A Day In Our Life

 It’s a very busy life at Khachoe Ghakyil Ling Nunnery ...

 ...but Saturday is a holiday! And it’s usually spent with friends, visiting family, house cleaning, laundry - the usual chores that need to be done. There is always time to play, to chat with friends, and to visit the shop or café for momos. Every other Sunday, special activities are on the schedule, such as public speaking (in Tibetan and English), Math marathons, sspelling contests, and debate competitions with other schools.  Then at 5 pm on Sunday, it’s back to the discipline and routine of monastic daily life.

In the class rooms near the courtyard, the young nuns are memorizing their evening prayers. The older nuns walk around quietly in the courtyard, reciting the philosophical texts from memory in preparation for debate the next day. After dinner, the philosophy classes assemble in the debate hall to recite sutras. Someone is turning the big prayer wheel, the small bell tinkling along with every turn. From the valley, sounds of music, drums, and singing can be heard occasionally. It is the sound of Dharma in its manifold forms permeating the air.

Monday morning, the real business of prayers, study and school begins again with the morning puja  at 4.30 am. The pujas performed are usually requested by members of the nunnery's world wide community. Breakfast is offered during the morning puja - simple fare: a cup of Tibetan tea, a piece of bread, if someone made a special offering, there might be some jam or even an omelet on the bread.

Memorizing starts at 7.30 am for all nuns - and the murmur of hundreds of voices rises up in the air. Texts that are to be studied in class, daily prayers and pujas need to be learnt by heart. Everybody has to memorize a certain number of lines every day and is examined daily on their progress by the teacher.

The medical clinic is open during this time for the small and big people to attend to their the various small or big problems. Allopathic, Tibetan and Aryuvedic treatments are available, and usually the clinic is quite busy. Serious cases are taken to one of the local hospitals.

After the memorizing session there is a sudden burst of energy noticeable. Released from the constrictions of discipline for a short while, there is a lot of running around, shouting and laughing. Then the bell rings and everybody disappears into their respective classrooms, only to emerge again in time for lunch. The food served at lunch is simple, nutritious, vegetarian, Nepal style, prepared in a clean modern kitchen. 400 meals are prepared three times a day, every day. The nuns take turns helping with preparing the meals in the kitchen and with serving and washing up.

The afternoon is filled with classes again till 4 pm when the memorizing classes start for the small nuns. The older students go to their various philosophy classes until dinner time at 6.30 pm.

At 7.30 pm the bell rings for the last session of the day – chanting of the evening prayers, followed by debate, a lively and noisy affair with much animated jumping up to make their points heard more forcefully.

The day ends around 10.30 pm with dedication prayers and prostrations in the courtyard. The soft sound of prayer recitations can be heard well into the night, together with the occasional clanging of the bell from the big prayer wheel, creating a peaceful atmosphere.

 Have a look at our Daily Schedule