Siddhartha School Project

His Holiness Gyalwa Karmapa Lama visits Siddhartha School! by Lisa V. Blake
April 27, 2011, 6:52 pm
Filed under: Education in Ladakh, Ladakh News, School News, SSP News, Uncategorized

Siddhartha School was blessed and honored by a 45 minute visit with His Holiness Gyalwa Karmapa on April 26, 2011.  It was his second visit to the school and many parents and honorary guests were on hand to welcome him.  The students dressed in very beautiful traditional clothing and presented a cultural show for him.  His visit was a success and the entire school body felt very honored and blessed to have the opportunity to be among the fortunate audience.  Stay tuned for photos from this event, to be posted soon!

Back in the US, Khen Rinpoche Tsetan has been in New York City, Connecticut, and Maine on the East Coast.  In addition to leading several teachings, Khen Rinpoche joined Executive Director of the Siddhartha School Project Lisa V. Blake at Connecticut College for a presentation about Siddhartha School on April 15, 2011.  College volunteer Danielle Plourde who came to work at the school in the summer of 2010 and who was on hand digging out the hospital in Leh with Siddhartha student volunteers after the mudslide organized a wonderful large gathering at her college.  The theme “Himalayan Heritage: The effects of globalization on a remote Tibetan Buddhist community, featuring a talk by a prestigious Tibetan lama Khen Rinpoche Tsetan, who will speak about the importance of cultural preservation and the actions that are being taken by the students of the Siddhartha School to live in harmony with the Earth.” Lisa presented a slide show on the sustainability project featuring the village cleanup, the students in action, and teh Zero Trash Policy crafted by the class 10 girls.  We reached over 60 people, sold many of Rinpoche’s books, and even gained a new sponsor for our project who will hopefully come to the school in 2012.  More updates coming soon!  Julley & love, Lisa   

He is currently in California, where he has led the ceremony celebrating His Holiness the Panchen Lama’s birthday.  This weekend on May 1, 2011 he will join His Holiness the Dalai Lama for the Yamantaka Initiation in Long Beach, CA.


Now in Session: Siddhartha High School begins 2011 School Year by Lisa V. Blake
April 2, 2011, 4:14 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

The doors of the school have re-opened after the long winter break, necessitated by the cold Himalayan winter and the fact that the school buildings have no heating source. 

The students and staff were treated to a surprise visit from founder and director of the school, Khen Rinpoche Lobzang Tsetan who was able to peel away for a short visit.  He was in Souhtern India wearing his other hat as head abbot of the Tashi Lhunpo monastery and had not planned on being able to welcome the students into a new school year.   Mr. Norlha Ngodup –our junior science teacher is appointed as the headmaster of the school. In the short-term absence of the Principal he’ll be the in charge of the school.  This decision is made because our present Principal-Mrs. Tsewang Dolma is on Sick Leave; she is at Chandigarh for her treatment of a leg condition.  Mrs. Tashi Angmo, resident of Stok village, is appointed as computer teacher on temporary basis.  After a satisfactory performance evaluation she’ll be hired full time to teach computer and run the computer lab, which is powered by a solar generator.  

An official  letter was sent to the Ladakh Budhist Association to invite Gyalwa Karmapa Lama to our school, on 17th April, Gyalwa Karmapa Lama is coming to Leh.  It is hoped that he will be able to visit Siddhartha School as well while he is in the region.  Stay tuned for news and photos from this event.

Everyone is getting back into the normal rhythms of life after a long recovery from last summer’s flooding. 

The morale at school is positive and grateful to all of the U.S. donors.  Two evenings featuring dinner followed by a classical concert were held in Cape Elizabeth this winter by the family who was in the village volunteering with the students last summer when the mudslides occured.   This privately held initiative in January 2011  raised an additional $3,000 at to assist Siddhartha School students, staff and families directly impacted by the natural disaster.   Thank you to everyone who has pulled together to bring about incredible international community support.  It means so very much!  

Please keep checking in here and on our Siddhartha School Facebook page.  The Siddhartha School 2011 Sponsorship Challenge is underway!  We are seeking our final 225 sponsors to ensure 100% sponsorship of every student in the school, which is now over 300 students.  Help bring in new sponors, only a dollar a day covers a student for the entire year!  The person tallying the highest number of new sponsors will win a special prize package.  Have fun while you help the school cover its growing costs!  Ask 5 people and if 1 says “Sure!” celebrate that.  You’ve just helped us move one step closer to our sponsorship goal!  This is the way we keep the doors open, so it is really vital to have everyone’s help!  

Keep smiling and shining the light,


Lisa V. Blake, SSP Executive Director 


How to Send Humanitarian Aid to Ladakh by scottcronenweth
August 12, 2010, 3:23 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

Hi again, everyone — Joli Greene, President of Siddhartha School Project, has come up with a great way to make it easy to send money to Ladakh — and save the $35 fee per transaction.

Joli will act as the contact person for wiring money. She’ll record and acknowledge each donation and send them to Vivek weekly. To don…ate, send checks made out to “Joli Greene” or “cash.” Please note on your check that it’s for “Ladakh Aid.” Mail to: Joli Greene, 9 Frost Brook Lane, Freeport, ME 04032-6601. E-mail questions to

Every donation counts and no donation is too small. Thank you so much for your support!

These donations are not tax-deductible in the US no matter how you send them, so you’re not losing anything by going through Joli, and you’re saving considerable money and time.

For information from Vivek, including a description of his efforts and funds raised to date, copy this link into your browser:

Khen Rinpoche Visits Yarmouth High (by Sarah Becker) by Lisa V. Blake
April 5, 2010, 6:43 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags:

Khen Rinpoche, the founding director of the Siddhartha School in Ladakh and Abbot of the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, travels around the world sharing his wisdom and spreading awareness of his school. Last week I was lucky enough to be one of many students to hear his message of peace and kindness when he visited my high school in Yarmouth, Maine.

Previous to his address to the freshman class, an intimate luncheon was held, allowing selected students to present him with the difficulties in their lives, and in turn, be shown a compassionate way of dealing with these problems. The students, shy and in awe to be in the presence of such a dignified leader, were quiet at first. Rinpoche took the initiative and began to speak about compassion in our lives and how it can be used to overcome barriers. Using the ocean as a metaphor, the students were shown a very different approach to problem solving on topics such as parents, peers, and even more personal aspects of life such as jealousy, anger, and fear. As he talked, the students grew more comfortable in his calm, peaceful presence. Gradually, people began to speak and ask questions. The conversation opened into one of leadership, and just how to lead from a place of loving kindness in a world so often consumed by desire for money and power. Lunch was served — pizza, which it turned out is one of Khen Rinpoche’s favorite foods.

A brief address to the freshman class followed. Using the metaphor of a garden, Rinpoche talked the students through “weeding” the thorns out of the gardens of our lives. Inspiring yet down-to-earth, Rinpoche presented a thought-provoking look at Buddhist religion, life and culture. Assisted by his guide and companion for the day, Lisa Blake, Rinpoche led a mini meditation for the students. Instructed to close our eyes and focus on the breath, the students, and the auditorium, fell into a serene quiet for the minutes that followed. Not everyone was able to focus, but some students had great results. Following the presentation, many exclaimed that they wanted to become Buddhist!

An enriching experience for all in attendance, Rinpoche’s visit was a glimpse into a world very different than the life we lead in Yarmouth, and opened students eyes to the true state of much of the world while also showing how having everything does not bring happiness or inner peace. The true path to this peace is up to the individual, but the road starts with compassion. As Rinpoche said, “To pick thorns out of the garden, have compassion to all.” What truth.

*** This post was written by Sarah Becker, a student at Yarmouth High — THANK YOU, SARAH!

Here’s a photo of Sarah meeting Khen Rinpoche:

Welcome! by scottcronenweth
February 28, 2010, 1:48 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

Siddhartha School began in 1995, with 25 nursery school students in a 2-room rented house. Today the school educates over 250 students from nursery school through 10th grade (the end of “high school” in India) and has earned a well-deserved reputation as one of the finest private schools in Ladakh.

But unlike other private schools in the region, Siddhartha School accepts children regardless of their ability to pay tuition. It is, to my knowledge, the only school in all of Ladakh where poor kids can get a first-rate, culturally supportive education.

Ladakhis live in a mind-blowing flux of modern and traditional realities. Without adequate education their culture’s core values of compassion and cooperation will be swept away by India’s growing competitive economy. Ironically, among the best reason to support learning at Siddhartha School is to empower Ladakhi culture so the rest of the world can “learn from Ladakh” before it’s too late.

On behalf of the children and staff of Siddhartha School and its headmaster, Khen Rinpoche Geshe Lobzang Tsetan: thank you for all you do – including reading this blog and making others aware of it. The school is alive and thriving thanks to you.

I sincerely hope you enjoy this blog and find it interesting and inspiring. Please share your comments and questions about Siddhartha School, Ladakh, education in India, and related topics.

Scott Cronenweth
Siddhartha School Project