Postcard from Dharamsala – Geshema exams, Sagadawa and more

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Here’s the latest news from Dharamsala:

Tibetan Buddhist nuns sitting round 2 of Geshema examsThe second round of the Geshema Examinations was held at Dolma Ling Nunnery and Institute from May 1-16, 2014. 23 nuns sat the 2nd year exam, while 6 sat the 1st year exam. The results were released on July 6, His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Birthday. We are very happy to announce that most of the nuns did very well in their exams; only three nuns failed, one from the 2nd year group and two from 1st year group.

Tibetan Buddhist nuns praying Sagadawa 2014Sagadawa, which is considered a holy month, fell this year from June 13 – July 12. Three events in the life of Lord Buddha took place within this holy month, his birth, enlightenment, and demise. If we practice good deeds during this time period, we consider we will earn more merit than usual, so everybody puts their effort into doing some wholesome activities. In the nunneries, they do special Nyungne (fasting retreat) and in some they read the full 108 volumes of the Kangyur (teachings of Lord Buddha) over a number of days. Most observe the specific practice for ordained people of not eating dinner during that month.

Tibetan Buddhist nuns attending the Kalachakra Ladakh 2014The 33rd Kalachakra was held in Ladakh (Choklamsar) from June 3-14, 2014. Nuns from Dolma Ling, Shugsep, Trilokpur and Ganden Choeling formed groups to begin the two-day journey to Ladakh by bus and mini cabs. It was indeed difficult for the nuns to cross the Tanglang Pass, the second highest pass in the world, but the determined nuns ultimately made it to Ladakh, a place resembling our motherland, Tibet. Many of the nuns who escaped from occupied Tibet felt the strong connection with Ladakh. All the nuns who went for the Kalachakra did not pass up the opportunity to visit ancient monasteries and temples that are well preserved, and felt that Ladakh is a beautiful spiritual place to visit. The nuns came back healthy with wonderful moments and memories to cherish.

construction of kitchen at Dolma Ling NunneryWe are in the process of constructing a kitchen behind the completed nun’s café. This will enable the nuns to run a full-scale restaurant.

The bumpy road from Norbulingka to our Dolma Ling Institution had been a major problem for the last few years. However, now we have organized funding and work on the new concrete paving started on July 16. Because of the monsoon, it is taking time but we hope it will be completed by September.road work at Dolma Ling Nunnery, India

On July 25, the Education Department, Central Tibetan Administration organized in Ladakh an arts and crafts exhibition of the nine Tibetan Schools. The Dolma Ling Handicraft Centre was invited on special grounds to exhibit since we are producing some Tibetan items. No other nunneries and monasteries were invited. Sikyong Lobsang Sangay was also present and inaugurated the exhibition. Tibetan Nuns Project table at arts and crafts exhibition India 2014

The following day the nuns gave a short workshop on how to put the nuns and monks robes on the dolls. The school participants enjoyed it very much.

One of the local Indian printers who is an ex-TCV student and speaks fluent Tibetan taught block printing to the children and our nuns also took active part in the training.Tibetan Buddhist nuns at block printing workshop

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