Dalai Lama Encourages Buddhist Nuns on the Path

by Rinchen Khando Choegyal, Director, Tibetan Nuns Project; Founding member, Tibetan Women's Association, Nov 13, 2013

Dharmsala, India -- It was a moment that Tibetan Buddhist nuns dream of -- to be in the presence of the Dalai Lama and to hear his words of encouragement about their studies. Many of the nuns had risked their lives fleeing Tibet to see the Dalai Lama and to find the freedom to practice their Buddhist faith.

<< His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaks encouragingly to hundreds of exiled Tibetan Buddhist nuns in India about the importance of their roles in preserving the Buddhist teachings and as future teachers. (Photo taken on Nov 3, 2013 by Tenzin Choejor, Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama)

The nuns had just completed a one-month debate session with participants coming from eight different nunneries in India and Nepal. These sessions have been an integral part of the nuns reaching the level of excellence in their studies that they have. His Holiness called them up to his residence after its conclusion and gave them a brief talk and then posed for a photograph with the nuns of each nunnery and then with the entire group.

The nuns have been helped on their path by the Tibetan Nuns Project and its network of global supporters. Headquartered in India and will a small office in Seattle, this 501(c)3 charity was established in 1987 under the auspices of the Tibetan Women's Association and the Department of Religion and Culture of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

The Tibetan Nuns Project has helped to re-establish nunneries in India and currently provides education, food, shelter and health care to over 700 Tibetan Buddhist nuns from all schools of Tibetan Buddhism and ranging in age from pre-teen to mid-80s.

Venerable Lobsang Dechen, Co-Director of the Tibetan Nuns Project and a nun herself, recalls the early days of the Project:

"When the nuns arrived in India, they were ill, exhausted, traumatized and impoverished. Many nuns had faced torture and imprisonment at the hands of the Chinese authorities in Tibet and endured immense physical and emotional pain. The existing nunneries in the struggling Tibetan refugee community in India were already overcrowded and could not accommodate them."

"Most refugee nuns escaping to Northern India have had no education in their own language, nor have they been allowed education in their religious heritage while in Tibet. Many were illiterate on arrival and could not even write their own names."

Now, thanks to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, to the many learned monks who have shared their knowledge to teach the nuns and to supporters of the Tibetan Nuns Project, the Tibetan Buddhist nuns are now receiving educational opportunities previously available only to monks.

"Education is the key to empowerment," says Dr. Elizabeth Napper, Co-Director of the Tibetan Nuns Project. "We have made huge progress since 1987. In 2013 we reached an historic milestone when 27 nuns sat the first part of the Geshema exam, like a PhD in Tibetan Buddhism."

Tibetan nunneries were well established in Tibet from the 12th century, with traditions reaching back as far as the 8th century. Before the Chinese invasion in 1949, there were at least 818 nunneries and nearly 28,000 nuns living in Tibet.

Chinese Communist policies have 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 monasteries and nunneries were destroyed between 1959 and 1980.

The Dalai Lama concluded his address to the nuns by calling on them to take leadership roles:

 "The Dharma [Buddhist teaching] is at a critical juncture. You might think that it would be good to spend the rest of your life as a hermit, but we also need qualified people to teach others. Once you complete your studies we need some of you nuns to teach. Until now you have relied on monks to teach you, but in future it will be very important that there are also nuns to teach nuns."

These brave and dedicated women who risked everything to pursue their faith are helping to preserve Tibet's unique culture and religion.

You can learn more about the Tibetan Nuns Project at www.tnp.org

We Need Your Help to Train the
Buddhist AI Chat Bot
(Neural Operator for Responsible Buddhist Understanding)

For Malaysians and Singaporeans, please make your donation to the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB

The SWIFT/BIC code for RHB Bank Berhad is: RHBBMYKLXXX
Address: 11-15, Jalan SS 24/11, Taman Megah, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Phone: 603-9206 8118

Note: Please indicate your name in the payment slip. Thank you.

Dear Friends in the Dharma,

We seek your generous support to help us train NORBU, the word's first Buddhist AI Chat Bot.

Here are some ways you can contribute to this noble cause:

One-time Donation or Loan: A single contribution, regardless of its size, will go a long way in helping us reach our goal and make the Buddhist LLM a beacon of wisdom for all.

How will your donation / loan be used? Download the NORBU White Paper for details.

For Malaysians and Singaporeans, please make your donation to the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB

The SWIFT/BIC code for RHB Bank Berhad is: RHBBMYKLXXX
Address: 11-15, Jalan SS 24/11, Taman Megah, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Phone: 603-9206 8118

Note: Please indicate your purpose of payment (loan or donation) in the payment slip. Thank you.

Once payment is banked in, please send the payment slip via email to: editor@buddhistchannel.tv. Your donation/loan will be published and publicly acknowledged on the Buddhist Channel.

Spread the Word: Share this initiative with your friends, family and fellow Dharma enthusiasts. Join "Friends of Norbu" at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/norbuchatbot. Together, we can build a stronger community and create a positive impact on a global scale.

Volunteer: If you possess expertise in AI, natural language processing, Dharma knowledge in terms of Buddhist sutras in various languages or related fields, and wish to lend your skills, please contact us. Your knowledge and passion could be invaluable to our project's success.

Your support is part of a collective effort to preserve and disseminate the profound teachings of Buddhism. By contributing to the NORBU, you become a "virtual Bodhisattva" to make Buddhist wisdom more accessible to seekers worldwide.

Thank you for helping to make NORBU a wise and compassionate Buddhist Chatbot!

May you be blessed with inner peace and wisdom,

With deepest gratitude,

Kooi F. Lim
On behalf of The Buddhist Channel Team

Note: To date, we have received the following contributions for NORBU:
US$ 75 from Gary Gach (Loan)
US$ 50 from Chong Sim Keong
MYR 300 from Wilson Tee
MYR 500 from Lim Yan Pok
MYR 50 from Oon Yeoh
MYR 200 from Ooi Poh Tin
MYR 300 from Lai Swee Pin
MYR 100 from Ong Hooi Sian
MYR 1,000 from Fam Sin Nin
MYR 500 from Oh teik Bin
MYR 300 from Yeoh Ai Guat
MYR 300 from Yong Lily
MYR 50 from Bandar Utama Buddhist Society
MYR 1,000 from Chiam Swee Ann
MYR 1,000 from Lye Veei Chiew
MYR 1,000 from Por Yong Tong
MYR 80 from Lee Wai Yee
MYR 500 from Pek Chee Hen
MYR 300 from Hor Tuck Loon
MYR 1,000 from Wise Payments Malaysia Sdn Bhd
MYR 200 from Teo Yen Hua
MYR 500 from Ng Wee Keat
MYR 10,000 from Chang Quai Hung, Jackie (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from K. C. Lim & Agnes (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from Juin & Jooky Tan (Loan)
MYR 100 from Poh Boon Fong (on behalf of SXI Buddhist Students Society)
MYR 10,000 from Fam Shan-Shan (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from John Fam (Loan)
MYR 500 from Phang Cheng Kar
MYR 100 from Lee Suat Yee
MYR 500 from Teo Chwee Hoon (on behalf of Lai Siow Kee)
MYR 200 from Mak Yuen Chau

We express our deep gratitude for the support and generosity.

If you have any enquiries, please write to: editor@buddhistchannel.tv