Sambhota Primary School – Orphanage & Sambhota Secondary School
No 24 – February 2014
At the Chengdu school
It has been a promising and very active start of the new year for our students! On top of their regular courses, they have been able to participate in an editing project of ancient texts, an activity we hope they will have many more opportunities to engage in.
This project was launched by Patrul Rinpoche, founder of the Sambhota schools, and is managed by the Sambhota Translation Group. It involves revising, translating and publishing traditional Buddhist texts collected over the centuries, with a view to their preservation.
The Tibetan source texts are very much in need of revision. As they were engraved onto wooden planks or prepared for printed publication, many errors crept in. Keep in mind that almost all of these texts have yet to be translated from Tibetan for the first time.
This particular project encompasses texts compiled in the 19th century and running up to some 5,000 pages in 9 volumes. We have only the Tibetan version today, part of which the students have reread and corrected in terms of spelling and grammar.
This undertaking will undoubtedly increase the language proficiency of all involved, but above and beyond that, it is a significant step forward in what has always been one of Sambhota school’s main objectives: to introduce students to the richness of their culture. This is absolutely necessary if they wish to preserve their culture as well as share it with the western world. After all, both cultures have so much to gain in the exchange of complementary worldviews.
2014 Year of the Wood Horse 2141
From times immemorial to this very day, astrology has been a living part of Tibetan culture. Astrologers are consulted at every important stage in life, be it birth, marriage, illness or passing, but just as well with long journeys or other projects in sight. They are asked for advice about auspicious dates for major life events or to gain insight into a newborn’s future, and it’s not uncommon for an astrologer to insist that an animal destined for the slaughterhouse be saved in order to ward off personal danger.
Astrology uses the Tibetan calendar, based on a twelve-year cycle of twelve lunar months each. Each year corresponds to a zodiac animal: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.
These twelve signs combine with the five elements symbolic of the creative cycle: earth, iron, water, wood and fire. From earth comes iron, which in turn can be melted into a liquid, represented by water. Water nourishes trees, i.e. wood, which is burnt by fire. From this come ashes, which will return to the earth… Each element is linked to two consecutive years.
How to identify your element:
Take the last number of your year of birth and compare it to this table. For example: if you were born in 1988, your element is earth.
0 or 1 iron
2 or 3 water
4 or 5 wood
6 or 7 fire
8 or 9 earth
How to identify your sign:
In this table, locate the sign that corresponds to your year of birth. There is one exception: as the Tibetan year generally starts mid-February, if you were born in January or early February, you should refer to the previous year.
As an example: if you were born in July 1956, you are a Fire Monkey.
Our heartfelt thanks go to
- Mr Jérôme Cames, painter, who has donated to the Sambhota schools part of the sales generated by the exhibition of his works;
- the Fraen a Mammen from Schieren and the Fraen a Mammen from Doennange, Boevange and Lullange for their efforts in organising their charity events;
and all who have supported us so generously throughout the year!