Odiyana Children’s School

India maintains a long and illustrious history of valuing education; in fact, the great monastic center of Nalanda, founded in India in the 5th century, was possibly the world’s first university, where at its height, as many as 5,000 were instructed by 1,500 teachers.

It is important for young children to receive education that is deep as well as broad, to build human as well as to learn academic skills, and to have teachers that are caring as well as knowledgeable. Finally, quality education must be available to all, not just to the privileged few. Only then can it be an equalizing and democratizing force in society.

Tulku himself lived, studied, and taught at a university based on the Nalanda tradition. He subsequently moved to the United States, where he has lived, studied and taught for the past 20 years. In that time, he has seen that there are so many benefits to obtaining a good education. Education a major factor in lifting communities out of poverty and giving young people opportunities to pursue their professional goals. Moreover, education can be a platform for understanding the world and for developing a virtuous heart and mind. Education is a true gateway to self-actualization. Because of Buddhism’s emphasis on developing the mind and altruistic service to others, and because of Rinpoche’s personal views, he knew upon being offered the land that he would like to build a school there as an expression of compassion-in-action.

Many people in the Arunachal and Assam region live in relative poverty, and children do not have access to a good education. Therefore, the intention behind the Odiyana School is that roughly one-third of the enrollment spaces will be reserved for local orphans, who will receive not only a full education but boarding, food and clothing at no cost. Furthermore, Rinpoche envisions that tuition for day students will be adjusted based on financial need.

The Odiyana Children’s School will include modern classrooms for each grade, administrative offices, a kitchen and dining hall, and a library. The educational program will offer a comprehensive K-6 contemporary curriculum in Language, Math, Science, History, Visual and Performing Arts, and Movement. A unique aspect of this modern academic program is that it will be informed by buddhist principles of love and compassion, non-violence, interconnectedness, stewardship of the planet, and deliberate cultivation of the heart and mind through mindfulness and meditation.

Our vision is to recruit highly qualified, full-time teaching faculty from the local Indian population. In addition, the Odiyana Project will offer volunteer teaching opportunities to educators from abroad. Foreign volunteers will receive travel assistance, food, room and board. They will gain unique and life-changing personal and professional experience, while positively impacting the lives of so many wonderful children and their families, in one of the most remote and stunningly beautiful places on earth. Tulku Orgyen Rinpoche envisions the Odiyana School as a place for developing kind people with leadership skills who possess peace, wisdom and may benefit society for generations to come.