Geshemas Visioning Their Future

TNP Holds Geshemas Strategic Visioning Workshop

From April 8-12, 2024, the Tibetan Nuns Project organized a Geshemas Strategic Visioning Workshop at Dolma Ling Nunnery and Institute in Dharamsala in conjunction with the Women’s Empowerment Desk of the Central Tibetan Administration.

The workshop was held with eight Geshemas from Dolma Ling and four Tibetan Buddhist nuns who are currently studying for their Geshema exams. The workshop aims to empower Geshemas in shaping the future of their role within Tibetan Buddhism.

collage Geshema Visioning Workshop

The 5-day workshop aimed to explore the future vision of the Geshemas (holders of the highest academic degree in Tibetan Buddhism) and support their participation in the larger social realm. The goal is to empower the Geshema to contribute back to the community through various leadership roles.

The Geshema degree is the highest level of training in the Gelugpa tradition and is equivalent to a PhD in Tibetan Buddhism. The Geshema degree is the same as a Geshe degree but is called a Geshema degree because it is awarded to women.

The degree was only formally opened to women in 2012. Sixty nuns currently hold the Geshema degree and many nuns will take various levels of the four-year Geshema exams this summer. The degree makes them eligible to assume various leadership roles in their monastic and lay communities reserved for degree holders and hence previously not open to women.

Geshema Visioning Workshop Dolma Ling Timeline

As part of the workshop, the nuns used a big graphic illustration of Dolma Ling’s timeline called HERstory (rather than history) to help set the stage for the subsequent days. Hearing about their journeys from Tibet to the present was fascinating and awe-inspiring for everyone.

As part of the workshop, the nuns shared their stories. Several nuns started learning the Tibetan alphabet in their 20s and many only after they came to Dolma Ling. Many nuns had no schooling in Tibet or they were sent to Chinese schools with no opportunity to learn Tibetan. Here are some photos from the first days of the workshop.

The Workshop Organizers

The five-day workshop was conducted and facilitated at Dolma Ling by TNP board member, Dechen Tsering, with the help of TNP board members Tseten Phanucharas and Robin Groth.

Tibetan Geshemas take part in visioning workshop 2024

The Geshema degree stands as the pinnacle of educational attainment within the Gelugpa tradition. The workshop was aimed at enhancing leadership skills and awareness among Geshemas, empowering them to navigate life more effectively and cultivate their leadership qualities.

We are very grateful to our partner co-facilitators from CTA’s Women’s Empowerment Desk who helped prepare the workshop charts and banners and did the Tibetan-language translations. The team from the Women Empowerment Desk included Tsering Kyi (Lead Facilitator), Tenzin Tseten (co-facilitator), and Tenzin Dolkar (Tibetan language translator). They also offered a workshop on Gender and Leadership on April 10th.

Geshema Strategic Visioning Workshop April 2024

Geshemas at Dolma Ling offer prayers as part of the visioning workshop. The Geshema degree (called a Geshe degree for monks) was only formally opened to women in 2012. As of November 2023, 60 nuns hold this highest degree roughly equivalent to a doctorate in Tibetan Buddhist philosophy.

The Tibetan Nuns Project is also very grateful to our thought partners, Beckie Masaki and Nancy Wan from Bay Area’s Gathering Strength Coalition for working with Dechen Tsering in co-conceptualizing the workshop agenda and creating the HERstory timeline chart used to illustrate major milestones – past and future – by the workshop participants.

A Range of Workshop Activities

Over the five days, the participants took part in many group and individual activities including written vision statements about where they saw themselves in five years in 2029. Many of the nuns pictured themselves returning to their hometowns in Tibet or Spiti as principals of new schools they would start. Two nuns envisioned themselves as bilingual online Buddhist teachers. Four of the nuns already speak quite good English and want to improve so they can teach. One nun envisioned herself as director of TNP-paid staff at Dolma Ling. One nun saw herself in solitary retreat for five years to prepare for the next life.

Geshema Visioning Workshop 2024

Throughout the five days, attendees engaged in discussions on a range of topics, including effective communication, problem-solving, active listening, gender and leadership, leadership qualities and styles, team-building exercises, and visualization exercises.

Dechen Tsering wrote, “The Geshemas (and four future Geshemas) who took part were extremely enthusiastic, energetic, engaged, and participated fully throughout the five days! Together, we shared, we learned, we meditated, we played, and we laughed all week. We had fun!”

Rinchen Khando Choegyal speaks at Geshema workshop

Rinchen Khando Choegyal, Founding Director and Special Advisor for the Tibetan Nuns Project gave an inspirational talk. She emphasised the evolution and significance of the Geshema degree, highlighting how the Geshema’s contributions to the Tibetan community and Buddhist philosophy play a pivotal role in shaping history.

Making Headlines

The workshop made the news. On April 10th, a media team from VOA Tibetan came to Dolma Ling and did a 20-minute feature video story and interview in Tibetan with lead organizer, Dechen Tsering. Within two days the story had been viewed by over 2,600 people.

On April 13th, the Voice of Tibet did this interview and feature story entitled “Conversation on building a strategic vision and challenges for Geshemas.” The video is in Tibetan and shows many of the activities in the workshop. Can’t see the video? Click here.

Helping Geshemas on the Path

Please help build 16 rooms at Dolma Ling Nunnery and Institute for nuns who hold their Geshema degree so that they can get the education they need to become fully qualified teachers of their tradition.

The Geshema degree (called a Geshe degree for men) is the highest level of training in the Gelugpa tradition and is equivalent to a PhD in Tibetan Buddhism. The degree was only formally opened to women in 2012.

Geshema, Geshema degree, Geshema Endowment Fund

A Geshema holds the yellow hat that signifies her degree. Detail of photo by Olivier Adam.

Housing for Geshemas

There is a housing shortage for Geshemas who want to do Tantric studies. To solve this problem, we would like to construct 16 rooms plus bathrooms, kitchen and dining facilities, and a study hall. These 16 rooms and facilities will be on the third floor of the Yangchen Lophel Center at Dolma Ling Nunnery and Institute. Geshemas from nunneries all over India and Nepal will be able to stay here so that they can take the final year of advanced education at the nearby Gyuto Tantric University.

Geshemas studying Tantric Buddhism

Part of the first group of 23 Geshema nuns who had the opportunity to do Buddhist Tantric Studies. Photo by the Dolma Ling Media Nuns.

The 16 rooms can either be single-bed study rooms or, as the groups of Geshema graduates become larger, accommodate two nuns per room. Now that this degree is open to women, more nuns from India and Nepal are studying to be Geshemas. It is difficult to predict how many graduates there will be each year, so the facility must be as flexible as possible. We also hope that the Geshema Organizing Committee’s office can be moved into this facility to free up the room they are now using in Dolma Ling Nunnery.

To help the Geshemas on their path you can:

  1. Make a gift online
  2. Call our office in Seattle, U.S. at 1-206-652-8901
  3. Mail a check to The Tibetan Nuns Project, 815 Seattle Boulevard South #418, Seattle, WA 98134 U.S. (note that it is for Housing for Geshemas)
  4. Donate securities

Background

December 22, 2016, marked an important day in the history of Tibet as 20 nuns became the first Tibetan women to receive their Geshema degrees, equivalent to a doctorate in Tibetan Buddhist philosophy.

Geshema, Geshema nuns, Tibetan nuns, His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Tibetan Buddhist nuns make history. Collage of photos from the Geshema graduation event on December 22, 2016. Photos courtesy of Olivier Adam and OHHDL.

The Geshema degree was only formally opened to women in 2012. Now Geshemas are paving the way for other nuns to follow in their footsteps. This degree makes them eligible to assume various leadership roles in their monastic and lay communities reserved for degree holders and hence previously not open to women.

Geshema, online Buddhist teaching, Geshema Delek Wangmo

Geshema Delek Wangmo has completed her Tantric Studies and now teaches at Dolma Ling Nunnery. In May 2023, she and Geshema Tenzin Kunsel gave an online Buddhist teaching and taught other Geshemas how to do this.

Their success fulfils a longstanding wish of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and marks a new chapter in the development of education for ordained Buddhist women and is a major accomplishment for Tibetan women. It is also a milestone for the Tibetan Nuns Project, which was founded in 1987 to provide education and humanitarian aid to Tibetan Buddhist nuns living in India.

Tantric Studies

After monks attain their Geshe degree (the male equivalent of the Geshema degree) they must study the Tantric treatises to become fully qualified masters capable of teaching their complete tradition. The monks normally join one of the two main Tantric Colleges to do this.

The Tibetan Nuns Project set up a Tantric Studies program out of Dolma Ling Nunnery and Institute for all the recent Geshema grads from India and Nepal. In 2018, 23 of the 26 nuns in the first two groups of Geshema graduates started Tantric studies. The nuns attended classes at nearby Gyuto Tantric University to receive the necessary empowerments and transmissions from the senior monks. The Tantric Studies Program generally takes around 12 months to complete.

The Need for Housing for Geshemas

After monks attain their Geshe degree (the male equivalent of the Geshema degree) they must study the Tantric treatises to become fully qualified masters capable of teaching their complete tradition. To do this, the monks normally join one of the two main Tantric Colleges.

The Tibetan Nuns Project has set up a Tantric Studies program out of Dolma Ling Nunnery and Institute for all the recent Geshema grads from India and Nepal. In 2018, 23 of the 26 nuns in the first two groups of Geshema graduates started Tantric studies. The nuns attended classes at nearby Gyuto Tantric University to receive the necessary empowerments and transmissions from the senior monks. The Tantric Studies Program generally takes around 12 months to complete.

The Current Problem

Since 2018, the Geshemas have been housed and fed at Dolma Ling, traveling daily by jeep to Gyuto Tantric University for their studies. These arrangements are currently funded by the Tibetan Nuns Project under the Geshema Endowment Fund.

Tantric studies, Tibetan nuns, Tibetan Buddhism, Dolma Ling

For the first time in the history of Tibet, Buddhist nuns have the opportunity to formally study Tantric Buddhism and become teachers. But they need your help to provide accommodation and food. Photo courtesy of the Dolma Ling Media Nuns.

Although there are many advantages for the Geshemas with this arrangement, it is placing a big strain on Dolma Ling to accommodate them. It also restricts the number of new nuns who can be admitted to Dolma Ling. Space must be available for young nuns to join Dolma Ling to give the nunnery fresh input each year.

Rinchen Khando Choegyal with Geshemas at Dolma Ling 2017

Celebrating Losar at Dolma Ling – Photo Essay

Sit back, relax, and take an armchair journey to Dolma Ling Nunnery and Institute in India, home to about 250 Tibetan Buddhist nuns. The wonderful team of Media Nuns at Dolma Ling took dozens of photos showing the nuns preparing for and celebrating Losar, Tibetan New Year.

butter sculptures, Losar, Tibetan butter sculptures

The art of making sculptures out of butter has been practiced for over 400 years in Tibet. This highly revered artistic tradition is now being taught to nuns at Dolma Ling and is being preserved by them.

Losar or Tibetan New Year is a very special time of year. This year, Losar fell on February 10th and, according to the Tibetan calendar, is the start of the year of the Wood Dragon 2151. In the traditional calendar, each year has an animal, an element, and a number.

Losar-related rituals fall into two distinct parts. First, the nuns, like all Tibetans, prepare for the new year and say goodbye to the old year, letting go of all its negative or bad aspects. Part of the preparations involves cleaning the nunnery.

Tibetan butter sculptures

In the weeks leading up to Losar, the nuns make elaborate butter sculptures of flowers and Buddhist sacred symbols to decorate the Losar offering table and offering boxes.

Since 2001, the Dolma Ling nuns have been studying the ancient art of butter sculpture making. In addition to the larger butter sculptures made for the Losar altar, the nuns make smaller displays on individual sticks, called tsepdro, for each person in the nunnery — nuns, staff, and teachers. This means that each Losar, the nuns make around 300 of these, using a wide variety of designs. The nuns display them in their rooms as part of their Losar altars and offerings, as a kind of bundle of auspiciousness.

Besides making butter sculptures, the nuns prepare special Losar foods like the deep-fried biscuits called khapse. Khapse means literally “mouth-eat” and the dough is usually made with flour, eggs, butter, and sugar. It is then rolled out into various shapes and sizes. The most common shape is the small twisted rectangular pieces served to guests.

making khapse for Losar or Tibetan New Year

Each year the nuns make khapse in various shapes and sizes. These deep-fried Tibetan cookies are a staple of Tibetan New Year celebrations everywhere.

On the night of the 29th day of the 12th month, or the eve of Losar, Tibetans eat a special soup called guthuk. Guthuk is eaten only once a year as part of a ritual of dispelling any negativities of the old year and to make way for an auspicious new one.

special food for Losar or Tibetan New Year

The top photos show nuns getting guthuk soup with the dough balls containing hidden messages. The bottom photos show the special tea and sweet rice served in the temple at Losar.

Guthuk has at least nine ingredients and the soup is extra special because each person receives a large dough ball containing a hidden item or symbol in it. Each item is meant as a playful commentary on the character of the person who gets it.

Before the first day of Losar, the nuns create an elaborate altar or offering table using their large butter sculpture flowers and stacks of specially made khapse. The Losar altars serve as prominent, central symbols of a wish to cultivate a generous heart and to invoke beautiful blessings for the New Year for all sentient beings.

The nuns also use their butter sculptures to decorate chemar bo. The chemar bo is an open, ornately carved wooden box divided down the middle. The left side is traditionally filled with roasted barley seeds and the right side is filled with chemar, made of roasted barley flour (tsampa), sugar, and butter. On arriving, Losar guests are invited to take a pinch of the chemar, after which they offer a blessing and good luck wish while throwing the chemar in the air with three waves of their hands and then taking a tiny nibble. The chemar is an auspicious offering to make at the Losar shrine to bring blessings in the new year.

Losar offering tables, Losar altar, Losar at Dolma Ling, Losar 2024, Tibetan New Year

The Losar offering tables are decorated with butter sculptures and large pieces of khapse called bhungue amcho or donkey ears. These big hollow tubes of crispy pastry are stacked on the Losar altar and decorated with strings of dried Tibetan cheese.

On the day of Losar itself, Tibetans get up early in the morning and wish each other “Tashi Delek” or Happy New Year and then go to the prayer hall for prayers. Part of the prayer ceremony includes tsok, the offering of blessed food including khapse and fruit.

At the end of the puja or prayer ceremony, all the nuns line up to pay homage at the throne of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and to the nunnery’s leaders. They offer white kataks, ceremonial Tibetan prayer scarves.

Losar at Dolma Ling, throwing tsampa, Losar 2024, Tibetan New Year

Nuns play a Tibetan wind instrument called gyaling somewhat like an oboe as part of their prayers. They also offer kataks to the portrait of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Visiting others is a special part of Losar. The nuns and staff at the nunnery visit each other’s rooms to wish each other a happy new year and to drink cups of traditional Tibetan salty butter tea.

It is customary to hang new sets of prayer flags at Losar. Old prayer flags from the previous year are taken down and burned with bunches of fragrant pine and juniper. The nuns also hang new prayer flags with a wish that all beings everywhere will benefit and find happiness.

If you would like to hang Tibetan prayer flags, you can order prayer flags that are made and blessed by the Dolma Ling nuns.

hanging prayer flags at Dolma Ling Nunnery, Tibetan prayer flags, Tibetan prayer flags at Losar, Tibetan New Year

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 goodwill and compassion to benefit all beings.

On the third day of the Tibetan New Year, a special incense-burning offering called sang-sol is held. While many nuns travel home to visit their families at Losar, some nuns remain at the nunnery and take part in this special event.

After the Losar holiday, the new academic year begins and, if space allows, new nuns join the Tibetan nunneries in India. If you would like to sponsor a nun for just $1 a day, we are always looking for more sponsors.

Losar at Dolma Ling, throwing tsampa, Losar 2024, Tibetan New Year

The nuns gather in a line or circle. Each nun takes some tsampa (roasted barley flour) in her right hand as an offering. They raise their arms simultaneously twice and then, on the third time, they throw the tsampa high into the air shouting “Losar Tashi Delek”.

Thank you for supporting the nuns! You are educating and empowering them and helping to preserve Tibet’s wisdom and culture. We wish you a very happy, healthy, and peaceful New Year.

 

Tibetan Buddhist Nuns Urgently Need Textbooks

The new academic year begins shortly after February 10th and the Tibetan Buddhist nuns urgently need new math, science, and English textbooks. Can you help?

textbooks for nuns, Tibetan Buddhist nuns,

So far three nunneries, home to 650 nuns have sent their wish lists of textbooks. The total cost for the 1,005 textbooks comes to $5,563 or about $5 per book. Photo courtesy of Olivier Adam.

Three nunneries have already sent their lists of books they’d like to purchase from Collins India. We’re waiting to get the textbook requirements from the remaining four nunneries we support and also the list of storybooks needed for Shugsep Nunnery.

So far, the nunneries have asked for 1,005 textbooks in English for their 550 nuns. The cost of these orders is $5,563. The average cost of one textbook is between $5 and $6, so even if you can help purchase one textbook, that would be wonderful.

Tibetan Buddhist nun reading an English textbook.

Teaching and learning is a complex process. Studies show that illustrated textbooks help students learn more effectively. The nuns need textbooks for math, science, and English. Photo courtesy of Olivier Adam.

At Shugsep Nunnery and Institute, home to about 100 nuns, the nuns would love math, science, and English grammar and composition books. The English teacher would like to improve the stock of English textbooks so the students can complete coursework up to Grade 8. The nunnery’s last big purchase of books was years ago and the books have been so well-loved that they are now falling apart. Shugsep Nunnery needs 369 textbooks. Cost: $2,019.

At Geden Choeling, the oldest nunnery in Dharamsala, the 200 nuns and their teachers are excited at the prospect of having good sets of books. Geden Choeling’s abbot is keen for the nuns to learn math, but the nunnery doesn’t have any math textbooks. They have asked for help to purchase textbooks so the teacher can use them for ideas and exercises in their classes. Geden Choeling would like 362 textbooks Cost: US $1,864. 

At Dolma Ling, home to 250 nuns, the teachers have asked for the higher grade books which were not previously available and for grammar and composition books. Dolma Ling has so far requested 274 textbooks. Cost: $1,680.

To help buy textbooks for nuns you can:

    1. Make a gift online here.
    2. Call our office in Seattle, US at 1-206-652-8901
    3. Mail a check to: The Tibetan Nuns Project (note for textbooks) 815 Seattle Boulevard South #418, Seattle, WA 98134 USA

The Power of Textbooks

A single book can transform hundreds of lives.

Textbooks provide organized units of work with each lesson carefully spelled out. Because they are illustrated, students can picture and visualize concepts.

Books for Tibetan Buddhist nuns

There’s a growing body of research showing that high-quality textbooks are important for students’ comprehension and success. Please help provide math, science, and English textbooks for the nuns. Photo courtesy of Olivier Adam.

A textbook gives all the plans and lessons needed to cover a topic in some detail. They save time and energy when searching for information and provide a reliable point of reference. The textbooks will be ordered from Collins India.

Although we now have a science-learning program in the nunneries for one month per year, if the teachers had each level of science and general knowledge textbooks in their classrooms it enliven their classes and help to explain science topics.

Textbooks needed for Tibetan Buddhist nuns in India

Traditionally Tibetan Buddhist nuns have not had equal access to education. The textbooks will help educate and empower the nuns to become teachers and leaders.

The Tibetan Nuns Project is also raising funds for teachers’ salaries for the 2024 academic year.

Creative Ways to Help Tibetan Buddhist Nuns

In this blog, we want to showcase some of the creative ways our supporters are helping Tibetan Buddhist nuns in India.

Since we are a small charity, it is hard for us to manage volunteers and events. So we appreciate our supporters doing things that they love, independent of our help, and then donating a portion of the proceeds to help the nuns.

Wool-Aid: Knitting for Nuns

Wool-Aid, knitted sweaters for Tibetan Buddhist nuns

Our deepest thanks to Terry Yokota and all the volunteer knitters with Wool-Aid for their latest shipment of sweaters, hats, and mittens for Tibetan Buddhist nuns in India.

Since 2016, a group of volunteer knitters called Wool-Aid have knit hats, sweaters, and mittens for nuns at nunneries in northern India. The knitters thoughtfully choose colors in keeping with the nuns’ robes and also cover any shipping and receiving costs.

In December, the nuns at Dolma Ling received three boxes of knitwear from Wool-Aid. At this time, the Wool-Aid volunteers are fulfilling the needs of the various nunneries we support and there is no need for other knitters to send things.

Wool-Aid sweaters, hats and mittens, knitwear for Tibetan Buddhist nuns, ways to help

The Tibetan Buddhist nuns at Dolma Ling Nunnery and Institute are delighted with their new sweaters, hats, and mittens from Wool-Aid.

The Etsy Shop Daughters of Buddha

Our long-time supporter, Olivier Adam, created an Etsy site called “Daughters of Buddha” in 2014 dedicated to supporting the Tibetan Nuns Project. Olivier sells fine art prints and postcards featuring his stunning photographs and kindly donates 50% of the sales to help the nuns.

Daughters of Buddha Etsy site banner

Banner image for Olivier Adam’s Etsy site where he sells fine art prints and cards with 50% of the proceeds donated to the Tibetan Nuns Project.

Since 2008 Olivier has travelled at his own expense to document the lives of nuns in India and Nepal. He shares his images with the Tibetan Nuns Project and we also sell greeting cards with his photos here. There are three packs to choose from and they are a great value. Each pack costs US $20 and contains 10 blank cards and envelopes with beautiful photos donated by Olivier Adam and Brian Harris.

ways to help, blank greeting cards, Tibetan greeting cards, cards by Olivier Adam

Greeting cards with photos by Olivier Adam are available through the Tibetan Nuns Project online store.

Brian Harris’s Creative Legacy Campaign

You may be familiar with Brian Harris’s iconic photo of laughing nuns. Brian and his wife Paula have left gifts in their wills to the Tibetan Nuns Project and they wanted to encourage others to do the same. Brian has donated 8×10 prints of his “Laughing Nuns” to be given to anyone who confirms that they are leaving a legacy to the Tibetan Nuns Project. You can read the story behind the famous Laughing Nuns photo here.

laughing nuns by Brian Harris, legacy gift, free gift

Do What You Love and Benefit the Nuns

Once or twice a year for the past 12 years, the Tibetan Nuns Project has received a check from the Oxford University Press for royalties from the sale of a Buddhist book after the authors kindly donated their royalties to help the nuns.

Tibetan Buddhist nuns holding a thank-you sign

We are so grateful to everyone who pays it forward to help the nuns!

If you have something that you love doing, like baking bread, growing flowers, or making art, why not consider donating a portion of the proceeds to help educate and empower Tibetan Buddhist nuns?

Important Tibetan Buddhist Holidays in 2024

Here is a list of important Tibetan Buddhist holidays in 2024 plus other major dates in the Tibetan calendar.

2024 calendar, important Tibetan Buddhist holidays in 2024, Losar 2024

The 2024 Tibetan Nuns Project calendar is available through our online store at tnp.org and has the Tibetan lunar calendar, ritual dates, inspirational quotes, phases of the moon, and major US and Canadian holidays. The cost is $12 and all proceeds help the nuns.

Each year, the Tibetan Nuns Project publishes a calendar with beautiful images by the nuns. Sales help provide education, food, shelter, and health care for over 800 Tibetan Buddhist nuns living in northern India.

February 10, 2024: Losar, Tibetan New Year

Tibetan butter sculptures for Losar

The nuns at Dolma Ling make elaborate and colorful butter sculptures of flowers and Buddhist sacred symbols to decorate an offering table for Losar or Tibetan New Year. Photos by the Dolma Ling Media Nuns.

Losar or Tibetan New Year is a very special time of year. In the traditional Tibetan calendar, each year has an animal, an element, and a number.

This year Losar is on February 10, 2024. According to the Tibetan calendar, it is the start of the year of the Wood Dragon 2151.

Tibetan Buddhist nun, prayer flags, hanging prayer flags
Tibetans hang new prayer flags and burn incense at Tibetan New Year. Photo courtesy of Olivier Adam

The animals in the Tibetan calendar are similar to those in the Chinese zodiac and are in the following order: Mouse, Ox, Tiger, Hare, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Bird, Dog, and Boar. The five elements are in this order: Wood, Fire, Earth, Iron, and Water.

Losar-related rituals fall into two distinct parts. First, the nuns, like all Tibetans, say goodbye to the old year and let go of all its negative or bad aspects. Part of this involves cleaning one’s home or room from top to bottom.

Tibetan Buddhist nuns making khapse for Tibetan New Year or Losar

Each year the nuns make lots of khapse biscuits in various shapes and sizes for Losar. These deep-fried Tibetan cookies are a staple of Tibetan New Year celebrations everywhere. Photos by the Dolma Ling Media Nuns

After that, Tibetans welcome the “Losar” or “new year” with prayers and by inviting all good, auspicious things into their homes and lives. They prepare special food such as the fried biscuits called khapse and a noodle soup called guthuk. Here is a recipe for vegetarian guthuk.

At Losar, Tibetans hang new prayer flags and also burn incense and fragrant juniper bows to welcome the new year. If you would like to hang Tibetan prayer flags, you can order them here. The prayer flags are made and blessed by Tibetan Buddhist nuns in India.

March 10 and March 12: Tibetan Uprising Day

Tibetans taking part in March 10th demonstrations Dharamsala

Nuns, monks, and lay people hold Tibetan flags and banners as they take part in a demonstration in Dharamsala, India to mark March 10th, Tibetan Uprising Day. Photo courtesy of the Dolma Ling Media Nuns.

While not a Tibetan Buddhist holiday, March 10th is a very important date in the Tibetan calendar. 2024 marks the 65th anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising. Around the world, Tibetans and their supporters remember and pay tribute to all those who have sacrificed their lives for Tibet’s struggle. An estimated one million Tibetans have perished and 98% of monasteries and nunneries were destroyed under the Chinese occupation.

In 1950, Chinese Communist forces invaded Tibet. On March 10, 1959, Tibetans attempted to take back their country with an uprising in Lhasa. The protests were crushed with brutal force.

March 12th, 2024 marks the 65th anniversary of the Tibetan Women’s Uprising. Following the National Uprising Day on March 10th, thousands of Tibetan women gathered in front of the Potala Palace in Lhasa to demonstrate for Tibetan independence.

Read this blog post to learn more about these important dates and why Tibetans are in exile.

May 23, 2024: Saga Dawa Düchen

The most important month in the Tibetan calendar is Saga Dawa, the 4th lunar month which runs this year from May 9 to June 6th 2024. The 15th day of the 4th lunar month, the full moon day, is called Saga Dawa Düchen. Düchen means “great occasion” and this day is the holiest day of the year for Tibetan Buddhists. In 2024, Saga Dawa Düchen is on May 23rd.

Saga Dawa, Saga Dawa Duchen, Important Tibetan Buddhist holidays,

Every year, during the month of Saga Dawa, over several days, the nuns at Dolma Ling Nunnery read the entire Tibetan Buddhist canon or Kangyur, the 108 volumes of the spoken words of the Buddha. Photo courtesy of the Nuns’ Media Team.

Saga Dawa Düchen commemorates the birth, enlightenment, and parinirvana of Buddha Shakyamuni. In other Buddhist traditions, this occasion is known as Vesak or is sometimes called Buddha Day.

Saga Dawa is known as the month of merits. Tibetans believe that during this month the merits of your actions are multiplied. Tibetan Buddhists make extra effort to practice more generosity, virtue, and compassion to accumulate greater merit. On the 15th day of the month or Saga Dawa Düchen the merits of your actions are hugely increased.

Tibetan Buddhist nuns reading the kangyur for Saga Dawa

Tibetan Buddhist nuns at Dolma Ling read the Kangyur, the spoken words of the Buddha, during the holy month of Saga Dawa. Photo by the Dolma Ling Media Nuns.

June 22, 2024: Universal Prayer Day

Tibetan Buddhist nuns, burning juniper

As on other auspicious occasions, such as Tibetan New Year and His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s birthday, nuns burn fragrant juniper boughs. Photo by the Dolma Ling Nuns’ Media Team

Universal Prayer Day or Dzam Ling Chi Sang falls on the 15th day of the 5th month of the Tibetan Lunar calendar, so in June or July. It is a time for spiritual cleansing. Tibetans hang prayer flags and burn juniper twigs.

July 6: His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Birthday

His Holiness the Dalai Lama

His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s birthday on July 6th is celebrated worldwide with happiness and prayers for his good health and long life. This year, His Holiness the Dalai Lama turns 89.

The nuns will pray and make special offerings of tsok, khataks (prayer scarves), and sangsol (incense offering) to His Holiness. Here’s a blog post and video of the nuns celebrating His Holiness’s birthday in 2023.

It’s a day of celebration with special food, such as Tibetan momos, the steamed savory dumplings that are much loved by Tibetans around the world and that are often made on Tibetan Buddhist holidays. Here is a recipe for vegetarian momos so you can celebrate at home.

July 9, 2024: Buddha’s First Teaching

Called Chokhor Düchen, this important day falls on the fourth day of the sixth lunar month. This day is the third “great occasion” (düchen) in the Tibetan Buddhist calendar. It celebrates the first teaching by the historical Buddha, named Siddhartha at birth and commonly known as Shakyamuni Buddha.

On this day, over 2,500 years ago, the Buddha gave the teaching of the Four Noble Truths in Sarnath, shortly after attaining enlightenment in Bodhgaya. This event is known as the “turning of the wheel of dharma”. In Theravada traditions, this event is remembered on Dhamma Day also known as Asalha Puja and is generally marked on the full moon of the eighth lunar month. To celebrate Chokhor Düchen, Tibetan Buddhists make pilgrimages to holy places, offer incense, and hang prayer flags.​​

November 22, 2024: Buddha’s Descent from Heaven

Tibetan Buddhist nun praying by Olivier Adam

Tibetan Buddhist nun praying. Photo courtesy of Olivier Adam.

Another “great occasion” or düchen in the Tibetan Buddhist calendar is Lhabab Düchen. This date commemorates the Buddha’s descent from the heavenly realm, where he had gone to impart teachings to his mother, Maya Devi (or Mayadevi), who had been reborn there. She had passed away seven days after his birth. To repay her kindness and liberate her from samsara, and also to benefit the gods, Buddha spent three months teaching in the realm of the gods.

Lhabab Düchen occurs on the 22nd day of the ninth lunar month, according to the Tibetan calendar. On this day, the karmic effects of our actions are multiplied millions of times. In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, people engage in virtuous activities and pray to gain merit and to mark this special occasion.

February 28, 2025: Losar (Tibetan New Year)

Tibetan Buddhist nuns offering at Losar Tibetan New Year

Tibetan Buddhist nuns offering at Losar Tibetan New Year. Photo by Olivier Adam

Losar in 2025 falls on February 28th and is the start of the Year of the Wood Snake, 2152 according to the Tibetan calendar.

Keep Track with the 2024 Tibetan Nuns Project Calendar

You can order our 2024 Tibetan Nuns Project calendar. It’s a great way to keep track of the Tibetan Buddhist holidays and all the special events throughout the year. The calendar has the dates of the Tibetan lunar calendar, Tibetan holidays, and special ritual days for Tibetan Buddhist practices. It costs $12 and your purchase helps support over 800 Tibetan Buddhist nuns and seven nunneries in India. Thank you for your support!

More Nuns Earn Highest Degree

2023 Geshema Graduation and Annual Debate Event

On November 27th, seven Tibetan Buddhist nuns graduated with their Geshema degrees at a special convocation ceremony in the holy city of Bodh Gaya, India.

Geshema graduation 2023, Geshema

The seven Tibetan Buddhist nuns who earned their Geshema degrees in 2023 at the graduation ceremony in Bodh Gaya. Photo by the Dolma Ling Media Nuns.

The degree is the female equivalent of the Geshe degree for monks and is the highest academic degree available in the Gelug tradition, roughly equivalent to a PhD.

This was the sixth cohort of Geshemas since the degree was opened to women in 2012. The first 20 nuns graduated in 2016.

At the ceremony, Nangsa Choedon, the director of the Tibetan Nuns Project in India, spoke about the work to ensure a strong future for Tibetan nuns.

Geshema graduation 2023, Nangsa Choedon

Nanga Choedon of the Tibetan Nuns Project presents the Geshema graduates with robes and the yellow hats that signifies the holding of this highest degree. Photo by the Dolma Ling Media Nuns.

Other special guests who attended the graduation included Kunga Gyaltsen, the additional secretary of Religion and Cultural Affairs for the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) who offered congratulations to the new Geshemas on behalf of the CTA. He encouraged the nuns to educate their local communities on core Buddhist teachings and also urged them to encourage participation in projects aimed at bringing insights from modern science to monastics.

2023 Geshema graduation

Tibetan Buddhist nuns line up to offer congratulations and ceremonial white katak scarves to the Geshema graduates. Photo by the Dolma Ling Media Nuns.

The Geshema degree enables these dedicated women to assume various leadership roles in their monastic and lay communities reserved for degree holders and hence previously not open to women.

Geshemas, 2023 inter-nunnery debate

At the 2023 Jang Gonchoe inter-nunnery debate event, there were five Geshemas from previous years who acted as teachers during the month of intensive training in monastic debate. Two were from Jangchup Choeling, one from Kopan Nunnery, one from Jangyang Choeling, and one from Dolma Ling.

The Geshema exams took place in the summer and a record 132 nuns took various levels of the four-year exams. This is 38 more than the 94 nuns who took exams in 2022. Here’s a video  made by the nuns about the 2023 exams.

Tibetan Buddhist nuns, Geshema exams in 2023

In 2022, 94 nuns sat Geshema exams. This year, a record 132 nuns are taking various levels of the four-year exams. Photo by the Dolma Ling Media Nuns.

Momentum is building and an increasing number of nuns wish to attain this highest academic standing. Many young and new nuns who join the nunneries we support in northern India are saying in their introductory interviews that they want to pursue the rigorous 17-year training that precedes the Geshema exam process.

They look to examples of Geshemas as teachers and leaders and they are inspired to follow in their footsteps. As of the end of 2023, there are 60 Geshemas in this tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.

2023 Jang Gonchoe Inter-Nunnery Debate

The graduation was the culmination of the nuns’ annual inter-nunnery debate event called the Jang Gonchoe which took place from October 25th to November 28th.

inter-nunnery debate,2023 Jang Gonchoe

In 2023, over 500 Tibetan Buddhist nuns from India and Nepal took part in the month-long inter-nunnery debate event called the jang Gonchoe.

This year around 520 nuns from 10 nunneries from India and Nepal gathered at the Kagyu Monlam in Bodh Gaya to take part in the month-long intensive training in monastic debate.

Nuns practicing debate daily at Dolma Ling Nunnery.

Nuns practicing debate daily at Dolma Ling Nunnery. Monastic debate is of critical importance in traditional Tibetan Buddhist learning. Through debate, nuns test and consolidate their classroom learning. Photo courtesy of Olivier Adam.

Throughout the year nuns practice debate daily at their nunneries. But, the Jang Gonchoe debate event provides the training and practice that is essential for nuns who wish to pursue higher degrees.

Long-Term Stability

Both the Geshema exams and the inter-nunnery debate are funded by endowments through the Tibetan Nuns Project and are self-sustaining. We are grateful to all those who supported these two funds.

Tibetan Buddhist nuns

Some of 510 nuns who took part in the 2023 inter-nunnery debate. Their food and travel costs were covered by the Debate Fund. Now we want to more more of our core programs on a sustainable footing with TNP’s Long-Term Stability Fund.

Now our wish is to put more of the Tibetan Nuns Project’s core programs on a sustainable footing. To that end, we launched the Long-Term Stability Fund. You can learn more about this vision and donate here

Life at Dolma Ling

Dolma Ling Nunnery and Institute in northern India is a special place.

Here are the latest photographs from Dolma Ling’s media nuns. We hope they bring you joy and help convey the impact of your support.

Dolma Ling Nunnery and Institute near Dharamsala

Dolma Ling is the first institute dedicated to higher Buddhist education for Tibetan Buddhist nuns from all traditions.

Dolma Ling was established by the Tibetan Nuns Project to educate and empower nuns of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition as teachers and leaders, and to sustain Tibetan religion and culture. It is now home to about 250 nuns. Most nuns have sponsors, but new sponsors are always needed. 

The 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.

Drawing classes at Dolma Ling

In early autumn, the nuns learned and practiced drawing, including the sacred symbols of Tibetan Buddhism.

The nuns helped to build the nunnery and they work hard to maintain it. The large campus is near Dharamsala at the foothills of the Indian Himalayas, one of the wettest areas in India. In the summer of 2023, the monsoon rains were very intense.

Tibetan Buddhist nuns working by the river

In September, after torrential monsoon rains all summer, the nuns had to move large rocks affecting water lines.

The academic year begins in early spring after Losar, the Tibetan New Year. Throughout the year, the nuns have exams and quizzes as they pursue their degrees. The Tibetan Nuns Project aims to elevate the educational standards and the position of women within the monastic community.

Exam time at Dolma Ling Nunnery

Exam time at Dolma Ling! Photos by the media nuns of the July written exams. When the Tibetan Nuns Project was founded in 1987, most of the nuns escaping from Tibet were illiterate.

The ultimate goal is to empower the nuns to become teachers and leaders in their own right and to help preserve Tibet’s unique culture and religion.

Teaching Tibetan Buddhist nuns science at Dolma Ling

On September 13th, Science for Monks and Nuns held a one-day exhibition on “Secrets of Particles” for the Dolma Ling nuns and staff. Over 100 nuns from different classes attended.

In September, Sikyong Penpa Tsering, the political leader of the Central Tibetan Administration, visited three nunneries supported by the Tibetan Nuns Project: Dolma Ling, Shugsep, and Geden Choeling Nunnery. His visits were part of his assessment tour of the Tibetan refugee community in India.

Sikyong Penpa Tsering's visit to Dolma Ling in September 2023

Sikyong Penpa Tsering visited Dolma Ling in September and met with Rinchen Khando Choegyal, TNP’s Founding Director and Special Advisor (center upper right) and Nangsa Chodon, Director of TNP in India (right).

The curriculum is divided into two parts: (1) secular subjects such as Tibetan language, Tibetan history, English, social sciences, mathematics, and science and (2) monastic education. The nuns have quizzes and exams and are now able to proceed through a degree-granting program.

Tibetan Buddhist nuns learning traditional torma making and computing at Dolma Ling

Ancient and modern. The nuns learn sacred arts, such as making tormas, as well as computing, science, and mathematics.

In September, students from Upper TCV school (the Tibetan Children’s Village) visited Dolma Ling and learned about monastic debate from the nuns. These photos show the growing role of nuns as teachers and leaders in the Tibetan exile community.

Tibetan Buddhist nuns teaching monastic debate to students from Upper TCV

Geshema Delek Wangmo (top photos) teaches Tibetan students from Upper TCV school about traditional Tibetan monastic debate and the importance of critical thinking and logic.

Debating is an essential part of monastic education in the Tibetan tradition and combines logical thinking with a deeper understanding of Buddhist philosophy.

In late October, dozens of nuns set off for the holy city of Bodh Gaya to attend the annual Jang Gonchoe Inter-Nunnery debate. In Bodh Gaya, they will join hundreds of nuns from nunneries in India and Nepal. The costs are funded by our Jang Gonchoe Endowment Fund. We are now fundraising for our Long-Term Stability Fund.

Dolma Ling nuns leaving for Jang Gonchoe

Nuns from Dolma Ling departing in late October to attend one month of intensive training in monastic debate. Before 1995, there was no Jang Gonchoe for nuns. Only monks had the opportunity for intensive debate training.

Thanks to your support, the Tibetan Nuns Project has created a ground-breaking education system to preserve Tibetan culture and equip and empower these dedicated women to become leaders in the modern world.

tibetan Buddhist nuns education

Quiz time!

“The Buddhist philosophy of tolerance and compassion has something very important to offer in a world full of intolerance and hatred… As a Tibetan, I feel it is very important that an organization like the Tibetan Nuns Project makes it possible for nuns to study and practice their religion and thus contribute to the preservation of Buddhism and the unique Tibetan culture,” said Tseten Phanucharas, TNP Board Member. Thank you for your support!

Smiling Tibetan Buddhist nuns at Dolma Ling

Thank you for helping the nuns!

To donate or sponsor a nun for $1 a day, click here.

The Shugsep Nunnery Kora Path is Done! Take a Video Tour

Shugsep Nunnery and Institute in northern India was built and is fully supported by the Tibetan Nuns Project. It is now home to about 100 Tibetan Buddhist nuns.

For many years, the nuns have wanted a path where they can practice kora, traditional Tibetan walking meditation. Kora (བསྐོར་བ།) or circumambulation is the act of walking around a sacred place or object such as a temple. Walking around a sacred space generates religious merit and cultivates bodhicitta, the awakened or enlightened mind.

In 2023, the nuns asked for help to build a kora path. Now, thanks to the generosity of 65 Tibetan Nuns Project supporters, the path is finished.

The nuns tell us with big smiles how much they love their new kora path. Each morning, the younger nuns follow the Khenpo five times around the nunnery for exercise!

Here’s a video tour for you.

Work on the circumambulatory path began in early 2023 and was completed in October. The sloping terrain and harsh monsoon posed challenges for construction, but the workers did an excellent job and the nuns helped to prepare the land. Railings and steps are important features of the path. The stone steps have been made with iron front edges to ensure that they do not chip and crumble. The new boundary wall at the top of the nunnery provides the nuns with excellent privacy.

The kora path is good for the nuns’ physical and mental health. There was no safe area near the nunnery where the nuns could walk. The main road has no sidewalks and it is not safe for girls and women to be walking in these areas because crimes against women are common.

Our deepest thanks to all those who supported this huge project and made the nuns’ dream a reality!

For a list of Current Needs from the Tibetan Nuns Project, visit: https://tnp.org/current-needs/

Here’s a slideshow of the path being built.

Work began on the path in the summer of 2023
The steep terrain poses challenges for the path
Nangsa Chodron, director of the Tibetan Nuns Project office in India inspects the path
Looking down on some of the nunnery buildings
Good progress was made in spite of the heavy monsoon.
TNP Board Chair, Dr. Elizabeth Napper, checks progress on the path in late September 2023
Railings are added for safety
Work in progress... The steep slope of the nunnery grounds will provide good exercise for the nuns
The path has a mixture of flat stretches and steps
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About Shugsep Nunnery and Institute

A Nyingma nunnery, Shugsep traces its rituals and practices to some of the most illustrious female practitioners in Tibetan history. In the previous century, Shugsep Nunnery was home to one of the most famous teachers of her time, Shugsep Jetsunma.

Following the Cultural Revolution in 1959, Shugsep Nunnery in Tibet was destroyed. Although the nunnery was partially rebuilt in the 1980s by the nuns themselves, the nuns there faced frequent harassment by Chinese authorities.

Here is a video made in 2006 telling the story of Shugsep Nunnery in Tibet and how it was re-established in India by the Tibetan Nuns Project.

Many of the nuns at Shugsep in India came from the original Shugsep Nunnery in Tibet. The Chinese authorities expelled them for their political activities and they escaped from Tibet over the Himalayas to freely practice their religion in India.

Archival photo from 1991 of a Tibetan Buddhist nun by Susan Lirakis

In the late 1980s and 1990s many Tibetan Buddhist nuns escaped from Tibet including a large number of nuns from the original Shugsep Nunnery. They lived for many years in cramped conditions before the Tibetan Nuns Project re-established Shugsep Nunnery. It was inaugurated in 2010. Photo from 1991 by Susan Lirakis

Shugsep Nunnery was re-established in India in 1992 and the new nunnery was inaugurated by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in December 2010. It is one of two nunneries built and completely supported by the Tibetan Nuns Project. The other is Dolma Ling.

5 Things to Know About Tibetan Prayer Flags

Here are 5 things you might like to know about Tibetan prayer flags.

1. When you are hanging prayer flags have good intentions

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

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

colors of Tibetan prayer flags, prayer flags, Tibetan prayer flags, meaning of the colours of prayer flags

Tibetan Windhorse or lung-ta prayer flags in the Himalayas. Prayer flags are hung to bring benefit to all beings.

2. Each of the 5 colors has a meaning

Tibetan prayer flags come in sets of five, with one flag in each of the five colors. The colors from left to right are in this specific order: blue, white, red, green, and yellow.

Each color represents an element.
– Blue symbolizes the sky and space.
– White symbolizes the air and wind.
– Red symbolizes fire.
– Green symbolizes water.
– Yellow symbolizes earth.

hanging Tibetan prayer flags, prayer flags

A Tibetan Buddhist nun hangs new prayer flags at Dolma Ling Nunnery and Institute. It is traditional to hang new prayer flags at Losar, the Tibetan New Year. Photo courtesy of Olivier Adam.

Some people have asked whether it is OK to disassemble sets of prayer flags and use them separately. It is better not to take apart the set of prayer flags. They represent the five elements in balance and it is not appropriate to the purpose or culture to separate them. Instead, you might choose to double them back or allow the remaining flags to hang down without touching the ground.

3. You should treat prayer flags with respect

Tibetans consider prayer flags to be holy. The flags contain sacred texts and symbols and should always be treated respectfully. They should not touch the ground or be put in the trash.

When disposing of old prayer flags, you should safely burn them so that the smoke may carry their blessings to the heavens. Again, do not let prayer flags touch the ground as they are burned.

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

A Tibetan Buddhist nun burns old prayer flags while being careful not to let them touch the ground. As she does this, she holds in her mind the wish to end the suffering of all sentient beings. Photo courtesy of Olivier Adam.

As you are burning the prayer flags, remember the intentions with which the prayer flags were made, blessed, and hung. You should have compassion for all sentient beings.

You may also choose to let your old Tibetan prayer flags fade and disintegrate. If you wish, you can hang new prayer flags together with old ones. The contrast between old and new is a reminder of impermanence and the continuing cycle of birth and death.

Tibetan prayer flags

You can hang new prayer flags up with old prayer flags. The contrast between old and new is a reminder of impermanence and the continuing cycle of birth and death.

The traditional cotton prayer flags, like those made by the nuns at Dolma Ling and sold in the Tibetan Nuns Project online store, fade more quickly than synthetic ones and come on a cotton string. The fact that they do not last is part of their nature and is a reminder of the central Buddhist teaching of impermanence.

4. You don’t have to be a Buddhist to hang prayer flags

Some people have asked whether it is OK for non-Buddhists to display Tibetan prayer flags. Yes, it is fine. Again, your motivation and intentions are key. Hang them with a wish for all beings to be free of suffering and the causes of suffering, or for a positive intention of your choice.

5. There are different types and sizes of prayer flags

Prayer flags are made of block-printed fabric using traditional printing techniques going back hundreds of years. They come in various types and sizes.

Tibetan prayer flags, types of Tibetan prayer flags, lungta, windhorse prayer flag

Here are some of the types of Tibetan prayer flags sold in the Tibetan Nuns Project online store. They are made and blessed by the nuns at Dolma Ling Nunnery.

The most common types are square or rectangular and connected along their top edges to a long string. They are hung on a straight or diagonal line between two objects and in high places such as the tops of temples, monasteries, stupas, and mountain passes.

Another type of prayer flag is called Darchog. These vertical prayer flags are usually large single rectangles attached to poles along their vertical edge. Darchog are commonly planted in the ground, mountains, cairns, or on rooftops.

The Windhorse or Lung-ta is the most common type of prayer flag. In the center of each prayer flag is the symbol of a powerful horse (lung-ta in Tibetan) bearing three flaming jewels on its back. The triple gem or three jewels represent the Buddha, the dharma (the teachings), and the sangha (the community of practitioners).

The horse (ta in Tibetan) is a symbol of speed and the transformation of bad fortune to good fortune. Surrounding the lung-ta are mantras and Buddhist sacred symbols. In the corners of the prayer flags are images of four powerful animals, also known as the Four Dignities: the dragon, the garuda, the tiger, and the snow lion. You can purchase Windhorse prayer flags here.

Other types of Tibetan prayer flags made by the nuns and sold in our online store include:

  • Tara prayer flags with a lovely image of Tara in the center. Tara represents virtuous and enlightened action. It is said that her compassion for living beings is stronger than a mother’s love for her children. She brings about longevity, protects travel, and guards her followers on their spiritual journey to enlightenment.
  • Guru Rinpoche prayer flags. Padmasambhava, the renowned 8th-century saint, was a central figure in shaping Buddhism’s history in Tibet. Revered as the second Buddha, Guru Rinpoche (Precious Guru) conquered the local deities and demons of Tibet and bound them by oath to become guardians of Buddhism.
  • Gyaltsen Tsenpo prayer flags are printed with sutras bestowed by Lord Buddha to Indra, king of the gods, to overcome his enemies and achieve victory. This is a common prayer flag, especially at New Year, symbolizing new ventures and beginnings.
  • Mini prayer flags. These are perfect for small spaces, such as above your desk, computer or in your kitchen window. These prayer flags are handmade and blessed by Tibetan Buddhist nuns in India. There are four kinds with different mantras.