Tibetan Nuns Project announces initiative to build housing for Dolma Ling Buddhist Nunnery in Dharamsala

- through Henry Oudin

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Members of the first group of 23 Geshema nuns who had the opportunity to undertake Tantric Buddhist studies. Image courtesy of TNP

The Tibetan Nuns Project (TNP), a US-registered charity based in Seattle and the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, India, has announced an appeal to fund the construction of housing and health facilities. life for the Buddhist nuns of the Dolma Ling Convent and Institute of Buddhist Dialectic of North India.

In a fundraising announcement shared with BDG, TNP said it aimed to "build 16 rooms and facilities for gehemas at the Dolma Ling Convent so that they can pursue the advanced studies necessary to become fully qualified teachers of their tradition.

Inaugurated by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 2005, Dolma Ling Nunnery and Institute of Buddhist Dialectics is located in the Kangra Valley near Dharamsala in northern India. The nunnery was the first institute dedicated to higher Buddhist education for Tibetan Buddhist nuns of all traditions, and is fully funded by the NPT.

Some 250 nuns are fully engaged in study, practice and convent work at Dolma Ling, as well as organizing self-sufficiency projects, such as tofu making and handicraft production. In 2013, 10 of Dolma Ling's nuns made history by participating in the first year Geshema exams.*

“To resolve the housing shortage for gehemas doing tantric studies, we would like to build 16 rooms with bathrooms, a kitchen and a dining room, as well as a study room,” explained TNP. “These 16 rooms and facilities will be located on the third floor of the Yangchen Lophel Center of Dolma Ling Convent and Institute. These rooms will house gehemas nunneries from all over India and Nepal so that they can undertake the final year of advanced education offered to them at Gyuto Tantric University. (Tibetan Nuns Project)

Le Geshema This degree is the highest academic degree in the Gelugpa tradition of Vajrayana Buddhism and has only recently become available to Buddhist nuns.* As the Geshe degree for male monks, it is roughly equivalent to a doctorate in Tibetan Buddhist studies. The rigorous exams last for four years, with a series of exams held each year. As of November 2022, 54 Buddhist nuns had obtained this diploma. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Geshema exams were canceled in 2020 and 2021, and resumed in 2022.** In 2023, 2023, a record number of 132 Tibetan Buddhist nuns from seven educational institutes in India and Nepal participated.***

Image courtesy of TNP
Image courtesy of TNP

“The 16 rooms can be used either as study rooms with a single bed, or, if groups of Geshema graduates become larger, for two nuns per room,” noted the TNP. “Now that it is possible for nuns to earn the highest degrees, nuns in convents across India and Nepal are studying to become gehemas. We hope that more nuns will take the four-year exams and obtain the title of gehemas, but it is difficult to predict how many graduates there will be each year, so the institution must be as flexible as possible. We also hope that the office of the Geshema organizing committee can be moved to these premises to free up the room they currently use at the Dolma Ling convent. (Tibetan Nuns Project)

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.

“Since 2018, the gehemas were accommodated and fed at Dolma Ling, traveling daily by jeep to Gyuto Tantric University for their studies,” the TNP said. “These arrangements are currently funded by the Tibetan Nuns Project under the Geshema Tantric Education Fund.

“While there are many benefits to the gehemas with this arrangement, it puts a strain on Dolma Ling to accommodate them. This also restricts the number of new nuns who can be admitted to Dolma Ling. Space must be available for young nuns to join Dolma Ling in order to give the convent a new contribution each year. (Tibetan Nuns Project)

Click here for more information about this project and how to support it

“Your support reverberates and has a positive effect on humanity,” the NPT stressed. “Even though in many places the rights of women and girls are diminishing, you are helping to usher in a new era for Tibetan women. »

*The Dalai Lama awards historic Geshema degrees to 20 nuns (BDG) and twenty Tibetan nuns make history by successfully completing the Geshema degree (BDG)

** The Tibetan Nuns Project announces 10 new Geshema graduates at a ceremony in Bodh Gaya (BDG)

***Tibetan Nuns Project announces record number of Buddhist nuns taking Geshema exams in Dharamsala this year

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Henry Oudin

Henry Oudin is a Buddhist scholar, spiritual adventurer and journalist. He is a passionate seeker of the depths of Buddhist wisdom, and travels regularly to learn more about Buddhism and spiritual cultures. By sharing his knowledge and life experiences on Buddhist News, Henry hopes to inspire others to embrace more spiritual and mindful ways of living.

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