As times change, the expectations and aspirations of Bhutanese people are also changing. Meanwhile, the vibrancy and resilience of cultural values and local communities are being tested. Rising trends in suicide, addiction, disenchantment and other symptoms of social alienation—especially among the younger generation—are symptomatic of a certain disconnect and underlying tension within Bhutanese society. As a Vajrayana Buddhist Kingdom, and as a nation that promotes GNH, this is a paradoxical and worrying state of affairs.
The Zilukha Project intends to bridge this disconnect by making the Buddha Dharma relatable to people from all walks of life. It will do this by drawing inspiration from Drupthob Thangtong Gyalpo, who was an unorthodox renaissance figure—and based on whose legacy the Zilukha Nunnery was founded. Leveraging its location in the midst of a bustling capital city, the nunnery will provide an open space that sparks curiosity in the Buddha Dharma and contributes to building society by engaging all interested—especially children and youth—in fun and constructive programs.
With the underlying motivation to ignite interest in the dharma, and to provide opportunity for hearing, contemplation and meditation, Zilukha nunnery will deliver regular programs as well as a calendar of special events/workshops that will cater to children, youth, the general populace, and the nuns.
Children aged 5—12 will be introduced to Buddhist ideas, values and practices through classes and activities designed to be 90% FUN and 10% Dharma.
All about fun reading and sharing of stories based on Jakata Tales, Namthars, etc.
(Bring Jakata Tales and other stories to life through songs, poems and plays)
(Explore different colors and creativity through Buddhist symbols and images)
Explore great historical figures in animated series
Create abstract mud sculptures and plaster casts of tsa-tsa and stupa
Guided process of mindful eating
Introduce different breathing techniques and exercises
Gardening, cooking, tree plantation, trash picking, etc
People, especially youth with addiction problem will find solace, general counsel and other forms of support for their sustained recovery and reintegration into society. Outreach will be proactive but subtle, engaging the help of personalities that they feel comfortable with. Young people in general will find a safe, cool and fun place to hang out, where they can encounter and explore the dharma, while also developing useful skill sets.
(Enjoy informal conversation
over a cup of tea )
(Open discussion, idea and life-lesson sharing)
(Engage with experienced counselors and peers)
(Pilgrimage to inspire and connect with dharma and sacred places. )
(Open, safe and fun place to hang out during movie nights )
(Indoor game space including special Xbox and PlayStation competition )
(Open mic nights, jam sessions and karaoke platforms)
(Voluntary and social works)
The general group will have the opportunity to engage in Buddhist study classes, structured retreats, traditional group practice sessions, as well as special workshops (eg. photography, writing, tsa tsa making) that not only teach a certain skill set but also turn the very art into a form of practice.
(Create and paint mud sculptures and plaster casts of tsa-tsa and stupa)
(Short meditation sessions using different techniques)
(Special workshops on contemplative photography and film making)
(Pilgrimage to sacred places)
(Special teachings on Ngondro and Chöd. Guided short retreats)
(Group practice on auspicious days)
(Traditional and contemporary art and painting classes)
(A monthly volunteer-led Book Club to discuss dharma)
(Revive, create and provide space for opera and performing arts through a flagship production)
(Classes on modern and traditional musical instruments, song writing and composition)
(Special sessions on wisdom-based living and culture)
(Special classes for classical Buddhist texts)
The nuns’ monastic education program and practices are sustained and further developed according to the great tradition of Drupthob Thangtong Gyalpo. The study and practice will also include a blend of useful ‘modern’ skills such as English language, information technology, and management, to name a few.
The following are preliminary list of structures that will facilitate the implementation of above mentioned programs and activities: