VCD Nepal Review
Teaching Buddhist Monks
I am so lucky to have volunteered for VCD! I have been in Nepal for two months with the family’s support. I could not have asked for more kindness, generosity, or goodwill.
I stayed for five and a half weeks at Khawalung Tashi Choeling Monastery near Boudhanath in Kathmandu. Although in the beginning I was unsure about my role as a volunteer, I quickly found myself teaching an English class with one other volunteer to monks who were just starting to learn the language. With new monks arriving at the monastery, we soon had around 17 students aged 7 to 14. We taught them almost every weekday morning for an hour. I also led yoga and meditations sessions for some of the young monks in the afternoon.
It is amazing the relationships that grew. I will always remember playing games with the monks in the courtyard, watching movies in all different languages, having long mealtime conversations with the other volunteers, and watching over the energetic boys. It fills me with so much love to think of them. Although I met most of the 54 monks at the monastery including the older boys who performed puja services every morning and evening, I spent most of the time with the younger boys. I am so proud at how far they have come in expressing themselves.
I would recommend that future volunteers to the monastery be aware that the teaching expectations are not rigorous and extremely valuable (I was there during the monks’ annual holiday period between late
February and late April). You must be patient as the boys attend regular Buddhist pujas and classes. If you are determined to teach, you must work closely with other volunteers to set up a class system that maintains student interest while accommodating frequent schedule changes. Your impression as a volunteer will entirely depend on your motivation to know the boys as individuals and learners. Also be mindful that the monks are just normal boys — and that religion at the monastery is not in outward demonstrations but in true relationships — otherwise you may leave unfulfilled.
Thank you VCD for this incredible opportunity. I will always be grateful for how you welcomed me into your home with other volunteers and how you arranged for us to sightseeing in Chitwan, Pokhara, and Lumbini. I could not have gotten to know this country without your help. You are truly a wonderful family organization.