We’ve come a long way! Today I’d like to share with you some of the extraordinary accomplishments that your generosity has helped make possible.
The photo on the right was taken almost 25 years ago. It shows nuns who had just escaped from Tibet beginning their studies.
We started the Tibetan Nuns Project in 1987 with just an idea. Our vision was to educate, nourish, and empower the nuns. In late 1990 there was a large influx of nuns from Tibet, and we began the process of creating two new nunneries, Dolma Ling and Shugsep.
With blessings from His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the vision, determination, and courage of the nuns themselves, we’ve been able to accomplish so many things. We are so grateful to donors like you for your generosity and compassion and I sincerely hope that you will continue walking hand in hand along this path with us.
This autumn we are celebrating 3 historic milestones:
- the 20th anniversary of the inter-nunnery debate, the Jang Gonchoe. Once held only for monks, this month-long debate event brings together hundreds of nuns from India and Nepal for a learning opportunity that is critical to their success and their higher degrees;
- the 10th anniversary of the inauguration of Dolma Ling Nunnery and Institute, a model institution that is now home to over 230 nuns; and
- the 5th anniversary of the inauguration of Shugsep Nunnery and Institute, home to over 100 nuns.
Next summer we will reach another landmark achievement as the first nuns in the history of Tibet will attain their Geshema degrees. This degree, equivalent to a PhD in Tibetan Buddhism, has only now been opened to women. The first group of nuns will be receiving their degrees in 2016 having completed 17 years of study and 4 years of examinations.
For the first time we are going to have teachers who have the highest qualification within their traditions. Now, with your support, we are at the point where the first generation of fully trained teachers can start to reach out and assume important leadership roles.
The Tibetan Nuns Project supports 7 nunneries in India as well as many nuns living on their own for a total of nearly 800 nuns. Many are refugees from Tibet, but we are also reaching out into the Himalayan border areas of India where women and girls have had little access to education and religious training.
Meanwhile I am sad to say that the situation in Tibet remains very alarming. The religion and culture is under tremendous threat. Yet the Tibetan people continue their brave struggle.
The nuns and the nunneries that you are supporting with your donations to the Tibetan Nuns Project are a beacon of hope for the future. With the power of an idea, together we have created something that just 25 years ago seemed almost impossible – institutions and educational systems for Buddhist women that have the potential to transform generations to come.
Educating women is powerful. It’s not just about books. As we’ve shown at Dolma Ling Nunnery and the other six nunneries we support, it is also about helping nuns acquire the skills they need to run their own institutions and create models for future success and expansion. It’s about enabling the nuns to be teachers in their own right and to take on leadership roles at a critical time in their nation’s history.
Thank you for continuing to support our work.
Rinchen Khando Choegyal
Founder and Director
P.S. We’ve come so far. Your gifts are helping to put in place the foundation for a leadership role for the nuns at a time when Tibetans are working for the survival of their religion and culture.
P.P.S. Thank you for your generosity and your belief in the power of an idea to change the world.