This video shares with you the important humanitarian work of the Kilung Foundation in Dzachuka, East Tibet.
As many of you know, Lama Gonpo Tsering, a very great and dear man, died on February 27. During this time of grieving—felt by his family, the community in Dzachuka, and our extended friends around the world—we have been considering how to honor him and keep his memory and inspiration alive for generations to come.
Nearing the end of his life, while in a hospital in China, Gonpo asked to be brought back to his home in Dzachuka. He instructed his family to give up the increasingly elusive mission to obtain a liver transplant, telling them that the money would be much better spent to help complete the monastic college building back at Kilung Valley so that children and monks could be educated.
In keeping with Gonpo’s end-of-life wish, we are opening the way for donations to be directed to a very special section of that building—a community center—now dedicated to, and named in honor of Gonpo.
This center, on the first floor of the building, will house a classroom for girls, a community hall, and meeting room. It also includes a medical clinic, where there will be local access for public health education, immunization, and check-ups.
Here there will be screenings for the Hydatid disease, and immunizations for Hepatitis B and Tuberculosis. These diseases took Gonpo’s life, and are all too common in Dzachuka. Kilung Rinpoche writes, “It was so painful to see Gonpo and many people suffering and dying from these diseases that are preventable. We really don’t want to see it happening again and again.”
Lama Gonpo lived his life in service to others, and establishing a community center will continue his life’s work. In keeping with Gonpo’s end-of-life wish, and in his memory, we are dedicating this essential new community center to Gonpo.
Will you help us keep his memory alive? The cost of the Community Center is $86,027. Generous donors have offered to match up to $40,000 so we are almost halfway to our goal. This is a huge benefit to beings to accomplish in Gonpos’s name. Please join us in fulfilling Gonpo’s last wish to be of benefit to his community.
Thank you for your generous donations thus far… please also share this with your family and friends to help us make this happen! Every little bit helps towards making this a reality.
Our goal is to raise the matching funds by April 17th,
the 49th day after his death.
Gonpo Tsering Community Center
Total needed to raise: $86,027 USD
|Clinic||473 sq ft||$12,676|
|Reception/Meeting||263 sq ft||$7,048|
|Girl’s classroom||685 sq ft||$18,358|
|Community Hall||1550 sq ft||$41,540|
|Restroom||239 sq ft||$6,405|
Dear Friends of Kilung Foundation,
We are deeply sad to share that Lama Gonpo Tsering died on Feb. 27th. When it became certain that he would not be able to receive a liver transplant, his family was able to transport him back home to Dzachuka for his final few days.
Dza Kilung Rinpoche and the Kilung Foundation are grateful for the medical support and prayers sent for Lama Gonpo by so many people, helping to give hope, and then ease his passing.
Gonpo spent his life to help others. You can remember Gonpo by making a donation to the Community Center being named in his honor.
Dza Kilung Rinpoche and the Kilung Foundation Board
As a result of the fire, the hardships of continuing the schooling in temporary structures, and construction delays, there was no school or shedra this year. Here are the personal stories of two Dzachuka children who have been impacted by the closure of the Kilung Children’s School after the fire that destroyed the structure in April 2016. One is a story of challenge, the other a story of hope. We believe they point to the benefits your donations provide, both to relieve suffering and to offer opportunities.
Nyima Dondrup is eight years old, the fourth child of a nomad family living in the Kilung Valley. His father Pinde, 43, and his mother Chime Lhamo, 40, have six children and are part of the Kilung yogurt cooperative. Like many nomad families, Pinde and Chime were planning to send Nyima to the Kilung Children’s School when he turned seven. When the school burned down, they kept him at home for a year, but finally they had no option but to send him to the public school in Sershul to get a basic education.
The public school, managed by the Chinese system, conducts all of their business and studies mostly in Chinese. Pinde and Chime speak only Tibetan, and so they were unable to enroll Nyima themselves. They asked a monk from Kilung Monastery who speaks Chinese to help them get Nyima into the school.
The public school in Sershul is very far from Pinde and Chime’s home. Because they have to look after their children and animals, the parents could not accompany Nyima to town, and the young boy could not come home every day after school. The family asked distant relatives who live in Sershul to please host Nyima, and while they agreed, they were also hosting five other children from the nomadic community. Nyima has never been away from his parents and home before. On the first night in Sershul, the eight-year-old stayed awake crying, feeling far away from his family and home.
In the coming days, Nyima changed from a happy and energetic boy into a quiet and hidden child. When questioned, he told his parents the story of being slapped by his teacher because he couldn’t finish his homework. Nyima is one of many Tibetan nomad children who drop out of school at an early age because of the emotional and academic challenges of having to leave home for an education.
We need your help in rebuilding the Shedra so the Kilung Children’s School can once again provide Tibetan education for the nomad children. Click HERE to donate.
Yangzom is Nyima’s 17 year-old sister. As the oldest girl in the family, she did not have the opportunity to attend school until she was 14. As a young child, she was terribly shy and quiet, often hiding her face behind her arms to avoid being seen. In 2014, with a Chinese sponsorship, she was sent to a private Tibetan school in Golok. There she studied Tibetan and Chinese reading and writing.
She began to develop more confidence and a beautiful singing voice. With Kilung Rinpoche’s help, Yangzom finished her studies in 2017 and was accepted in a specialized school in Kyegu Do for voice training. There she learned to play musical instruments and to perform Tibetan songs. She was asked to entertain publicly at many local events. Now the school is planning to record Yangzom’s first album, after only a year of study.
Yangzom is an example of the transformation that is possible through loving kindness and personal support from a Tibetan school. We ask for your help in rebuilding the Shedra in order to be able to offer Tibetan education for girls in the Kilung nomadic community. Click HERE to donate.
While waiting for the rebuilding of the Kilung Shedra, the children and monks have scattered in different places, some at home, some in public school, and some at other Shedras such as Dzogchen, Shedchen, Jangma, Palpung and Machen.
Thirty-one monks and six school children are supported to continue in their studies by small stipends from Kilung Foundation.
To the right is Shercho studying at Dzogchen Monastery. Below is Tsering Topden also at Dzogchen Monastery, and Dorje Gon at Jangma Monastery.
The past 18 months after the fire have been busy ones for the Kilung Foundation. The new building site has been cleared in preparation for construction to begin. Thanks to gifts from Asian students, a new well has been established to provide clean drinking water.
Architectural plans have been developed for a new three-story, modern and environmentally sensitive building.
The new structure will be built using contemporary building techniques and modern building materials, rather than traditional Tibetan rammed earth. The expanded space will accommodate both the present and future needs of Vajrayana students in a far-reaching community.
Originally planned for 2017, construction was delayed this year by the need for a geological survey. The high plateaus of Tibet call for engineers with particular skills, and the search to find a company in the region with the right experience took time. Through Rinpoche’s relationship with a local Lama who recently completed a project at a similar elevation, a specialized geological survey company was finally engaged. The survey is now completed, and a final working drawing is being prepared.
Unfortunately, as a result of the fire, the hardships of continuing the schooling in temporary structures, and construction delays, there was no school or shedra this year. While waiting for the rebuilding of the Kilung Shedra, the children and monks have scattered in different places, some at home, some in public school, and some at other Shedras such as Dzogchen, Shedchen, Jangma, Palpung and Machen.
Fundraising efforts are ongoing, and we have raised over $400,000 of the $1.7 million dollar project. Another $450,000 is needed by April 2018 in order to reach our halfway mark and begin construction on the new center. We ask for your donation to help bring us closer to this goal and allow us to break ground as spring arrives in Tibet.
Click HERE to donate.
The new Kilung Shedra, Children’s School and Community Center will allow the children and monks to return to the Kilung Valley to continue their studies and education close to home. The structure will also provide expanded space for a girl’s school, medical and health care, and community development activities.
The Kilung Monastery has installed a deep well to provide running water to the Kilung Community and the new shedra being designed and rebuilt, thanks to generous Chinese donors. But how to keep the water running and the pipes warm enough to freeze? A group of solar and tech companies in China collaborated on a high-altitude project at the Kilung Monastery to install solar power and deliver the electricity needed for the water system.
The panels are up and running, snowstorm not withstanding, and generating power for clean drinking water at the shedra!
This video shares the successful story of the yogurt project!
Now in its second year, the yogurt is very popular and the business has been awarded a RMB 500,000 grant by the local Chinese government ($80,000).
This will enable the collective to increase the herd size of the females yaks, called ‘dri’, that are milked for the yogurt.
Currently the yogurt is being made “home style”. The daily production of 30 tubs of yogurt is sold directly from a refrigerator in the delivery van parked on the streets of Sershul, always selling out.
The grant will fund a commercial kitchen for a more efficient and hygienic production of the yogurt in larger quantities, as well as a retail shop. The increased production and sales will engage additional families, thus providing more employment.
The vision of the Kilung Foundation in launching this economic development project has been achieved. In fact, the success of the yogurt business has inspired three more yogurt businesses to start! Now even more nomad families have been able to keep their animals and increase their herds. Relocated nomads who have lost their animals have employment in town as well as a continued connection with yaks and their traditional nomad culture. And there will be enough healthy, delicious and local yak yogurt in Sershul to meet the demand!
With this success, the Kilung Foundation is now looking to develop other value-added yak products that can be produced by the nomads.
The tents that were set up shortly after the shedra fire for the children to sleep in did not last long. They were falling apart and leaking badly. With the advent of rainy, cold weather and the coming of winter, the children needed a new sleeping place.
The monks gave up four of their retreat cabins to share with children so they have a warm, dry room. These monks have now doubled and tripled up in other cabins.
And not only did the children move into the monks cabins, they also became monks!
The children at the Kilung Children’s School have been at the monastery over two years and have developed a strong connection with the monks, senior teachers, and their studies. They were eager to become a monk in the Year of the Monkey. Historically, if there is interest, families want their children to be ready do to this during the Year of the Monkey celebration of the Birth of Guru Rinpoche that happens every twelve years.
The children are young to make this decision, so there was a discussion with the parents and families, all of whom were very excited and happy that their child wanted to become a monk at this auspicious time.
So, new robes were prepared, the families made contributions for tsok offerings and their children have become monks! The children are continuing their studies in grammar, reading, writing, history, as well as Buddhist prayers and sadhanas. The tradition of Tibetan Buddhism will continue strongly through this next generation.
The Kilung Children’s School is looking towards increasing its enrollment this year to include children who are not planning on being monks, as well children who have done so.
The children will now be dry and cozy for the winter!
One of the most important dates in the Tibetan Buddhist calendar comes every twelve years, and celebrates Guru Rinpoche’s birth on the 10th day of the 5th month in the Year of the Monkey. This very auspicious day was August 13th this year and was celebrated by Tibetan Buddhists throughout the world.
At the Kilung Monastery, the Guru Rinpoche celebration and tsok was held at the ancient Kilung temple.
To this date over 2000 donors from China and Taiwan have contributed to the shedra rebuilding project, and many of these donors additionally helped to sponsor the week-long celebration.
Offerings were made to the Three Jewels – the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, and prayers were made for the health and wellbeing of elders, and for the younger generation and their studies, heath and future. Money was collected to give food and clothes to the poor people in the community. Butter lamps were lit as offerings, and also to acknowledge all the donors to the shedra rebuilding.
In addition, a name list of all the shedra rebuilding donors from around the world was posted during the prayers and dedications. Their names were burned during the fire puja, an auspicious smoke offering.