Programs of the DRCM
- Scholarship/stipend for newly arrived monks and nuns: This is a support program in which monks and nuns who recently escaped from Tibet and aged between 6 and 25 years. Such a monk or nun is provided with a monthly stipend of INR 300 per month for 15 years or until they leave the monasteries and nunneries where they are enrolled. This program was started in the 1980s and during the course of its operation, the Department of Religion and Culture (DRC) was able to provide support to more than 10000 monks and nuns. Most of the beneficiaries under this support program are those Tibetan monks and nuns who came from Tibet and enrolled in a various monastic institution to carry out their religious studies.
- Support to destitute monks and nuns: This is a support for destitute monks, nuns, and tantric practitioner who are not registered to any monasteries or nunneries in India, Nepal and Bhutan and facing difficulty in livelihood. Thus, DRC provides a stipend of INR 300 per month for them to support their lives. Most of these unregistered or destitute monks and nuns are those who live in complete hermit nature doing meditation and practising other religious activities on daily basis. These kinds of monks and nuns have neither relation with any monasteries or nunneries nor have they any relatives who could take care of their condition. Owing to that they become destitute in old age and facing difficult for livelihood as well as for health care.
- Support to Russian and Mongolian students: The Department of Religion and Culture has initiated a student exchange program with those countries under Russia who has a historical connection with Tibet on Religious and Culture. The program has initiated with three monk students from Buryat in Russia officially enrolled in the Institute of Tibetan Buddhist Dialect in the year around 1989 to study the Tibetan Buddhist Philosophy for the tenure of 3 years.
Gradually, the number of students increased from Mongolia and Russia. The program not only offered to study Buddhist Philosophy, students were also being enrolled at Tibetan Medical & Astro. Institute through reserve seats to study the system of Tibetan Medicine & Astro-Science in Dharamsala. The study course of Tibetan Medicine & Astrology is for 5 years and 15 years course of study in the monastery. The ultimate objective of this program was to revive and promote Buddhism in countries like Mongolia, Tuva, Kalmykia and Buryat who were historically Buddhist countries.
4. Teachers’ Monthly Incentive: DRC provides a monthly incentive for teachers teaching Buddhist philosophy, Science, Chinese Language in smaller and financially weaker monasteries and nunneries, including institutions in the Himalayan region. As of now, we have been providing incentive as under:
- INR 3,000 per month to 83 Buddhist Philosophy teachers,
- INR 3,500 per month to 17 Science teachers and
- INR 6,500 per month to 10 Chinese Language teachers of various monasteries and nunneries.
From the year 2019 onward, His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Religious and Cultural Society has launched a special incentive program for monastic institute teachers to cover a larger number of Tibetan monasteries i.e. 192 monasteries in India, Nepal and Bhutan with 496 number of a teacher at the rate of INR 3,000 per month.
- Specialization Course: Under this project, DRC provides scholarship to those monks and nuns who want to become specialized in a specific subject of Tibetan Buddhism through research work and to write a thesis on a particular topic. The duration of the specialization course program is four years. During the course, His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Religious and Cultural Society has organized a workshop on writing a thesis to selected researcher candidate. During the course of research work, candidates are also provided scholarship of INR 30,000 per year where INR 15,000 as first installment being paid after completion of six months duration and remaining INR 15,000 being paid after submission of 1st-year research paper to His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Religious and Cultural Society.
6.Stipend for Temple Caretakers: There are many temples and small monasteries in every Tibetan settlement across India, Nepal and Bhutan for performing religious services to the Tibetans and local Buddhist community. Since there is no proper financial source for them other than a small number of venerations offered by communities, His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Religious and Cultural Society provides a monthly stipend of INR 2,000 as a stipend to 18 caretakers of temples and small monasteries from remote Tibetan settlements.
OTHER MAJOR ACTIVITIES:
- Religious Conference: The DRC organizes Religious Conference of four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism and Bon Tradition in every bi-yearly. This conference was first initiated by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 1961 with a gathering of spiritual heads of Tibetan Buddhism, Kalons (Executive Heads), Khenpo (Abbots) and Geshe (Doctorate in Buddhist Philosophy) at His Holiness residence for the purpose of reviving Tibetan Buddhism in exile. Later His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Religious and Cultural Society took over the responsibility of organizing this conference in order to carry out the works and implementing the resolutions passed in the conference. So far 12 religious conferences has successfully been organized by His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Religious and Cultural Society.
- Eclectics Seminar of Tibetan Buddhism: The DRC is organizing Eclectics Seminar of four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism and Bon Tradition including Jonang which is follow up initiatives according to the resolution passed in the meeting on preservation and promotion of Tibetan Buddhism held in 2013. The main aims of this seminar are to share the knowledge, experiences and understand the common goal among the various school of Tibetan Buddhism and Bon as one among them.
Two speakers each from four different schools of Tibetan Buddhism, 2 speakers from Bon Tradition and two speakers from nunneries who are related to a specific topic chosen for the seminar are being invited. All the speakers have to submit their papers on a particular topic which have to be presented during the seminar along with debate followed by question & answer.
- Religious Services: The DRC organizes Chotrul Monlam Chenmo (the great prayer festival of Tibet) and Guru Bumtsok (Hundred Thousand virtue offering to Guru Padmasambhava) every year and organizes “long-life prayers” to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and Spiritual heads of four major Tibetan Buddhist schools and Bon religion on a timely basis. DRC also coordinates other important religious services required to be done by Tibetan community for the security and stability of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama’s health and for the welfare of Tibetan cause along with for World Peace. Apart from that, DRC also organizes special prayer services for Tibetans in Tibet who self-immolated themselves to fire in the protest against Chinese government calling for freedom in Tibet and returns of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet.
The Department also organize prayer service on 8th March of every year to commemorate the darkest day of Tibetan history when the Chinese communist government has declared Martial Law against protesting Tibetans in the year 1989 in Lhasa and of which more than 100 Tibetans were killed by Chinese military and many were disappeared from the scene.
- Modern Science Workshop: Knowing the significance and achievements of modern science as well as growing the influence of Science in Buddhism in this 21st century, DRC felt much important to organize a workshop on modern science to the monks and nuns. DRC organize this workshop every year in collaboration with the Library of Tibetan Works and Archive, Dharamsala for 10-15 days by inviting participants from monasteries and nunneries who lack curriculum in their daily activity.
- Intensive Course on Tibetan Language and Buddhist Philosophy: By giving importance of Tibetan youths, coming out from high school and college every year, to understand the basic knowledge of Tibetan Buddhist philosophy, His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Religious and Cultural Society has initiated the workshop called “Intensive Course on Tibetan Language and Buddhist Philosophy” for the period of six months in collaboration with Snowland School of Tibetan Studies at Gyumed Tantric Monastery, Hunsur, Karnataka State in India.
The program mainly focuses to teach basic Tibetan Buddhist philosophy, secular ethics and 4-lifetime commitment of His Holiness the Dalai Lama including Tibetan language and grammar. After completion of this six-month course program, participants were offer certificate. Each program has 20-25 youth participants.
- Tibetan Arts and Culture Fund: The Tibetan art and culture fund is a pilot small grants initiative, organized by DRC to support that individual Tibetan artist and organizations whose works are relating with preservation and promotion of traditional and contemporary Tibetan arts and distinct culture of Tibet in the exile community. The core purpose of this project is to encourage Tibetan artists to carry out their works for keeping alive centuries old Tibetan traditional and contemporary art by practising their arts and strengthening the audience among the younger generation.
Every year 12 to 17 candidates being selected. Those selected beneficiaries are awarded a grant of INR 100,000 to 300,000 whose project is based in India, Nepal and Bhutan.
Under this special program, around 64 monasteries and nunneries were benefitted and His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Religious and Cultural Society has supported the total amount of INR 9.8 million.
This program is being implemented by the Tibetan Settlement Office (Liaison Office of CTA) at the grass-root level by inviting Tibetan Buddhist scholars from monasteries or nunneries and organize at one to three times a year.
7. Introduction of Tibetan Buddhist Philosophy in Tibetan Settlement: Most of the Tibetan elders either who born in Tibet or in exile during the 1960s and 1970s were deprived of modern education due to most challenging situation at that time. Hence, these elderly Tibetans find it difficult to understand Buddhist philosophical views and its basic principle owing to which Tibetan Buddhist religious practice become purely based on faith rather than understanding through reasoning. Therefore, to overcome such challenge, DRC felt utmost important to initiate a program on the introduction of Buddhist Philosophy and Principle to Tibetan living in settlements across India, Nepal and Bhutan.
8. Renovation of Monasteries: His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Religious and Cultural Society has implemented a special program on Renovation of monasteries and nunneries in the year 2018-2019 to mark the 60th anniversary of Tibetans in Exile. Through this program monasteries and nunneries has been provided financial support of INR 47,000 to INR 400,000 according to the size and strength of the monasteries and nunneries.
- Interfaith Program: Most of the Tibetan settlements in India are located in a remote area surrounded by forest and local Indian tribal villages who follows mostly Hindu, Muslim, Christian religion and other local faith and of completely unaware of Buddhism or Buddhist culture which is one of India’s homegrown ancient religion. In such an environment, Tibetans living in settlements are sometimes facing internal minor problems with local villagers which are bound to happen in this 21st century of globalization. But due to some misleading local politician try to create issues between two religious communities to gain popularity in media which experienced such incident in the past. Therefore, DRC considers the utmost important to create conducive environment between Tibetan settlement office and local religious leaders so that to help pacify any such incidents through them. Owing to that, separate fund of INR 10,000 – 15,000 has been created in Tibetan Settlement Office to utilize this fund for activities such as exchange of dialogue with other religious leaders and to organize religious leaders’ meeting at the local level.