Zangdok Palri News No 24 February 2014 (EN)

Sambhota Primary School – Orphanage & Sambhota Secondary School
No 24 – February 2014




Tsering Dechid (left), student of Sambhota school in Chengdu, with Kunzang Chödrön, daughter of Mr Soga and Mrs Dechid, managers of both schools


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.


Jamyang Drolma

Jamyang Drolma

Pema Yongtso

Pema Yongtso



















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

calendar_news_24In the month of March, on the 2nd to be exact, Tibetans prepare to leave the Water Serpent year of 2140 and enter the Wood Horse year.


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.


Rat 1948 1960 1972 1984 1996
Ox 1949 1961 1973 1985 1997
Tiger 1950 1962 1974 1986 1998
Rabbit 1951 1963 1975 1987 1999
Dragon 1952 1964 1976 1988 2000
Snake 1953 1965 1977 1989 2001
Horse 1954 1966 1978 1990 2002
Sheep 1955 1967 1979 1991 2003
Monkey 1956 1968 1980 1992 2004
Rooster 1957 1969 1981 1993 2005
Dog 1958 1970 1982 1994 2006
Pig 1959 1971 1983 1995 2007


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!