Objectives, as envisioned from the start
Through the Zangdok Palri Institute, the organisation and the Tibetans themselves are pursuing some very specific objectives which will make a major contribution to the goals of the Zangdok Palri Programme:
- Open the gates of knowledge to lay people in the area
- Pay particular attention to orphans, the elderly with no one to care for them and the poor
- Bring joy and happiness to the local community by preserving their culture and the Dharma
Open the gates of knowledge to lay people in the area
The Dzogchen region has a strong and long-standing monastic tradition. Dzogchen Monastery is one of the six main seats of the Nyingma school. The Monastery and the Monastic University of Shri Singha are famous throughout Tibet. These institutions have kept alive an unbroken lineage of teachings first revealed by Guru Padmasambhava many centuries ago.
Until now, there has been no easy access to knowledge and to all these Dharma treasures (teachings of Lord Buddha) for lay people. We hope to remedy this situation!
Pay particular attention to orphans, the elderly with no one to care for them and the poor
Poverty is rife in the Dzogchen region. The vast majority of its inhabitants have no income. They live off the products of yak farming and some work as labourers on construction sites.
The Zangdok Palri Primary School has already begun taking in and educating orphans. The infrastructure set up by the Institute will ensure that their education can continue beyond primary school.
Poverty and old age can be a source of great suffering for human beings, to say nothing of the social isolation that they often bring.
In order to alleviate the life conditions of this especially vulnerable population, local infrastrucure is needed which can provide social assistance.
Bring joy and happiness to the local community by preserving their culture and the Dharma
Culture is a multifaceted phenomenon: the term covers “cultural products”, immediately visible aspects such as dress, architecture, handicrafts and art, social mores, language, writing, and so on. But culture also has an invisible side: the inner life of a society, its world view and its vision of human relations, the structure of thought, moral and educational principles, religious beliefs, the archetypical myths, the list is endless. Culture provides the bedrock in which a people’s identity is anchored and plays a crucial role in the development of its individual members. Our culture orients us and helps us find our place in the world.
The Tibetan culture is over a thousand years old. It is imbued with a deep, warm spirituality, rooted in Buddhist thought (the Dharma). It is vital to the happiness of the Tibetan people: without it they will not survive.
Meeting the modern world: Encounter or confrontation?
The Tibetan culture is not known for its technological prowess – unlike the western world, whose material successes are legion. At present, the modern world is starting to impact the lives of the people of Dzogchen, who have never experienced anything like it before, both its benefits and its confrontations, calling everything into question.
The best way to transform this confrontation into constructive encounter is to help the local population to preserve their living culture.
Despite our material comforts, we in the western world have not managed to achieve happiness: we are all affected by varying degrees of psychological suffering and our need for valid guidance is more crucial than ever. Not surprisingly, there are many who believe that an encounter with Tibetan culture could be of enormous benefit to us. Beneath the surface, the wisdom it incarnates is truly human and accessible to all!