Interview with Jigme Rinpoche in May 2016 - Infinite Compassion

Questions to Jigme Rinpoche in Renchen-Ulm, Bodhi Path Center:


About Infinite Compassion’s organization

– What was Shamar Rinpoche’s intention when establishing Infinite Compassion?

Jigme Rinpoche: Shamar Rinpoche established IC for children living in poverty and for animals. It was important to him that children receive an education which their parents would not be able to afford otherwise. At the same time some of these children can pursue the path of a Buddhist teacher who keeps the teaching alive and spreads it to the world. For this reason the establishment of Diwakar Academy for further education in Kalimpong/India in addition to Diwakar Primary School in Takdah, Darjeeling/India is one example. This School will allow young adults to obtain a certified graduation and to teach Buddhist philosophy internationally. It was also a matter dear to Shamar Rinpoche’s heart that Infinite Compassion takes a stand for saving animals’ lives and protecting them. In many countries there is much cruelty to animals, specifically to those for slaughter. It was particularly important to Rinpoche that they should not suffer additional agony when being killed. A more “humane“ method of slaughtering should be considered and preferably be implemented.

About Diwakar Primary School Project in Takdah

– Why has the new construction and extension respectively become necessary?

Jigme Rinpoche: Presently there is only a small house which is not suitable for teaching pupils and additionally provide accommodation for them. There is just not sufficient room. Part of the small building was also damaged by the 2010 earthquake so that urgent repair work had to be carried out. Due to the 2015 earthquake in Nepal the number of pupils has almost doubled: in the meantime 150 children of poor families or also orphans live there – another 20 are expected to arrive from Nepal in the near future.

– What educational options do the pupils have after graduating from primary school?

Jigme Rinpoche: The majority will join Diwakar Academy in Kalimpong for further education and obtain a certified graduation after studying for approximately 10 years. However, the pupils are also at liberty to go their own ways and to start different trainings.

– What are the donations so urgently needed for at present?

Jigme Rinpoche: Food and medicine for the children are most urgently required. They also need clothes, but only twice a year, according to season.

– There are only young monks in the schools. When is a project for girls envisaged?

Jigme Rinpoche: As soon as someone is found who can be in charge of the new project on location near Kalimpong we can start construction of a school for girls. A building plot has already been there for approx. 10 years. As soon as the project starts girls will certainly arrive immediately, because there is a large demand. Male children rather than girls – who are often needed in the households only – receive an education if the parents can cope financially.

About Sharminub Project

– What was the reason for choosing this location?

Jigme Rinpoche: The location of Sharminub in Nagarjuna Park is a holy place, beautifully situated on the mountainside, with a view of Kathmandu.

– What does the new Institute offer to laypeople and monks?

Jigme Rinpoche: Studies, lectures, three- or ten-year-retreats, also short-term retreats for laypeople, expected to start in 2017. Moreover, Sharminub is an important pilgrimage site for Buddhists: there will also be a Stupa with relics of the 14th Shamar Rinpoche. After retreats Lamas will be qualified to teach the Dharma in the different Buddhist centers around the world.

– Which teachers/Lamas will teach there and give lectures?

Jigme Rinpoche: His Holiness Karmapa Thaye Dorje but also other high Lamas will teach there. In the same way that he is the head of the KIBI in Delhi he also is for this Institute.

– In which way is it different from the KIBI in Delhi?

Jigme Rinpoche: There is no difference, the academic program is the same in both Institutes. Due to its climatic conditions Sharminub has the advantage of being available throughout the year. The KIBI is considerably impaired by the very hot summer and it is not really usable for studies then. Therefore hardly any events take place there from April to August. There will also be teachings in Sharminub, comparable with the “Public Course“ in KIBI (Note from the editor: one week of teachings and initiations from His Holiness Gyalwa Karmapa). It is not clear yet when the Project will be completed, because one million dollars more are required before the Institute can be inaugurated.

About Khango Project in Tibet

– How did the Khango Project came into being and why was this location chosen?

Jigme Rinpoche: His Holiness, the 16th Karmapa as well as Shamar Rinpoche and myself were born there. Two Khenpos asked for Shamar Rinpoche’s help, because they had already been teaching children in the monastery, but they had to rely on urgent help, for food, good accommodation, etc. for the children. The pupils come from very poor families in the area and they would not be available to them otherwise.

– Is there only a primary school or also a secondary one?

Jigme Rinpoche: There is only primary school education which will last for five years. At an age between 6 – 9 they normally start in the first form, depending on when there is a vacancy for the child. They can subsequently attend a secondary school. Normally children of poor families have to work in order to contribute to their livelihood. Unfortunately some parents still think that school education is unnecessary and in their opinion their children should start working without education very early to lead the same lives as themselves.

– Are there any subsequent training and education opportunities?

Jigme Rinpoche: A secondary school is planned as the next project, as soon as there is someone who can be in charge of on-site management and assume responsibility. Complete new constructions are not allowed (no building permit) but old buildings may be renovated.