Help to support Tibetan refugees in need: Monks in the Gaden Jangtse monastery in South India

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The Gaden Jangtse monastery

groepsfoto Monniken
Monks of the Tsawa Khangsten

Since 2003 the Tara Foundation is looking for funds and sponsorsfor the Gaden Jangtse monastery in Mundgod in South-India. Within the big Gaden Jangtse monastery the Tara Foundation is concentrating mainly on the Tsawa Khangsten, one of the twelve monasteries inside the big monastery. The Tsawa Khangsten is the biggest and poorest Khangsten, (with 525 monks) and also the 'house' of Geshe Sonam Gyaltsen, the teacher of the Maitreya Insititute in Loenen (the Netherlands). All the work for the monastery is happening in close consultation with Geshela and the monastery.

Since 2003 The Gaden Jangste monastery is one of the three great monastic universities in the Gelukpa order. The old monastery in Tibet was destroyed and many monks were killed. A number of monks however managed to escape to India. For many years they had to live in a camp before they were give some land in soutern India at Mundgod, which was at that time no more than a jungle. With great effort, they managed to rebuild a new Gaden Jangtse monastery. At this present the monastery shelters about 2250 monks, the majority originating from Tibet. The monastery is divided into 12 houses, called ‘Khangsten’.

Hundreds of Abandoned children

Except for refugees, the growing population was caused by desperate families who abandon many hundreds of children at the monastery. 
Although it is very hard to feed and shelter the poor and helpless,  the monks do not refuse any person who is in need. The monastery is now confronted with a situation in which it is very hard to provide accomodation and living expenses for these new entrants.  The help of donations and sponsoring is urgently needed to survive.

gedumpte kinderen

Jampa Tsering        monnikje schrijft

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Necessary new building

Overbevolking in het Gaden Jangtse klooster
Old prayerhall


Photos of the building of the new prayerhall.

Puja in nieuwe gebedshal
Puja in the new prayerhall

New prayer hall with classrooms and rooms

The increasing numbers of refugees and abandoned children quickly led to a shortage of rooms, creating unbearable living conditions. Monks had to share rooms and sleep on the floor. During daily long prayer sessions, many monks had to sit outside due to the inadequate size of the prayer hall for all the monks.

The Tara Foundation aided in funding a new prayer hall and rooms, organizing a Lama Dance Tour in Spain in 2008, raising substantial funds for the construction.

By 2013, the new prayer hall was complete, with offices, community and classroom spaces, and monk accommodations. The Tara Foundation further supported an initiative for statues in the prayer hall, resulting in the Tara statue, part of a group representing the 21 Taras.

Despite the 2013 expansion, there's currently another overcrowding issue. Also a lot of new monks came in the last years, secially many children from the himalaya borders region.

In November 2022, construction began on 72 new monk rooms. The ground floor of the main building will house a monks' retirement home, consisting of 7 apartments with facilities like private toilets, showers, and solar-heated water. By the end of 2022, the Tara Foundation secured sponsorship for the entire monks' retirement home, valued at €45,000, covering all 7 apartments and all facilities.

building for 72 monks

For the building with 65 rooms for the monks we are still looking for many donations! Also a new waterpump is needed for the new building. In 2016 the Tara Foundation already arranged a waterpump for Tsawa Khangsten (click here for dutch text) en in 2017 voor een grote waterzuiveringsinstallatie (klik hier). We hope that we can arrange a new waterpump. Information about this we will give later on.

Waterprojects for Tsawa Khangsten


Tsawa Khangsten has had a big water shortage.
We are happy to tell you that the action for the waterpump has been succesfull!
The waterpump(costs:€ 2750,--) is installed in 2016. De monks are very happy, there is now enough water for everybody Even at the moment there was an extreme heat, in may 2016 when there was a lack of water in many places of India! We hope the health of the monks wil get better now.


Also our action for a watercleaningsytem has been successfull!
The system(costs: €3750,--) is installed in 2017! The water was seriously polluted because of pesticides that were used years before in the surrounding fields, a threat for the health. Cows died because they drunk from the water on the field. This was unacceptable for us also for the hunderds of child-monks and we are glad the project is realised.
Many thanks for all the donators!

Sponsor a monk

monnikjes

A very good way to help both a monk and the monastery is to sponsor a (child) monk. Sponsorships do improve living conditions, health and study of the monks.

There are two ways of sponsoring:the collective and the individual sponsoring. Most of the (child)monks of Gaden Jangtse Tsawa Khangsten are collectively sponsored, this means that the main part of the money of the sponsoring is spent for the costs of living of all the monks of the Khangsten. A small part is for the monk or is kept apart for the monk. In case of individual sponsoring the monk can keep all the money of the sponsoring. This concerns the monks who need the sponsoring for the costs of their health or study.

A sponsoring is always at least € 15,-- a month (the best is € 25,-) and always at least for a year

Photos and biographies

Gaden Jangtse Tsawa Khangsten

There are two types of sponsorship: the collective and individual sponsorship. Most (child) monks of Gaden Jangtse Tsawa Khangsten are covered by the collective sponsorship, meaning that most of the sponsorship money is used for the livelihood of all of the monks of the Khangsten. A small proportion of the money the monk may keep to himself or is reserved for him. In the individual sponsorship, the monk may keep the entire sponsorship fee to himself. These are monks who need sponsorship for their study or to improve their health.

Collective sponsorship:

Rinchin Leta Sangay Phurpa
Tadin Dorji Tenzin Lobsang
Tenzin Norbu Tenzin Serzang
Tenzin Tsering

Individual sponsoring:

At the moment we are not looking for sponsors for individual monks to sponsor.The reason is that many monks who are ill, who otherwise needed individual sponsoring, suffer from Hepatitis-B and now are helped by the emergencyfund of Hepatitis-B of the Tara foundation. In this way we can help more patients. In stead of looking for sponsors for individual monks , we are looking now urgfently for more sponsors for the emergency fund Hepatitis-B, to help the 41 monks and other Tibetans who are already supported by the fund, so we can go on treating them and also can help the patients who are seriously ill and are on the waitinglist. It is very undesirable that patients who are seriously ill are on a waitinglist to get medicines. For € 8,50 a month (or € 100,-- a year) you can pay medication for 1 Hepatitis-B patiënt for 1 year. We prefer periodic donations, because in that way it is more garanteed that the medical care can go on.But every donation is needed urgently!

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Geshe Sonam Gyaltsen
Geshe Sonam Gyaltsen with little monk

Click here for a report of the life of the monks of the Gaden Jangtse monastery.

Medical support

ziekenhuis

With the help of donations from abroad, the Gaden Jangtse Monastery has established two monastery clinics. One is an allopathic clinic, and the other is a Tibetan naturopathic clinic.

Fortunately, both clinics now provide essential medical care for both the monks and the Tibetans living in the surrounding villages in the "settlement." Both the monks and the lay Tibetans are very poor. with many suffering from chronic illnesses, often arriving already ill. Child monks are frequently sent to the monastery from extreme poverty, thousands of kilometers away, with the hope of building a meaningful life rather than becoming day laborers like their parents. Tibetan refugees in India are oftenly ill due to significant differences in climate and diet in India. Both clinics rely entirely on foreign donations for their funding. The poor lay Tibetans in the "settlement" make a small contribution, while the monks do not have to pay as they lack any income.

Under normal circumstances, medical care is reasonably well provided in this manner. However, when unexpected events occur, such as the corona outbreaks in 2020 and 2021, there is a problem. The Tara Foundation conducted actions to aid the monks and local residents by sending thousands of euros for medicines, breathing equipment, protective gear, and food for both the monks and the poor locals.

There is a safety net for unexpected medical procedures, such as surgeries. Monks can receive a refund of 50-75% of the costs from the "Fund for ill monks" managed by the monastery hospital. This fund collects donations and pays for operations from the interest earned, ensuring that essential medical assistance is available. (This fund also relies entirely on donations.)

Until a few years ago, a major medical problem could not be resolved in any way: the Hepatitis-B problem, which had reached almost epidemic proportions in the monastery and among lay Tibetans. It is the second leading cause of premature death among Tibetans. Poor child monks and refugees brought the disease and spread it rapidly in unsanitary living conditions in previous years, when the monastery was heavily overcrowded with numerous refugees and child monks who shared everything, including razors and toothbrushes. Dirty clinics for medical and dental care also contributed to many infections before there was a monastery clinic. However, the Hepatitis-B problem remained unsolved because the special antiviral drugs were too expensive, not only for the patients but also for the monastery hospital. As a result, in addition to the many chronically ill individuals, young patients, both monks and lay Tibetans, regularly died from Hepatitis-B.

The Tara Foundation found this unacceptable and decided to help. Initially, it supported a vaccination program in 2005 by covering the cost of the third of three required Hepatitis-B vaccinations for all approximately 2000 Gaden Jangtse monks. In 2013, the foundation founded the "Emergency Fund for Hepatitis-B for Gaden-Jangtse Monks." Initially, the fund was managed by volunteers: medical monks working in both monastery clinics who who also were our contactpersons. They identified the sickest monks for whom the Tara Foundation then sought sponsors for their medication. The fund became increasingly successful, with more and more monks seeking support from it. In 2016, the complete administration of the fund was transferred to the monastery clinic, with the Tara Foundation continuing to secure the necessary funds. Private sponsorships were stopped and replaced with a single large "pool" of sponsorships. This pool covers the medication costs for all Hepatitis-B patients selected by the monastery hospital. Upon our request, prevention meetings were also organized, and also poor lay Tibetans were admitted to the fund.

Due to the fund's success, requests for medication reimbursement continue to come in. Unfortunately, there are currently not enough donations coming in, primarily because the fund is now open to lay Tibetans as well. However, we find it unacceptable not to assist the lay Tibetans, many of them have families. The Hepatitis-B antiviral drugs cost approximately €100 per person per year. It is very challenging for the Tara Foundation to gather the agreed minimum amount of €3000 each year with the hospital.

Currently, the fund assists 41 patients: 28 monks (including 3 child monks), 1 nun, and 12 lay Tibetans. For them, a total of €4100 is required, so they must now borrow money from other monks or family members who are also impoverished. Furthermore, there is a waiting list of seriously ill Hepatitis-B patients, which is highly undesirable in a life-threatening disease like Hepatitis-B.

We urgently request your support for the Emergency Fund for Hepatitis-B, especially for periodic assistance, so that the fund can continue, and enough donations will be received for Hepatitis-B medication for all seriously ill patients. This will also allow patients on the waiting list to be helped.

You can support the Hepatitis-B fund for just €8.50 per year! This amount can cover the medication costs for one Hepatitis-B patient for one year. The fund would greatly benefit from as many sponsors as possible, but all donations are highly desired and needed!

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Gaden Jangtse Library Project


Important update Gaden Jangtse Library Project

Since 2017 the Tara Foundation is intensive connected with the “Library project” of the Gaden Jangtse monastery.(klick here). The goal of the project is to preserve important Buddhistic texts and to make them open to the public (again). Some texts had to be tracked down after they were lost in Tibet during the cultural revolution. De texts were digitized, old printing errors were corrected and the form was made easier readable. After that the texts were printed in bookform and they were given for free to the monks for study and meditation. this beautiful project to keep and make available important texts is started by Geshe Sonam Gyaltsen. On the 15. of february 2017 in the Library the intensive cooperation of the Tara Foundation with Geshela and the Library started, as you can see on the photos below.


bibliotheek

Finally, you can make a contribution to the "Library Project". The aim of this project is to retrieve texts which have been destroyed in Tibet and to maintain existing texts.
The texts are first corrected if necessary because of additions aftewards and misspellings, (this happened oftenly when they cutted the texts in old woodblocks, it was oftrenly done by not highly educated monks). Afterwards the texts are made digital and printed in a manageable size. Also important spoken lessons are digital made available for everybody. All monks will get every year a few of these newly printed importan Tibetan texts for teir study and meditation. The contributing and maintain and make available of this costly Dharma texts gives much positive energy for the donator. Donations for the Library are for this reason oftenly part of a last will testament. At this moment money is needed to make an important Tibetan Wisdomtext(Madhyamika-) made digital te maken, and afterwards make available fort everyone in bookform. (title: "Provisional Meaning and True Meaning", of Jigme Damcho Gyatso Rinpoche). Apart from this there are many old texts waiting for made digital and publishing.

Newly issued texts in bookform.

Newly issued texts in bookform.

and old text issued again just like the 2 other books.

More information about the Library project
In order to preserve the unique Tibetan-Buddhist texts the Gaden Jangtse Library was founded. The goal is to preserve existing texts from both Tibetan and Indian origin and making available again previously lost and damaged texts. All these texts will be made available for anyone who wishes to study them, in both traditional book as well as in digital form. All monks receive new books on a regular basis. Furthermore Tibetan dictionaries and grammars will be published and made available. Lastly important teachings will be recorded on MP3 and DVD and made available to the general public.

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Tara beeld
Tara statue from the new prayer hall

To help pay for this badly needed new building Tara Foundation organized a Lama Dance Tour for the monks, in Spain e.g. in 2008.

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More information on the Lama Dance Tour in Spain
October 1 - November 7, 2008, the Tara Foundation organized the Lama Dance Tour of the monks of Gaden Jangtse Tsawa Khangsten in Spain. During their tour the nine monks held their performance Lama Dancing in many big city. Part of the performance was the so-called overtone singing and the making of six sand mandalas. There were also activities like lessons, house blessings, puja on request and activities in schools. And of course the sale of the Indian goods. Usually 6 or 7 monks were at the main activities while the others where somewhere at an exotic market to sell their goods or to make an extra sand mandala. All these efforts were made to raise as much money as possible for the building of the much-needed new prayer hall and rooms for the many newcomers in Tsawa Khangsten. Remarkable is that the monks never even wanted one day off. The result of the Tour in Spain came to the large amount of € 32,635,-! After Spain, the monks continued their activities in the Netherlands.
Photoshoot Lama Dance Tour in Spain
Lamadans in Spanje Lamadans in Spanje Lamadans in Spanje Lamadans in Spanje Lamadans in Spanje Lamadans in Spanje Lamadans in Spanje Lamadans in Spanje Lamadans in Spanje Lamadans in Spanje

 

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