Shari Pankha Monastery & School

This page contains photos during the initial stages of reconstuction

The reconstruction was completed in December 2010
- be sure to see the latest photos taken at the consecration.

Monasteries throughout the country and the ever-present red-robed monks indicate the important role that Buddhism plays in almost every aspect of Bhutanese life. Every district in the country has a Dzong which houses the official monk body and several temples. And every village has a temple, around which the life of the community revolves.

There are more than 2000 monasteries in the kingdom many built centuries ago in honor of the teachings of Buddhism. Some are national treasures, some are within easy reach or a few hours walk and receive international visitors, international exposure and aid.

Some others require seven to eight hours of hiking are more remote and inaccessible, have little contact with the rest of the country and falling into disrepair.

This project will focus on getting aid to a difficult to reach village Monastery & School -
"Shali Pankha", nearly 180 years old and in need of critical structural needs.

Gaselo Village - Gaselo geog is located towards the south west region of Bhutan. The terrain is mainly rugged with pockets of gently facing slopes. Gaselo is made up of 13 villages and consists of 220 widely scattered farming households.

Shali Pankha Monastery - It is not known when and how the Shali Pankha Monastery came to be. It is an age old village monastery established by our ancestors and has been a community of prayer and action for about 180 years. The 220 households of Gaselo come to Shali Pankha Monastery to perform community ceremonies to pray and offer butter lamps to their protective deity, Aap Bumrip. They pray that their crops will be bountiful, natural calamities will be less, that there will be no sickness in their village, to dispel misfortunes and to usher a good harvest.

There is no telephone service or mail delivery to Shali Pankha and no electricity except by a small-scale solar power facility.

A Caretaker is chosen from the community to administer the properties and to keep the monastery functional.

Shali Pankha School- The Monastic school is housed in the Monastery, the sleeping quarters as well as the study rooms. Daily, monthly, and annual rituals form an integral part of Bhutan and almost every important occasion in the life of the Bhutanese is invested with religious significance. Rites related to diverse events such as birth, marriage, sickness, death, construction of houses, inaugural or opening ceremonies of any occasion and other day-today functions are performed by the monks.

To carry out this religious role, the community enrolled children as monks with the Monastery and appealed to the Central Monastic Body for teachers.

"Getting Aid to a difficult to reach village
Monastery & School - Shali Pankha"

To donate: see information at the bottom of this page.

In 2002 The Central Monastic Body made available 4 teachers to the Shali Pankha Monastery and this made it possible for the children from the community to receive Monastic education, to study traditional Buddhist Scriptures and learn sacred musical practices in the Monastery. The school currently has 30 monk students from ages 9-23. 15 monks are registered to the central Monastic Welfare fund and receive a very modest support- the funds for two meals a day- the rest of the 15 student monks share the modest supplies. The services provided by the monks are a primary means of self-support for the Monastery.

The curriculum
Children begin with the learning of the alphabet, spelling, reading, and proceeds to the memorization of prayers and other relevant texts and observing daily monastic rules and regulations. Besides memorization of texts, they also learn various ritual arts, metrical rhymes, trumpet, making ritual cakes etc. As they proceed to higher classes, they learn grammar, prosody or literary science which is geared towards pursuing higher Buddhist philosophical studies.

English and arithmetic are also taught so as to enable the monks to become more effective communicators. After completion of their studies from the school, they join Buddhist Colleges (Shedras) for higher studies while others opt to join the Central Monastic Body.

Current Situation of the Monastery & its students
"Shali Pankha" Monastery & School have temporarily suspended the school and monastic functions to attend to the immediate major restoration/renovation needs of the Monastery. The Gaselo Community undertook capital fundraising for the much-needed restoration of their Monastery & its school and with Nu. 1,600,000 (US $ 40.000) of funds and assurance in hand, the Gaselo villagers began the restoration work in June 2008 in order to improve the facilities and accommodate an increase in the number of monks studying at the institute.

The Current construction focus is on:
- accessibility to the work site,
- the main shrine building,
- replacing the door and window casements,
- Building 2 study rooms & a living quarter for the monks in the Monastery

1. Government assisted by permitting timber for the restoration work at a subsidized rate.
2. The farmers contributed community labor and stocked up supplies of food items of rice, vegetables, cheese and butter.
3. The student monks lend a hand at the construction site. The older student monks cook the meals for the construction workers so that they do not have to stop work in order to prepare their meals.
4. The four teachers and caretaker take care of the administration and over-sees on-site.
5. People living in the bigger towns supported by providing the initial funds to start the project in time because climactic conditions at 2800m limit the construction season to approximately May through early November.
6. 52 people are presently working on construction on-site, plus others are involved in the delivery of materials. Sand, stone, timber and gravel are delivered from local villages, cement and other construction materials are brought in from Thimphu. The transportation of the construction materials to the monastery is extremely difficult because of the complex and narrow new access road.

Help us build the study, living quarters & Toilet Blocks for our student Monks. No matter how minute our role or contribution might be we wish to contribute a little help towards the children to have re- access to education by building up the study rooms, living quarters and toilet blocks.

Construction Materails - US $ 10,000
Transporation - US $ 2,000
Masonry & Carpentry - US $ 3,000

Update - See the latest photos taken December 2010

Click here to see photos taken in January 2010

Click here to see photos of the construction taken in January 2009

additional photos taken May 2009

This project is supervised by Namgay Tshering
Namgay Adventure Travels.

Immediate funding is going to build study rooms, living quarters toilet/bathroom facilities in the monastary.

Other projects Namgay is supervising - Chorten Nebu Monastery
and education for Girls Too.

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