PROGRAMS AND ACTIVITIES
- Scholarship stipend for newly arrived monks and nuns:
This is a support program in which monks and nuns who escaped from Tibet and are aged between 11 and 30 years. Such a monk or nun is provided with a monthly stipend of Rs. 375 per month for 20 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 DRC was able to provide support to more than 10000 monks and nuns.
- Support to unregistered and destitute monks and nuns:
This is a support for destitute monks, nuns, and tantric who are not registered to any monasteries and nunneries and are faced with difficulty in livelihood. The department provides a stipend of Rs. 300 per month for them to support their lives. As of our past data, we have 48 beneficiaries and we are now in the process of updating the list from Tibetan settlements.
- Support to Russian and Mongolian people:
It is scholarship support for Russian and Mongolian (whose country has strong cultural relation with Tibet) enrolled in Tibetan monastic and other learning centres. Each person is given a scholarship stipend of Rs. 375 per month for 15 years or until they leave the institution to whom they belong. 591 Russian and Mongolian monks are involved in this program.
- Support to Himalayan region monks and nuns:
The Himalayan region is deeply associated with Tibetans by language, culture and religion. Tibetan Buddhists and the Himalayan region Buddhists share a common culture of practising and preserving Buddhism. There is a growing number of Himalayans enrolling in various monastic institutions to learn and excel in Buddhism. Since FY 2020-21, the Department has been providing scholarships for 562 Himalayans studying in various Tibetan monasteries.
The DRC provides an honorarium for Buddhist philosophy teachers, Science, and Chinese Language teachers of smaller and financially weaker monasteries and nunneries. As of now, we are providing an honorarium of Rs. 3000 monthly to 490 Buddhist Philosophy teachers, Rs. 3,500 monthly to 16 Science teachers and Rs. 6,500 to nine Chinese Language teachers of various monasteries and nunneries.
Under this project, the department provides a special fund to scholar monks and nuns who want to study and write a thesis on one specific topic. The duration of the specialization course program is four years. During the course, the department organises workshop on writing a thesis and also pay scholarship. So far, the department has provided scholarships to 20 researchers from various schools of Tibetan Buddhism and Bon Tradition.
- Stipend for Temple Caretakers:
There are many temples and small monasteries in every Tibetan settlement across India, Nepal and Bhutan for performing ritual services to the Tibetans. Since there is no proper financial source for them other than a small amount of veneration offered by Tibetan settlers, the DRC provides a monthly stipend to the caretakers of temples and small monasteries.
The department organizes the Religious Conference of four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism and Bon Tradition every bi-yearly. This conference was first initiated by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 1961 with spiritual heads of Tibetan Buddhism, Kalon, Khenpo and Geshe, at His Holiness’s residence for the purpose of reviving Tibetan Buddhism in exile. Later this department took the responsibility of organizing this conference in order to carry out the work and implement the resolutions passed at the conference. So far, 14 religious conferences have successfully been organized by this department.
- Erection of Buddhist Stupas:
The erection of the Buddhist Stupas project was one of the major activities of the department and it was begun in 2014 under the guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The project has received financial support from Gaden Phodrang (Private office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama) Department of Religion & Culture, CTA and General Tibetan Public Donations. The main purpose of erecting eight stupas in eight holy places of Budha is to pay a symbol of gratitude to the Government and People of India for their unflinching support to the people of Tibet and also dedicated to the prevalence of global harmony and restoration of the natural environment.
The Religious Seminar of four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism and Bon Tradition is the follow-up works of the resolution passed in the meeting on the preservation of Tibetan Buddhism held in 2013. The main aim of the seminar is to share knowledge and experiences and understand the common goal of Buddhism and Bon as one among them. The third Religious Seminar will be going to hold soon with speakers and participants from various monasteries and nunneries.
The DRC yearly organizes Chotrul Monlam Chenmo and Guru Bumtsok, conducts “long life prayers” to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and leaders of four major Tibetan Buddhist schools and Bon religion on a timely basis, and coordinates other religious services required to be done by Tibetan community for the security of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and for the welfare of Tibetan nation. Apart from that, Department also organized special prayer services for Tibetans in Tibet who self-immolated themselves on fire to protest against the Chinese government for freedom in Tibet and return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet.
Knowing the significance of modern science workshops to the monks and nuns as well as growing the influence of science in Buddhism, the department conducted an Introduction of Modern Science Workshop to the monks and nuns from various monastic institutions in yearly. In the workshop, we hired science teachers from the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, Dharamsala and taught the participants for two weeks about the concepts of modern science and using scientific tools for experiments.
- Intensive Course on Tibetan Language and Buddhist Philosophy:
Giving importance to Tibetan youths coming out of college to understand the basic knowledge of Tibetan Buddhist philosophy, the DRC initiated the workshop called “Intensive Course on Tibetan Language and Buddhist Philosophy” for the period of six months in collaboration with Snow Land School of Tibetan Studies at Gyumed Monastery, Hunsur. As of now, the department has successfully organized eight workshops and many Tibetan youths received benefits from it.
- Tibetan Arts and Culture Fund:
Through this project, we facilitate financial support to the individuals and organizations whose works relate to the preservation and promotion of contemporary Tibetan arts and the distinct culture of Tibet. The core purpose of this project is to encourage Tibetan artists to continue carrying out their works to keep alive and strengthen Tibetan culture. The Department is offering a grant fund of Rs. 1 00,000 to 3 00,000 based on the applicant’s project proposals and interviews.
- Summer immersion program:
There are growing numbers of Tibetan students enrolling in Indian private schools. As a student spends more time in schools than with their parents and Tibetan society, their identity gradually fades away with the dominant culture. The first-ever summer immersion program for Indian school-going Tibetan students was held in the year 2022 at Sarah, Dharamsala. The major curriculum of the program includes innovative cultural introductory classes, music and dance classes, and culturally inclusive programs.
- Since its establishment, the Department of Religion and Culture carried out so many programs and activities on a timely based. There are many minor activities have been done by this department, such as collecting data on monastic institutions scared in India, Nepal and Bhutan and Tibetan Buddhist centres around the world from time to time. It also conducts special prayers services for the prevention of natural disasters, provides financial assistance for the renovation of monasteries and nunneries, issues supporting letters for donations and obtains visas for monks and nuns who are going abroad for ritual services.