Frequently Asked Questions
What inspired the formation of Gompa - Tibetan Monastery Services?
Over recent years the senior lamas at the major monasteries have been thinking about how their monasteries and nunneries could develop a closer connection with their followers around the world. It was this aspiration by the senior lamas which inspired the formation of Gompa and the cooperative building of online services for the major Tibetan monasteries of India and Nepal.
What happens to the funds that are sent to Gompa - Tibetan Monastery Services?
Funds sent to the monasteries and nunneries:
The sponsorships and donations received by the monasteries and nunneries go towards the day-to-day support of the monks and nuns, towards the development of each monastery and nunnery's infrastructure and educational capacity building, and towards the support of each monastery and nunnery's local community programs, which include: community hospitals, care for the elderly, orphanages, community schools, and eco-technology programs.
Fees charged by Gompa - Tibetan Monastery Services:
Gompa - Tibetan Monastery Services keeps its operating costs to a minimum and sets its fees based on the requirement to sustainably provide and develop the online services over the long term. Any additional revenue generated through the provision of our services is donated towards the development of multimedia educational resources, in support of the partner monasteries and nunneries in India and Nepal, and the development of access to classical Tibetan knowledge and arts study resources worldwide. This support includes the further development of the Classical Tibetan Knowledge Archive and Multimedia Study Resource and the Classical Tibetan Arts - Masterworks and Artist Training Resource managed by the Orient Foundation for Arts and Culture (registered charity # 287817; see www.orient.org). These two resources are used continuously by over 30,000 senior lamas, monks, nuns, students and artists throughout India, Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, and Mongolia and by scholars around the world. Access is free to all traditional educational institutions in Asia and new documentation of teachings by senior lamas and visual and ritual arts traditions are being integrated into the archival collections every week, including all the recordings of Special Events held at the partner monasteries and nunneries.
Why are the webcast services currently only available from monasteries and nunneries in Dehradun, Bylakuppe and Hunsur?
The webcasting services are scheduled to roll out step-by-step over two years. Webcast hubs serving Dehradun, Bylakuppe and Hunsur have been launched. Webcast services are scheduled to launch in Kathmandu in early 2016 and the launch of webcast hubs serving the monasteries and nunneries of Mundgod, Himachal Pradesh, Bodhgaya, and Sarnath is scheduled to follow.
Online booking of prayers and pujas (without webcast services), and also the Diamond Path Service, are scheduled to become available from all the partner monasteries and nunneries in India and Nepal during 2015 and early 2016.
Are payments made on the Gompa - Tibetan Monastery Services website secure?
Yes - we do not store any card details. Our payment gateway is fully PCI DSS compliant and our acquirer for card payments is SIX Payment Services in Switzerland,one of Europe's largest and most respected card transaction processors. For ease of use, the online payment interface is available in a choice of 23 languages. Use the drop-down menu in the upper-right corner to choose your preferred language.
What methods of payment are acceptable?
We can accept online payments by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, JCB, Diners) or debit card (Maestro, V PAY, VISA debit). For payments of GBP £500 or more you may choose to make your payments by credit / debit card or by bank transfer. Please contact us for wiring details if you wish to make a payment by bank transfer.
What are the different booking options for sponsored prayers and pujas?
If you would like to watch your sponsored prayers and pujas online as a webcast (available to view for a minimum of 10 days following the last day of the prayer/puja) then choose Webcast video. If you would like the option of both watching the webcast online and also downloading the webcast video(s) to your own computer to watch anytime in the future then choose Webcast video + download-to-own HD video. If you would like to view, and also download, photographs of your sponsored prayers and pujas (but without video) then choose Booking with photos. If you do not require either video or photos of your sponsored prayers and pujas then choose Booking Only. A certificate of performance from the monastery or nunnery (digital and printable) will be provided for all sponsored prayers and pujas.
Can I invite friends and family to view the photos and videos from prayers and pujas that I sponsor?
Yes - you can go to your sponsorship order under 'My Sponsorships / Events' and select the button labelled 'View media or invite guests to view media'. From there you can send invitations to up to 10 email addresses. These invitation emails will enable your family and friends to view the photos and/or videos from your sponsorship order. We require that all invited guests agree to Gompa's Terms and Conditions regarding the appropriate use of these photos and videos.
Are the webcasts available for live (real-time) viewing, as they occur?
All webcast videos are recorded live and uploaded to our servers several hours later. After the webcast videos are uploaded by us, they are available for on-demand viewing at whatever time is convenient for you and your invited guests.
How long will the photos and webcast videos remain available online for viewing / downloading?
Webcast videos from sponsored prayers and pujas will generally be available for viewing online for a minimum of 10 days following the last day of the prayer/puja. Photos will generally be available online for 30 days. Webcasts of special events will generally be available for 10 days after the last day of the special event.
Are there technical limitations to viewing the webcasts?
Online viewing of the webcasts has been extensively tested on various computers and mobile devices but is subject to certain limitations. If you have a very slow internet connection you may experience difficulties viewing the streaming (on-demand) webcast videos. We provide three different resolutions of each webcast session to support a wide range of devices and internet connection speeds. You can check your connection speed at http://www.speedtest.net. By choosing the booking option Webcast video + download-to-own HD video you can download high definition videos of your sponsored prayers and pujas over a slow internet connection and then later watch these on your computer without interruption.
Mobile devices (Android, Apple) are able to view the webcast videos. On older devices the high-definition (720p) video might not be viewable but standard and lower resolution versions of the videos should be viewable. When viewing the videos on a mobile device, certain functions of the video player might be disabled.
As summarised above, the following are known webcast viewing issues that might occur:
1) Certain mobile devices do not support playing 720p video
2) Your internet connection may be too slow to support the video resolution you have chosen
3) You may need to install a media player or use a different browser (e.g. Mozilla Firefox on Mac OS X does not include its own media player)
4) Your operating system may not be supported, e.g. Windows XP (or earlier) or Mac versions before OS X
5) Your browser version may need updating
7) Flash may need to be installed, enabled, or updated.
In the event that you do experience difficulties viewing the webcast of your sponsored prayer or puja our staff will be available to assist you. For special event webcasts you can pre-test that you are able to view the webcast by selecting this link.
How do I download webcast videos? Are there limitations to downloading the webcast videos?
You are entitled to download the webcast videos only if you have chosen that booking option for your sponsorship order. Go to 'My Sponsorships / Events' and select the button labelled 'View media or invite guests to view media' and then select 'Download media'. Please note that videos generally cannot be downloaded directly to an Apple iOS device. However, videos can be downloaded to any Mac or Windows computer and then transferred to an Apple iOS device using iTunes or a similar application.