Siddhartha School Project, India
Khen Rinpoche is a Tibetan Buddhist monk from Ladakh, India. He began his monastic life at age seven. At thirteen, he joined the Stok Monastery to study and memorize Buddhist scriptures. When he was fifteen years old, he walked with his father from Ladakh to Shigatse, Tibet to enter the renowned Tashi Lhunpo Monastery. The 800mile trek took them over two months to complete. Rinpoche received his novice monk vows there and studied Buddhist philosophy. His dream was to receive the Geshe degree in Buddhist philosophy, roughly equivalent to a Ph.D. This dream was deferred when the Chinese government intensified their policy of cultural genocide on occupied Tibet in 1959. The daily public humiliation and torture of monks by Chinese officials and the mass destruction of the monasteries and colleges made it impossible to continue the pursuit of this degree there. Rinpoche escaped to his homeland in 1960. He chose to leave Ladakh again in 1970 in pursuit of his Geshe training. In 1995, Rinpoche founded The Siddhartha School in his home village in Stok, Ladakh. The school seeks to preserve Tibetan Buddhist Culture and language while giving the children of this remote Himalayan area a wellrounded education, which allows them to represent themselves and their culture in our rapidly evolving global community. In July 2005 Rinpoche was installed as Kachen, or head abbot, of the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery in southern India. At that time, his title became Khen Rinpoche Geshe Kachen Lobzang Tsetan.