RINCHEN CHOLING ~ THE SAKYA NUNNERY
Noble Activities: Major Projects Under the Guidance of His Holiness the Sakya Trizin

Sakya Nunnery, the only Sakya Nunnery outside Tibet, is situated near Dehradun, a few kilometers from the Palace of His Holiness Sakya Trizin and the Sakya Monastery. The Nunnery has over 165 nuns ranging from the ages of 9 to 40; when the new wing is completed, it will be home to almost 250 nuns. It has a staff of 15, including both teaching and non-teaching staff.

Some of the nuns come from Nepal , Bhutan and neighboring Himalayan regions. Most of the nuns however come from Tibet and have left behind family and friends. The Nunnery is their home and it is almost impossible for them to return, or even visit Tibet . Many have traveled by foot through dangerous circumstances and difficult mountain passes.

In 1993 a small group of nuns arrived from Tibet and were housed near the monastery. This group quickly grew and the need for a permanent Nunnery became a pressing issue. It had long been the wish of His Holiness Sakya Trizin that a Nunnery be built for the Sakyapa nuns. The Sakya Nunnery was officially established in 1998 with His Holiness’ blessings.

Initially, the Nunnery functioned under the auspices of the Sakya Centre who managed and met all the expenses. Now the Nunnery is registered as a non-profit Society and its managed independently while relying on donations and sponsorships. It is the only Sakya Nunnery in exile and provides a welcoming and nurturing environment in which the nuns can study and practice core Buddhist teachings.

The Daily Life of the Nuns

Pujas and rituals are attended daily by the nuns in order to pray for all sentient beings and dispel obstacles. Special pujas are also done for donors and friends. Senior nuns oversee the Reception Room and also assist in the office. All kitchen activities are done by the nuns on a four day rotating roster. The nuns themselves look after general cleaning and maintenance, store keeping and purchases.

Education

The nuns follow a curriculum including primary and secondary level education. There are five teachers who teach the following subjects: Buddhist scriptures, Tibetan, Hindi, English, and Mathematics.  Classes are held for six and half days a week with two exams per year for each subject. There is a 45 day annual holiday in May-June.

Green Tara Puja and Special Prayer Requests

Each year the nuns perform over 100,000 Green Tara pujas, normally commencing after Losar or Tibetan New Year, to overcome obstacles and create favorable conditions for achieving one’s wishes. As per wishes or needs, the Nuns can also perform pujas or sutras for the sick, deceased, new ventures or any other requests.

Temple and Shrine Room

Presently the Nunnery is functioning without a proper temple and shrine hall. The space allocated for a dining hall is temporarily being used as a shrine room. The nuns eat outside on the grounds, which can be cold in the winter and hot in the summers. There is a great need for a proper shrine hall which will be exclusively used for prayers and practices. The proposed temple will have three floors and will be built in the traditional style.

For More Information and To Help

Please visit the Nunnery's website to find out more about the current needs and plans for the community of nuns and how you can help: http://sakyanunnery.org. Additional information is also available at: http://sg.geocities.com/sakyani_nuns/index.html

source: Palden Sakya News Magazine

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