Opening Ceremony of Karmapa Center of Education in Kalimpong
On November 23, 2015 His Holiness the 17th Karmapa Thaye Dorje conducted the consecration ceremony for the first three buildings of the Karmapa Center of Education in Kalimpong.
The Karmapa Center of Education (KCE) is a project of the South Asia Buddhist Association (SABA), a charitable trust of His Holiness Gyalwa Karmapa.
The monks of Shri Diwakar Institute, the monastic sangha of Rumtek, many followers of His Holiness from Sikkim and the surrounding areas, and KCE supporters from all over the world attended the opening ceremony.
After welcoming His Holiness, the program began with the consecration Puja (Rabne), and auspicious prayers from His Holiness and the monks. After performing the symbolic cutting of the ribbon, His Holiness blessed the new buildings and the beautiful site.
Ms Diane Brodkorb, the SABA Manager, then welcomed all those present, and gave a short presentation on the purpose and organization of the Karmapa Education Center:
The newly established KCE is a pilot project, which will explore completely new forms of education. Its focus is on working toward the main objective of His Holiness’ charitable trust (SABA), which is to support the monastic Sangha.
The educational concept combines, for the first time, the precious traditional teachings of the Buddha dharma as is usually taught in the monasteries, with a modern education that will allow students to follow the Indian school curriculum. This unique teaching concept may be seen as three pillars, supporting the students’ development:
The first pillar constitutes the heart of the project: Buddhist Education – aligned with the monastic system – comprising subjects such as Buddhist knowledge, rituals and Tibetan language, which usually are only taught in the monasteries. This pillar will be taught by venerable monks.
The second pillar is the State-approved School Curriculum. The KCE curriculum is aligned with a recognized school model in which the primary and secondary levels are taught by qualified teachers. Local and foreign teachers will work together as a team.
The third pillar, explained Ms Brodkorb, could be called the Holistic Approach. It will integrate alternative teaching methods, to promote individual students’ abilities and practical skills. They will include instruction and practice in arts and crafts, gardening, and in the enhancement of environmental consciousness.
Following this presentation, His Holiness Karmapa addressed the gathering. He spoke on the importance of the monastic sangha. He also stressed that the future generations of the monastic sangha will depend largely on their youthful community members. The Karmapa Center of Education, he said, had been founded with the aim of strengthening the strong development of the present and future sangha.
The Vote of Thanks was delivered by Ms Deki Wangchuk, a trustee of the South Asia Buddhist Association.
After lunch, the participants exchanged thoughts on how to work toward this great vision, having been inspired by the ideas presented at the Opening Ceremony.
Please find more images from the Opening Ceremony of the Karmapa Center of Education here:
Please find the gallery from His Holiness Gyalwa Karmapa’s visit to Kalimpong:
Report: Diane Brodkorb