Monday, November 02, 2009

Help provide an administrative computer to the Gaden Shartse Monastery in exile

Dear Friends of
In these very difficult times we are requesting your help... not for ourselves but for a very special Tibetan institution seeking to survive and evolve n exile.

Bottom Line: We are looking to raise $1300 in donations to purchase a very important computer for the Gaden Shartse Monastery in Exile in southern India. We believe this computer is very important to meeting the goals of the new Abbott in modernizing the administration of this 600 year old institution.

By "teaching a man to fish we feed him for a lifetime".

The Gaden Shartse Monastery ( ) was originally founded in 1409 in Tibet. Following the Chinese Incursion of 1959, the monastery was destroyed and only a fraction of the 3000 monks survived. The monastery has since been re-established in exile in southern India and is the home to the monks which visit our community and many others in the US annually to share their beautiful wisdom arts and culture.

Our organization is a 501C3 Corporation dedicated to Bridging Tibetan communities in exile - one Tibetan at a Time, One Computer at a time. Your Donations are tax deductible and go directly to the bottom line.

Technology is our weapon of choice in the plight of injustices faced by the Tibetan people. The monasteries in exile are the heart and presevation of this ancient lineage and wisdom trandition. Those of us working in the technology industries may surely appreciate how easy and effective it is for us to obtain computers here.

Please read the request for this computer and how it will be used at the Gaden Shartse Monastery in exile. Having visited the monastery myself, I can assure you personally this computer will be FULLY utilized.

Unless otherwise requested will include all donors names to the monastery Abbott with the offering of funds for this computer.

Donations may be sent to:
228 Commerical Street #78
Nevada City, CA 95959

We are also approved to receive donations via Network for Good. Visit

We are also able to receive donations via Paypal to the email address If you would like to make a donation via paypal, simply email us with your donation amount and we will send you an invoice for payment via credit card in Paypal. No Paypal membership is required.

Finally I would like to thank you all for your continued support and dedication to the Tibetan people. We are all constantly giving and we understand times are tight. Please don't underestimate the impact of event the smallest of donations... $5 - $10 and $20 really adds up. And if you would like to make a donation in someone else's name, just let us know and we will send them a thank card.

Tashi Delek,
Melanie Sullivan,


To one of the newly established department of the monastery, they need to by complete computer system for their daily work.

This departments main work is to check the daily attendance in the debate session thus they need to a computer system to keep all the data and prepare reports.

Beside that this department is also engaged in revise the book of daily and regular programs followed in Gaden Shartse.

Cost breakup of the computer system and the equipments:

For one computer system INR 29,300/=
For the UPS (un-interrupted power supply system) INR 18,100/=
For computer table, small cupboard and consumable items INR 11,100/=
Thus the total amount we need for the computer system is INR 58,500/=
@ 46.50 per $ 1,258/= (US Dollar one thousand two hundred and fifty eight).

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Monday, March 09, 2009

Tibetech is Heading Down to SF for the 50th Anniversary of Tibetan Uprising day

"I and I Have Not Come to Fight Flesh and Blood,
But Spiritual Wickedness in High and Low Places"
-Bob Marley

Today Tibetech and Sierra Friends of Tibet will travel to San Francisco to join our Tibetan mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters living in exile to speak out against 50 years of oppressive atrocities by the Chinese Communist regime which trampled over the Tibetan people in 1959, stealing their country, destroying over 6000 institutions of higher learning, eradicating the Tibetan culture, raping the environmental Shangri-la and destroyed perhaps 2 million Tibetan men, women and CHILDREN as a result of this Cultural genocide.

Tonight Tibetech will be having dinner with one of our Tibetan friends, a great learned master and Political Prisoners who spent over 18 years in prison for simply possessing a picture of His Holiness the Dalai Lama., the beloved spiritual and temporal leader of Tibet. The scars on his body are testament to this reality.

An Appeal:
I make this personal appeal to you,:
Please, if you value freedom, please take one action today and tomorrow on behalf of the Tibetan people who continue to face Crimes Against Humanity and Cultural Genocide including Rape, Forced Sterilization, Imprisonment, Starvation and Economic Marginalization and cultural annihilation.

I am speaking from personal and first hand knowledge of these people. Tibet HAS a Face. The face of non violence. Please speak up for those who cannot raise their voice and take one action on their behalf over these next few days. Remember, Martin Luther King Jr., warned us: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to Justice everywhere.

Here Are Some things to do for Tibet:

1. Tell Congress or the President what you think. Congress funds a Tibetan-language Voice of America broadcast that is now the most popular news source in Tibet; they provide annual assistance for Tibetan refugees in India and Nepal; they also maintain a policy that Tibet is an occupied nation under foreign rule. For more information about congressional initiatives, contact the International Campaign for Tibet at (202) 785-1515 or visit their website at Write your elected officials about Tibet: For a complete list and to find your representative by your Zip Code Find Representatives Click Here Write to President Obama and tell him your feelings about Tibet. Let Hillary Clinton know we are waiting and listening for her to speak up on Tibet.
2. Give a prisoner hope
Chinese prison officials in Lhasa report that they receive many letters of concern for Tibetan prisoners. Your letters get through. This can make a tremendous impact in improving conditions, preventing or lessening torture, and leading to an early release of some prisoners. Gendun Rinchen, a tour guide who was released after eight months without being tortured, is living proof. Chinese officials received thousands of letters in his support.

Watch for urgent prisoner appeals in Tibetan support group newsletters, SFOT's email campaigns, the International Campaign for Tibet's email campaigns Students for a Free Tibet' campaigns. Listen to radio and internet broadcasts such as the Tibetan Radio Hour on, the Tibet World Service on Open Mind Radio, NPR stations or contact Amnesty International.

3. Support a nun in exile

Tibetan nuns are at the forefront of the demonstrations for Tibetan independence in Lhasa despite the fact that they face brutal torture in prison. Once released, they are often forbidden to return to their nunneries, and many end up fleeing to India for refuge. In India, the nunneries are overcrowded and desperately need funds for books, clothes, and general support. The Tibetan Nuns Project is actively working to bring in much-needed contributions. Visit to see the websites of the nunneries in exile we sponsor.

4. Support a monk in exile
Their is a revival of the surviving Tibetan Buddhist. and

5. Travel wisely

China tries to use tourism in Tibet to legitimize rule there, showcasing selected sites to imply that Tibetans are content. Most tourist dollars, particularly on group tours, go to Chinese pockets and do little to help poor Tibetan communities. If you travel in a group, be sure the company uses Tibetan guides and patronizes Tibetan businesses. Educate yourself about Tibet before you go by reading Victor Chan's "Tibet Handbook: A Pilgrimage". To learn more about how you can make your trip help Tibetans, and for a map and guide of Lhasa that explains what Chinese tour guides will try to hide, contact the International Campaign for Tibet.

6. Join A Local and Internationl Tibetan Support Groups
The International Campaign for Tibet works globally on behalf of the Tibetan people. Visit Sierra Friends of Tibet and Placerville Friends of Tibet are small groups in the Sierra Nevada foothills. They are grass roots organizations which hosts cultural and educational events.

7. Donate as a gift in someone's name instead of buying gifts

8. Provide Computers and Training to Tibetan Refugees.
Send a nun to computer school or sponsor a nunnery's website. is a non profit organization founded by members of Sierra Friends of Tibet, which seeks to preserve the fragile Tibetan culture by and advance technology in the Tibetan Refugee Community.

9. Boycott Chinese goods.
Boycotting Chinese goods is a simple and direct way for anyone to make their support of Tibet count. A growing boycott campaign is being led by Students for a Free Tibet, the U.S. Tibet Committee, Milarepa Fund, and other Tibet support groups.

Here is the schedule of events in San Francisco:
8:00AM - 9:00AM
Tibetan Flag Rising Ceremony, Berkeley City Hall, Berkeley,
10:00AM - 10:30AM
Crowd gather at Justin Herman Plaza (JHP) in San Francisco
10:30AM - 11:30AM
Crowd marches from JHP to San Francisco City Hall
11:30AM - 12:45PM
City Hall Program
12:45PM - 1:30PM
Crowd marches to the Chinese Consulate
1:30PM - 3:30PM
Protest in front of the Chinese Consulate
3:30PM - 4:30PM
Crowd marches in groups to Union Square
5:00PM - 9:00PM
Union Square Evening Program.

In peace,

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Couple of Weeks with Lama Phuntsho

Calling the Jangchub Choeling Nunnery with lama Phuntsho from the office of Noteable Bowls
in Lake Tahoe

Recently we were blessed with a visit from our dear friend Lama Phuntsho. You may have met LP when he worked as a translator for the Gaden Shartse monastery tour in both 2001-2002 and the 2004-2005 tour.

Now Lama Phunthso is a monk of a different color (ha ha). He is a Tibetan Buddhist monk from the mystical Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan which treasures "Gross National Happiness" as their gross national product. LP is also a tireless friend of Tibet, always remembering the plight of the Tibetan people. He is a "non-sectarian" Buddhist monk, meaning he has received training from many high masters in the 4 different sects of Tibetan Buddhism.

We were so delighted to open a website for Lama Phuntsho ( )
and will be developing over the next few months while he is in the US.

I would like to add that Lama Phuntsho is also my direct connection to the Jangchub Choeling nunnery ( in exile in Mundgod, southern India. After expressing our wish to work with Buddhist Women and Tibetan women in exile, Lama Phuntsho helped us make the connection with the nuns and was also responsible for escorting us to purchase computers for the nuns during our visit to Mundgod in 2008.

Although Lama Phuntsho came to visit and was on vacation, he was asked to do a few events in Lake Tahoe. Here are some pictures from that visit. Special thanks to Tahoe Mel at Noteable Bowls, Lorilyn at Mountain Yoga in Tahoe Keys, Keri at O2 Wellness Center in Minden, Unity at the Lake and Unity of Carson. More picutres will be added as I get them uploaded. Please check back:

News from Tibetech Board Member Now in Mundgod

Yes it has been a long time since we have blogged and we are going to start again. Because volunteers extraordinaries David and Susan are presently in the camps in Mundgod working at the Hospital clinic and teaching English.

After a bumpy descent into life at the Gaden Shartse Monastery, Susan and David are finding their rhythms and will be sending us BLOGS of their adventures soon.

Meanwhile something to note is Susan's concern about the food at the monastery... and she is sensing a shortage of resources there. Like everything else going on in the world at this time, things have been changing there at Gaden Sharste and Susan is sensing a shortage of available resources. This is showing up in the way of the diminished rations of food.

Sponsoring a monk is perhaps the most fortifying way to help this very fragile situation. Sponsors may noW easily act online by visiting the GSCF (Gaden Sharste Cultural Foundation (a U.S. 501C3 Non Profit Organization) at

In the meantime we are preparing for the annual visit to Placerville, Grass Valley, Roseville and now we will be adding Lake Tahoe through the kind hosts at

More to come soon on Lama Phuntsho's recent visit to Grass Valley and Tahoe

Thursday, May 22, 2008 Visits the Nuns of Jangchup Choeling Nunnery in Mundgod, India

In January 2007, a non profit organization visited the Tibetan Settlement in Mundogd.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Gaden Shartse Monastery Tour 2008 Sand Mandala In Hayward, Ca

Gaden Sharste Monastery is located in southern India and is a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery of the Gelugpa order. The monastery was founded in 1426 by the Buddhist Mystic Je Tsong Kapa. The monastery cultural tour is presently in the United States to share their practices and teachings on inner peace and compassion. This sand mandala is a ancient sacred art. Please visit the monastery website at

Monday, January 28, 2008

Gaden Ngari Monks Debating Dependent Origination

At St. Joseph's Cultural Center, Grass Valley, CA.,,

Gaden Ngari Monks - more chanting

More chanting from the monks. This takes place 1-26-2008 at St. Joseph's Cultural Center in Grass Valley, CA. Presented by Sierra Friends of Tibet.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

chanting with mudras - Gaden Ngari monks

Monks from the Gaden Ngari monastery in India visit Grass Valley, CA, hosted by the Sierra Friends of Tibet.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

About the Gaden Sharste Dairy Farm

Never underestimate the power of Grass Roots Activism.

This ifrst cows for the Shartse dariy farm were purchased through donations raised by spare change jars. 

Gaden Sharste Dairy Farm 2

Main Prayer Hall and Administration of the Gaden Sharste Monastery

Gaden Sharste Monastery is a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery exiled in southern India. After the Communist invasion of Tibet, where 6,000 monasteries were destroyed, 50 if the Gaden Monks survived and fled to India.  Since that time the monastery has sought to re-establish itself in exile. Please visit the monk's website at

Young Monks At The Gaden Shartse School

The Gaden Shartse Monastery is a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery exiled in southern India.   Following the Communit destructions of over 6,000 monasteries in Tibet in 1959, less than 50 monks surved the incursion and fled to India.

Eventually these monks sought to resestablish the monastery in exile. Please visit their website at 

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Lobsang Tengye on the Gaden Ngari Khangtsen

Gaden Ngari Khangtsen, Tibetan BUddhist Monks in Exile

Saturday, November 24, 2007

New Computer for Tibetan Youth

Greetings Good People.
Well here at we have been working very hard on a variety of projects.... What I wanted to share with you at this time is that the High School Youth Hostel finally received their computer.

We are so pleased to have begun to seed this project here and would like to continue to raise funds for a computer for the BOYS hostel.

This is very important to these children as they are away from their families to attend school in this settlement. Having been there myself and spoken with the children, I can assure you the connections to their families is very strong. The computer will help them practice in their off-time, as well as stay connected with their families via email.

Of course, again the ultimate goal of seeding this project is to eventually open an innovative Distance Learning web portal with the students there.

Hope you enjoy these pictures. Special thanks to Wb for donating specifically to fund this computer. Please Read On...

Dear Madam Melanie,

Many Tashi Delecks !!! and kindly pardon me for the abrupt silence and delay.... I could not
report to you about the installation of computer. We have already installed the new computer set in the hostel. The computer monitor is a slim and stylish one and the printer is laser one with zerox and fax facilities.

Children are using it. The one computer did bring smile and cheer on the face of hostel children. Of course, we need a separate computer for boys and girls as they are not suppose to use it together. We purchased the facility from Gupta in Hubli as per your negotiation. However , we did compare the rates with other shops before purchasing the same.

Thank you very much for your kind assistance. I am sending the snaps of computer set
along with this letter. It will be kind of you if you could explore some more help in this field in order to improve the facilities in the hostel.

Yours Truly
(Norbu Tsering)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Tibetan Scroll Painting Workshop with Venerable Lobsang Tsultrim

Hi there. Well we have been very busy here at Recently we launched a new website for Venerable Lobsang Tsultrim. Visit his site at Tsultrim is a Gelug monk and also a Thangka Painter.

Recently we held our annual Tibetan Scroll Painting Workshop. The workshop is always a very special event. Here I have posted a short video of the workshop and hope you enjoy this.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Short Film from the Gaden Shartse Monastery

Okay, I haven't added the narration or the music but thought you may enjoy this short film of the Gaden Shartse Monastery. Stay tuned as a film for the nuns will be following soon. Please give me your feedback on this unrefined draft.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Gaden Shartse Farm and Milk Project

As we are approaching H.H. Dalai Lama's birthday, I am feverishly preparing images for a free slide show and presentation on the Gaden Sharste monastery trip. In doing so I came upon these images of the monastery farm and milk project which I thought you all may find interesting. Also, the film I have been looking for with a little dictation on the farm project. Hope you enjoy and of course if you have any questions, there is more information on the monk's website:

Gaden Shartse Hospital News from the front...

Greetings friends.
Well here is some news from the Gaden Shartse Hospital in Mundgod. Please read on... and we hope you find this news interesting. To learn more about the hospital project, please visit

Dear Melanie and
On behalf of all the monks of Gaden Shartse Monastery express sincere thanks for your kind support towards our dispensary and your support to buy a new computer for our clinic.

Regarding here, everything is going fine and now raining season weather has approached and due to climatic changes, we are having many patients ill from usual cough, fever and lose motion. We are trying best to serve towards patient and keeping our clinic neat and clean.

These days the doctors use to come three times a week at hospital for check up the patient. Even we are looking for one dentist doctor. Venerable Khen Rinpoche, all the monks and we staff members hope and pray that you will continue help our hospital development. Your kindness and your valuable advice towards developing hospital will be deeply appreciated.

With all the prayers and best wishes for your good health and happiness.

Thank you and all your friends in the international support community
Tashi delek

Geshi Jangchup Dorjee
Chairman of Gaden Shartse Norling Clinic Association

Monday, April 30, 2007

More Videos from Gaden

So sorry for the delay in posting more video. We are presently processing about 5,000 images for the Gaden Monastery trip. In the meantime, here are some tasty treats I thought you may enjoy. And please don forget to visit the Gaden Shartse Monastery website at

Please also visit the new Gaden Ngari Khangsten website at
Gaden Ngair is one of the 11 Khangstens (Dormitories) in the Gaden Shartse monastery. The Gaden Ngari monks are now in the United States and are touring. Please email us if you are interested in hosting the Ngari Tour.

Friday, March 09, 2007

A brief view of Camp #7

One day, while staying at the Jangchub Choeling nunnery in Camp #3, we went for a walk to visit my friend Tenzin's parents who lived in Camp #7.

These folks came here originally in the 70s with the first groups to come to the settlement after the monastery did the clearing etc. Even as I write this, the sadness I experienced with these people is still with me.

My friend's family had been farmer's back in "old Tibet" and in exile had very little resources. Here I offer you some pictures of their home, which they opened to us.

Family's Most Treasured Items Still Packed...
For me, the saddest part of ther visit, was seeing their own beautiful ritual room, where they kept their most sacred and special of their items. Here you can see Tenzin's father showing us their most treasured items. Family heirlooms in the way of pictures, small ritual amulets, images from their old village and the suitcase which held their most beloved of items including diety statues and old pictures of the Dalai Lama which they had taken out of Tibet with them. These precious items remained in the suitcase - for their return to their village. They do belive they are still going back. Unpacking these most precious items would be the same as accepting that they would never see their old homeland again.

The Family's Kitchen...

A Short Video In Camp #7
eir "PET" dogs inside of their gates.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Purchasing the Nuns' Computer

Going to Hubli
My view from the back of the car...

One of the most exciting days was January 17th, the following Wednesday after arriving at the monastery. That day Phuntsho, arranged to take us, along with Chuni Rinpoche, Geshe Kalsang, and Tengye (the entire 2005-2006 Tour less Chimmie) to Hubli to help us purchase nuns' computer.

There we were also to meet some of our friends like Ngodup (05/06 Tour), Geshe Sangye and Ameircan Lobsang Wangchuck all returning from H.H. the Dalai Lama's teachings at Sera. Hubli is the junction town with the nearest rail travel to the settlement.

The computer purchase extravaganza...

We spent almost the entire day making the computer purchase for the nuns. First, Phuntsho and I had to locate the place. Remember, I had tasked the nuns with getting three quotes and identifying someone they wanted to work with? Well, they chose this computer company in Hubli and they could not have made a finer choice.

The owner of the business (shown here on the right has been in business for many, many generations and he runs his own little operation.

Once the expected and highly anticipated negotiations were agreed upon, the store's young and animated dream technical team sprang into action, with six of them all working on the one system at the same time.

This "should only take an hour" process (1 Tech hour = 4 hours) was a fun and exciting time for me... maybe for them as well. It seemed thay way - as having an new "American" client was well, new - but also one having a little western technical expertise, especially in the Corel Graphics Suite was an opportunity to get someanswers as well as some effects placed onto some photos. Upon correcting the problem they had been experienced with the photos, I topped their tutorial session with the expression "SUCCESS is Mine" flexing my muscles... in which one translated to the rest and they all repeated back the gesture... my own bollywoood movie! They in turn tried to gave me the Hindi translation of the same - which went out as quickly as it went in!

Computer Take-Away
At almost 7:45pm (having been in the computer store for over 4 hours) it was finally time to take the new equipment back to the truck and meet the rest of our friends for dinner.

Phuntsho set Ngodup afoot back to the vehicle with the flat screen monitor, while Menlo, Tengye, Phuntsho and I all haul the rest of the equipment back to the rickshaw driver. No kidding, this was something out of silk road times.

From there everything was loaded securely onto the monastery vehicle and we were then swept away to a reunion dinner in Hubli's with the entire 2005/6 Tour including American Lobsang Wangchuk (but less Chimmy Jampa who had his family visiting).

Wow! what a day to remember.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Market Day in Mundgod

Meeting the monks in the vilage on
"Market Day"

I am just beginning to catalog all the images taken by Menlo and myself... to begin the task of translating all this information into a visual format so we can begin our duty of focusing in on specific projects. As the re-entry begins to normalize back at home, my experiences are starting to as well, in that I was visually, auditory-ily and environmentally mind-blown by taking this trip to India.

All that being said I hope you may be enjoying this Blog and I do appreciate all the emails of encouragement - because it helps me believe someone out there is seeing this and it has a purpose. In any event, here is a variety of pictures to check out whilst I assemble our 5000+ images into some kind of fun and fascinating format to learn more about the Tibetan Settlement in Mundgod.

Oh, and yes... I would appreciate anyone at all proofing -I just focus on getting the info out - and seldom re-read as I may not publish what has come out in these moments of spontaneity...

Here is my dear companion ...
okay guess which one? No joke... This guy was painted with something the equivalent of One Shot enamel paint for autos painted head to toe...

No joke. We actually went into the "ART" studio of the guy responsible for all that fine brush work (which you cannot see in detail from here...) trust me - its is fine -shiney work... detailed like the Mendhi or henna that they do. But the paint itself is absolutely toxic... and I felt like fainting watching the artist painting the face, eyelids, etc. of another dancer.

I guess conpared to lead-based enamel paints... the environment seems pretty benign to these villagers.

Here is Venerable Geshe Dhonyoe from the 2001-2002 with Tengye-la of the 2005-2006 Tour.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Short Video Posts...

Exciting Rickshaw Ride with Tengye and Geshe Dhonyo

Thank you Indredible India

Little Nun at Government School Receiving Award for Top Scores

India has the densest population in the world - yet still it makes room for the world's refugees. Incredible when one considers that India gave home land to the Tibetans. Still India takes on even more refugees while more and more Tibetans leave Tibet in search of spiritual freedom. Even though India makes room for the Tibetans, and schools and houses them, the Tibetans resources in India are almost entirely limited. There aren't enough jobs in India for the Indians -let alone the Tibetans. So the future is completely precarious...

One day we were treated to a visit to the settlement's government school, previously having met the Director or Rector. The "Government" school is provided to the Tibetan Refugees and maintained by the Indian government in their quest to educate India. Most of the teachers are Indian and the Director at this particular school is Tibetan. The school houses roughly 500-700 students, children of the 9 camps and also some who are sent there from smaller refugee camps in the region. This includes young nuns because the nunnery does not have its own school like the larger monasteries do.

I was anxious to visit the school and learn more about their Vocational Department and also their computer room. I was very, very impressed with the grace and care of the India teachers. On that day they had a special presentation of awards to the students who were top in their class and they had invited us to hand out awards to the kids. I was not well dressed (same old t-shirt and jeans) and did not feel energetic enough to do so - hoping my partner Menlo (who is the more externalized one) would do so... in any event, the Rector appealed to us that this would be extremely meaningful to these children and Menlo thought I should be the one to do it. According to the Rector, to have someone else from the International Community take interest in the children's education (which they hold in such high esteem) would benefit the children, the teachers and the parents.

Of course my thoughts went to 'Who am I - no one ... and what could I say to make a difference here in the life of these children? '

As soon as I saw the first little girl however, this one here in this picture, my heart sprang wide open and I knew what was important. To tell them to "keep going" and that "education is the most important effort they can make at this time" and remember the "international community does care about them". And so it went on for about 25 children, each of which I spoke to one on one - each individually, to keep encourage them to keep on striving as we keep working in the International Community for the survival of their culture.

With that said, I have included in this blog below an appeal from the Rector of this school. If anyone is interested in this school and would like to assist their Vocational Training programs by offering up the funds for one or two computers (roughly $850/each) please contact me so we can figure out the best way to make that happen. Here are pictures if the school's present Vocational Training program. Although approached with so much zeal and earnest, one may only imagine the limitations of this classroom.

If this porject speaks to your heart out there... Please contact me
Please read on

Dear Melanie
This is the Rector from CST Mundgod at Karnataka India. We cherish your visit to our school. Our children loved receiving gifts from you on the Indian Republic Day celebration in our school.

It was very different experience for the kids as you made them feel very special and good with your affections and beaming smile at them.

We treasure those moments. We also enjoyed sharing those brief moments in our Camp no 3 and school. We long to look forward meeting you along the journey of our life.

Melanie, you have seen that not only this school is one of the biggest Tibetan school located in the heart of Tibetan settlement, we are the only school that has vocational studies for the senior students. One of the main shortcoming of the school is the use of Typing instead of computer application course in the school. I wonder if there is way there by which someone can sponsors some computers for our school which will be very useful. I know you will look into this matter as you have seen the condition here.
Good bye ! and best wishes.

Rector Norbu Tsering from Mundgod
Tibetan settlement

Monday, February 12, 2007

Let me clarify

Hi there friends.
Well alot of people have inquired about my astonishment about the conditions at the nunnery and may have a misconception about the relationship with the monasteries and their perceived lack of support by the monasteries. While it is true, I found some of the conditions very disturbing at the nunnery, I think its important to point out a couple of factors - all my own projections of course, when considering how well the nuns do in comparison to the monks.

To being with, the monasteries have been at it alot longer than the nuns... the Gaden Monastery for example has been around since the mid 1400s. With the exception of the Chinese incursion of 1959 where only 50 high lamas survived (the rest were slaughtered) the monastic system had some tried and true mechanisms in caring for a lot of people.

There are 3500 monks in the two colleges of Gaden and while I think they are doing better, I by no means think they are doing well - except in the area of turning out perfected spiritual beings.

Its all very subjective. The monasteries have the benefit of World Tours which raises both funds and awareness of the monastic work and their plight of trying to secure that culture in exile.

People have heard things like the Gaden Monastery has five restaurants... and then ask me why -if the monastery is sporting five restaurants - they do not help the nuns..? It's important to understand the monastery's "restaurants" are really no more then dilapidated buildings with a sort of Noodle enterprise inside, where monks or lay people can have a simple variation from the regular meal served by the monastery. These "restaurants" are by no means our standard of a restaurant... hardly. In fact, watch this blog as I will be soon posting pics of the restaurants.

The nuns of Jangchub Choeling nunnery do not get any exposure that the nunneries in the North of India may get through tourism. This settlement is in a protected area and people don't come here to vacation. So their exposure is minimal, which may contribute to their ranking as the top nunnery in spiritual debate. Still, this isolation limits their resources which is part of our work, to translate their entity into cyberspace and also a new pamphlet for those in the international community wishing to lend their support.

Do I think there is an inequity between the monasteries and the nunneries. Of course. But not by virtue of the action of the monasteries. No, but by virtue of the circumstances of life in exile. I believe the Gaden Monastery supports the nuns in the ways that they can, while trying to keep their own situation in motion. The Gaden Monastery provides teachers to the nunnery and the new Gaden Shartse Hospital which is now open but has no equipment or funding, has been designed to service the entire settlement, including the nuns.

Home Sweet Home & More to Come

For those of you visiting this blog please come back often as I will continue to post our experiences over the next two weeks.

I am so grateful to be home and tomorrow morning I will return to work at Sonic and there is also plenty of work waiting for me as well. It is interesting how scarcity leaked into my head. In truth in my life, there is no lack of anything - and compared to where I came from - I am so thankful to be borne an American.

Over the next few weeks I will be posting specific experiences and project goals. Here now I will return to the experience of teaching at the Gaden Shartse School because for myself, this was the most enriching experiences. The young monks of Gaden Shartse attend this school six days each week with a regimented cirriculum of English, Grammer, math and then Tibetan Grammer.

Here as I mentioned earlier there is a computer room with some old Windows 98 machines but no computer teacher.
Here we installed Math Rabbit and Reader Rabbit much to the delight of all the monks - young and old.
It would cost roughly $1500 for a computer teacher for one year. That is 6 days/week computer training. Only $1500 for such a huge impact on this world.
Computer training would be very valuable to the monks (as well as the nuns) as there are programs which can better further their English, they could wirte to their sponsors using WORD, have some directions on Mavis Beacon Typing Teacher and also be able to perfect their dharma studies as we installed the Tibetan Sambhota keyboard convertor.

As it sits now, the monks go in the computer room in the afternoon and just click away on anything that comes up... they are trying so desperately to understand but they have no knowledge of the computer. Consequently, they read and reread the I/E window that comes. For the one or two that have had some computer experience (say when they go home to visit their families), they help the others on Mavis Beacon Typing teaching. To me, this is like a starving farmer living atop a potatoe field... they have so much zeal for the computer - and natural aptitude. They just need a little help. As soon as I get some time I will begin to look for a grant which may help pay the $1500 for a computer instructor for them:)

Monday, February 05, 2007

More pics

This image is from the Camp #4 Nursery School

Hi everyone. We are in Bangalore now and I am ready to melt down. Yesterday almost the entire city shut down because there are some water disputes between neighboring states. They closed everything down and have told us to stay off the streets.

The monks who drove us here could not drive home because of potential riots and rockthrowing. They came by this morning to make sure our ride was all set from the hotel tonight and they were going to begin the 10 hour drive back. Oi Vay.

Well I hope I can load these pictures... and I hope I can make it home soon:) Love you all!

Here are the young nuns with their new computer & final lesson

Friday, February 02, 2007

Pics hopefully

Jump into the fire

Moments after I posted my last blog while trying to upload some pictures - the connection to the so called broadband crapped out as usual and I then learned that there is no broadband here at all - just a "faster"versin of dial up.

One of the things that happens to me when I get really tired is that fear moves in and in reading my last blog I see I was operating in it… its like when you see an animal get struck by a vehicle… you want to help but in relationship of the enormity of the situation - one can feel so helpless…

Probably the most gratifying of all the experiences here for myself has been working with the little monks in Geshe Sangye's school. The Gaden Shartse School is where all the monks from maybe 3-17 go to school each day from about 7-5pm on top of a heavy regimen of spiritual practices.. The school has a computer room consisting of 12 - 15 computers running Windows 98 and Mavis Beacon Typing Teacher. That is about it - there is no computer teacher so we have been trying to spread our time evenly and where we think we can make the most impact. The nuns have been tasked with doing some tech savvy tasks and tomorrow we will return to check on their progress and turn over the laptop. Even small tasks we take for granted (such as moving one computer to another room) -is huge for the nuns - as in the past they would have to hire someone to do this. So today they should be moving their computers around and in the am we will head back over there to see how they have done and spend one final day of computer tutorial.

The young monks in the school are soooo delighted to do anything on the computer. I am so thankful to Mitzi, Saul and all the drummers for the event as that helped to purchase software such as READER Rabbit & MATH rabbit which absolutely thrills the little monks. Now they have something to facilitate their English while learning to use the computer. Principal Geshe Sangye (from the Gaden Lhope Tour) is also delighted to . There are some older monks also with keen interests so today I will be giving some desktop publishing pointers. If and one has some older (windows 98) children's computer software - David & Susan are coming here on the 11th and they could perhaps bring it with them. Anything used in the elementary situation - alphabets, math, etc.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Ah Ha! Broadband is in the camp

In some ways communication here sucks. Following the big tower wer have discovered a "cyber cafe" which has broadband! Not even the telecom company could tell us this info.

Here is some info I wrote last night. Next I will try to load some pictures...
Greetings all.
Again, sorry for the delay. I have made attempts to call my mom now all week. But the STD booths, the phone booths here are brimming over with monks and nuns calling Tibet. I have made many attempts, waited a hour - only to have the power go off as it approached my turn. Such is life in the settlement!

The interruption in power around here causes so many delays life just kind of stops -except for the monks and nuns who put in 18 hours/day praying for all sentient beings.

For those of you who have monks and nuns who communicate via email, I can tell you for them to send even one email from here can be great labor of love. The interruption of power happens daily, and the two "cyber cafes" in the camps are always bubbling over with monks waiting to send emails.

The "cyber cafes" are actually old government buildings with clever partitions and old CRT monitors which appear to be running on one peer to peer server… thus making the already slow dial up even more agonizingly slow. Then as you begin to think your email has been sent, the power craps out and you lose it all.

I realized in my rush to get my activities up on the blog I haven't really taken much time to address the specific issues we have faced or am facing such as this. I have now decided to use the nuns new laptops for the remaining week we are here to get some of these ideas into the cyber stream.

It has been extremely busy and we have worked everyday except today when we went to market day in the village of Mundgod. Monday is market day and the tribal folk from the surrounding jungles bring their wares to market. When I get back I will be posting these images. Villagers, forest and jungle dwellers of all kinds come to town on this day, along with all the monks and some of the nuns who shop in the vegetable market. A mixture of Hindu, Muslims and Buddhist all bargaining and shopping in a ancient market that has been going on this way for thousands of years. The Tibetans obviously infuse the local economy. There is absolutely no feeling of aggression and a great feeling of peace and mutual respect. I never at anytime felt intimidated and have only been approached by maybe one or two beggars or a few Sadus (holy men) with offering bowls.

As westerners, we stand out like sore thumbs so anyone coming here must obtain the special permit or the police will pick you up in a flash. We are obviously the novelty… especially Menlo who looks like some giant Blue-eyed white deity walking among the smaller statutes. All Menlo has to do is smile at these people and they immediately melt into their mutual warmths.

Menlo has been absolutely invaluable in his contribution to this project and is great in documenting this project and has made his own investments and has his own relationships with our many monk and nun friends.

In fact Menlo and the Zong Rinpoche had a very strong connection and Rinpoche expressed with so much grace that he sensed had indeed met before. This is something to consider when one reflects on the previous great Zong Rinpoche. "Rinpoche"is a Tibetan world denoting a lineage guru - an incarnate being, a special being who has chosen to return again and again as spiritual guides. Now this is the young Zong Rinpcohe the twenty-one year old reincarnation of the great master that was only one of 50 that made it out of the initial Ganden holocaust in Tibet in 1959 and was sent here in the 70s to reestablish the monastery in exile.

Perhaps for Menlo this experience has personified the reality of the tragedy that has been waged upon the Tibetan people… as his heart is sprung wide open and being as empathic as he is, he deeply feels what has happened to these people. Especially when being invited the view the remnants of that which they took with them when they fled Tibet… the precious teachings -now stored carefully on shelves in special rooms which smell of moth balls like my grammy's closet.

Menlo is now working all the time. It’s a little more then the "Tibetan Road Show" which the cynical little circle babbles on about. You know, those in the peripherals of his life who aren't doing anything authentic in their own life except expanding their hips… so they seek to invalidate his adventure in what they perceive as my scene… -the busy little minds that hate Bill Gates but cannot really say why and still pirate his products for their own personal gain… anyway they have so much to say!

It is extremely gratifying to both of us to be able to offer lend authentic support. Any technical skill is utilized by the plenty here. Many problems they perceive as huge in actuality may be as simple as changing out a connection. Again, I am so thankful we purchased this clever little kit from Fryes for about $50 which contained several USB cords and every kind of connection and adapters in the book. Now nearing the end of this journey all the USBs and most of the serial to USB - or parallel to USB and even Firewire to USB have been distributed amongst the various computers in the monastery, nunnery, government schools, etc.

Here is the answer to some quick questions coming my way via email but there has been no time to answer individual emails.

No, we have NOT been sick, have had not had any stomach disorders -only exhausted and grungy even though we shower many times a day. This place is a dust bowl and the air quality and sun are dangerous. We are literally in a cleared part of the jungle. Yesterday a monkey almost attacked me - leaping about 8 feet out of a tree -were it not for Geshe Donyoe making himself giant sized with his red robes the monkey may have stolen my camera!

Some of the experiences are also emotionally exhausting - and some physically exhausting. Dear Joseph hooked me up with a battery of Ondre supplements, which I have been taking and the Tibetans are so fastidious all of our food is presented with great love and care and the guest house here is really like Club Med. Next time I hope to take a spiritual retreat here which I think is a very different experience. We have been blessed to meet all the high lamas.

Yes, I feel much success in the first step to getting the nuns going with their technology goals and also the help we have rendered aid to the monastery in many forms. I am presently running about $1000 over budget for a number of different reasons including having to purchase additional software, UPS systems (which are pricey and dicey here), electrical stuff, printer and more of the same. $1000 in the Karmic School of Debt is a small price to pay for this project which will have such a huge impact for the nuns.

Leap and the Net Appears

Personally, I also chose to give one of the young nuns -who is deaf and BTW the money to pay travel expenses and medical care to see a specialist doctor in the city. How could I not… you all would have done the same if this particular situation presented itself to you. These are the persoanl challenges in the face humanity… my mind says "you may not have work when you get home…?! Should I give her my rent so she may see a doctor?" So I took the universal leap of faith -because so many people have always shown up for me and I have to trust in this process. This particluar experience (which breaks my heart) - I rather speak about personally or on a one on one basis -if anyone is interested. What I think is needed though is for us to establish a medical fund for the nunnery and some guidance on how to approach health care. The girl didn't ask me for money, I I had to insist she take it. Rather she sought me out to find out if I knew what may be wrong with her. And when I saw what was wrong, my heart broke. She is in pain, suffering and needs a doctor, a surgeon, or perhaps more. I don't know.

Case in point however, if we were further along in the project and the nuns were on broadband or satellite (our ultimate goal) we could open the web portal on both sides and an expert such as Dr. Sheryl T. or Elaine or Suzanne -who have all offered their expertise to the monks over the years could offer some support via the internet. Telemedicine!

As it stands now the little nun is now on her way to see an expert woman doctor in the city. I instructed her to get everything in writing so that her written diagnosis or treatment options may be further researched out via the Internet. This concept was completely foreign to the nuns. Taking one's evaluation or diagnosis or condition to the internet for advice, action, treatment options etc.

While many monks in the monastery are onto this already… researching their own conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, etc. The nuns had not a clue! The light went on. and I showed them some examples. Now they see it and I have no doubt they will begin to learn.

On Friday we will return to the nunnery for a final session of training moving around some equipment after some electrical work and seeing if the little nun has returned/

Please let the good people of Grass Valley and Nevada City know of this progress.

Next I'll write more on our visit to the Government High School and the progress on the satellite/broadband aspect of this project

Tuesday, January 23, 2007