Guest Post: Drupa Drong Monastery, by Chris Painter

Hello, my name is Chris Painter. I am an education graduate student at ASU and a friend of Pavel Sidakov. I have been meditating for around 10 years.

As you may know, Nepal suffered a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake in 2015. Around 9,000 people across the country lost their lives, and scores of precious cultural sites were ruined.

One of those sites is the Drupa Drong monastery and retreat center, located deep in the Himalayas north of Kathmandu. Yolmo, the local name of region, is considered by legend to be a sacred valley where Buddhist Bodhisattvas such as Milarepa and Guru Rinpoche are believed to have visited, blessed, and practiced. Today, Buddhist practitioners from all over the world travel here to conduct meditation retreats in the Tibetan Nyingma tradition, spanning from weeks to multiple years.

Last year, our small team traveled to Drupa Drong to survey the damage, interact with the practitioners, and produce a short documentary. The beautiful Yolmo region could have come straight out of a storybook, as monsoon clouds swirled hypnotically around the steep, stupa-dotted mountain faces. We found the people as kind as they were grounded, optimistic and cheerful despite difficult circumstances. Clearly, Drupa Drong is more than a retreat center to the local community; our fascinating conversations with resident master Meme Rinpoche were periodically interrupted by the needs of local villagers, such as treatment for a suspicious dog bite and financial needs of an elderly widow.

The kind and welcoming people at Drupa Drong are asking for assistance to rebuild their retreat center so they can continue to practice and carry on their traditions. These devoted practitioners are currently living in less than suitable conditions, and spending much of their time personally assisting with reconstruction efforts. Your tax-deductible donation can make an enormous impact given the state of the national economy; Nepal is the 2nd poorest country in Asia, and is still recovering from the effects of a decade-long civil war.

You can visit drupadrongreconstruction.com to learn more and make a donation.

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