The school remained closed for ten days from 1st June to 10 June 2018 due to the School Summer Holiday. However, the students from class IX to XII were detained from 6th to 8th June to attend to the Introductory Dharma Teaching by HH The Dalai Lama at the main temple here in Dharamshala. It is an annual teaching by HH The Dalai Lama for Tibetan youth who are studying in various academic institution around the world. More than nine thousand Tibetan students as well as devotees attended the event at the Tsuklakhang temple here. It was jointly sponsored and organized by TCV and Introductory to Buddhist Teaching Association. It was held for three days from June 6th to June 8th.
HH The Dalai Lama taught the ‘Shantideva’s A guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of life’( TibChodjug) to the congregation. The ten chapters Chodjug teaching is a text written in 700 Adby the great Indian Nalanda Buddhist scholar Shantideva, popularly known as Gyalsey Shewalha.
“The Introductory to Buddhism” teaching for Tibetan youths in schools and colleges is an initiative that traces back its origin almost decades ago. It has now become an annual feature in our school calendar and it is one of the most looked forward event in our school program.
The school Health and Hygiene Committee did a commendable job in taking over the responsibility of cleaning and maintaining the cleanliness of the main temple during the entire three days of teaching. They won the heart of many devotees as they left no stones unturned to keep the temple premises neat and clean throughout the teaching.
Kesang Gawa, a student from America who is presently studying in class VI P said, “I had a heaven-sent opportunity to listen to the teaching of HH The Dalai Lama at such a close quarter. Not only that, I had a wonderful audience of HH the Dalai Lama. He seemed really happy with his life, while most people are usually very stressed in their life. I felt in awe, because the person that all Tibetan families were worshipping, thanking, and loving was a few feet away from me. In America, I had never seen him personally, so he used to be a unmeetable hero of some sorts.”
A special join prayer session in the evening was held at the school Basket Ball Ground on 13thJune 2018. It was jointly organized by the school Culture Committee and the School Welfare Committee. Since it being special, it was held in the evening for two hours from 6 pm to 8 pm where the entire staff members of UTCV, TCV Head Office faculties and the students from class VI to XII attended the prayer. The said prayer was especially held to mark the end of ‘Saka Dawa’ the holiest month in the Tibetan calendar and chiefly to pray for the long life of HH The Dalai Lama.
Unlike other prayer sessions, the said prayer was held chiefly to invoke the blessing of Goddess Tara who is attributed with abundance, protection, enlightened activity, long life and compassion. With the firm hope to overcome all mental, physical and emotional blockages, the entire prayer was devoted to Goddess Tara. A total of almost 823 students and staff members recited/invoked Goddess Tara (25 long and 50 short) times each. Two mala round of sacred Tara mantra “ OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SOHA” was also recited by all, followed by long life prayer for HH The Dalai Lama. It is believed that reciting this sacred mantra can eliminate disease, fear, anxiety, suffering, disaster, troubles and negative karma.
To earn religious merit and to facilitate offerings to God, a generous donation in the form of cash and goods were also made by the staffs and the students in that evening. Traditional Tibetan tea and snakes were also served to all the devotees. A special dinner was also arranged to all the attendants. As good luck would have it, the weather on that evening remained very good.
It is celebrated on the 4th month of the Tibetan calendar. It is the most revered day for Buddhist followers. It is believed that this day corresponds with three important events of Buddha’s life including His Birth, Enlightment and Parinirvana (death). It is observed for whole month. During Saka Dawa, the Tibetans and Buddhist would involve in deliberate religious activities like abstaining from eating meat, setting free of animals, Sutra Chanting, Chum dancing, visiting holy temples, giving alms to the poor and changing flag poles near the temples etc. It is believed that the merit thus accumulated will be multiplied thousand times.
In the light of this belief, the school organize many religious and cultural activities like three days Kangyur Reading, Soltsok offering on full moon day, invitation of monks from the hermitage centre for reading scriptures, taking of Kangyur and Tengyur scriptures around the school campus to ward off the obstacles and sanctify the school campus. The entire students and the staff members of the school had the rare privilege of attending Avalokiteswara Six Syllable Empowerment by HH The Dalai Lama on the first day of Saka Dawa. All these activities are carried out to enhance the cultural and religious aspects of our tradition.
Venerable Yeshe Gyaltsen and Ms. Palmo from DOE, Central Tibetan Administration were here in our school for two days ( 16-17 May 2018) as part of five month program on creating awareness about Secular Ethics in Tibetan schools and Tibetan community. The first day of his talk was attended by around 350 students of class X till XII, and the second day by all the staff members of Upper TCV. It was funded by Fonds De Dotation Mon Ou, France. The talk cum interaction was held at Dekyi Tsering Hall in the evening. Ms. Palmo gave a welcome speech followed by brief introduction about Geshe Yeshe Gyaltsen from Sera Monastry who was the key speaker on Secular Ethic Beyond Religion.
Venerable Geshe Yeshi Gyaltsen began with the brief overview about how the idea or a concept about Secular Ethics Beyond Religion was formally initiated and conceived by HH The Dalai Lama .He said that it is based on two books by HH The Dalai Lama (i.e, Ethics for the New Millennium and The Secular Ethics Beyond Religion) and public talk in Europe ,America and England in early 70’s.
Compassion, warm heartedness, altruistic mind, universal responsibility, contentment, tolerance etc are some of the important human values that HH the Dalai Lama has been sharing with the people around the world. He further said that teachers have a great role in stimulating the ethical values latent in the minds of our youngsters. To this end, teacher must have three basic criteria and he/she should be a role model for the students.
As envisioned by HH the Dalai Lama, Emory University in America has already incorporated Secular Ethics in their educational curriculum and it has now become time tested program in their university. Since it is becoming very urgent and realistic in the fast changing materialistic world , DOE, Central Tibetan Administration is leaving no stones unturned to create awareness about Secular Ethics and making sure to fit it into the school curriculum by organizing many high level meetings, discussion , workshops and related programs over the years.
For better understanding and interaction with the audience, Ven. Yeshi Gyaltsen left the podium open for question answer session where we get to see many questions and answers pouring in from both the end. Mr. Tsultrim Dorjee, The School Village Director proposed a vote of thanks to Ven. Yeshi Gyaltsen and the organizer by offering traditional white scarf and a handsome gift as a token of gratitude.
Dhagcha Mongsel is very much like the English Spelling Bee Contest. It is a spelling contest in Tibetan where they would test your spelling proficiency in Tibetan words, tenses and phrases etc. It has now become an annual feature in our literary program. It is conducted separately for Secondary and Senior Secondary School so that maximum number of students can take part in it.
Senior School Dhagcha Mongsel has become one of the much awaited Tibetan literary program of the school where the selection and sieving of the student are done throughout the year with the 10 finalist participating during the final Senior School Dhagcha Mongsel Contest. The teachers had to work round the clock in finding the best speller of the year. The entire students from class IX to XII participated in it. Every student in the Senior Section underwent four rounds of spelling test. The final of the Senior School Dhagcha Mongsel 2018 took place on 09 May 18 at Herman Gmeiner Hall. Miss Tenzin Namdol from XII ‘A’ won the Championship of the Dhagcha Mongsel 2018 and walked away with a whooping cash prize of Rs 1500/- and a handsome gift hamper.
She was closely contested by Miss Tenzin Tsayang from IX ‘D’ who won a cash prize of Rs 1000/-a certificate and a handsome gift hamper. When asked about her feelings on winning (runners up), she said.” Obviously, I felt very proud and more confident now. Having participated whole heartedly in Dhagcha Mongsel, I no longer had to consult others for Tibetan spellings and its usages now and then. It has helped me in my writings as well.”
Ms. Chris, a social activist from Germany visited our school, and introduced Falun Dafa Exercise and Meditation for two days (8May-9May 2018) to all the staff and students of our school in five different sessions.
Mrs. Ngawang Lhamo, the Principal, of our school gave a brief introduction about Ms. Chris and importance of Falun Dafa Exercise and Meditation in our day to day life.
Before she gave demonstration on five simple exercises for all ages, she talked about the history of Falun Dafa practice and how it successfully developed over the years. According to her, the three main characteristics of Falun Dafa meditation and exercise are cultivation of Truthfulness, Compassion and Tolerance. She further said that Falun Dafa is neither political nor religious but it is based on an advanced cultivation practice of mind and body. Through these practice all our negative thoughts and desire lose their influence gradually. A clear and peaceful mind, incredible health and harmony can be achieved through this holistic practice.
Later she gave a live demonstration on five simple exercises for all ages and let the students follow her with a sweet music at the background .For the profound understanding of each exercise she explained in detail about the benefit of each exercises. She further said that these exercise can relax and energize our entire body and mind. They can be practiced on daily basis with no concern to location, time and direction.
At the end she dwelt on peaceful practices of Falun Dafa and how the peaceful practitioners/followers were ruthlessly persecuted by the Communist Chinese Party in 1999 thereby denying them the basis human rights like freedom of religion and thought. She urged everyone to raise awareness about it to as many people as possible. At last, Mrs NawangLhamo, the school Principal thanked Ms. Chris for giving a brief introduction to Falun Dafa and its related meditation and exercises.
Art, drawing and creativity has become an essential part of the academic learning process, and their advantage to the development of a child needs no mention. Thus, following the advice of the Department of Education regarding holding an Art and Drawing Contest for the students, the Principal, Section Heads and the Senior Section Art teacher met on April 16 to discuss the procedure of the contest.
The Senior Section underwent 4 rounds to get the 5 finalists. The preliminary round of selection started from April 17, 2018. All the students of class VI till VIII with the total number of 400 students were made to draw or paint on the topics specified by the DOE and explained by the Art teacher during the art class. Since there is no art and drawing period for class IX and above, the students of class IX and above were announced about the participation opportunity during the assembly. The topics were explained by the art teacher to the interested students, and they were given a specific time frame to submit their art work. 67 students participated and gave their works to the art teacher.
From the 467 students who took part in the preliminary round, 100 students were further selected for the final round which took place on Saturday, 28th April, 2018 from 12.10 p.m. to 1.30 p.m. The students based on their need and choices were made to sit either in the Art classroom or outside the class; i.e in the laps of nature to better facilitate their creativity. The Art teacher after receiving the works of the students selected 14 best artworks and sorted the same based on the various topics.
For the final judgement, 7 teachers from various backgrounds such as religious, language, creativity and social studies were involved. Each teacher graded the paintings based on their background. The five paintings with the maximum marks were declared the winners. The artists are Tsering Dolkar of 7 D, Tenzin Tashi of 8 D, Kalsang Wangchuk of XP, Tenzin Sherab of XII B and Tenzin Choeyang of XII A. Each of the students was awarded Rs. 500/- each sponsored by the DOE.The paintings of these 5 students will be further taken by the Art teacher to the Art Teacher’s workshop, organized by the DOE which will be held from 7th May till 11th May at Nyatri House, Gangchen Kyishong, where all the art teachers will bring the best works of their students. The DOE will then make posters out of the best paintings from the selected paintings and will send the same to the respective schools. We earnestly hope and wait to get the posters of our students.
Tenzin Choekyi Dralnang