Dorjee Zong

Dorjee Zong Nunnery

Dorjee Zong Nunnery is an ancient Tibetan Buddhist nunnery located in the remote, high-altitude area of Zanskar in northern India, near Ladakh.

At present, the nunnery is very small and basic and seeks to provide education and guide the nuns in community service.┬áThe nunnery was accepted into the Tibetan Nuns Project’s sponsorship program in 2009.

Currently there are 19 nuns at the nunnery. The eldest are in their late 80s, while the youngest is 5. The youngest nuns are provided primary education at the nunnery up to Grade 5. Around 9 other nuns have completed their Grade 5 education at the nunnery and, thanks to the generous donors of a school bus, are now attending classes at the government school 6 miles away.

The nunnery is one of the oldest centers in pursuit of monastic education in Zanskar. Founded in the 14th century, it has a long tradition of meditating nuns, some of who are famed for having reached high levels of realization and attainment.

remote Dorjee Zong Nunnery in Zanskar by Olivier Adam low res

In the past, the nuns at Dorjee Zong did not have the opportunity to engage in rigorous philosophical studies, but their education program is improving. Photo courtesy of Olivier Adam.

The nunnery was founded about 700 years ago by Master Sherab Zangpo, renowned as the Bodhisattva from the upper region of Tibet. He was one of the chief disciples of Tsongkhapa Lobsang Drakpa (1357-1419) founder of the Geluk order. There have been a number of highly accomplished practitioners who devoted their entire life to dharma at this nunnery. Khandroma Yeshi Lhamo, popularly known as Jomo Shelama, was one of those highly realized practitioners from the nunnery.

Young nuns study at Dorjee Zong Nunnery Photo by Olivier Adam

Young nuns study at Dorjee Zong Nunnery. The girls and women from this area have traditionally been given far less education than boys and men. The nunnery gives them a chance for education that they would not have otherwise. Though the young girls live and dress and nuns, they do not take vows until they are old enough to understand. Photo by Olivier Adam

Six nuns from Dorjee Zong Nunnery have studied in nunneries in Dharamsala for many years. Among them, three nuns have taken on the responsibility to revive their ancient nunnery.

Nuns at Dorjee Zong Nunnery photo by Olivier Adam

Nuns at Dorjee Zong Nunnery. Photo courtesy of Olivier Adam.

Currently, the nunnery is undergoing an important expansion thanks to a generous donor.

For more news and photos of Dorjee Zong Nunnery see our blog post “Visit Dorjee Zong Nunnery in Zanskar Through Beautiful Photos”