Unlike their friends, 95 students have decided to spend their winter vacation attending a Buddhist tradition orientation and training programme at the Druk Namgaycholing Dratshang in Phuentsholing.

Organised by the Nangchuk Gomdi (Buddhist Tradition Practitioners) comprised of about 11 volunteers, the programme aims to engage students meaningfully by becoming nuns and monks.

The students who left from Thimphu yesterday has already begun the programme that is supported by the Zhung Dratshang. The students would be taught various Buddhist practices for over three weeks.

Students of classes IX-XII from across the country are attending the programme, which is provided free of cost.

Drungtsho Tandin Phub said such programmes first began with the adults going on a retreat as monks and nuns in 2014, which gradually attracted the children.

“It has been successful every year where more students come forward to attend every winter,” he said adding that it is important for children to learn about culture and tradition.

The programme would start with a morning prayer from 5:30am. The students would be taught historical books, prayers, Dzongkha grammar, and writing.

The students would also learn to conduct rituals and offering to appease local deities, among others.

Officials from various agencies also give talks on specific topics and the students would have to also appear a test, in the end, to see if the programme was useful.

“After winter solstice, we would take in students who couldn’t make it to Phuentsholing, to attend the similar programme at Dechenphodrang.”

The programme ends on January 18 next year.

Yangchen C Rinzin