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Normally a door-to-door fundraiser for Triratna development charity Karuna Trust, raising money to work among India’s poorest people, Priyadaka writes with news of a video project involving the headmaster of Dhardo Rinpoche’s school for children of Tibetan refugee families.
“Tumbling down either side of high ridges in the remote Gorkha region of northeastern India, Kalimpong has the stunning backdrop of Mount Kanchenjunga to wake up to above the morning mist.
This winter I’m heading up there for my fourth visit, once again to enjoy the hospitality of the ITBCI school (the Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Cultural Institute); the school founded by Sangharakshita’s teacher, Dhardo Rimpoche, for the children of Tibetan refugees.
The school principal is Jampel Khalden, himself a refugee who escaped the Chinese occupation of his homeland by taking the hazardous route over the Himalayas as a teenager to Kalimpong at Dhardo’s request.
Mr Khalden met Bhante in England some years ago, and is friends with other Order members. I have found him a man of considerable integrity, intelligence and compassion - and fun! I wish I’d filmed him skipping round the playground, laughing and entertaining the pupils!
Now I’d like to film him in conversation about his life in Tibet; his relationship with Dhardo Rinpoche; being head of the school; and his knowledge and practice of Vajrayana. It’s important to record this material for posterity, for its relationship to Bhante and the history of Triratna.
During my 10-week tour of India, I will also be volunteering in the Aryaloka Computer Education (ACE) project in Nagpur and supporting past ACE students in Chattisgarh and Odisha (Orissa).
However, this project is being funded independently. We are very much hoping that one of my ex-Aryaloka students, Neha Gajbhiye, can come with me, if I can support her financially. She works for Lord Buddha TV in Nagpur and is very capable; I expect to learn a lot from her!”