Classes at Samtencholing Monastery

Cycles of preparation and participation in village ceremonies keep Marpha’s monks very busy. Nonetheless, the young monks at Samtencholing Monastery are students first and foremost. While the monastery is not equipped to offer a complete secular education, they are dedicated to providing classes on Tibetan language and Buddhist philosophy.

Marpha Foundation helps supplement these offerings by holding experiential classes with the monks five days a week. These sessions develop English language and Math skills through conversation, performance, games, art, and STEM experiments. Our teaching fellows take an emergent approach to design activities that meet the unique needs of Marpha’s young monks, many of whom come from indigenous communities outside of the Thak Khola valley and have to learn up to three new languages (Tibetan, Nepali, and English) when they first join the monastery. Most of these young monks also come from low-income families, and the monastery is their first exposure to formal schooling.

Despite limited early education, the rigor of monastic life and Buddhist learning yields disciplined students, but as young boys, they also need moments of silliness, autonomy, and independent exploration. Many of the games and experiments introduced in class serve as starting points for self-guided doing in their free time.



Marpha Foundation