The daily schedule is simple. In the early morning they participate in the daily prayer session. The young monks then attend the local school to get a good general education. In the afternoon they receive the basic Buddhist training:, learn their prayers by heart, receive instructions on proper behavior, kindness to others etc. .The older monks study philosophy with a qualified geshe. Already several of them have gone on to Sera Monastery in South India to continue their studies. All the monks participate in the he daily chores.
|Morning prayers in the gompa|
During the cold winter months, the monks come to stay at Kopan, attend some of the classes here, and attend the teachings during the Monlam festival.
Several upgrades to the monastery have been completed since it came under the care of Kopan: A local benefactor offered a building which was transformed into the living quarters with kitchen. Some of the really old rooms were demolished to make place for a proper court yard and a big prayer wheel was added recently.
With more monks joining the monastery, there is a need for more rooms, a library, class rooms and office facilities.
Community activities of Thubten Shedrup Ling Monastery
Blessing the ground for a new building
Thubten Shedrup Ling is very involved in the community activities. It is Geshe Yonten's aim to revive the spiritual heritage of the area and the local community – the Sherpas living in the surrounding mountains and remaining Tibetans in the refugee camp. The monastery arranges prayers and pujas, gives advice on family matters, and arranges blessing ceremonies during important life events, such as name- giving for the children, blessing of marriage.It also provides pastoral care at the time of death.
Two years back, a group of foreigners built a clinic near the school to help with the medical care of the local community. This clinic now has a Tibetan doctor in regular attendance, as well as a community health worker. The monastery arranges regular health camps from International organizations and individuals, such as a visiting dentist, several eye doctors performed cataract operations, and a group from Australia did extensive hearing tests and provided hearing aid.
Thubten Shedrup Ling Monastery needs help to take care of all those who are in need there:
- The monks for food, education, clothing, health care, amongst the many other things necessary for a decent life.
- The clinic, arranging medication, visiting doctors, emergency treatments
The necessary funds for all this need to be raised from kind people who are willing to share their good fortune with those less fortunate.