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Volunteering Buddhist Monastery for Learning Buddhist Culture

To understand a place one needs to become a part of the culture. VIN has given me this opportunity. I was positioned at the Palnge Kaygu Buddhist Monastery outside Boudha, Nepal. This is a stones throw away from the well known Boudha stupa with its spiritual circumnavigation rituals and its vibrant market place, just outside of Kathmandu.

My position was set as an English teacher for the monastery. Not only was I a teacher but I was quickly accepted as a part of the close knit Family atmosphere that encompasses this monastery. Either Buddhist teaching or the comrodory of this monastery, it seemed that each monks goal and purpose was both to help in any way possible and to smile. I found it my goal to understand such joy. Why were these simple people so happy and why did I find myself caught up in their joy. Was it the religion, was it the simplicity of life, the interest in helping others or was it their close supportive community.

As a youth I was taught that in order to attain happiness you would need to round your life in four areas. These aspects of life were spiritual, social, physical and mental. It was exciting for me to see my childhood teaching being practiced in such a working example as at Palgne Kaygu Monastery.

Young and old monks were seen on a daily basis playing, chanting and schooling while always being entangled by friends and mentors. If you were to ask me what I took from Nepal and volunteering it would be an image of joy and how that I may help others attain that path.

By Dave Nessia – USA

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