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The Young Monks

May 23, 2023

Before I came to Bhutan I pictured devout young monks in serious repose; but our first visit to a monastery disabused me of that notion. Boys as young as five or six performed cartwheels and tore around the field just as boys are wont to do. One little guy had knotted his robe in superhero style.

Ugyen had a conversation with the headmaster, who acknowledged they were in need of notebooks and pencils, so we took up a collection and went on a shopping expedition. In addition to the requested items, we bought toothbrushes and toothpaste and four soccer balls. As you can imagine, the balls were a huge hit, prompting impromptu soccer and volleyball games. The headmaster had been the sole overseer of the twenty boys in his care, having only recently hired a cook to help out. Clearly, the need was great, and our small contribution most appreciated.

From the chorten in the courtyard, Buddha is always watching.

One Comment
  1. Marlo permalink

    I can’t imagine the headmaster being in charge of twenty boys on his own. I’m hoping the older boys took some responsibility for the younger boys. Your idea of contemplative monks (even at 5) is one that I would have shared. Monk in our society obviously has a different connotation than in their culture. Is it a privilege to be able to join the monastery at a young age or is it a boon to the family to have their child supported elsewhere? I am looking forward to more of your photos and experiences.

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