December 20. 2020
This year has been challenging for people throughout the world and for some of us too. I pray that for those in the Path. it provided opportunities for meaningful reflection and progress in our practice. At times like this, we realise how precious the Dharma is for ourselves and for those with whom we are connected to. We realise too that Dharma Centres are Luminous Oases. Therefore, I wish to express my gratitude and appreciation to everyone who have taken responsibility and participated in the activities of the Rigpe Dorje Foundations and those of the Centres. Needless to say. the merits are immeasurable.
The first Covid-19 lockdown in Nepal and India on March 24 was very sudden. As a result, most of our Shedra monks could not return to Lava in time for the new academic year from April 3. Many of them have remained in Pullahari and the 2020 Shedra academic year is now postponed to 2021.
Pullahari and Lava monasteries and our Home in Kalimpong have not re-opened since March 24. I am happy to say that all our monks and the elderly and youth at our Home are healthy and safe. Our activities in the monasteries and the Home have continued as usual. The clinic in Lava and the Eye Centre in Kalimpong are open to necessary and emergency cases only.
Fortunately. before the pandemic and lockdown in March this year, we conducted a remote Cataract Program in Sarlahi District from February 5 to 8, covering villages that were not in the 2019 program. A total of 3.108 patients were screened and 416 cataract surgeries and intra-ocular lens implants were done. The ratio of male and female surgical patients is the same. Among them, 95% were above 50 years old, 4% were between 35 and 49 years old and 1% was between 19 and 34 years old. Our plan for a second program in April was cancelled. We are aware of the plight of poor and needy visually impaired patients in remote areas in Nepal and India and will resume our program again as soon as circumstances allow.
As all of you know, we have had to cancel the Rigpe Dorje Programs this year. Due to request for teachings and guidance by Centres, we now have weekly on-line Zoom programs on practice and teachings for members and friends. This trend may continue and we hope that more Centres will participate.
We are poised now to begin a Tibetan Medical Centre and Hospice on a land next to Pullahari that was appointed by the Third Jamgon Kongtrul in April 1992, just a few weeks before His Parinirvana. It will be a project of the Jamgon Kongtrul IIIrd Memorial Foundation that was registered in June this year.
Many of you would know by now the extraordinary resources of teachings and activities of the Third Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche and other great masters available for free viewing and also download on the Jamgon Kongtrul Archive website www.jamgonkongtrul-archive.com created and maintained by Valerio Albisetti. I hope the Centres share the materials with members and friends.
Wishing you all a joyful Christmas Season and a Good and Kind New Year. I take this opportunity to also thank all directors and executive members of our Foundations and Centres for their effort to continue raising awareness and support for our programs, projects and activities. Their commitment and faith have given us strength and helped our Labrang to shoulder and carry on the activities from the time of the Third Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche.
With Prayers and Best Wishes,
Yours in Dharma,