Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Little monks learning basics of monastic life in Sikkim

Gangtok: Several little monks at the Enchey Monastery here are learning skills and acquiring knowledge on how to lead a monastic life.

Not many may know how rigorous training an individual has to undergo to become a Buddhist monk. With the day breaking at four o' clock in morning followed by strict schedules till nine o'clock in the fore noon, the little monks have to undergo a strict schedule.Teachers at the Enchey Monastery, the State's oldest monastery, impart training to young monks in the ritual as well as regular training programmes in woodcraft, calligraphy and drawing.These trainee monks are generally forbidden to go outside of training area and are addressed as "Gompa".Phu Tshering Bhutia, one of the little trainees said: "It has been six years since I have been a monk. It is like studying in an English school. Initially, you are taught Buddhist alphabets just like the way you learn A, B, C, D. After learning the alphabets we read the text. We learn how to make offerings and how to play religious musical instruments."Monks can meet their families only during vacations.Another monk, said: "It has been eight years since I am here. I am from Darjeeling. I go home once a year during winter break that is for two months."Students are taught the basics of Buddhist art, drawing and the traditional styles of writing in Tibetan script. The monastery has also revived the art of teaching traditional styles of calligraphy on wood slates.

(Tashi Pradhan,ANI)