Dolma Ling Nunnery and Institute

Dolma Ling Nunnery and Institute is a non-sectarian nunnery located in the Kangra valley near Dharamsala, northern India. Officially inaugurated by His Holiness the Dalai Lama on December 8, 2005, the nunnery is fully funded by the Tibetan Nuns Project and was the first institute dedicated specifically to higher Buddhist education for Tibetan Buddhist nuns from all traditions.

Dolma Ling Nunnery is unique because it offers a 17-year curriculum of traditional Buddhist philosophy and debate as well as modern courses in Tibetan language, English, basic mathematics, and computer skills. The nuns also receive training in the ritual arts such as sand mandalas and butter sculpture. The nunnery was successfully completed after 12 years of hard work and the nuns themselves worked to help build the nunnery.

Tibetan Buddhist nuns at Dolma Ling NunneryCurrently, 238 nuns are fully engaged in study, practice, nunnery work, and self-sufficiency projects such as tofu making and handicrafts. In May 2013, 10 Dolma Ling nuns made history when they appeared for the first year Geshema exams.

Some nuns have completed their studies and are now teaching in Tibetan schools. In the future we will be seeing more nuns graduating and taking on the important role of teachers, both in the nunneries and throughout the Tibetan exile community.

Much has been accomplished over the years thanks to the wonderful support of our donors including, in 2013, the building of 8 retreat huts on the Dolma Ling grounds and the creation of a new covered debate courtyard where over 400 nuns from nunneries in India and Nepal held the Jang Gonchoe debate event.

View a short video of a Day in the Life at Dolma Ling Nunnery:  

Testimonials from Dolma Ling Nuns

“Before coming into exile, I was nun just in a namesake. Back in Tibet, we do not have an opportunity to study and go into the depth of Buddhist studies like we do at the nunneries in India. So I escaped from Tibet with the hope that I would get a much better and proper education from all aspects. After reaching India, I was admitted to Dolma Ling Nunnery. Whatever I am today is all because of the opportunity I got here at the nunnery and the support extended by the sponsors… I have learned everything from the nunnery and it has given me a new life with a bright future.”
Venerable Tenzin Palmo, who is now self-supporting as a religious teacher at Tibetan settlement and is sitting Year 2 of her Geshema exams

Tibetan Buddhist nuns and butter lamps by Brian Harris“The education I get here at Dolma Ling is much better than I ever dreamed I would have. I really never thought I would have a chance to learn English or debate or have so many classes in Buddhist philosophy. I can’t believe how lucky I have been. My sister who is a nun in Tibet has no classes. Her nunnery has gotten smaller because some of the nuns have escaped, some have been put in jail and some have died. They have only prayer and no classes and no studying… It does not seem fair for her to have so little as a nun and for me to have so much. After all, we are both nuns.”
Venerable Tenzin Kunsel, sitting Year 2 of her Geshema exams

We are always looking for more sponsors for nuns at Dolma Ling. To learn more about our sponsorship program click here.

Our main construction project currently at Dolma Ling Nunnery and Institute is the creation of Media Center and Nuns Café at the nunnery, which is a multi-purpose building. You can learn more about the Media Center and Nuns’ Café here.