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H.H the Dalai Lama Inaugurates a New College for Tibetan Nuns

December 9, 2010

Dharamshala: Tuesday, 07 December 2010 (Tibet Net) Tibetan spiritual leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama today inaugurated and consecrated the new complex of Shugseb Ogyen Dzong Nunnery and College near Dharamsala, where about 100 nuns undertake nine years of study in Buddhist philosophy. It is located at Garoh village, some 15 km from Dharamshala.

The ceremony began with the lighting of ceremonial lamp and consecration of the temple by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, following which Tibetan Nuns Project co-director Ven Lobsang Dechen offered Mendel Tensum (three auspicious offerings) to His Holiness. Senior officials of the Central Tibetan Administration, including Chief Justice Commissioner, Deputy Speaker and Kalons were present.

Kasur Rinchen Khando, the director of the Tibetan Nuns Project, under whose aegis the nunnery was built, briefed the gathering about how the nunnery came into being in exile.

The director said over 100 nuns from Tibet and Nepal are undertaking Buddhist studies in the nunnery. The duration of study is nine years and the syllabus for the first four years is philosophy of middle-way, paramita or teachings of perfection in the fifth and sixth year, and the two classes of tantric teachings for the last three years. Till date thirty-one nuns have graduated after completing studies from this nunnery.

She expressed deep gratitude to the donor organisations, which include Norwegian Committee for Women, for their valuable financial contribution towards the nunnery. The total cost for the construction of the new nunnery cum college is about Rs 72 million.

The Tibetan Nuns Project established in 1985 also looks after the education and welfare of 710 Buddhist nuns in eight nunneries and retreat centers in India, including those in Spiti and Ladakh's Zanskar region and in Nepal, she said.

In his address, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said: "Shugseb nunnery is doing a commendable work in the academic study and practice of Buddhist text and commentaries as Buddhism passes through a critical period in Tibet."

Praising the donor organisations for their support and financial contribution towards the building the nunnery, His Holiness said the great merit earned by them would bear fruit.

His Holiness encouraged the nuns to become 21st century Buddhists by developing inner values through study and practice. He emphasised the need to undertake study and practice of key Buddhist text and treatises rather than merely carrying out religious rituals. One can offer genuine service to Buddhism only through studying it, he added.

7december20104Referring to his health condition, His Holiness said he has fully recuperated from the indisposition.

The Shugseb nunnery in exile was first established two years after twenty nuns from the original nunnery based near Tibet's capital Lhasa escaped to India in 1990 following persecution by the Chinese government. As instructed by Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Department of Religion and Culture of the Central Tibetan Administration, the Tibetan Nuns Project and the Tibetan Women's Association helped in the establishment of the nunnery in Dharamsala after it shifted from Amora.

The construction of the new nunnery complex was started in 2004 and it is now completed with a prayer hall, library, office, staff quarters, hostel for one hundred and eight nuns.

Shugseb Nunnery follows the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism and its origin dates back to 1181. Following the invasion of Tibet by the People's Republic of China, the nunnery faced complete destruction during 1966-76 Cultural Revolution and persecution of nuns in 1989.
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