Bon Future Fund
The Bon Future Fund is a 501-c3 that has been working consistently to help preserve the cultural and spiritual traditions of the Ancient Bon people of Tibet since 2001. Over the years we have offered assistance for the needs of the children living at the monastery during their time of study. For others, we have supported their post graduation pursuits. We helped with the building of infrastructure at Menri and at Redna Menling Nunnery, supported the education of 10 Bon women in Tibet to become doctors, provided needed supplies for schooling, ceremonial clothing, medicinal needs and as well assisted artisans within the Menri community with tools and supplies that ensure their sacred art may continue to thrive.
We are deeply grateful for all these years of the depth of friendships that have been cultivated and look forward to having the opportunity for many more years of service and fellowship.
This year of 2020 represents the beginning of many profound changes for our world at large.
As a result The Bon Future Fund will devote our efforts on the effects of climate change upon the sustainability of Bon and post graduation educational opportunities for girls in the decade to come. As the world's ecology is astoundingly affecting everyone around the world, the regions of Tibet, Nepal, India, Bhutan, are experiencing extraordinary impacts particularly upon the remote mountainous villages and communities where the ancient Bon tradition and culture is still practiced. Clean, accessible water has always been paramount in mountain terraced communities.
The effects of climate change has led to limited snow pack, receding glaciers and thus decreased precious water supply. Extreme weather and temperatures continue to affect the very fabric of sustainability. Ancient cultures have innate understandings of how to live in precipice times, as well as having a spiritually inspired connection to the natural world and awareness to the sublime cadences of the invisible realms. The Bon carry profound knowledge and wisdom regarding the development of the human heart and living in relationship with our earth as a living organism.
Such knowledge is immeasurable to the sustainability for all of humanity. As such, assisting these remote village communities that depend on Menri and Redna Menling and vise versa, will become one of our focal points as we begin this new decade at the Bon Future Fund. We see this as part of growing web of ancient cultures generating a vital bridge between the ancient and the modern world; a place where ancient wisdom technology and heart awakening learn to co-exist in harmony for the sake of all sentient beings.
Our Second area of focus abides in the higher educational pursuits of the young girls currently living at the Redna Menling Nunnery within the embrace of Menri Monastery. This Bon nunnery, the only one in India and only one of a handful in the world, sits serenely near the river at the base of the valley, facing the Menri Monastery that overlooks the valley on the opposite hilltop. Both institutions are located in Dolangi, Ganyar, Himachal Pradesh India, 20 mins. or so from Solan. To arrive at Menri or Redna Menling it on a good day, is an 8 or 9 hour journey by car or train from New Delhi.
Many of the girls who arrive at Redna Menling, "Land of Precious Medicine", come from the various remote mountainous villages of Humla, Dolpo, Tibet, Mustang and Bhutan where Bon is practiced. The nunnery serves as the home for approximately 85 female nuns or anis as they are referred to, ranging in age from 4 to 50, all arriving to have the opportunity to study, along with many other subjects required by the district, the Bon traditions and philosophy practiced by their ancestors.
The 33rd Abbot of Menri opened the pathway for the first time in Bon history allowing for Bon anis worldwide to achieve the highest academic degree of Geshe or more appropriately Geshema, a title bestowed upon a woman who has attained such a degree. This rigorous degree demands 15 to 17 years of consistent study to achieve and receive. We are committed to holding the vision and bringing into the manifestation the first Bon Geshemas within this unfolding decade!
There are several non-profits aimed at supporting the endeavors of Menri Monastery, including the sponsorship of the children. If you are called to support any of the children within the monastery and or nunnery, the www.bonfoundation.org has a wonderful program for sponsorship available.
The Bon Future Fund is re-directing its energy and resources towards helping young girls who wish to further their education post gratuation from the nunnery. Many of the young girls will choose to become lifelong anis. Some of the young girls choose to pursue higher educational opportunities outside of a monastic setting. These are the young women that the Bon Future Fund feels called to assist, and to do so for a myriad of reasons.
Writing as the founder of the Bon Future Fund, I have experienced first hand the blessings of receiving scholarships for the pursuit of my own education. After much meditation and reflection,
I have come to consider what it means for a girl to experience being championed, believed in, invested in, and to know who those people are that do so.
Being a recipient of a schlorhsip from an anonymous source for my high school private education, it took me many many years to realize how receving such a scholarship affected me on levels I hadn't realized. Whereas I was grateful for the opportunity such an act of kindness and generosity of spirit afforded my life, what I didn't realize was the stress and anxiety it also generated within me.
By not knowing who extended such an opportunity for my education, nor having the ability to meet them directly to thank them and have some sort of interaction with them and frankly to hear why they chose to offer such a scholarship, such would have undoubtedly planted a seed within my own heart. To be moved and within that heart movement to move another in return, is one of the greatest aspects of what being human can be.
How do we learn to be humane, empathetic?
There is something quite revolutionary within the exchange of a simple act of kindness when experienced via witnessing that happens between two hearts, two souls. I realized over the years that I never knew if I had met the expectation the benefactor had of me.
Did I succeed, fail, disappoint, triumph, do the right thing? I can only imagine it so.
The power of the word is potent. A simple act of heartfelt exchange between the champion and what is being championed has quantum implications upon the whole. All children need support, confidence, guidance and a sense of being seen for who they be from the inside out. Girls in specific and the girls graduating from Redna Menling in particular are from families whose female members have received nominal if any education in the western sense. As well most come from families within villages where any educational opportunities are usually reserved for boys.
It is for these reasons that it is imperative that such girls have champions from the west.
Writing as a western woman who has received the incredible experience of higher education, it is not usual for many of us to reflect upon the fact that our educational opportunity is a direct result of a too often unsung ancestral legacy, the result of a culmination of what came before. We as western women are the daughters of many of the first who received a higher education. What does that mean for us, for our ancestors who didn't, wouldn't, weren't able to or more often than not, weren't allowed or seen as it being necessary?
Can the actions we take today effect our lives in such ways that influence what has come before us? Can our actions of today offer needed healing of the past, and in so doing, positively influence the future?