Tantric Study Program


In the fall of 2017, the nuns who had attained their Geshema degree began a new two-year study program in Tantric Buddhism.

We are extremely grateful to the four generous donors who made it possible to launch this groundbreaking, higher education program for Geshema nuns. Although there have been accomplished female practitioners in Tibet’s history, women have never before been given such an opportunity to formally study tantric Buddhism.

tantric Buddhism, Tibetan nuns, Dolma Ling Nunnery,

The Geshema nuns in their Tantric studies class at Dolma Ling Nunnery. Photo courtesy of the Nuns Media Team.

It is traditional for monks who have attained their Geshe degree (equivalent to a PhD in Tibetan Buddhism), if they want to be fully qualified masters capable of teaching their complete tradition, to add to their knowledge an understanding of the principles of tantra as set forth in the tantric scriptures. In order to study tantric treatises, monks usually join one of the great tantric colleges where they have access to highly qualified teachers, texts, and a supportive community of practitioners.

Until now, nuns have never had the opportunity to be educated at this high level. Since this is the first time in the history of Tibet that nuns have completed a study of the sutras and gained the Geshema degree (female equivalent of the Geshe degree), proceeding with tantric studies presents new challenges and opportunities.

How the Study Program in Tantric Buddhism Began

In 2017, a committee consisting of representatives of six nunneries approached His Holiness the Dalai Lama for advice about the curriculum and how to proceed. His Holiness the Dalai Lama kindly gave detailed instructions about the treatises to be used and he recommended that the Geshema nuns study as a group at Dolma Ling Nunnery, one of the nunneries founded and supported by the Tibetan Nuns Project, since it has a quiet and peaceful atmosphere, conducive to intense study.

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 for two years. Photo courtesy of the Nuns Media Team.

That committee then asked the Tibetan Nuns Project to organize and provide funding for this special higher education program at Dolma Ling Nunnery and Institute in northern India. The Tibetan Nuns Project together with Dolma Ling made plans to ensure that this pioneering program provides the nuns with the best possible facilities and support to make their studies a success.

The Tantric Studies Program

The two-year program in Tantric Buddhism is providing these dedicated senior nuns training in tantric theory, rituals, and mind-training techniques used by those engaged in advanced meditation. This level of training is an essential part of studies for Geshes and is a required step enabling them to be fully qualified for advanced leadership roles, such as being an abbot of a monastery.

tantric Buddhism, Tibetan nuns,

One of the teachers in the tantric Buddhism study program. Photo courtesy of the Nuns Media Team.

Two fully qualified teachers are living and teaching at Dolma Ling for the two years it will take for the first group of 26 Geshemas to complete their studies. Nuns who gain the Geshema degree in the coming years will form the next group.

Dolma Ling is able to accommodate all the Geshemas and their two teachers within the existing facilities, as well as providing adequate classroom space. Thanks to generous donors, we are able to pay the teachers’ salaries, to pay for the living expenses of the Geshemas and their teachers, to invest in the necessary textbooks, and to provide a contingency fund for medical or other unexpected expenses.