We are happy to report that the Teacher Salaries Project for 2018 has been fully funded thanks to generous donors. Thank you!
Each year, the Tibetan Nuns Project seeks to fund the salaries of 10 to 15 teachers at different nunneries in India. The annual cost of one teacher’s salary ranges from $1,500 to $5,000, depending on the location of the nunnery and the skills of the teacher, so the total annual budget for this program is approximately $40,000.
The ultimate goal is to empower the nuns to become teachers and leaders in their own right and to help preserve the Tibet’s unique culture and religion. The Tibetan Nuns Project believes that education is the key to empowerment, and we seek to give nuns the resources to carve out independent, creative identities for themselves.
In addition to providing basic educational requirements, the Tibetan Nuns Project seeks to elevate the educational standards and the position of women within the monastic community. To prepare the nuns for positions of leadership and moral authority in a culture that is going through a very challenging transition, it is essential to combine traditional religious studies with aspects of a modern education. Your support of teachers’ salaries is essential for this.
Thank you for helping to educate and empower the nuns and to preserve the precious Tibetan religion and culture.
Background on Nuns’ Education
After their takeover of Tibet in 1959, the People’s Republic of China attempted to destroy traditional Tibetan culture, particularly its unique religious heritage and rich tradition of spiritual practice and scholarship. In an attempt to eliminate Buddhism in Tibet, more than 6,000 nunneries and monasteries were destroyed between 1959 and 1980. Monks and nuns in great numbers were imprisoned, tortured, and forced to give up the ordained way of life. Teaching, study, and prayer were strictly prohibited, and religious texts and objects were demolished.
Before the Chinese takeover in 1959, there were at least 818 nunneries and nearly 28,000 nuns living in Tibet. Traditional education in the nunneries included reading, writing, and lessons in ancient scriptures and prayers taught by the senior nuns or lamas from monasteries.
Most nuns newly arrived in India have been denied basic educational opportunities in Tibet, including education in their own Tibetan language and Tibetan Buddhist religious heritage. The majority of nuns arrived in India illiterate and unable to write their own names.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama has said that the Tibetan Buddhist philosophy is “something precious which we can be proud of and should strive to preserve.”
It is an historic time for both Tibetan Buddhism and Tibetan nuns. Inside Tibet, there are severe restrictions on the freedom of religion and there’s a very great risk that the precious wisdom and teachings of Tibetan Buddhism may be lost. It is also a time of opportunity for Buddhist women. Never before have Tibetan nuns been able to receive the same education and the chance to study and sit for the same degrees as their male monastic counterparts, Tibetan monks. For the first time in the history of Tibet, nuns can take the Geshema degree, roughly equivalent to a PhD in Tibetan Buddhism. Teachers are essential for the survival and preservation of this great wisdom tradition and the unique Tibetan culture.
Learn about the nuns’ Current Needs.