Karmapa Center of Education

One of the main aims of Thaye Dorje, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, is to support the monastic Sangha. Under his personal guidance, new forms of projects and facilities are being established, with other ideas being developed to help strengthen the monastic body, to ensure that the precious heritage of the Buddha Dharma is fully available and accessible for the next generations.

The first three buildings of the Karmapa Center of Education (KCE), one of these projects, in Kalimpong were consecrated in 2015.

The KCE is a project of the South Asia Buddhist Association (SABA), a charitable trust founded by Karmapa. Photo / Thule Jug

The KCE is a project of the South Asia Buddhist Association (SABA), a charitable trust founded by Karmapa.

The body of monks that we have here is the result of a lot of hard work by the past generations: great beings, great masters, and great devotees of the Buddha Dharma. And in a way, if you really look at this monastic body that we have here, as well as around the world, it is possible that in time, this body might become more and more diminished, and therefore even the Buddha Dharma itself might become more and more of a ‘fantastic idea’. So therefore, we need to somehow put our energy, put our thoughts together to make sure that this monastic body does not fade away in time.”

– Thaye Dorje, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa

The Karmapa Center of Education will particularly address the youth by providing favorable conditions and a conducive environment that will inspire young people to appreciate the Buddha Dharma and to eventually develop an informed decision whether or not they wish to enter the monastic life. As Karmapa mentioned during his inauguration speech:

The future generations of the monastic sangha will highly depend on none other than the youth”

The KCE curriculum will explore new educational approaches that include the traditional teachings of the vast body of Buddhist knowledge and its values; the monastic rituals (usually taught in monasteries); as well as the Tibetan language (the basis for further studies and a deep comprehension of Buddhist scriptures).

The traditional teachings will be combined with the Indian state school curriculum, which will be taught in a holistic framework whereby alternative pedagogical methods will be applied under the guidance of qualified Western teachers.

By creating this type of environment for the youth, they will have the time and space to truly investigate the meaning of the Buddha Dharma. Not only will the members of the school have an opportunity to experience happiness and peace right now in this life, but in many ways this will help secure the happiness of society at large, as well as that of future generations as well.

In his opening speech, Karmapa also expressed his gratitude to all those who have an interest in supporting this project and offered his deepest aspirations that it may bear its wonderful fruit: none other than the development of a proper monastic sangha:

Over the years, you will see more and more of what is the true aim and intention of this place. What we are trying to emphasize here is that, through this simple education center, we will be able to somehow strengthen the monastic sangha. In many ways it might seem like a novelty, it might seem like a fiction. But it is possible.”

You can read Karmapa’s full speech from the consecration at the Karmapa Center of Education website.