280 children – girls and boys – are today accommodated and provided for by the Bön Children’s Home (BCH), a non-profit organization for Tibetan refugees and orphans officially registered under the Indian Government.
In the mountains of North Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, these children, ages 3 to 20, have found much more than a place to live; they have found a new home.
Many of the children here have lost their families. Either their relatives or their parents have sent them all the way from Tibet, Nepal, or Bhutan to BCH in India. All parties involved often face great challenges in making the transition to BCH.
Lha-Tri Khenpo Nyima Dakpa Rinpoche, the abbot of the Latri Monastery, Vice Chairman of the Tibetan School in Dolanji, and founder of the Bon Children’s Home, devotes tremendous energy and love into running BCH.
Together with only 7 employees, he very kindly takes care of the children: 1 secretary, 2 cooks, 2 foster mothers who take care of the 70 youngest children, 1 security guard, and 1 utility worker who takes care of any miscellaneous issues.
Today, the home has a total of 4 buildings: a kitchen (with a storage area), a dormitory for the girls (with a dining hall and a separate area for the youngest children), a dormitory for the boys, and the office.
In the past, 3 to 4 children had to share one bed, and perhaps even one blanket! Although the situation is improving, it is a continual challenge to arrange housing for every new child that arrives.
Furthermore, the children currently have no place to study. Either they stay outside with their books on their knees, or in their beds. A new multi-purpose hall is planned, but no funds are yet available.
Another problem is the lack of space for the children’s belongings. Currently the children must store their possessions in rusty metal chests, which are kept in an adjacent building’s cellar.
Faced with such circumstances, each child contributes in his or her own way. Some help with the smaller children – washing and feeding the little ones. Others assist with the serving of food, or the laundry – which is especially hard in the winter when the water approaches the freezing point. While these efforts never impinge on the time devoted to scholastics, every student is thus able to add what they can to the community
Despite facing such challenges, it is the policy of BCH never to turn down a child in need. In January 2004, 40 new children (many of whom are extremely young) unexpectedly arrived at the school. With no one else for them to turn to, BCH gladly accepted responsibility for all of them. Since large groups of new arrivals such as this are not an uncommon occurrence, the Bon’s Children Home is always greatly appreciative of any donation.
Latri Khenpo Nyima Dakpa Rinpoche is a senior monk at Menri Monastery in Dolanji, India, and one of the new generation of Bön Masters. Rinpoche is the lineage holder and abbot of Latri Monastery in the Kham region of eastern Tibet. Rinpoche received his Geshe degree (equates to a Ph.D. in the West) in 1987 from the Bön Dialectic School at sMenri Monastery in Dolanji, India. He is officially recognized as a Rinpoche by Menri Monastery.
Rinpoche’s early education came from his father, a well-known lama and the lineage holder of the Latri lineage, in the Kham region of eastern Tibet. Further education came from Tsultrim Nyima Rinpoche, the lama of Dorpatan Monastery in Nepal. Rinpoche later entered sMenri Monastery in Dolanji, India, the main monastery of Bön religion and education. There, he was taught by His Holiness Lungtok Tonpai Nyima Rinpoche, the 33rd sMenri Trizin (abbot); His Eminence Yongdzin Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche, the Lopon (head teacher) of all Bön education; and master Geshe Yungdrung Namgyal, a teacher of the Bön Dialectic School at Menri.
Rinpoche has taught Bön teachings in the U.S., Europe and Asia since 1989. Rinpoche is an immensely respected monk and teacher throughout the world for his authoritative, compassionate, and engaging teaching of Bön, and his ceaseless service to Bön.
Rinpoche was the first Tibetan Bön monk to teach Bon in the United States. Rinpoche has adhered strictly to the authentic Yungdrung Bon texts and teachings as passed down for thousands of years. He is the author of Opening the Door to Bon, the premier guide to the Ngondro practices for Western students of Bon.
At the request of His Holiness Menri Trizin, Rinpoche founded and is the President of the Bön Children’s Home in Dolanji, India, that provides housing, clothing, food and education for orphaned and underprivileged Bön children from northern India, Nepal, Bhutan and Sikkim. He is also the Vice-Chairman of the LAC for the Central School for Tibetans in Dolanji.
He is the founder and Spiritual Director of Yeru Bön Center (headquartered in Minneapolis, with a branch in Los Angeles); Shen Ten Ling Bön Centre in Vienna, Austria; Shen Chen Ling Bon Center in Minsk (Belarus); Sharza Ling Institute in Poland (with headquarters in Warsaw and a retreat center in Zhedoa, Poland); the Bön Shen Ling Center in Moscow; the Bön Shen Drup De Center in Kharkow, Ukraine; and Yeru Canada. Rinpoche is currently supervising a stupa construction project for world peace at the Kungdrol Ling Retreat Center in Thailand.
Section coming soon.