Listen to an audio interview from Ladakh - with Bodhic teacher Palmo describing her experiences at the school.

Read a transcript of the interview below.


My name is Palmo. Since 1996 I work in a school - another school called Ladakh Public School - and I worked there for 12 years. And last year when I have an interview that there’s a post for the Tibetan, so I am very interested to teach Bodhic because it is my own language and I have so many experiences to teach Bodhic, because it helps me to improve. Where I live, the environment, speaks Bodhi. I can take so many knowledge from the big books and some resource persons in TCV. So the Bodhic language is very related for my environment and I was interested to become a Bodhic teacher. So I came and interviewed and I was selected. So it is very fortunate for me to be selected and come here as a Bodhic teacher in this Druk Padma Karpo School.

I was very eager to come here to teach Bodhic because my godparent, who was in England and who was in America when I was only 13 years old, and I write about my life and about my works and he advised me that the Druk Padma Karpo School is very good for you. So I came here and I got this and I was very happy when I heard that I was selected. So I immediately phoned to my Papa and he said that this is excellent and so now you have to improve your English and so he sent me so many English tapes. And besides this, the local language is very important. You have to improve it and I said that here so many resources like Buddhist Centre Institutions. I can get so many books which are related to the students to teach and some resources persons like Lama Rigzin and whenever I have some difficult space in Bodhic I can go there and ask them.

So my other one is my children and their Tibetan. Their Bodhic is very good as compared to the Ladadkhi government school. So I learned from my children also so many new Bodhic words and then I come - when I’m at home - I try to reconcile all the words and then in school I teach them - I try my best to teach them. Before I come to the school in our morning class I go through the textbook and see what is the real one how I should teach the children. And then now the children they all like the Bodhic to learn because before they are not so good in Bodhic. And then when they are not proper reading, their handwriting was not good, so when I teach them slowly, slowly now they are very happy. When I come into class they become very happy. They said that we know lots of things from you — like we improve our handwriting and we improve our reading. And so I was very happy because I worked so hard to teach them Bodhic - said that Bodhic is not so important for the Tibetan; it is for the Ladakhi. Because we all have the same culture, we have same Buddhist philosophy, thoughts. So when I - in this school I have to prepare the lesson plan so before Mme Maureen I have to write all this into the English. So I get lots of problem to change all these words into English. So I go to some resource persons and I find a dictionary in Tibetan and English, and I find so many new words. So I recollect all of this and then teach it. It helps me a lot because before what we do we learn only Bodhic but then we did not know much of the words in the English. So when I have to prepare a lesson plan in English so I work hard more on English as in Bodhic, because Bodhic is my own language to teach.

I’m interested because it is religious so I - whenever I have time I do some prayers and when in school - when I come here before the school, I also teach so many small, small prayer books and when I came here as a teacher in the Bodhic so its script is also written in the Bodhic language so it is very easy for me to teach them, so that is why I am very glad to be here as a Bodhic teacher. It is also very important for the Ladahkis because all their cultures are written in. We have the traditional - what to call - dress totally different, language different, but when we go through the grammar we are always same. So that’s why when I teach to them so sometimes I say that they must speak in the Bodhic language because it will improve your Bodhic - not that I mind necessarily because I say that you have to speak in English but it is for their gain - their gain that if they speak in ‘Little Tibetan’ then all their words are written in that Tibetan language so they cover more, so I don’t have to change all into the Ladakhi language. Like when I say it is a “big” so we say chenpo and we write chenpo and Ladakhi say chenmo, so then a little bit difference for them. So I said I teach in English sometime - when we are teaching in English, English to English is more to improve them. So when we are teaching in Bodhic language, it is better to speak sometimes in Bodhic language because it is more chance to catch up more knowledge from me.

For me it is a very great chance to work here because my Papa - it is only the advice of my Papa and he is coming soon and I hope that he will really like what I am doing here.

And then the Bodhic language is I think it is very important because in the Himalayan regions – now in Tibet almost demolished by the Chinese. So the left one is called the Little Tibet is Ladakh, so here we can know so many cultural things, like I can know sometimes the question is related when I teach through Ladahki history and monastery. My husband helps me lots in this subject because he is an artist. He knows so many things about Ladakh - gompas and the mural arts and all the Wheel of Life and all the different types of the Buddhas and so I gain lots from this field - Buddhist philosophy culture and then my own language is the grammatical. I have no teachers, but then I have so many resources books. When I feel some problems, I used to take the dictionary - I used to go to some resource persons and ask them help me. And when at home, I always try to write this on some piece of paper and then correct them and then discuss them with some of my colleagues who are also here about the Ladahki cultures I can learn from when it is related in the texts. If I have more knowledge then I teach the other Ladakhi colleagues here about the Ladakhi history. So when last year it was about the Ladakhi history I had not heard before and I did not learn. So I asked Lama Rigzin and I got to the library it is a good history books it is written by some great historian. So you know, the books help me very lots. And it is for me that I like the Buddhist Bodhic because I know English well - not well - but then a little and then maths I am also interested. But at last after last ten years I change it - my mind - that I want to become a Bodhic teacher because it - when we learn Bodhic we can read so many Buddhist prayers so this - the prayers - keeps our minds happy. Bodhic language is the only language that when we read everything, and we feel very peaceful. So that’s why I think that the Bodhic is very important for the Ladakhi and of course for we Tibetans it is also very important - all the Himalayan regions have to learn a little about the Bodhic.