2016 Message

This is such an exciting moment. It is the culmination of 30 years of sustained effort.

In just a few short weeks, twenty Tibetan Buddhist nuns will make history when they gather at Drepung Monastery in South India to receive their Geshema degrees.

This degree is equivalent to a doctorate in Tibetan Buddhism and is the highest academic qualification in their tradition.

On December 22nd, in front of hundreds of monastics, His Holiness the Dalai Lama will place the degrees in their hands. It is a dream come true for both the nuns and for us at the Tibetan Nuns Project.

This event marks the beginning of a whole new chapter for Tibetan nuns. Previously, all of the philosophical teachers were men. Now these nuns will be qualified to be the primary teachers of their sister nuns.

This major milestone would not have been possible without the unwavering support of our global family of donors and sponsors.

Your support of the Tibetan Nuns Project has transformed the lives of so many nuns.

But we can’t stop here. Now the door is open, will you join us to help other women walk through it?

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Now we must put in place all of the necessary foundations to ensure that this initial success can be sustained long-term and will continue for future generations.

Tibetan Buddhist nuns studying, Tibetan Nuns ProjectWhile there is much to celebrate about 20 nuns becoming Geshemas, there is also much to be done to make sure that other nuns receive the education they need to succeed.

For the first time in history, nuns can now stand as equals with monks. Step by step, women in the Tibetan exile community are gaining opportunities to become full participants in the religious, cultural, and political life of their people.

Today these women, once virtually illiterate, are being empowered to become teachers, leaders, administrators, and decision makers in the nunneries and in the Tibetan exile community at large.

Tibetan Buddhist nuns in line, Tibetan Nuns Project

Photo courtesy of Olivier Adam

The seven nunneries we support in northern India are home to over 700 nuns. We have been able to provide these brave and dedicated women with access to basic needs like food, shelter, clothing and health care, as well as to the full breadth of Tibetan Buddhist teachings. Your kindness has also helped us offer them a modern education that includes classes in math, English, history, and computer skills.

When they escaped from Tibet, most couldn’t write the alphabet. Now they will receive the highest academic degree. Thanks to your support these nuns will lead the way for other women to follow.

Not only have the nuns been given access to the full intellectual richness of their Buddhist tradition but also, through daily debate and the annual inter-nunnery debate, they have been trained to actively engage with it in a way that gives them confidence in their knowledge.

two Tibetan Buddhist nuns, Tibetan Nuns Project

This photo and top right photo are courtesy of Venerable Tenzin Sangmo

Educating and empowering women is powerful for any society. But for Tibetans, struggling to maintain their religion and culture while living as refugees, the education and basic services that your gifts provide is absolutely vital.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama has told the nuns, “Until now you have relied on monks to teach you, but in the future it will be very important that there are also nuns to teach nuns.”

We are deeply grateful for your compassion and support of our vision.

Thank you!

Rinchen Khando Choegyal, Director
Dr. Elizabeth Napper, Co-Director

To help the nuns today you can:

  1. Make a gift online – see below.
  2. Call our office at 1-206-652-8901
  3. Mail a check to:
    The Tibetan Nuns Project
    815 Seattle Boulevard South #216
    Seattle, WA 98134 USA

Make a Donation

P.S. One of the most powerful ways to help the nuns long-term is with a gift in your will to the Tibetan Nuns Project. Learn more here.