FFM’s involvement with Bhutan began in 2011 following a meeting between FFM Exco members and Dr Tashi Zangmo, Founder of the Bhutan Nuns Foundation (BNF). Established in 2009, BNF seeks to improve the quality of life and education of all Buddhist nuns throughout Bhutan regardless of sectarian difference.
Since 2012, FFM in collaboration with BNF has participated in a number of initiatives including the Bhutan Nuns sponsorship programme and construction of nuns’ living quarters. FFM has also provided support through financial contributions for a number of projects in Bhutan including the 1st International Buddhist Nuns Conference held in Paro, Bhutan in December 2013 and the first ever large-scale Nuns ordination ceremony held in Punakha, Bhutan in May 2014.
FFM volunteers have made a total of three trips to Bhutan in 2013 and 2014 and experienced firsthand the challenges and difficulties in reaching nunneries located in remote areas. In addition to the difficult geographical terrain, there are also accommodation constraints, thus limiting humanitarian visits to Bhutan to small groups.
Project Updates & Recent News
Voices from the Heart
To keep running the nunnery is challenging. Some nuns get discouraged and leave. Likewise I get discouraged. Each time BNF came, the nuns and I are re-energized. I feel more encouraged with FFM’s support and in their valuing us. This has encouraged us and planted the seed in our mind to make the best of what we have …
--Head Monk Teacher Lama Yeshi Dorji of Shedrup Choling nunnery who founded the nunnery 10 years ago at the request of the local community, and who had compassionately donated one of his kidneys to his friend’s mother so that she could continue farming and earn a livelihood
SBS Kathina Reflection 2014
Like all Firefly Mission trips, this trip to SBS has been a very fruitful and enjoyable one for me due to a few reasons. Firstly is because I have just finished my End-Of-Year examinations and is relaxing while awaiting my results so this trip serves as a relaxant for me and also doubles up as a reward too for finishing the school year.
Secondly, there are many new faces and each one of them brings an element of refreshment because we get to talk to different people and not just to the same old-timers. They are like patches adding their own stories to the firefly mission quilt and this in turns make Firefly Mission more interesting and less mundane.
Thirdly, this trip is filled with visits to other Buddhist Organizations like Tzu Chi on Day 1 and Nalanda on Day 4 and is therefore very rewarding to our spiritual life. These organizations show us around their “campus”, as they serve as schools for the Dharma, and even host us for delicious lunches, they also inspire us as they have done much meaningful work too and have gained many supporters, even those from overseas.
Lastly, I enjoyed this trip very much too because like all Firefly Mission trips it has successfully incorporated the elements of relax and learning into the trip itinerary. No one will forget the beautiful hotels that we stayed in especially the boutique hotel on day 1 and the five-star hotel on day 3. All in all, I took a lot out of this trip and I hope to be able to go for more trips in the near future.
Graeme participated in the alms round
Photo Credit: Bro Goh KS
See more voices here.