Chapter

Children in Himalayan Monasteries

Karma Lekshe Tsomo

in Little Buddhas

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199860265
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979929 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199860265.003.0016

Series: AAR Religion, Culture, and History

Children in Himalayan Monasteries

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For centuries, large numbers of children in Himalayan societies have grown up in Buddhist monasteries where they have received an education in Buddhist values, texts, and rituals. Life in a monastery, with its rigorous discipline and training, prepares young people, especially boys, to become religious specialists for the benefit of both the lay community and their own spiritual advancement. Monastic life is regarded as a meaningful and highly meritorious career path that offers a comfortable living, helps preserve Buddhist culture, and earns widespread respect. Buddhist monasteries are still at the heart of religious life in the Himalayan region, but Buddhist institutions cannot help but be influenced by current social, political, and cultural changes that challenge these ancient traditions. If children decide to pursue other options and do not enter monastic life, Buddhist monastic culture and the Himalayan religious heritage face an uncertain future.

Keywords: Himalayan culture; children; monastery; parents; ritual; education; discipline; gender

Chapter.  12286 words. 

Subjects: Buddhism

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