Religion: The annual meeting of Trashigang Rabdey that ended on July 28 resolved that kenyers (care takers) of the religious organisations under the Trashigang Dratshang will be paid a monthly stipend of Nu 1,700.

The resolution comes at a time when there is severe shortage of kenyers in lhakhangs and gendeys in the dzongkhag.

Kanglung Shedra’s Khenpo Yeshey said that there are a few lhakhangs under the dratshang without kenyers, and those with kenyers do not receive much support from the dratshang.

“In some cases, communities have handed over their lhakhangs to the dratshang. Without remuneration for kenyers, we fear that our lhakhangs might become empty someday,” Khenpo Yeshey said.

The dratshang also decided that the Tensung Drungyi should conduct yearly inspections of all the religious structures from this year.

Khenpo Yeshey said that the dratshang is currently in the process of repairing and replacing nangzungs (relics) of the choetens that were vandalised. “Last year, around 42 choetens were repaired in Lumang gewog alone. Relics were also replaced. We should be able to complete the restoration activities by October.”

The meeting also decided to stop serving alcohol and meat items during tshechus, rituals and funerals.

Trashigang Rabdey’s Lam Neten said that the killing of animals is increasing by the year; consumption of more meat means killing more animals.

“Eventually, such deeds will have huge impact on the peace and prosperity of the nation,” said Lam Neten. “Through such measures, we are hoping to reduce killing of animals.”

Participants at the meeting shared concerns about the underutilised Gomphu Kibiling astrology school in Gomphu Kora, Trashiyangtse. Although the school has all the resources, it does not have enough students.

“The school is supposed to accommodate about 100 students but there are only 19 today,” said Khenpo Yeshey. “We have been asking all gewogs of six eastern dzongkhags to find and send interested people to the school, but there has been no improvement.”

Quality of monastic education was also discussed because of negligible enrolment in the religious organisations.

Lam Neten said that English is also being taught to improve the quality of education for the monks. “Benefits like free medication and financial support in case of death of a monk or their family members will also be strictly implemented.”

To address the issue of dwindling number of chops in the villages, the meeting decided to send more monks to places like Wamrong, Gongthung and Samcholing, among others.

Religious organisations will open new bank accounts to ease the process of transferring funds.

To commemorate 10 years since His Majesty The King ascended to the Golden Throne and to celebrate 400 years since Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal first started Choe-si system of governance, monks of Trashigang Rabdey will perform kurim.

The annual meeting was attended by 48 lamas, tsozins and lay monks from 25 religious organisations in the dzongkhag.

Tshering Wangdi,  Trashigang