The Tibetan Nuns Project supports seven nunneries and over 700 nuns in India, including some non-resident nuns.
The majority of Tibetan Buddhist nuns left Tibet because of the repressive political situation. In the 1980s and 1990s in particular, a steady stream of nuns arrived in Dharamsala in the Himalayan region of northern India seeking refuge. These brave and dedicated women wished only to live, study, practice, and teach in accordance with their spiritual beliefs.
Ranging in age from early teens to mid-80s, the nuns came from all parts of Tibet and from many different backgrounds. Many nuns suffered severely from their long, arduous, and often dangerous escapes to India. Some had been tortured and imprisoned by Chinese authorities in Tibet. In most cases the nuns arrived without money or possessions to a community already struggling to support itself.
Nunneries and Nuns
Here is a list and map of the seven nunneries supported by the Tibetan Nuns Project:
- Dolma Ling Nunnery and Institute is a non-sectarian nunnery that was built and is fully supported by the Tibetan Nuns Project. It was the first institute dedicated specifically to higher education for Tibetan Buddhist nuns from all traditions. The nunnery is now home to over 230 nuns and is a model educational institution.
- Shugsep Nunnery and Institute, of the Nyingma tradition, was built and fully supported by the Project, and traces its lineage back to some of the greatest female teachers in Tibetan Buddhism. Shugsep is home to about 85 nuns.
- Geden Choeling Nunnery, of the Gelug tradition, is the oldest nunnery in Dharamsala and is home to about 160 nuns.
- Tilokpur Nunnery, of the Kagyu tradition, provides scriptural and ritual training and is beginning a study program. It is home to about 96 nuns.
- Sakya Nuns Institute was inaugurated in September 2009 in Mundawala near Dehra Dun, and offers a full course of studies followed by the monks at Sakya College. It is home to over 50 nuns.
- Sherab Choeling Nunnery in Lahaul-Spiti, has resident nuns who have begun a rigorous course of study, the first of its kind for women of that region. It is home to over 60 nuns.
- Other nuns and nunneries that we help include nuns not living in nunneries, nuns on retreat, Khari Ganden Tenphel Ling Nunnery in Nepal, and Dorjee Zong Nunnery in Zanskar.