Monasteries under Pressure
the early 1980s, the number of residents in the Tibetan monasteries
in India has risen spectacularly. Nowadays the new monks are not only refugees from Tibet, but also children from poverty stricken families in the bordering regions (the Himalaya).
Wealthy people send their children to Indian schools, where they receive a good education in Hindi and English, but poor people send their children to the monasteries.
The monastery takes on complete responsibility for these poor children. The older monks under whose care they are placed, must not only ensure they receive a good education, but also must take care of all their other needs, such as clothing, going to the doctor, going to hospital - there are no medical insurances and these costs have to be raised and paid immediately.
"All such costs need to be raised by the older monks of the house or khamtsen in which the young monk is lodged. Dhonden foundation was established to help with raising funds to support the steadily increasing flow of children and refugees. Within monasteries such as the Gaden Jangtse monastery and its Tsawa khamtsen, we find an education system that preserves, keeps alive and passes on an understanding of the wealth of buddhist knowledge to further generations. This is important also for western countries where there is apparantly quite a demand and desire for buddhist teachings nowadays. But it is also very important when we look at the possibility of returning to Tibet in the future. Because in Tibet today there is hardly any education anymore which can offer a quality study of buddhist philosophy at such a high level. The monks living in Tibet today are prevented from being able to study at the level they should do in order to be able to understand the philosophy and teachings, and as such be in a position to pass this knowledge on to others. This is made impossible for them today in Tibet, and so it is the responsibility now of us refugees - so that if we are ever able to return to Tibet, we will have the necessary learned people who can instruct and teach those who remained. That is our goal, and it is also the goal of Dhonden foundation's fund raising projects"
Geshe Sonam Gyaltsen