Tenzin Lung Tog's study area at sera je monastery in inda

The image above is the main area where I study.  The other area is my bed.  The lamp has a rechargeable battery which lasts many hours for when the power goes out — which is frequent.  I have a back-up battery for my essential electronics to get me into my online classes when necessary, assuming the cell towers are still functioning. (We don’t have wifi, all my internet connections are through my data plan.) 

Everyday, every single day, I hear the voices of this community studying. Monks who are my age and older, some who came to Sera as children and are studying for their last set of exams (still 4-6 years to go!), so who came here from other monasteries to study, to gain an education that wasn’t available where they came from. Monks who are in their 20’s and 30’s, in the midst of the Geshe program, memorizing texts, preparing for classes and Debate.

And then there’s the little monks. Sometimes they’re quietly learning their lessons from the Sera Jey Secondary School. Some of them have only one volume: Screaming! I discovered the other day that one such youngster whom I thought lived in my house, actually lives about a block away or so…and screams everything! If I paid a little bit more attention to his lessons, I might learn them as well. 

I’ve been told that volume helps with diction in Tibetan…. I have not yet tried screaming my own studies. I’m fairly certain we can all predict the results – a heap of laughter, unable to even whisper the words!

There’s a tenaciousness that many bring to their studies. This time we have to study is precious. It’s a luxury. I am very grateful for this time. Our enthusiasm and appreciation for our studies doesn’t need to be hampered or dampened by the amount of time we have for them.  It’s easier to waste what we have a lot of. 

When I hear the chanting voices each morning and evening, when I look around at all the bookshelves in the various rooms…there’s so much to learn. Each voice has something different to teach! There is so much to study, but it is too valuable to waste. So we persist in our studies, we continue seeking more.