When the Nepal government announced Covid-19 lockdown on March 24th Tsoknyi Gechak Ling closed its gates for one month. All residential staff were offered the opportunity to take a month’s leave or commit for a one month stay. The Gompa had been expecting a lockdown so had already prepared some food stocks. The Nyerpa Ani Urgyen Dolma la is the only one coming and going and takes precautions when at the market. Water tankers are still operating so the Gompa has an adequate water supply. Construction has stopped for the duration of the lockdown.
Happily Tsoknyi Gechak School followed the government’s Covid-19 protocol and completed all year-end assessments and closed on March 19th. Twenty-four class eight nuns sat their BLE, Basic Level Examination. All the exam transcripts have been submitted to the local government headquarters and we await the official results. However we are quietly confident that everyone passed and the nuns have already moved on. TGS will reopen for the new school session once the lockdown is over.
In the meantime at the Gompa the new Shedra session had started . Twenty-one TGS graduates nuns, five retreat graduates and one trasang nun have entered the foundation year. Sixteen nuns successfully completed shedra foundation year last year and have graduated to year one, while eight nuns have entered their ninth or final year. Three school graduates chose to join the Trasang with the hope of being selected for the next three-year retreat. In the Tsoknyi Lineage the three kaya three-year retreat practiced involves at least a year’s preparation which includes a full ngondro and Vajra Kilaya practice. In the coming months nuns will be selected to join the retreat preparation group and start engaging in those practices. In the meantime our Vajra Master, Ani Kunchok Dolkar la, and retreat graduate Ani Tsultrim Palmo la, are leading ritual practice training for all the Trasang nuns and the older school nuns. The school nuns also have time each day for memorization and reading practice.
We are very happy to report that everyone is safe, and every effort is being made to keep the community safe and active
~ Fionnuala Shenpen
Director, Tsoknyi Gechak School
By row from top:
Shedra nuns practise debate;
Training in ritual;
Learning to read;
Cleaning the premises.