In Bhutan-There are clean rivers, mountains, green trees, and sound of birds all around, it feels like a pure land. Bhutan was a country where everyone believes in Buddhism. During this trip, our teacher, Khentrul Rinpoche arranged for us to learn about their living environment and studying situation at Buddhist Institutes.
Yutou Gompa Paro Shaba was a Buddhist Institute with a history of more than six hundred years. There were currently seventy-five young monk students studying here. The youngest one was only four years old. It was hard to imagine becoming a monk student at such a young age. He would not only need to integrate into the group but also need to learn to take care of himself. When we arrived at the monastery, they had all lined up to welcome Rinpoche. This Buddhist Institute was located on a mountain and its facilities were simple. Rinpoche slowly explained that the general funding for a Buddhist Institute in Bhutan can be applied through the royal government for subsidies, but such things such as monk clothes and school supplies need to be prepared by little monk students themselves. In the hall of the Buddhist Institute, Rinpoche gave the students a short lesson.
Paro Sangchokor Buddhist Institute and Paro Tara Monastery were two Buddhist Institutes in Paro Dzong. The Sangchokor Buddhist Institute had a history of more than three hundred years, and currently there are more than two hundred monk students studying at the academy. The lama who came to greet us careful explain the purpose of each hall and the daily practice that the students conduct.
Paro Tara Monastery has just completed the construction of its main hall recently. The Buddhist Institute is on the top of the mountain and the scenery was exceptionally quiet and beautiful. There were now thirty young monk students aged five to fourteen studying Buddhist education here. We offered the students clothes first, and then chanted the scriptures together.
On a rainy day, we walked around the hills to Nalanda Buddhist Institute. Nalanda Buddhist Institute was hidden in the deep mountains of Punakha. Because of the rain in the past few days, the road to the Buddhist Institute was full of falling rocks and mud and the road was almost covered by stones. Our car had to park a mile away from the Buddhist Institute and the volunteers slowly walked in through the hillside road. The abbot of the Buddhist Institute held an umbrella in his hand and came out to meet us from very far away. We walked up the mountain road that is so narrow, only a body wide length can get through. After a short break, the principal began to tell us the story of the Buddhist Institute. Nalanda Buddhist Institute had a history of more than four hundred years. Nagarjuna had stayed here for several years, so Bhutanese regard it as the pure land of Manjushri. Currently, one hundred fifty monk students are studying here at the Buddhist Institute. Due to the earthquake in Bhutan a year before, many parts of the institute are being rebuilt and renovated, the living environment was very hard. We explained to the abbot that DENER uses stationery as a mean of encouragement to make good connections with the students from all over the remote places every year. We also hope that the students of the Buddhist Institute would complete their studies successfully.
Leaving Nalanda Buddhist Institute, there was Hapidhing Community Primary School just down the hill. There were more than one hundred students in first to sixth grades here, all of them were children from nearby villages. The children were extremely excited to see our arrival. They were neatly dressed in traditional Bhutanese clothes and lined up one by one ready for get the stationery that we brought. Looking at their happy faces, we also smiled with joy!