Geshe Thupten Jinpa talks to the teaching faculties.
The principal interpreter to His Holiness the Dalai Lama Geshe Thupten Jinpa La is currently in Dharamshala in connection with some book project in the private office. While he is here we took full advantage of his presence and requested him to spare some time to be with our staff and children. This is no doubt such a rare opportunity to be in the presence of highly educated Tibetan Geshe who is not only well versed in the Buddhist studies but also in modern philosophy with his Ph.D. credential from Cambridge University. Among the educated youngsters it is rare to find such a person who is on the top of his academic pinnacle in both western and eastern philosophy with excellent grasp of language skill in Tibetan and English.
Geshe Thupten Jinpa is the principal interpreter to His Holiness the Dalai Lama since 1985 and now with over 30 years of his selfless service to His Holiness he is widely known for his wide range and depth of his learning with very good command in English as well as in Tibetan. He has several bestselling books to his credit and has translated several books of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He is a visiting fellowship scholar at Stanford and McGill University.
We are very fortunate to have in depth discussion with Geshe La on the wide range of topic starting with our teaching methodology and instilling in our children self-confidence based on our understanding of compassion and Buddhachitta. Several of our doubts are very explicitly cleared by Geshe La. Listening to such a highly self-taught scholars make us proud to be Tibetan who is a product of century old system of our education in our monastic institutions which stood the test of time and has not affected the actual learning with the glow and glisters of modern education.
Geshe La also spent some quality time with our Amalas and encouraged them to practice compassion while they are on the job of nurturing children. Their very nature and job is compassion in action.
Geshe La very kindly agreed to be with our senior students on August 3rd when they finish their SA examination. Children are eagerly looking forward to be in his presence.
81st Birth day celebration of His Holiness the Dalai Lama – 6th July, 2016
The 81st birth day celebration of His Holiness the Dalai Lama was organized with involvement of all our staff and students. The day coincided with Lhakar and every one turned out in traditional dress. We assembled in Dekyi Tsering Hall offering prayers for long life of His Holiness and had special Sangsol for the occasion. After the prayers we formed a big circle of students and staff on the main basketball ground with incense burning at the center and every one with a handful of Tsampa concluded the morning prayers by throwing tsampa in the air to ward off misfortune and evil spirit and to wish for all the fortunes and luck. Of course so long as His Holiness is healthy and strong we literally believe that nothing untoward will ever happen to us. That’s why His Birth Day celebration is participated with all our hearts and souls.
Normally when senior students attend public function at main temple the remaining students in Middle, Junior and Infant remain in the school with no organized functions. This year the birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama was celebrated with festivity and joy. Senior students took active participation in the official function at Tsug-lag-Khang. The remaining students had a festive celebration in the main hall with power point presentation of the life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and reading of quotes of His Holiness by some students followed by open quiz. Children were served special lunch and shared birth day cake.
Dance troupe from our school presented a beautiful dance from Kongpo region and everyone in the temple square applauded with much appreciation. In the evening we had a very wonderful event: “Middle Idol 2016”. The program started way ahead of time enrolling students with singing talent. After several rounds of elimination we had finally the ten best singers from Middle section who participated for Middle Idol. All of them sang beautifully and each appealed to the whole crowd for their support. The event was very lively and participative. Besides judges’ marks, the voting by all our students and staff was also considered for final placement. Finally considering the public votes and judges’ marks we came up with five best singers. They will have another final round sometime in August for the grand finale.
Summer teaching June 1-3, 2016
Tibetan Children’s Village is very fortunate to have been blessed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama with a life changing program to have direct inter-action with His Holiness to learn about various tenets of Buddhism. This is the tenth year in succession where the youngsters get the golden opportunity to learn about basic Buddhist philosophy direct from His Holiness the Dalai Lama. All the senior students from various schools in the vicinity of Dharamshala including Mentse Khang, Sarah College and Sherab Gyasel Ling attend the program. We have huge number of participants from college going students from different colleges in India. We are very happy to have TCV Selakui class XI and XII students attend the program. This unique program is co-organized by TCV and Dharamshala Organization for the Introduction of Buddhism. As the number of attendants increase every year, TCV is becoming little too congested to fit in all the interested participants for the summer teaching program. As per the wishes of His Holiness, this year the venue for summer teaching was moved from TCV to the main temple in Thekchen Choling. About three thousand students were fitted in the main temple and another few thousand attendants occupied the main square in the temple. Three day teaching from 1st June to 3rd June by His Holiness the Dalai Lama was blessing for the students and ideal coincidence to start their summer break.
This year the teaching was on Domthonpa’s A Tree of Faith – A self-Exhortation from the Book of Kalam. His Holiness emphasized on the importance shedding ignorance by proper learning habits. Our normal mode of learning is through reading or from the words of teachers which has a shallow understanding of just the description or the meaning of words that will eventually fade with the passage of time. The time tested century old learning in our great monasteries is not only through listening to the teachers but consolidating your understanding with investigation and finally applying in your real life. His Holiness emphasized on the importance of learning through investigation and through application of logical deduction.
2016 summer teaching concluded with the initiation of Budhicitta and Jamphel Yang the Buddha of wisdom. As an expression of gratitude for completing the ten consecutive years of summer teaching for the youngsters the co-organizers TCV and Dharamshala Organization for the introduction of Buddhism offered Long life prayers for His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Everyone present rejoiced when His Holiness announced that same summer teaching will be continued next year: 2017 summer.
Inter House cultural nite
The cultural nite is one of the most looked forward and very important events in TCV calendar. In order to imbibe in our children the cultural components of our identity we make our children involve voluntarily in many of our programs that would make us unique in terms of our cultural identity. Performing arts teachers are very important resource in our schools in making our children aware of myriad aspects of Tibetan cultural and performing arts. Tibetan opera is very unique performing art depicting historical events with series of songs, dances and melodrama. Cultural competition is a mega event with the involvement of over hundreds of children in learning various performing arts from singing, dancing and dialogues. Ache Lhamo is a very special form of melodrama with the combination of songs, dances and dialogue. This year as per the wishes of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to pass on this unique performing arts to the youngsters we arranged to have Lhamo performance in place of song and dance competition involving about fifty children from each house. Without any disturbance to the routine study schedule we made use of the afternoon session after class in learning this unique performing art. The main theme of Lhamo this year is on the life of ascetic yoga Milarepa. All the four houses performed their part and the theme story was depicted without any notice of the transition of the houses. It just merged in perfect unison and flow.
We are very happy to have our Ex-Kalon Kongo Tenzin Geje La as the chief guest for the Lhamo competition among our Houses. The show went on for three consecutive hours without any sign of boredom. The competition was tough and neck to neck. No one would guess who the obvious winner was until the last minute when Gyen Bhagdo La announced the winner for this year’s Inter-House cultural competition. TRIRAL HOUSE was declared winner for this year. Owing to the hard work put in by about two hundred children for about a month in making the performance a class of its own, the chief guest declared the next day a day of rest and the whole auditorium echoed with applause and jubilation.
Saka Dawa the most holy month in the Tibetan calendar
Saka Dawa is considered the most holy month in the Tibetan calendar as the month coincides with three important events of Buddha’s chronicle: Birth, Death and Enlightenment. Buddhist all over the world especially Tibetans make deliberate attempt to accumulate merit by doing good deeds: abstaining from eating meat, reading Holy Scriptures, visiting temples, prostrating and giving alms to the needy. It is believed that the merit thus accrued will be multiplied thousand times. In the light of this belief it is very moving to see our little children thread the path of compassionate acts and the whole atmosphere is very pious and positive.
During the entire month there were series of programs to enrich your life with the genuine concern to be of some help to others living literally and embracing our school MOTTO: “Others before self” to our heart and action. The scripture reading by class VII and above was organized in the class room. Staff and hermits did Kagyur reading in the main Village temple. Over two hundred volumes of Kagyur and Tangyur reading was completed within three days. Before we began opening the scripture, senior students made a complete round of the whole compound with the Holy Scriptures led by our religious instructors blessing the whole area.
Kagyur reading was concluded with thanks giving offering of Tsog with participation from our hermits numbering about thirty. Staff members and our senior students joined for the offering on the main square of our temple.
Dialogue with USIP Youth Leaders – Dharamsala, HP, India – May 3, 2016
Through the courtesy of US Institute of Peace – the Youth leaders from thirteen countries after a very productive dialogue with His Holiness the Dalai Lama paid a brief visit to TCV. The youth leaders had a very meaningful discussion with our senior students forming small groups consisting of few of our students and youth leaders from various counties sharing and discussing on various topics. After a very insightful discussion, few of the senior youth leaders shared their experience gained through their discussion with our children to the entire team. The visiting youth leaders were impressed with the depth of knowledge and personal experience our children shared about their arduous journey across the border leaving their family behind and living in exile with strong determination to prepare for the day we return back to free Tibet.
To give a brief glimpse of our rich aspect of our tradition and culture our children presented a group song and two dance items which the visitors liked and applauded with great appreciation. As these youth leaders are from various conflicting troublesome countries, the main idea of their visit was to train these youth in leadership at the time of calamities and troublesome. They were together only for a while and yet they were able to present a group song and dance in their own vernacular languages. A lady shared a beautiful song and made whole of the participants in the hall sing the choir which she led. After the formal cultural exchange the visit ended with friendly basketball match between the youth leaders and our students.
Conclusion of the project: Tibet Our Country
After a month long study duration on “Tibet Our Country” the program was concluded on 29th April with grand ceremony with participation from all our staff and children. Since the pioneering of this very important annual program focusing on very rich Tibetan content area it has been one of the most beneficial scheme of work to make our education meaningful to our children with strong feeling of bondage with our root. The program covers various Tibetan components according to the level of their standard from K-12 plus.
This year the main theme of our focus for all our activities is on ethical and moral enhancement. The program Tibet Our Country also concentrated and addressed on moral development. Each class did an extensive study on moral issues and came up with skits and dramas. There was drama competition among all the classes and the top drama presentation from each section was shown to all the students and staff in Hermann Gameinner auditorium on the concluding day of project “Tibet Our Country”.
The concluding program was organized on Saturday the 30th April on the main basketball ground with massive Sangsol prayers followed with traditional circular dances choreographed by our Amalas. The concluding formal function was organized in the hall with presentation of the dramas by Infant, Junior, Middle and Senior section.
As part of the program focusing on moral development our religious instructors were requested to organize teaching on the eight verses on the training of mind by Langri Tangpa. The interested teachers took active interactive discussion with our Geshe Las.