Tag Archives: Olivier Adam

Tribute cards make great gifts for any occasion

Sometimes it’s hard to think of ideas for special gifts for people. If you’re searching for a meaningful gift in honor or in memory of a loved one, a friend, a colleague, or a teacher, then you may want to consider ordering a Tibetan Nuns Project tribute card.

tribute cards

This collage shows our five original tribute card designs. In May, we will be printing 5 new cards with photos by Olivier Adam

How tribute cards and gifts work

Choose one of our five different tribute card designs and we’ll mail the card to you or directly to the person you wish to honor with your gift. This is the perfect gift for any occasion. You can:

  • Celebrate a special occasion such as a birthday or anniversary;
  • Give a gift for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or a special occasion such as graduation;
  • Send get well wishes;
  • Extend your condolences;
  • Pay tribute to your teacher or a colleague
  • Honor someone special or the memory of a loved one

Tribute cards are the perfect way to help the nuns in India while showing you care.

Tribute card gifts may be made online by Visa, MasterCard, American Express, cheque or cash. Minimum contribution: $15

Tribute card message

We have two options for messages in the tribute cards:

OPTION 1:  A handwritten gift note with the following text will be included with the card:

Dear _______,
A generous gift to the Tibetan Nuns Project has been made in your honor by _________. Warmest wishes and thank you on behalf of the nuns.
Lisa
Lisa Farmer
Executive Director
Tibetan Nuns Project

OPTION 2:  If you prefer to write a short personal note enter it into the “Alternative Card Text” box listed above before clicking “Give Now” to add it to your cart.

To make a tribute gift you can:

  1. Order a tribute card through our online store
  2. Call our office in Seattle, US at 1-206-652-8901 (Monday-Friday)
  3. Mail a check a note about your tribute gift to:
    The Tibetan Nuns Project
    815 Seattle Boulevard South #216
    Seattle, WA 98134 USA
  4. Pay tribute to someone by sponsoring a nun or by giving to a specific project or fund. If so, make your donation using this button and note the tribute in the “Comments” box.

Make a Donation

If you have questions, please contact us at our Seattle, WA office by calling 1-206-652-8901 or emailing us at info@tnp.org

Life at a remote Tibetan Buddhist Nunnery in Spiti [with photos and audio of chanting]

This is a special post on Sherab Choeling Nunnery and Institute, one of the 7 nunneries in northern India supported by the Tibetan Nuns Project. It features photos and an audio recording of the nuns chanting by French photographer, Olivier Adam, who visited the nunnery in the summer of 2015.

This remote nunnery was built in 1995 by 20 nuns and their teacher in the Spiti Valley, an arid mountain valley located high in the Himalaya mountains in the north-eastern part of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh.
Sherab Choeling Nunnery, Spiti, Tibetan Nuns Project, Olivier Adam, Tibetan nuns, Buddhist nuns

The nunnery was built to address the problem of inadequate education for women and girls in the region. The vision is to educate Himalayan Buddhist nuns who would otherwise have no opportunity to receive any formal schooling or spiritual education. It is a non-sectarian nunnery that recognizes the beauty and value in all Buddhist traditions.

spiti_2015_2201 copy
Typically, women and girls who live in remote areas like Spiti and who are interested in studying or practicing their religion have very few options. The Tibetan Nuns Project was approached by the nunnery in 2006 to help them develop their institution and we accepted them into our sponsorship program. Continue reading

Tibetan Losar Prayers and Ceremonies in Dharamsala

This is a guest post about Tibetan Losar celebrations at two Buddhist nunneries in India by Dominique Butet and with photos by Olivier Adam.

Last month, on 19 February 2015, my partner Olivier Adam and I participated in the ceremonies for Tibetan New Year or Losar at Geden Choeling Nunnery in McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala in northern India.

In the very early morning, at 3:30 a.m., the 135 nuns of the nunnery were already sitting in the temple, beginning their Losar puja or prayers with great dedication.

We shared cups of traditional Tibetan salty butter tea with the nuns. Then two nuns brought the offering of tsampa (roasted barley flour) around to everyone so that we could celebrate the start of the new year by throwing tsampa into the air and wishing everyone “Losar Tashi Delek” (Happy New Year) with pure, joyful smiles.

Buddhist Nuns chemar Losar ceremony

Two nuns carry a chamar bo, an open, decorated box with one half filled with chamar, made of roasted barley flour or tsampa and the other half filled with roasted barley. People are invited to take a pinch of the chemar then offer a blessing with three waves of the hand in the air, then taking a nibble. Photo courtesy of Olivier Adam.

Inside the temple, the sound of the prayers grew to fill the entire space and the nuns’ voices were accompanied by bells and Tibetan hand drums (damaru). We were each served sweet rice with dry fruits, followed by a delicious tsampa soup served with all sorts of nuts and dates. Just as sweet tea was brought to the temple, we were also each given the authentic khapse, the deep-fried pastries served at Losar. They come in all sizes, but the ones we were given looked like two big open ears! (You can learn more about khapse by reading this Tibetan Nuns Project blog about these New Year’s cookies.)  Continue reading

Daughters of Buddha Etsy campaign with photographs of nuns

In November 2014, the acclaimed French photographer, Olivier Adam, set up a special Etsy shop, an online store called “Daughters of Buddha” dedicated to supporting the Tibetan Nuns Project.

The Daughters of Buddha online store sells fine art prints and postcards with 50% of the sales of all the articles sold going to Tibetan Nuns Project.

Olivier Adam has made available a large collection of stunning color photographs of the Tibetan Buddhist nuns, photographs of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and other inspiring spiritual images.

In this blog he shares some photos and answers some questions about his new campaign to support the nuns.

Q: Why did you start this Etsy campaign ?

A: On August 2014, an exhibition of my photographs “Tibetan Nuns – Resistance and Compassion” opened at the Museum für Völkerkunde in Hamburg, Germany. During the exhibition the museum has been selling postcards and fine art prints of my images. I had the idea to expand this opportunity in an online store to get a bigger audience for these wonderful nuns and to bring wider support to Tibetan Nuns Project. 

Olivier Adam and His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Photo of French photographer Olivier Adam showing his exhibition “”Tibetan Nuns – Resistance and Compassion” to His Holiness the Dalai Lama in August 2014 in Hamburg. Photo courtesy of Manuel Bauer.

The exhibition was visited and blessed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama during his teachings in Hamburg in August and has now been extended until February 2015. It was such a precious moment in my life to have a few minutes with His Holiness Dalai Lama to explain this long-term project. Continue reading

Compassionate Eye: TNP interviews photographer Olivier Adam

Olivier Adam is a French photographer who has been documenting the rich and luminous world of Buddhist nuns since 2008. His photographs focus on the spiritual path and the strength of Tibetan nuns.

Olivier Adam in Kathmandu
On August 14 2014, a moving exhibition of photographs by Olivier Adam will open at the Museum für Völkerkunde in Hamburg, Germany.

The opening of the exhibition will coincide His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s teachings in Hamburg and is being held in conjunction with a series of events about Tibetan culture and Buddhism, including a second exhibition at the museum about Tibetan nomads.

Olivier Adam has been an active supporter of the Tibetan Nuns Project since 2008. He is working tirelessly to spread the word about the Tibetan Nuns Project and donates a portion of proceeds from sales of his high-quality prints to help the nuns.

Here’s an interview with Olivier Adam about his work and why he finds the nuns so inspiring.

Q: When and how did you first start photographing Tibetan Buddhist nuns?
A: I started photographing Tibetan Buddhist nuns in February 2008 at various nunneries in and around Dharamsala, India – at the old Shugsep Nunnery, at Dolma Ling Nunnery and Institute and at Geden Choeling Nunnery – after a meeting with Rinchen Khando Choegyal, Director of the Tibetan Nuns Project. She gave me the authorization to start this work with the Tibetan nuns. It was just a few days before the dramatic events in Lhasa in 2008, when demonstrations erupted during the lead-up to the Beijing Olympics and Lhasa was completely locked down for a time.

Q: What is it about the nuns that inspires you?
A: I have always worked on feminine photography projects, for instance, the Royal Ballet of Cambodia or the women who were removing landmines in Cambodia. At the beginning I was inspired (and I am still inspired) by the devotion of these nuns. I’m very impressed at how hard they study, from 5 am until sometimes to 10 pm. They have a mix of laughter and serious discipline. I was very interested in documenting the daily life of these nuns, such as their morning prayers, their time in the classroom and all the moments the nuns are sharing together. I am trying to produce inspiring pictures.

Then journey after journey, I started to collect the stories of these nuns, especially those nuns who had escaped Tibet. These are such difficult stories, full of emotion, and some of the nuns wept when referring to these moments. Some of them had spent years in prison because they took part in peaceful demonstrations in Tibet. At the same time, I never felt in their words, in their eyes, in their acts, any loss of compassion, even towards the people who had tortured them.

Day after day I discovered that the nuns and, more Tibetan women in general, are deeply involved in resistance in Tibet and in exile, as I saw them demonstrating on March 10th, the anniversary of the Tibetan uprising in 1959.

Q: You’ve worked very hard to spread the word about the Tibetan Nuns Project. What do you want people to know about our work?
A: Education. Education is the main goal for me. The Tibetan Nuns Project is doing a wonderful job in educating nuns, not only in Buddhist studies but in all aspects of education that a woman will need in this life. I can recognize in this the influence of Rinchen Khando la who was President of Tibetan Women’s Association and also the first woman to become a minister in the Tibetan government in exile.

The work is so broad, from taking care of elderly nuns who escaped Tibet and giving them assistance to, at the same time, building the future of young nuns. Tsewang Zangmo, for example, a young novice at Shugsep Nunnery, arrived few years ago from the border between Nepal and Tibet with eleven other nuns. As a school without tuition fees, the nunnery welcomes young girls from very poor families or who are orphans and provides them with a good education. The Tibetan Nuns Project is trying at the same time to help some remote nunneries to survive, such as Dorje Dzong Nunnery in Zanskar.

I’m also so happy that now nuns have the opportunity to take the Geshema exams – exams equivalent to a PhD in Tibetan Buddhism that, until recently, were only open to monks.

Q: You travel widely to remote locations? Can you tell us about one of your favorite adventures?
A: Discovering Zanskar, one of the highest-altitude inhabited valleys in the Himalayas and the nunneries there two years ago was such an adventure. The nunneries in Zanskar are desperately short of schools and teachers. This is why the Tibetan Nuns Project is helping Dorje Dzong with their education projects. In addition to taking pictures, we helped as much as we could to start building some new houses and we helped the nuns to wash barley to prepare tsampa (roasted barley flour) for the coming winter. All this happened at an altitude of 4000 meters, with two nuns who are 80 years old and full of energy. It was such an adventure. Next month I will be back there at Dorje Dzong to give them some prints and to continue my report there.

Q: This August 14 your exhibition “Tibetan Nuns: Resistance and Compassion” is opening in Hamburg. Tell us about it.
A: It’s such a precious occasion to show this work about Tibetan nuns to a very large public and for a long time because the exhibition will run from August 14th to the end of November at least and maybe even to February.

This exhibition has already been shown in different places in France, but never in such an institution where around 100,000 visitors are expected to see it.

Dominique Butet who is working with me, collecting interviews of the nuns and writing regular articles about these nuns, and Heide Koch who initiated this exhibition in Hamburg and organized it with me, both put real effort into writing the most meaningful texts to accompany the pictures to create an “educational” exhibition.

We are also expecting a visit to the museum by His Holiness Dalai Lama who will be in Hamburg for teachings in August. His Holiness is a strong supporter of the nuns’ education and for women in general.

The opening event will also include a lecture on “Tibetan Buddhist Nuns in Exile: Heading to a New Self-Confidence” by Dr. Rotraut Jampa Wurst and also the movie In the Shadow of the Buddha about nuns’ daily life.

It’s also an occasion to sell some prints and postcards in the museum’s shop and 25% of the benefits will go directly to the Tibetan Nuns Project.

Q: Do you have any favorite photos of the nuns?
A: Difficult question… because each picture is a meeting.

Tibetan Buddhist nun from Shugsep Nunnery by Olivier Adam

I will first choose one inspiring picture of a ritual I did at Shugsep Nunnery. The 25th day of each lunar month is dedicated to the ritual of Dakini which celebrates the female wisdom. They are considered emanations of the Buddhas as well as guardians of secret knowledge. I hope this picture may inspire all practicioners.

Gyaltsen Drölkar Tibetan nun at March 10th Brussels by Olivier Adam

Then, I would definitely choose this picture of Gyaltsen Drölkar that I took when she was demonstrating in Belgium on March 10th.

When Gyaltsen Drölkar was only 19 years old and already a nun she was arrested in Lhasa, during a non-violent demonstration. In 1993, she and 13 other imprisoned nuns secretly recorded cassettes with songs praising the beauty of the Land of Snow and expressing their yearning for freedom. This cost her another eight years of ill treatment and imprisonment. In 2002 Gyaltsen Drölkar was finally freed but she suffers from the severe physical consequences of her 12 years in prison. She now lives in Belgium where she was granted political refugee status.

Mudra transmission from an elderly Buddhist nun to a novice Olivier Adam

Finally, I love this picture of a senior nun taking care of her community by teaching a young one the mudra (gesture) used in a mandala offering, taken during the teachings of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Zanskar.

Q: Any further thoughts?
A: I would like to share these few words from His Holiness Dalai Lama who is here teaching in Ladakh, from where I’m answering these questions:

“We must insist on education for all. Women must be much more involved in our societies and take part in the building of a more peaceful, less violent world in which people help one another.” Tenzin Gyatso, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

Biography of Olivier Adam

Olivier Adam was born in Laval, France in 1969. He is a physicist, and graduated from the “ Ecole Normale Supérieure” in Paris, but through the years he has turned to being a photographer. He is now a freelance photographer and a teacher at the photography school Auguste Renoir in Paris. In 2001, his work on the Khmer dance and silk was exhibited at the Palais de l’Unesco in Paris. For several years now he has been studying the Tibetan culture and Buddhism, specially attending the Kalachakra classes, taught by His Holiness the Dalai Lama all over the world.

Olivier belongs to a humanist tradition and works on personal subjects, mixing both Man and the Sacred. Rituals, women and their universe hold an important place in his photos. He has worked together with Sofia Stril-Rever, Matthieu Ricard and Manuel Bauer on a book called Kalachakra : un mandala pour la paix, published in April 2008 by Editions de la Martinière and also the book Dalai Lama- Appel au monde published in May 2011 by Le Seuil.

Since 2008, Olivier has been closely interested in the lives of the Tibetan nuns in exile. He started this work in five nunneries near Dharamsala and he has continued to expand this work by meeting nuns who were former political prisoners and who have been granted shelter in the West. Dakinis, this series on the Buddhist female universe, supplemented by sounds and interviews collected by Dominique Butet, Oliviers’s wife, now extends to nuns from across the Himalayas.

Olivier Adam is a regular photographer for the French magazine Regard Bouddiste and is one of the founders of Dharma Eye, a collective of practicing Buddhist photographers and visual artists who use their art in support of beneficial Dharma causes.

You can see more of Olivier Adams work and purchase his prints at these two websites:
www.olivieradam.fr
www.dharmaeye.com

 

2014 Calendar from the Tibetan Nuns Project

The beautiful 2014 Tibetan Nuns Project Calendar is now on sale. The calendar is filled with stunning images of Tibetan life and culture and also includes inspiring quotes, the Tibetan lunar calendar and ritual dates. Dimension 6.5″ x 7″. Price $11.00

front and back of 2014 calendarThis year the photographs were taken by four professional photographers — Olivier Adam from France, Brian Harris from Canada, Harald Weichhart from Austria, and Jeannie O’Connor from the US. They are all friends of the Tibetan Nuns Project and donated their time and images to help the nuns.

All proceeds from the calendar help support over 700 refugee Tibetan Buddhist nuns in India and provide them with food, shelter, education, health care and opportunity. Continue reading

Buddhist Prayers to Tara

Every Wednesday morning, over 200 nuns at Dolma Ling Nunnery and Institute near Dharamsala, India rise before dawn and start a special ceremony to help end the suffering all sentient beings and to aid the nuns on their own spiritual path.

Starting at 5:30 a.m. and continuing for an hour and a half, the nuns chant special Buddhist prayers to Tara, the female Buddha who embodies the wisdom and the compassion of all enlightened beings.

Here’s the link to the puja recording:

Called the drolchok puja [or Tara prayer] it is done on a Wednesday because this is considered an auspicious day of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Continue reading