Unlike all other monasteries around the world, the mornings of the monks in Himachal’s Palpung Sherabling Monastery are also filled with studies and prayers, but the evenings in this holy place has a different story, which may come to you as a surprise.
Believe it or not, the young Tibetan Buddhist monks in this monastery are allowed to play basketball during the evening and there is a very good reason why the age old-traditions have been relaxed and the courts were made in some monasteries to incorporate sports.
In a video published by VOA, the principal of this monastery, Khempo Pema Negi says that it is mentioned in ancient Indian texts and even doctors abide by it that how much important it is to play games. Now the rules are changed and playing games are openly allowed in this monastery.
Adding to this he told, “Now the children play without fear. Games relax the children’s minds and help them become sharper.” While talking to VOA, 19-year-old monk Shedup Wangdi says, “it is like yoga, if you jump well, you won’t become fat.”
Watch the video here-
This is not the only monastery in the Himalayan slopes to do that. In Bir Dirru Sakya Monastery too, the games keep the young monks happily engaged. 12-year-old Kunga Namgyal says, “I will become taller and flexible. I am really happy when I score a goal.” But for Lungrik Namgyal (10), the game is simply fun. He says, “when the bigger men have balls, I like to snatch it from them.”
In the court, some score a goal, some miss and some of them just sit there watching and as the colorful flags flutter, there is a gentler aura in these Himalayan slopes. There is no denying the fact that apart from the physical benefits, playing games can help a child to calm his mind, teaches disciple and coordination as well.
Jigmey Thinley, who teaches Buddhist philosophy at this monastery says that he enjoys coaching young monks in the game which has become his favorite since he has learned it in college. “The children who spend the whole day at class, they skip on some activities and mental happiness. In class too, when it is to be about 5 o’clock, they must be thinking about basketball,” he says.
Sports have come to stay because monks believe that they contribute to the goal of a kind mind and a happy life. “If your body is healthy, then your mind is healthy. If that happens, your life is healthy,” adds Negi.
Change is constant and we should embrace it often if that adds to something positive in our lives.