Join us ane take the opportunity to help support the 98 young Buddhist monks who live in the magical, 300 year-old Sewala Monastery in Bhutan which is facing demolition because of recent earthquake damage. Your donation helps in three key areas: Food & Nutrition, Construction & Repair, Transportation & Safety.
Located high in the Himalayas under the guidance of His Eminence Rimpoche Jamgon Truelku, the 34 year-old, amazing but humble abbot of the monastery, this place of peace and study also has the role of being an orphanage for boys as many youngsters are left here to become monks by impoverished families who do not have the means to raise them. Girls carry much more value than boys in Bhutan, and as such, many young boys and men seek monastic life and Sewala, one of the most unique and famous monasteries in Bhutan, carries the burden of responsibility to care for these youth both as a home and a training school in Buddhist community service.
In turn, these monks undergo disciplined Buddhist training with very little funding by the government. From what we discovered, only 25% of the Sewala Monastery budget is provided by the Bhutanese administration - 75% must come from donations. Besides the basics of food and utilities, structural repairs all must be paid for through donations. You can see in the photos the terrible damage done to the monk dormitory/study hall and main temple from the devastating Nepalese earthquake in 2015. This ancient building is in jeapardy of collapsing and it is too dangerous for monks to sleep in, creating a a critcal situation for both housing and safety. Professional contractors have estimated repairs to save this building at US$93,124... and the government has condemned this important, historical structure and has demanded it is demolished and rebuilt. As you can see, donations are of the utmost importance now more than ever.
We have raised a little over $25,000 to date from our annual group trips to Bhutan to visit the monastery, but now the non-profit, 501(c)3 CommunityAwake organization has become fiscal agent for the monastery to handle fundraising and providing tax-deductible receipts for donors.
It is wonderful to see the amazing service that these monks provide to the three local communities in the form of traditional ceremonies for weddings, births, deaths, new home construction, healing, and general emotional and spiritual support for those in need.
The most recent project for Sewala Monastery has been an ongoing series of 7-day prayers for World Peace. Day and night all the monks - joined by seniors and dedicated people in the nearby villages - chant and send blessings to all sentient beings around the world for peace. Rimpoche commissioned a special Thangka (spiritual artwork) for this event.
This Thangka was shown to a gathering of very high-level Buddhist Abbots and dignitaries - including the King - at the sacred Punakha Dzong and this has helped to raise awareness of the emergency that Sewala Monastery is now facing.
This fundraising campaign is a great honor and a demanding undertaking, but a blessing for us all and a wonderful example of the good work that Rimpoche and the monks at Sewala do.
Francesco Garri Garripoli, international Meditation and Qigong Instructor, author, and wellness advocate and founder of CommunityAwake, first visited Sewala Monastery in 2008 after the Royal Family of Bhutan asked him to take Rimpoche under his care. He led the first large study group of foreigners to Bhutan the following year. In 2016, with the help of Rimpoche and Namgay Dorji, he led the first group of non-Bhutanese who made the arduous trek up the mountain to stay at Sewala overnight and experience sleeping and eating the way the monks there do. It was an amazing and heart-opening experience for both the visitors and the monks alike.
If you are interested in joining our next group Bhutan Retreat fundraiser, let us know to find out more. The funds from our group given to the monastery was the seed donation to help repair the earthquake damage, but much more is still needed... and time is running out now that the demolish has been ordered to begin.
Thank you for making a much-needed donation to Sewala Monastery through the non-profit CommunityAwake organization, from whom you will receive a receipt if you wish for tax deduction purposes. For more information please visit our Sewala webpage