Message from Norbulingka

Sagadawa is coming soon. It marks the Buddha’s birthday and is the holiest day of the year, falling on the 15thof the 4thmonth on the Tibetan lunar calendar. It is a time for gaining merit, and each year, hundreds of destitute people come up from the plains to McLeod Ganj and line up to collect alms from the Tibetan members of the community. 

With the whole of India in the throngs of Covid, Sagadawa will be celebrated from home, in thought and prayer, which are needed more than ever. In these times of exceptional duress for India, Norbulingka is thinking of all those who have found themselves on Covid’s path of destruction. We thought it was over, hope was rising, and as of March 1st Norbulingka cautiously opened its door to the public. Six weeks later, it became clear that a new wave was approaching, deadlier than the first, and we have once more closed our doors. We look around as the horror is spreading and getting closer than it ever was, with hospitals filling and oxygen availability scarce for the sick.  

Our primary goal is to keep about 500 people in our care, 336 staff, their families and children, safe and provided for. We have converted our hospitality into quarantine and care areas, and have rounded up staff volunteers to deal with the situation if need arises. So far, there have only been a few cases at Norbulingka and they have been isolated as per protocol. We have been following strict precautionary measures since last year, but want to be ready if the situation worsens, which seems to be the trend. 

In Dharamsala, cases are multiplying and hospitals filling. We are trying to help where we can, beyond our own community, and are considering ways to reach out to those in need, rounding up volunteers and sharing resources. Plans are still very much in the making, but we will keep our readership informed to direct any emergency funding. 

Presently, all we can do is plan and be ready, implement safety measures on our grounds, and do our best not to endanger anyone. We extend our thoughts to our friends who have passed, in Delhi and closer, to their loved ones and pray that Covid’s rampage will soon come to an end.