Sunday, November 27, 2016

Fire on the Mountain: Mary Lyon Mountain, a Brief History of Khandroling

Background: Mary Lyon’s Birthplace

Rinpoche urged the purchase of Khandroling, which he sensed to be a “quite special place.” In fact, the hill that Khandroling occupies (1611 ft altitude) is known as Mary Lyon Mountain, named for renowned educator Mary Lyon, born here in 1797. Impoverished at age five upon the death of her father, as a school child Mary Lyon was soon recognized for her prodigious mind and exceptional energy, and was supported by townsfolk in her relentless pursuit of knowledge. At age seventeen, she was running a training school for girls out of the home of her benefactor in Buckland. A lifelong champion of education for girls and women, she went on to found the first institution of higher learning for women, Mt Holyoke Seminary, in 1837 (later Mt Holyoke College),. Mt Holyoke’s admission standards equaled those of Harvard and Yale; it offered the first opportunity for women to pursue a full course of study in the arts and sciences, and it was affordable for young women of modest means. From the beginning, Mt Holyoke graduates went on to establish new schools in the American west and around the world in the most remote quarters from Persia (now Iran) to China.

Today, on a parcel of land between Lower Khandroling and Upper Khandroling, the college maintains the birthplace of Mary Lyon as a small park. The park is accessible from the Khandroling parking lot.

In a reminiscence of her childhood on the mountain, Mary Lyon wrote that it was a “wild, romantic farm; made, one would think, more to feast the soul than to feed the body.”
About the site of the Vajra Hall today, Mary Lyon wrote:

"…just beyond the precincts of the family domain was the 'top of the hill,' crowned with its high rolling rock, ever inviting the enterprise of each aspiring heart. Everyone was amply repaid who would climb that steep hill, and ascend that high rock."

[Robert Strong Woodward's painting submitted by Neil Murray]

Text reprinted from the Tsegyalgar East Website page on Khandroling

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