The Nunneries

The Tibetan Nuns Project supports seven nunneries and around 900 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.

We also help nuns and nunneries following the Tibetan Buddhist tradition in Buddhist communities within the Himalayan regions of India such as Kinnaur, Spiti, Ladakh, and Zanskar.

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 about 250 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 100 nuns.
  • Geden Choeling Nunnery, of the Gelug tradition, is the oldest nunnery in Dharamsala and is home to about 200 nuns.
  • Tilokpur Nunnery, of the Kagyu tradition, provides scriptural and ritual training and is beginning a study program. It is home to about 100 nuns.
  • Sakya College for Nuns was inaugurated in 2009 in Mundawala near Dehradun and offers a full course of studies followed by the monks at Sakya College. It is home to about 50 nuns.
  • Sherab Choeling Nunnery in a non-sectarian nunnery in the remote Spiti Valley has about 75 resident nuns who pursue a rigorous course of study, the first of its kind for women of that region.
  • Dorjee Zong Nunnery in Zanskar is an ancient nunnery dating back to the 14th century. It is home to about 20 nuns.
  • Other nuns and nunneries that we help include nuns not living in nunneries and nuns on retreat.

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