The Tibetan Nuns Project (TNP), a US-registered charitable organization based in Seattle and the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, India, has announced the successful completion of its project to provide a circumambulatory center Early devotional walking and meditation trail for the Buddhist nuns of the Shugsep convent near Dharamsala.*
“For many years, the nuns have wanted a path where they can practice Early, traditional Tibetan walking meditation,”** TNP said in an announcement shared with BDG. “In 2023, the nuns asked for help to build a Early path. Today, thanks to the generosity of 65 supporters of the Tibetan Nuns Project, the journey is completed.
Affiliated with the Nyingma tradition of Vajrayana Buddhism, Shugsep Convent and Institute traces its Buddhist heritage and practices directly to Tibet and to some of Tibet's most influential Vajrayana practitioners. In the 20th century, the original Shugsep nunnery was home to the famous female master Shugsep Jetsun Rinpoche (1852-1953), one of the most illustrious practitioners in Tibetan history and a recognized incarnation of the revered tantric yogini Machig Labdron (1055 -1149). ).
“Work on the circumambulatory path began in early 2023 and was completed in October,” explained the TNP. “The sloping terrain and harsh monsoon posed challenges for construction, but the workers did an excellent job and the nuns helped prepare the land. Guardrails and steps are important elements of the path. The stone steps have been made with iron front edges to ensure they do not chip or crumble. The new surrounding wall at the top of the convent offers the nuns excellent privacy.
Although the original Shugsep Convent in Tibet was destroyed in 1959 and the resident nuns were forced to leave, the convent was re-established in India and officially inaugurated in December 2010. Along with the Dolma Ling Convent and the Institute of Buddhist dialectic, the convent and institute of Shugsep were built and is entirely supported by the project of Tibetan nuns. Shugsep is now home to approximately 100 nuns, who have the opportunity to participate in a nine-year academic program in Buddhist philosophy, debate, Tibetan language and English.
" The Early this path is good for the physical and mental health of the nuns. There was no safe area near the convent where the nuns could walk. The main road has no sidewalks and it is not safe for girls and women to walk in these areas as crimes against women are common,” the TNP noted. “Our most sincere thanks to all those who supported this great project and made the nuns’ dream a reality!
The Tibetan Nuns Project provides education and humanitarian assistance to refugee nuns from Tibet and the Himalayan regions of India. Established under the auspices of the Tibetan Women's Association and the Department of Religion and Culture of the Central Tibetan Administration, the TNP supports hundreds of nuns of all Tibetan Buddhist lineages and seven nunneries. Many nuns are refugees from Tibet, but the organization also extends to India's Himalayan borderlands, where women and girls have little access to education and religious training.
Click here for more information on supporting the Tibetan Nuns Project
* Objectives of the Tibetan Nuns Project Kora and Retreat Center for Buddhist Nuns at Shugsep Convent in Dharamsala (BDG)
** Kora or circumambulation is the act of walking around a sacred place or object to generate religious merit and cultivate bodhicitta, the awakened mind.