Manjushri Di-Chen Buddhist Learning Center was founded in the year 1996 by Ven. Drubthob Rinpoche with the vision of preserving and imparting the precious Tibetan Heritage of quality and sacred education of Buddha Dharma along with the modern education. The center is located in Pharping, 22 k/m south of Kathmandu valley. Besides its beautiful locales, what makes Pharping even more special is that it has some of the most holy pilgrimage sites for Buddhists. They are Tara temple, Padhmasambhava cave and the Vajrayogini temple. Each year thousands of pilgrims come here to visit these holy temples and make prayers. The funds for establishing the center in large part came from a Swiss family, Kaiser Steinman/Stiftung Foundation in memory of Mr. Kaiser’s late son Dhukar Tsering. The center was originally planned for 30 students but started off with just 12 students initially. However, the number of students has steadily grown over the years and now there are 65 students in the age range of 7-24. They come from different parts of the Himalayan regions including Tibet.
Gone were the days when the students from the Himalayan region travelled to Tibet to study Buddhism. Sadly, this was made impossible after the Chinese occupation of Tibet and they too were impacted as a result. In fact, one of the reasons for establishing this center is also to resurrect and preserve the old ties that had existed between Tibet and the Himalayan regions in hey days.
Due to the fact that the students at the center come from such remote regions and extreme poverty, they have no access to education of any kind back home. Their parents often can’t afford to send their children to school even if a school exists in their village. The similarity of culture and religious aspects of these border villages with the Tibetan culture has encouraged Ven. Drubthob Rinpoche’s vision of preserving and imparting the precious Tibetan Heritage of quality and sacred monastic education of Buddha Dharma along with modern education. Hence, the center was established as a monastic learning center.Because of the prevailance of poverty and deprivation of the students and their families, Ven. Rinpoche has decided to run the Center on charity basis. The monk students are given the facilities of boarding, food, stationery, medicine, pocket money and expenses for holiday, and other important needs apart from the education itself, free of cost. The administration bears all these expenditure by way the kind financial support and donations given by foreign individual groups and people, a few local donors and sponsorship money received for the individual students.
We believe our students are amongst the handful who receive a balanced education of both the traditional and modern education. Basically being a monastic center, the monks learn traditional monastic debate, logic, text-memorization and classical Tibetan Calligraphy as priority amongst its curriculum. Apart from these subjects, the monks are taught general modern education in mathematics, science, and reading and writing Tibetan, Nepali, English and Chinese. The students are taught by nine enthusiastic and scholarly teachers, each of whom is wholeheartedly devoted to furthering Rinpoche’s vision of preserving and imparting the precious Tibetan Heritage of quality and sacred education. In this present day, where almost every line of work has to do with computers, we have also come to realize the importance of teaching basic computer skills. With the goal of having our students acquire the skills necessary to fit in this modern world, we have built a small computer lab at the school. Presently, it has only three computers, so we are able to teach only three students at a time. Even with a rotating schedule, it is difficult for the students to maintain their continuous training. We are hopeful that in the future we can add more computers to our lab.
Our older students have the opportunity of pursuing further studies in various reputed institutes and monastic universities in India. At present there are twenty-five students who, after graduating from Manjushri Di-Chen Buddhist Learning Center, are now doing their higher education in these places:
Drepung Loseling University, South India
Tibetan University, Varanasi, India
Tibetan University, Arunachal Pradesh, India
Dialectic school, Dharamsala, India
We continue to meet all the expenses of these students for education, accommodation, food, medicine and pocket money.
The universities mentioned above are widely regarded and recognized as universities of the highest quality. Students graduating from these universities are not only able to pursue own their careers successfully but are also extremely qualified to become teachers and administrators and are capable of playing pivotal roles in various social activities.
The Dairy Project:
In2000, with the addition of a small plot of land next to the existing school in Pharping, the idea of a small-scale dairy was born. The idea came from a goal to provide the students with pure milk for their healthy physical growth, since the local milk is mostly adulterated, giving little nutrition. The second reason was to set-up a bio-gas system from the cow dung to save fuel consumption and use the remnants as manure for the grassland and the vegetable garden. The third reason was for the school to generate some income to offset the school’s expenses. With the kind sponsorship of the Kaiser Foundation, the project was started in early 2001 with three cows and two calves.
The dairy project has the capacity for at least fifteen adult cows and their calves. It is our hope to produce more of a variety of dairy-products in the future. We believe that this project has the potential to greatly support the school. However, due to increase in the number of the cows (at present there 12 cows) and the unavailability of sufficient grassland for the cattle, we have not yet been able to utilize our goals. Therefore, we heartily invite people knowledgable in these areas to help us develop this project properly. At the moment, milk yielded is used for consumption by our students and staff. The bio-gas setup that we have developed is helping towards reducing some fuel consumption.
In October of 2003 Ven. Drubthob Rinpoche hosted a meeting to discuss ideas on how to ensure the continuity of the center. Rinpoche expressed his concern over the future of this center and highlighted the need for a separate fund for future activities. A decision was reached to set up a trust fund. This fund will be used towards the future activities of the center in the event case it of difficulties or problems. If you would like to contribute to this fund, you are welcome to send your donation to the address at the end of this page. In the United States, your donations are 100% tax deductible.