Category Archives: Tibetan Nuns Project Products

Tibetan Buddhist prayers or pujas by the nuns

Prayers have power. Buddhists believe that prayers can help relieve suffering and overcome obstacles. It is a belief that is shared by many of the world’s religions.

Tibetans recite mantras and prayers to purify the mind, to deal with negative emotions, to increase merit, and to invite help from the Buddha and various enlightened beings or deities.

Buddhist nuns saying prayers

Offering butter lamps is deeply ingrained in the Tibetan tradition and sometimes as many as 10,000 are offered. Butter lamps may be offered for many occasions, such as when someone is starting a new venture, to celebrate a birthday, anniversary or graduation, to say thank you, or when you or someone you know is in trouble. This photo shows nuns at Dolma Ling Nunnery offering 1,000 butter lamps and saying prayers as part of a sponsored puja for someone who was ill. Photo courtesy of Brian Harris.

Tibetan Buddhist nuns pray daily. They also perform pujas, which are special ceremonies in which prayers are offered to the Buddha and other deities to request help, to receive blessings, and to purify obstacles due to past karma or actions.

butter lamps, Tibetan Buddhist nuns, Dolma Ling, Dharamsala

Tibetan Buddhist nuns at Dolma Ling Nunnery prepare hundreds of butter lamps for a special puja.

How to request a Puja or Prayers

You can ask the Tibetan Buddhist nuns at Dolma Ling Nunnery and Institute in northern India to perform prayers and pujas on your behalf.

People around the world are able to sponsor pujas or prayers through our Tibetan Nuns Project website. You can sponsor prayers in honor of loved ones, friends, family members, or even pets who may be suffering from obstacles, ill health, or who have passed away.

You don’t have to be a Buddhist to request prayers by the Tibetan nuns.

torma, Tibetan Buddhism, Dolma Ling

Tibetan Buddhist nuns prepare tormas for a puja. Tormas are figures made mostly of flour and butter used in tantric rituals or as offerings. Photo courtesy of Brian Harris.

There are many different types of prayers or pujas to choose from, depending on your wishes and the problems that you wish to overcome. Full descriptions of each puja and its use are available on our website in the Prayers and Pujas section of our online store.

When requesting a puja or prayers from the Tibetan Nuns Project please provide information about who the prayers are to be directed to and for what purpose. The funds given to the nuns to sponsor pujas are used to purchase supplies and also help to support the nunnery as a whole.

A gift of prayer is something very special. As soon as we receive your request for a puja or for the offering of butter lamps, we will send you a thank you message by email. As soon as possible after that, the nuns will send a confirmation note to you from India to let you know that the puja has been performed. Continue reading

Tribute cards make great gifts for any occasion

Sometimes it’s hard to think of ideas for special gifts for people. If you’re searching for a meaningful gift in honor or in memory of a loved one, a friend, a colleague, or a teacher, then you may want to consider ordering a Tibetan Nuns Project tribute card.

tribute cards

This collage shows our five original tribute card designs. In May, we will be printing 5 new cards with photos by Olivier Adam

How tribute cards and gifts work

Choose one of our five different tribute card designs and we’ll mail the card to you or directly to the person you wish to honor with your gift. This is the perfect gift for any occasion. You can:

  • Celebrate a special occasion such as a birthday or anniversary;
  • Give a gift for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or a special occasion such as graduation;
  • Send get well wishes;
  • Extend your condolences;
  • Pay tribute to your teacher or a colleague
  • Honor someone special or the memory of a loved one

Tribute cards are the perfect way to help the nuns in India while showing you care.

Tribute card gifts may be made online by Visa, MasterCard, American Express, cheque or cash. Minimum contribution: $15

Tribute card message

We have two options for messages in the tribute cards:

OPTION 1:  A handwritten gift note with the following text will be included with the card:

Dear _______,
A generous gift to the Tibetan Nuns Project has been made in your honor by _________. Warmest wishes and thank you on behalf of the nuns.
Lisa
Lisa Farmer
Executive Director
Tibetan Nuns Project

OPTION 2:  If you prefer to write a short personal note enter it into the “Alternative Card Text” box listed above before clicking “Give Now” to add it to your cart.

To make a tribute gift you can:

  1. Order a tribute card through our online store
  2. Call our office in Seattle, US at 1-206-652-8901 (Monday-Friday)
  3. Mail a check a note about your tribute gift to:
    The Tibetan Nuns Project
    815 Seattle Boulevard South #216
    Seattle, WA 98134 USA
  4. Pay tribute to someone by sponsoring a nun or by giving to a specific project or fund. If so, make your donation using this button and note the tribute in the “Comments” box.

Make a Donation

If you have questions, please contact us at our Seattle, WA office by calling 1-206-652-8901 or emailing us at info@tnp.org

How to hang and dispose of Tibetan prayer flags respectfully

Every so often we receive messages about how to hang and dispose of Tibetan prayer flags respectfully.

Tibetan prayer flags are used to promote peace, compassion, strength, and wisdom. Tibetans believe the prayers and mantras will be spread by the wind and bring good will and compassion to benefit all beings.

prayer flags, how to dispose of Tibetan prayer flags,

Tibetan nuns at Dolma Ling Nunnery in India remove and burn old prayer flags and set up new ones to mark Losar, Tibetan New Year. Photo courtesy of Olivier Adam

Prayer flags are made of block-printed fabric using traditional printing techniques going back hundreds of years. The Tibetan Buddhist nuns at Dolma Ling Nunnery in India have been making prayer flags for many years. We sell these  specially blessed objects through our online store and the revenue helps provide food, health care, shelter, and education for the over 230 nuns who live at the nunnery, as well as to help support around 500 nuns at six other nunneries in India.

Some people have asked whether it is appropriate for non-Buddhists to display Tibetan prayer flags. Yes, it is fine for non-Buddhists to display Tibetan prayer flags.

When raising prayer flags it is important to have a good motivation. One should not have selfish or limiting thoughts. When hanging prayer flags one should wish that all beings everywhere will benefit and find happiness.

prayer flags, burning prayer flags, Tibetan Nuns Project, how to dispose of old prayer flags

Being careful not to let the old prayer flags touch the ground, a Tibetan Buddhist nun burns the flags while wishing to end the suffering of all sentient beings. Photo courtesy of Olivier Adam

Tibetan tradition considers prayer flags to be holy. The flags contain sacred texts and symbols and should be treated respectfully. They should not be placed on the ground or put in the trash.

When disposing of old prayer flags one should burn them so that the smoke may carry their blessings to the heavens. Do not let prayer flags touch the ground as they are burned. Continue reading

2016 Tibetan Nuns Project Calendar

September is always an exciting time of year at the Tibetan Nuns Project because it’s the month when our annual wall calendar comes from the printer.

Tibetan calendar, 2016 calendar, Tibetan Nuns Project, 2016 holidays, Tibetan lunar calendar, 2016We’ve been selling our beautiful charity calendar since 1996 to raise funds to support hundreds of Tibetan Buddhist nuns living in India. All proceeds from the sale of the 2016 calendar will help provide food, shelter, health care and education to over 700 nuns living at seven nunneries supported by the Tibetan Nuns Project.

The 2016 calendar is filled with stunning images of Tibetan life and culture. It also includes:

  • inspirational quotes
  • the Tibetan lunar calendar
  • Tibetan Buddhist ritual dates
  • phases of the moon
  • major US and Canadian holidays

Tibetan Nuns Project, 2016 Calendar, 2016 dates, 2016 holidays, Tibetan lunar calendar, Tibetan Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhist calendarAll the photos were taken by the nuns and staff in India. Dimension 6.5″ x 7″. Price $12.00

The calendar is available for purchase through our online store or by check from our Seattle office at:

Tibetan Nuns Project
815 Seattle Boulevard South #216
Seattle, WA 98134
Phone: (206) 652-8901
info@tnp.org

Please help us sell all 2,500 calendars by purchasing them as gifts for friends, family and teachers. We would be very grateful if you could also spread the word to your networks.

These calendars give back each and every day and bring happiness to you and the nuns.

From the Nunnery Kitchens: Tibetan Nuns Making Tofu

There’s something special cooking in the kitchens of Dolma Ling Nunnery and Institute in northern India.

For the past several years, the nuns at Dolma Ling have made tofu once a week to supply the nunnery kitchen for meals. There are a lot of mouths to feed at the nunnery, so being able to make tofu in-house is very important. Currently there are over 230 Tibetan Buddhist nuns who live at Dolma Ling Nunnery and there are also teachers and visitors. The nuns follow a vegetarian diet and tofu is a nutritious and protein-rich part of their weekly menu.

Tibetan nuns making tofu

Nuns in 2013 making tofu at Dolma Ling Nunnery. Photo courtesy of Brian Harris.

The nuns also sell any extra tofu to visitors and the local community to help support the nunnery. This generates a bit of income for the nunnery but, so far the demand for tofu has  outstripped supply because the nuns’ had a limited capacity to make tofu due to the size of their tofu kitchen and the capacity of their tofu-making machine.

Here’s a video made in 2012 by the nuns showing tofu making at the nunnery: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rgygQy9SaOE&feature=share

It has been the nuns’ wish for several years to purchase a larger tofu machine and to have a new tofu kitchen so that tofu could be made and sold on a larger scale. There is a great demand for tofu from nearby communities so the income from tofu sales will help to support the nunnery.

The new facility for making tofu was built a while ago but the donor who had originally offered to provide a special tofu-making machine was unable to raise the necessary funds to purchase and ship the machine to India. So the project was delayed by almost two years.

We are delighted to tell you that this spring, Norman Steinberg, a generous donor from Canada, has helped fulfill the nuns’ long-term wish by funding the purchase of a much larger and more efficient tofu-making machine and by helping to establish a special tofu kitchen at the nunnery. We are extremely grateful for his support.

A big advantage of the recent donation is that it has allowed the Tibetan Nuns Project to purchase an Indian-made machine, so we’ve avoided the costly customs and shipping costs and it will also be easier to service and repair in the future.

Once the new machine is up and running and the tofu kitchen is firmly established, we’ll post another blog with photos.

Making tofu is somewhat similar to making cheese, but rather than curdling milk you are curdling soy milk. The first step in the process is to soak the dried soybeans and mix them with water to produce soy milk.

Tibetan Buddhist nun making tofu

Soybeans are being prepared in the old tofu kitchen at Dolma Ling Nunnery. This photo was taken in 2013 by Brian Harris.

Next the nuns add enzymes or acid to curdle the soybean liquid. Then they press the liquid to remove the liquid whey. Once there are just curds remaining they can be pressed into forms and cut into blocks.

The Tibetan Nuns Project is extremely grateful to Norman Steinberg and another private donor from Canada, as well as other individual donors from around the world who made the new tofu-making facility possible.

If you would like to learn more about how the nuns are moving towards greater self-sufficiency, or to help fund these efforts, please contact us at info@tnp.org or donate at https://tnp.org/youcanhelp/donate/.

Tibetan Buddhist nuns stirring to make tofu

Photo taken in 2013 by Brian Harris at Dolma Ling Nunnery and Institute in India

 

Buddhist Prayers

When tragedy, illness or other great suffering strikes it’s hard to know what to do to alleviate it. Acts of kindness will always help.

two Tibetan nuns and butter lamps

Tibetan Buddhist nuns at Dolma Ling Nunnery saying prayers. Photo courtesy of Brian Harris.

In September 2014, 298 people were killed when Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down over eastern Ukraine.

We’re sure that Tibetan Nuns Project supporters around the world shared that collective grief during the tragedy and when other catastrophes have hit.

But what can one do to help make the situation better?

A Tibetan Nuns Project donor and sponsor named Heather was struggling with her lack of ability to do anything meaningful to help the hundreds of grieving relatives after flight MH17 was shot down. Continue reading

Tibetan freedom bracelets

Tibetan freedom bracelets have been a popular item in the Tibetan Nuns Project online store for many years.

Tibetan freedom braceletFreedom or rangzen bracelets were first made by Tibetan political prisoners near Lhasa. In prison, they were woven from white and black yak hair or from whatever bits of thread were available. Their pattern of “nine eyes” has a deep historical significance. The design is based on the traditional slingshot used by Tibetan shepherds and nomads to protect their herds from wolves.

traditional Tibetan sling

Traditional Tibetan sling

So the sling came to symbolize the conquering power of good over evil. Over time, the people of Tibet took up the idea so that even city dwellers owned slings as a sort of protective force. They were kept in a yang-gam, a small box that contained precious stones, gold, silver, and blessed objects. It was believed that owning a sling heightened your defensive power and would make you victorious.

Continue reading

Tibetan prayer flags made and blessed by nuns

The Tibetan Nuns Project sells Tibetan prayer flags made and blessed by the Tibetan Buddhist nuns at Dolma Ling Nunnery and Institute, near Dharamsala, northern India.

The nuns have been making prayer flags for many years now and the sale of these specially blessed objects helps provide food, health care, shelter and education for the over 230 nuns who live at the nunnery, as well as help support around 500 nuns at 6 other nunneries in India.

nun making Tibetan prayer flags

Making Tibetan prayer flags at Dolma Ling Nunnery and Institute. Sales of prayer flags through the Tibetan Nuns Project online store benefit the nuns at Dolma Ling as well as six other nunneries in India.

Traditionally, prayer flags come in sets of five, with one flag in each of five colors, left to right in this specific order: blue, white, red, green, and yellow. The five colors represent the elements: blue symbolizes the sky and space, white symbolizes the air and wind, red symbolizes fire, green symbolizes water, and yellow symbolizes earth.

Prayer flags are used to promote peace, compassion, strength, and wisdom. Tibetans believe the prayers and mantras will be spread by the wind and bring good will and compassion to benefit all beings.

Continue reading

Tibetan malas made and blessed by Buddhist nuns

Some of our most popular items in the Tibetan Nuns Project online store are our malas or Buddhist prayer beads. The Tibetan Buddhist nuns at Dolma Ling Nunnery and Institute near Dharamsala, India make our long malas and bless both the long and wrist malas.

hanging Tibetan malas or prayer beads

A selection of the Tibetan malas made and blessed by Buddhist nuns and available through our online store.

Mala is a Sanskrit word meaning “garland”; in Tibetan, a mala is called threngwa. Malas are used to keep track while one recites, chants, or mentally repeats a mantra or the name or names of a deity. Malas are similar to other forms of prayer beads used in various world religions and they are sometimes called the Buddhist rosary. They are employed to focus one’s awareness and concentration during spiritual practice.

Mantras are spiritual syllables or prayers and are usually repeated many times. In Tibetan Buddhism, one mala constitutes 100 recitations of a mantra. There are 8 additional recitations done to ensure proper concentration. One holds the mala with the left hand and begins to recite from the guru bead, clockwise around the mala.

In Tibetan Buddhism, people traditionally use malas with 108 counting beads and a formal, special, three-holed, finishing bead called a “guru” bead or “Buddha” bead. Often the 108-bead malas have additional marker beads that may or may not be counted and that divide the mala into quadrants, constituting a sum of 108 counting beads. Continue reading

Daughters of Buddha Etsy campaign with photographs of nuns

In November 2014, the acclaimed French photographer, Olivier Adam, set up a special Etsy shop, an online store called “Daughters of Buddha” dedicated to supporting the Tibetan Nuns Project.

The Daughters of Buddha online store sells fine art prints and postcards with 50% of the sales of all the articles sold going to Tibetan Nuns Project.

Olivier Adam has made available a large collection of stunning color photographs of the Tibetan Buddhist nuns, photographs of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and other inspiring spiritual images.

In this blog he shares some photos and answers some questions about his new campaign to support the nuns.

Q: Why did you start this Etsy campaign ?

A: On August 2014, an exhibition of my photographs “Tibetan Nuns – Resistance and Compassion” opened at the Museum für Völkerkunde in Hamburg, Germany. During the exhibition the museum has been selling postcards and fine art prints of my images. I had the idea to expand this opportunity in an online store to get a bigger audience for these wonderful nuns and to bring wider support to Tibetan Nuns Project. 

Olivier Adam and His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Photo of French photographer Olivier Adam showing his exhibition “”Tibetan Nuns – Resistance and Compassion” to His Holiness the Dalai Lama in August 2014 in Hamburg. Photo courtesy of Manuel Bauer.

The exhibition was visited and blessed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama during his teachings in Hamburg in August and has now been extended until February 2015. It was such a precious moment in my life to have a few minutes with His Holiness Dalai Lama to explain this long-term project. Continue reading