#5 – November 2013 Newsletter
In this edition:
- Update on the Namcho Empowerments in Nepal.
- Interview with Shravasti Center’s Lopon Kinley Wangdi.
- Winter/Spring Calendar of Events
- In Memory of Shechen’s Beloved Temple Keeper, Konyer Chodrup.
- Our Future: An Opportunity to Work as Part of the Shechen Team
Update on the Namcho Empowerments
The Namcho Empowerments are currently being bestowed by Kyabje Yangtang Rinpoche at Shechen Tennyi Dargyeling Monastery in Nepal. They commenced on the 18th October and are expected to continue until around the 18th November. The empowerments are being attended by Dilgo Khyentse Yangsi Rinpoche, (Urgyen Tenzin Jigme Lhundrup) as well as Tulku Urgyen Yangsi Rinpoche (Urgyen Jigme Rabsel Dawa) and approximately 148 tulkus and khenpos, 185 lamas and lopons, more than 2,000 monks and nuns, including monks from Mindroling and Namdroling in India and Shechen Orgyen Chozong Nunnery in Bhutan. They are joined by students from the Shechen Center in Taiwan and other international Shechen centers. In addition, many people from the mountains have come down to receive these precious teachings. It is estimated that, in total, 9-11,000 people are attending the empowerments.
For more details on this auspicious event and a biography of Yangtang Rinpoche, please see last e-news article.
An Interview with Lopon Kinley Wangdi, Teacher at the Shravasti Center.
Kinley Wangdi came to Shechen Monastery from Bhutan when he was eleven years old. He is now the Lopon in charge of the Shechen Stupa in Sravasti India and established the Shechen Elementary School there.
“My parents had talked to me over the years about Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. As soon as I arrived at Shechen Monastery, Khyentse Rinpoche and Rabjam Rinpoche showered me with kindness and love. I have no words to explain that love.”
For five years, he studied Tibetan and other subjects at the Shechen Elementary School. Then he joined the Dratsang [ritual college] to learn cham (monastic dance), torma-making, and the various group prayers and ritual practices. He enrolled in the Shechen Shedra (monastic college) when he was 17, and after graduating from its nine-year college, Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche suggested that he use his skills to teach outside the monastery. Kinley then taught Buddhist philosophy at a large lay school near Jorpati. He vowed that, “I will do my best and work for the monastery for the rest of my life.” In 2010 Rabjam Rinpoche asked him to go to India and look after the recently built stupa at Sravasti link stupa to the stupa page on the website and establish an elementary school there for young monks.
This was not an easy task as Sravasti is a quite remote and small village and Kinley was alone with 20 young monks (8-16 years old). “I had to learn to work within a different culture and get used to its different way of working. But I just put my trust in Rinpoche and never gave up. “
When he first arrived, there was just the stupa and a single story building, but Kinley used his ingenuity to enlarge the space for the school. Two of his Nepali students came to teach math and English. Kinley, in addition to seeking medical help for the children, introduced physical exercise into the program and even made a small swimming pool. “This exercise actually solved many of their health problems. “
They follow a tight schedule very much like the little monks in the Nepal Monastery. Waking up at 4.30 , doing prayers and memorization, and studying subjects like reading, writing, English, math, and junior and senior philosophy, and so on. On Saturdays, after a morning of cleaning their rooms and compound, they are on holiday. The area is too remote for cinema halls or restaurants. Kinley has provided them with instruments so they can play guitar, flutes and play. “We work closely with the locals and we have organized a Sunday environmental day when the monks go to nearby holy places to help organizations keep the environment clean.”
The school has been a great success, instilling discipline, community involvement, and individual responsibility. This year 16 more children were enrolled and additional beds, sheets and cubbies had to be purchased. “We need to build a dining hall as it is either too hot or too wet during the monsoon season and we cannot continue to eat outside. We also need to install solar lighting so that there are lights at night and in the early morning for reading. “
Kinley’s story is one of commitment and dedication. Help us support his inspiration for Shechen and its children. Contribute to the new dining hall or the furnishings or the solar project. Become an annual sponsor. Thank you.
In Memory of Shechen’s Temple Keeper, Konyer Chodrup
The temple keeper at Shechen Monastery in Nepal, Konyer Chodrup, passed away at Shechen Clinic Hospice at the age of 83 years on October 23 after a brief period of illness. In the mid 1980’s Konyer Chodrup left from his home in Derge in Eastern Tibet and joined the monastery in Nepal. HH Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche asked him to become the konyer or temple keeper and make the daily offerings in the large temple.
Since then he worked tirelessly for the monastery and was renowned for his kindness, diligence, and devotion. He woke up faithfully every morning at two to fill the numerous large offering bowls, light the many candles and butter lamps, arrange the cushions, and so on.
As he got older, he was offered a room in the elder care facility for Shechen monks and nuns at its retreat center in Namo Buddha. He firmly declined with a large smile: “Until I die I will serve the monastery.” In the last few years before his passing, he commissioned many virtuous works, such as the gold painting on the face of the Tara and Guru Rinpoche statues. Khyentse Yangsi Rinpoche and other teachers prayed at his side soon after his passing and prayers were requested of Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche and other senior lamas. He was cremated at one of the sacred charnel grounds in Kathmandu on the 24th. He is missed by all our monks and visitors to Shechen.
Since 1987, Dilgo Khyentse Fellowship/Shechen has strived to keep the vision of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and his wisdom tradition vibrant.
We have created a family of sponsors, built classrooms, retreat centers, and watched our little monks grow-up to be professors and meditators. We have produced films, events, and books.
It has been a busy and fulfilling 26 years of work for a very small team.
Now it is time to increase this base.
In order to continue, we need more help and for our friends in the west and east to spread the word and lend a hand. Can you join us?
*Inspire friends and more people to become sponsors
*Are you an IT person who can help with our website and emails?
*Can you create events and help extend our mailing lists so that more people hear about us?
*Do you have database experience?
Please consider offering a contribution: financial, a skill, or your time.
Over 500 monks, nuns, and lay people depend on us for their education and way of life. Sponsorship is only $250/annually. Become a sponsor this year, tell a friend, and encourage people to look at our website and subscribe to our newsletter.
Help move this wonderful vehicle forward and make it available to more people so that this tradition can continue into the future.