Sunday, July 29, 2012

What teaching means to me

My outlook on teaching is quite different. For me, teaching is neither a job, nor a profession.  It is a unique hobby in life which requires the greatest sacrifice. Teaching is a service from heart dedicated to an individual, society and the country at large.

A mere setting of worker and workplace is not enough when the ultimate outcome preferred is education. Teaching-learning process will never be perfect unless teaching is passion for the one who teaches because teaching is all allied with mind and emotion of a teacher and learners where enthusiasm must come from the heart.

Truly, teaching cannot be a lucrative occupation as well, for the reason that nobody can pay teachers enough.  If teaching is measured in monetary terms, teachers deserve all the riches of the world. But where do we put an end to our demands and begin to do our job whole-heartedly? My genuine interest in teaching is the greatest motivator for me to join this noble profession. Or else, no wealth and power can completely inspire me from joining this onerous and difficult job.

Quite often, the convoluted education system disappoints me. But, as soon as I step into the classroom, so many cute innocent faces looking at me like chicks greeting their mother touches my heart. By then, I overlook on all the involvedness of teaching and starts developing unique enthusiasm from the core of my heart to hold the candlelight for our future citizens.

I believe that the teacher has a unique opportunity to serve the Tsawasum. I realized that my strong respect for our sublime religion and benevolent kings will never be expressed completely unless I become a teacher. Apart from taking up one of the noblest professions anywhere in the world, I can help ease the teacher shortage in the country. With my utmost enthusiasm and commitment, I will strive to make a great difference to our struggling education system. By and large, the teaching profession makes an immense contribution to the country’s progress, and this is what gratifies me at the end of the day.

Even from the Buddhist perspective, there is no nobler profession than teaching. Teaching anything with good intention is considered a virtuous act, and considered the greatest form of alms-giving. I may sound overtly philosophical, but teaching gives one the greatest chance of accumulating spiritual virtues.

The beauty of teaching today seems to be hidden in the half-hearted performance. One has to work hard to feel the real fun and excitement of it. Only a teacher who teaches with commitment and enthusiasm will experience its real flavour. If we are looking for the kind of job that can keep us survive today, and build our way to nirvana, then we should join teaching.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Pangkhar Thangthong

Photo: Dasho Karma Ura (Internet)
One thing that often upset me much during my childhood days was when people tease me as ‘Pangkhar Thongthong’. My intimate friends use such description in their comic stories, and strangers while sneering at us (Pangkharpas). But, the humorous part that I now realize is that, both the parties seem to have no or less knowledge on the underlying principle behind such description. A mere ground of housing a statue of Thangthong Gyelpo (believed to be made by Thangthong himself) seems to be weak tool for either joke or insult. Otherwise, attaching such a large and holy surname ‘Thangthong’ to the name of our village should be a matter of happiness for us. 

What makes me even more anxious when people tease us is that the sacred statue of Thangthong Gyelpo (The King of the Empty Plains) is housed in the private Lhakhang of my parents. While it has been the savior of all Pangkharps for centuries, the strong prophesy remained untouched in a small altar of my parents. 

Although, there is no reliable source or chronicle on how and when the sacred clay statue of Thangthong Gyelpo reached Pangkhar Lhakhang, some elderly people share some mind-boggling legend on how it was left in the shrine of my parents. 

My great-grandparents went through as the most underprivileged in the village for decades. Being a pathetic and fragile people, they suffered for food and cloth, but the Government tax tortured them the most. They lived on tenterhooks for long time, but hoping for better they fled to Kurtoe where food grows plenty and fruits bounty. However, to their dismay, life at Kurtoe did not turn out to be calm and comfy. Working under the scorching sun and the burning climate twisted to be even harder for them.

Hearing the heartrending story of my suffering great-grandparents at Kurtoe, some kind villagers determined to fetch them back to the village. Crossing the high and hard pass of Purshila, they arrived to their once ignored village. Here, opportunely, villagers unanimously agreed to assign them as an in-charge of Pangkhar Lhakhang where they can live in the space in the Lhakhang itself. Life became much easier from then on. They were able to mount up enough land for their sustainable survival.

Soon, the Pangkharps strong-willed to construct a new Lhakhang at some distance away. After completing the construction of stunning Lhakhang, people decided to shift all the relics. But the amazing story happened when they reached the halfway towards the new Lhakhang (near Pangkhar Watermill). The small clay statue of Thangthong Gyelpo (which is about three to four kilogram) became exceedingly heavy, that even the group of strongest men could not lift. On the contrary, as soon as they face the statue towards the old Lhakhang, it became very light, evidently signifying that it is destined to keep in the old Lhakhang itself. Helpless villagers carried the statue back and left in care of my great-grandparents.

The sacred statue has been then handed down generation to generation as a main relic in our shrine. Today, the scared statue is still housed in the small altar of my parents. I am proud to be ‘Pangkhar Thangthong’.