The Start of Prajna Vihar School
Back in 1989, during the Thai Temple retreat, one Indian monk
living at the Thai Temple, named Ven. Anuruddha, was working
with some very poor children from the local village. He was teaching
them some simple chanting and some basic Dharma along with some
basic alphabet, etc. Children came half naked, dressed in rags
in the cold January winter in Bodh Gaya. Little ones were carrying
their younger brother or sister. It was very touching, and many
of the retreatants took an interest in them, bringing fruits,
biscuits, clothes, etc for the children. Ven Anuruddha said he
would like to hire 2 teachers who could teach the children some
basic studies: Hindi, math, English, etc. for a couple hours
a day. So we raised $100 to hire the teachers to pay them $4
However when I returned the following January, 1990, I found
the money had not been spent but instead Ven Anuruddha had formed
a committee (with Kabir Saxena from the Root Institute, a Professor
from the local university, Lord abbot of the Vietnamese temple
and one Tibetan Lama) to start a school in another local village.
He explained that the people from the village, named Mastipur
had requested him to start a school there as they had no school
available to them and their village was illiterate.
We found space in the local Sakya Tibetan Temple, so we hired
a room there starting March 1st. We hired 2 local teachers, Preyag
Prajapati and Sumitra Devi paying them very small salaries. We
had our opening day ceremony at the Temple and Lama Zopa Rinpoche
blessed the new school. We enrolled 25 of the poorest children
from the village, but when classes started, 40 children showed
up so all were included.
We had to leave the Sakya Temple when the pilgrimage season
started in the fall and we moved into a house in the village.
In March, we added a second class and moved again to 2 dormitory
rooms in the Root Institute. And our school stayed there until
we bought a small piece of land where our school is presently
located and we put up 2 tents and classes were carried on under
the small tents.
It was from those tents that the school grew to the three
story building it is now.
PV student in the early