Tibetan nuns' project seeks to improve cuisine at Dolma Ling Buddhist nunnery in Dharamsala

- through Henry Oudin

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The Tibetan Nuns Project (TNP), a US-registered charity based in Seattle and the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, India, reported that Buddhist nuns at the Dolma Ling Convent and the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics of North India urgently need to improve their kitchen facilities.

Although TNP successfully raised funds in 2021 to provide the nuns with a better equipped kitchen*, poor ventilation and structural problems in the monastery kitchen building mean that working conditions are difficult for the nuns, especially especially during the oppressive heat of summer.

“With approximately 250 nuns and 20 employees to feed daily, the kitchen of the Dolma Ling Convent and Institute is the most used part of the convent complex,” TNP said in a statement shared with BDG. “The nuns of Dolma Ling urgently need help to improve the ventilation, gutters and roof of the kitchen so that it can function properly. The work must be completed before the onset of heavy monsoon rains and summer heat. Last June, the temperature in Dharamsala reached 105°F or 41°C. In Dolma Ling's kitchen, it was warmer!

Nuns on kitchen duty at Dolma Ling. Image courtesy of TNP
Hot work in Dolma Ling's kitchen. Image courtesy of TNP

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.**

TNP explained that cooking food for so many nuns requires huge pots on large gas burners, making the kitchen environment extremely hot and dangerous for the nuns' health.

“There is an exhaust fan, but it does not provide sufficient ventilation. Additionally, the noise and odor from the exhaust fan located in the kitchen wall is very annoying to the teachers who live in the building adjacent to the kitchen,” noted the TNP. “During the monsoon, heavy rains sometimes cause the gutters between the original roof and the roof extension to overflow. Water pours into the kitchen, distressing the nuns working below.

The plan is to dismantle the existing sloping roof and create a flat roof area where the solar panels will be more easily accessible. Image courtesy of TNP
Partly because of climate change, there is an urgent need to improve ventilation in the kitchen for the safety and well-being of the nuns. Image courtesy of TNP

The nuns of Dolma Ling therefore hope to replace the old slate roof of the kitchen with a flat concrete roof in order to avoid leaks and water infiltration. A flat roof could also serve a multitude of other uses, such as space for meal preparation, additional outdoor seating, drying laundry, and more. TNP estimated a renovation budget of US$53 to dismantle the existing slate roof, raise the walls of the kitchen building and install a steel box pillar and beam structure to create a strong but lightweight frame for a flat concrete roof. .

“The renovation plan includes the removal of old windows with pressed steel frames and wooden shutters, which provide insufficient ventilation and are also very difficult to maintain,” TNP said. “The windows will be replaced with larger UPVC windows with sliding glass and mesh shutters. The floor-level sink used to clean large pots will also be enlarged.

“Our architects agreed to develop a plan to improve the use of the kitchen space. Currently, cooking takes place against the walls and utensil racks are placed against the windows. The center of the kitchen is usually unused. Our goal is to work with the nuns to provide a much friendlier workspace.

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

* Tibetan Nuns Project announces successful fundraising for Dolma Ling Convent (BDG)

**Dalai Lama awards historic Geshema degrees to 20 nuns and twenty Tibetan nuns make history by earning the Geshema Diploma (BDG)

See more

Tibetan Nuns Project
Dolma Ling Convent and Institute (Tibetan Nuns Project)

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Tibetan nuns' project seeks to improve cuisine at Dolma Ling Buddhist nunnery in Dharamsala appeared first on Buddhadoor Global.

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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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