In accord with the Mahayana Buddhist emphasis on the development of compassion and commitment to service, positive involvement in immediate and larger communities is fundamentally important to the essence of Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling Monastery. This involvement manifests itself in both traditional forms of ritual services and more modern types of education and guided practice.
Buddhist communities traditionally look towards monastics for a variety of ritual services, particularly when dealing with illness or death. A major part of the monastery’s activities involves arranging such rituals at the time and place where they are required. Rituals range from reciting sutras, performing consecrations, enacting tantric rites, and dealing with life-cycle and death rituals for the lay Buddhist sangha, both local and international.
More recently, there has been a notable increase in individuals interested in learning about Buddhist teachings, practices, and the Tibetan language. Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling has thus begun to cater to these needs in a number of ways.
Each summer, the monastery provides free courses in language, ritual, and doctrine that are attended by the locals of Boudhanath and its surrounding areas. Well over 100 students of all ages typically attend these classes, which run in the afternoon. There they learn to read Tibetan, perform rituals such as Tara’s puja or Chö, and begin to study basic Buddhist doctrine with the Khenpos of the monastery. The two month program also involves extra days of teachings or empowerments from the Rinpoches, although the daily classes are organized and taught by monks. The two month classes often conclude with a group pilgrimage to holy places such as Pharping or Lumbini.
The attendees of these summer courses also participate in a number of rituals and practice retreats that are organized throughout the year. Most notably, there is a one month ngöndro retreat program where local, foreign, and monastic participants learn and practice intensively the preliminary meditations of Vajrayana Buddhism.
On a more independent level, monks of Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling Monastery also return to their villages to organize similar such teaching and practice programs. Monks often travel to their native homes in places such as Samagaon (Nubri), Rasuwa, Hetauda, and other places to teach language, Buddhist doctrine, and practice. Similarly, the serious dharma practitioners of these rural communities, notably the ngakpas or married tantric practitioners, come to Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling for initiation and training. A notable recent example was the Thukdrub Barche Kunsel empowerments offered by Chokling Rinpoche in 2016, where hundreds of rural dharma practitioners came to receive the empowerments and further instructions of the Rinpoches and Khenpos.
In terms of larger and globalized communities, monks of the monastery have also complimented the activities of the Rinpoches by traveling to teach and lead practices in the various dharma centres around the world. Also, they are being very active with the Rangjung Yeshe Shedra, where monastics play an essential role as instructors of philosophy.
Exemplified by the earthquake of 2015, the monks of Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling have also been active in providing material assistance to those struck by disaster or poverty mainly via Rangjung Yeshe Shenpen. For a full description of Shenpen’s activities, please see here.
Recently, the monks have committed themselves to improving both their immediate environment and the broader community by putting into effect “green” practices and working together to keep our surroundings clean, with the vast motivation to make our environment safe and sustainable. Recycling and composting bins have been installed at the gompa. Every 10 days, a recycling company comes to collect and pay for recyclables. These efforts have saved 100s of kilograms of waste from being dumped or burned, in addition to raising funds to distribute to the community. To follow along with this wonderful project and to see inspiring photos of the monks and other community members coming together to improve the environment, please visit their Facebook page: Environment Committee Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling.