Saturday, April 14, 2012

Dalai Lama Awarded World's Largest Annual Monetary Prize

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I've always taken an interest in world religions, but given that I'll soon be living and teaching in a monastery following the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, I've started paying especially close attention to happenings in this part of the world. Today, I read this article from the John Templeton Foundation, a really neat foundation supporting the intersection of science and life's "big questions," and the sponsor of the prestigious Templeton Prize. This year, the prize has been awarded to the Dalai Lama -- "the Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader whose long-standing engagement with multiple dimensions of science and with people far beyond his own religious traditions has made him an incomparable global voice for universal ethics, nonviolence, and harmony among world religions."



Friday, April 06, 2012

Nepal: Summer 2012

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My summer plans have finally been confirmed... In just six weeks I'm moving to Nepal to live in a Buddhist monastery and teach English to the monks for three months!



Pema Chuling Monastery is one of the oldest Buddhist monasteries in the Khumbu region. The monastery is situated on a hill, about 20-30 minutes from Jorsale, which lies on the main trekking route to Namche Bazaar and Everest Base Camp. The monastery is situated at an altitude of 2900 meters (10,000 feet).

From the monastery, you can see spectacular views of Thamserku and Kusum Khangare Himalayas. If you hike 2 hours straight uphill from the monastery, you can enjoy spectacular views of all the Himalayas, including Mount Everest.

The monastery belongs to Nyimgpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism and considers Guru Rinpoche as its patron saint. The young monks mostly come from Sherpa communities, while there are few from Tibetan families also. There are at present 25 monks from 20 to 25 years of age, and 20 young ones from 7 to 12 years of age.

A resident Lopon (teacher) is called Lopon la Ngawayng Ladup. Volunteers must address him as Lopon la; la is paying respect to a teacher who has deep knowledge of philosophy and practice of Buddhism. Lopon la also conducts classes and will help volunteers during the class as he can speak English, Nepali and Sherpa languages.

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