Benchen Education System
At present, Benchen monastery accommodates about 270 monks. Many Tibetan families consign their sons in the care of Sangye Nyenpa and Tenga Rinpoche, according to their religious belief and the wish that their cultural heritage will be kept alive. Other children at Benchen come from a very poor background, some of them are orphans.
The monastery provides food, clothing and accommodation. The children also receive a monastic education and training, as it was tradition in Tibet. Important aspects of this education are reading and writing of the Tibetan and Nepali language, recitation of chants by heart, playing instruments, acquiring monastic dances and creating Mandalas. During their training, they are instructed in Buddhist philosophy and English.
2002: Foundation of Benchen Primary School
In 2002 the Benchen monastery opened up a primary school to provide their pupils with a state-approved education as well. At the moment, four teachers are taking care of 60 pupils at Benchen Primary School. After having finished school and training time, the young men have to choose their career. According to their talents, many of them qualify themselves for monastic arts, like the painting of religious subjects or the making of sand Mandalas. Some of them attend a three years training retreat to become a Buddhist teacher or they go to a Buddhist university.
Only a small number of them want to leave the monastery after their education, as a secular life offers hardly any job chances for them.
The community is growing steadily.