Tibetans preserve their unique culture.
to Chuchikjall Sponsors 2000
The nuns of Chuchizhal
Nunnery send their deepest blessings, warmest regards, and pray
for your continued health, happiness, and peaceful progress towards
enlightenment. In the Year of the Dragon (2000), the nuns continue
to be grateful for your generous contributions and pray that this
Dharmic connection continues. Your contributions have made a huge
difference at the nine nunneries in Zangksra now supported by
Over the last decade,
we have successfully established the largest and longest continuous
winter prayer sessions at Karsha nunnnery. Every day for five
months, the Karsha assembly of twenty nuns and their abbot sit
for several hours praying for the release from suffering of all
sentient beings. Your donations supply the butter, tea, and salt,
which warms the nuns sitting motionless in the frigid hall before
the first meager ray of winter sun has hit the assembly hall.
The success of or program at Karsha has led us to branch out to
other nunneries. While our primary focus was and continues to
be Karsha nunnery, in recent years, we have tried to expand our
funds to include daily morning ritual sessions at all the nunneries
in Zangskar. For two years (1998, 1999) we funded three more nunneries
in Zangskar, which proved very successful. Finally last year,
we funded all nine nunneries in Zangskar, so that each one can
hold a winter prayer festival of their own, most of them for the
first time ever. in history.
Your donations cover
miscellaneous ritual expenses such as decorations for the ritual
cakes, blessing scarves, butter lamps, kerosene oil for cooking,
and the rice, lentils, oil, and spices to feed the participating
monastics. The funds are also used to buy butter to fuel the butter
lamps and flavor the salt tea drunk by the nuns throughout these
ceremonies. For those who wish to make specific donations, we
will continue to channel the funds to Karsha or to the purchase
of smokeless smokeless stoves at all Zangskari nunneries. We have
not yet accomplished this task because the nunneries still to
be supplied are quite remote and the transport costs will be considerable.
These stoves, which were developed by the Save the Children Fund
in Ladakh and are produced by local blacksmiths, are the most
efficient and healthy way to burn the common fuel of Zangskar,
For those of you who
may be new or have forgotten, Zangskar lies tucked deep into the
Himalayan folds of Indian Kashmir. These nunneries may well be
a calm eye at the center of the hurricane of strife which has
enveloped Kashmir in recent decades. The nuns invest in Karmic
capital so as to improve the moral balance sheet of a state torn
by religious violence, political terrorism, and more recent international
warfare between India and Pakistan. Retreat to a nunnery may be
sanity, not sacrifice, in an area where army generals squabble
over uninhabitable desert and glaciers, all the while keeping
one finger on the nuclear button. In an age when altruism has
become almost unfashionable, these small communities of Buddhist
nuns continue to pursue selfless meditations on behalf of other
Your efforts have
helped the nuns here practice exemplary lives. In pursuit of the
Buddha's discipline of detachment, they strive for simplicity
in an already stark and barren landscape, practice compassion
in a merciless clime, and pursue poverty in an economy of subsistence
and occasional want. The Zangskar nuns seem to defy the ordinary
conventions of comfort as they endure both frozen winters and
scorching summers in a treeless desert at nearly thirteen thousand
feet above sea level. Winters spent in prostrations and visualizations
give way to summers laboriously spent harvesting dung patties
and scrubby thistles. These ritual and practical rigors leave
behind more than just bloody elbows and sore knees. The nuns appear
to be testing themselves, socially, physically, and emotionally,
in an environment that truly deserves to be called extreme.
You may be wondering,
why an able bodied woman in the flower of her youth would choose
lifelong celibacy and poverty to go live on a lonely cliff in
the Buddhist Himalaya. Life within a monastic community where
everyone is meditating upon a similar vision of vast interdependence
provides both spiritual regeneration as well as physical renewal.
The founding nun at one of the largest nunneries in the area once
told me that she had joined the nunnery in order to live deliberately,
while learning to be awake and above the venial distractions and
desires of village life. The nuns will surely continue to pray
your health, well-being, and more generally that all sentient
beings find peace and the end to suffering.
I am enclosing a blessing
cord which was blessed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama when he
visited Ladakh in 1998.
Once again, thank
you for your contribution.
May 20th, 2000
I want to help!
donations will go directly to the Tibetans in need. Gaden Relief
has a sterling record of putting over 95% of donations to work
in the Tibetan communities. All of our staff are volunteers and
pay our own expenses. So you can rest assured that your donations
will be put to maximum effect to help Tibetans.
to donate to Gaden Relief Projects.
Click here to contact Dr. Kim Gutschow.