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Educational Institute

Ladakh Nuns Educational Institute

LNA has been providing monastic training, basic health and traditional Tibetan medicine, leadership and community training to a limited number of nuns and laywomen. Our main focus has been in raising the standard of teaching to women through obtaining sponsorships for nuns to study and in the development of the 'AMCHI (Traditional Tibetan Medicine)' program.

Currently LNA sponsors 27 nuns studying Buddhist philosophy in educational institutions throughout India and another 40 young nuns who live in a student hostel in Choglamsar and Leh. They attend a range of schools both in and outside of Ladakh, including various Tibetan nunneries and other educational institutions throughout India such as the Central Institute of Tibetan Studies (CIHTS) in Varanasi. This is however a temporary solution and LNA seeks funding for a larger and permanent home for the students.

The next phase of LNA's educational work is to formalize and transform the existing educational program into an education institute called the Ladakh Nuns Institute (LNI). The aim is in expanding the curriculum and ultimately developing an integrated training program for nuns in Ladakh, incorporating Buddhist and secular studies, life skills and practical experience in applying Buddhist principles to social problems in Ladakh.

The institute will occupy 7.5 hectares in the town of Saboo (10km from Leh) and will include a hostel for 200 nuns, a school, library, public assembly hall, administrative building, staff quarters and a pharmacy and health clinic with dispensary.

The overall vision and existing focus in teaching and basic education for girls and young women will continue, as will the traditional Tibetan medical studies.

History of the Idea

Building on the solid foundations that Ladakh Nuns Association has established among the nuns and the larger community in Ladakh during its first decade, the long term vision includes establishment of an institute for Buddhist education so that the Nuns do not have to leave their home region to access higher education in Buddhist Philosophy, Tibetan Medicine or training as active social workers and Engaged Buddhists.

During the visit to Ladakh by His Holiness The Dalai Lama in 1999, he expressed the need for an institute for the nuns in Ladakh and also donated a sum of Rs. 530,000 to the LNA. The money was given to the President of the Ladakh Buddhist Association (LBA) and a building fund was created. 

On 24th August 2002, to further support the creation of an institute for the nuns, the LNA executive committee members were blessed by an audience with His Holiness. During that meeting he stated that in Buddhism and other religions, monks and nuns have the most venerable position in the society, and we should provide equal opportunities for ordination of both male and female alike.

In 2004, the villagers of Saboo donated 7.5 hectares of land to LNA for building the proposed training center where nuns from all over Ladakh will get an opportunity to study and practice Dharma. Firstly, accommodations for the nuns who study at Leh will be built. The constructions will consist of classrooms, a library, prayer hall, pharmacy of herbal medicines, a large organic garden and tree plantation. During 2005 and 2006, LNA met regularly with members of the Women’s Alliance of Ladakh to discuss the ways that Ladakhi villagers can contribute to the Ladakh Nuns. The laywomen are extremely supportive and energetic, providing plans to solicit monetary and material donations from their villages. The Ladakh Nuns Institute for Culture and Research will be a center built by  and for the nuns and communities of Ladakh.

The Philosophy of the Institute

1. An inclusive, non-sectarian approach to Buddhist studies.
2. Integration and interdependence of Buddhist and secular studies.
3. Engaged Buddhism, with the aim of demonstrating the relevance of the Dharma to modern life, and contributing to alleviating the suffering experienced by a range of groups of Ladakhi society (women, young people, the elderly).
4. A practical approach, linked to developing self-sufficiency among Ladakhi nuneries, and self-reliance among individual nuns.
5. Inclusion of lay people, especially lay women, where-ever appropriate.

LNA and Dharma Teachings

LNA organized sponsored teachings for the public by the Most Ven. Chogeon Rinpoche la at the (Jokang) Temple for two days. The focus was on mind training for women and youth, based on Buddhist perspectives. Most of the participants were nuns, lay women, and youth practitioners. This great teacher gave particular encouragement to women practitioners of the Dharma to work hard in developing 'bodhicitta' in everyday life. LNA also offered prayers for the long life of H. H. the Dalai Lama and for world peace. As well as succeeding in its goal of educating nuns as medical practitioners and providing medical services to the community, LNA continues to offer Dharma teachings to women and young people, contributing to its goal of sharing the Buddha's teachings among all groups in society.

The great teachings on the 'Youthog Nyingthig' were taught by the Most Ven. Tsetual Rinpoche la at Choglamsar for one week. All the nuns had the special opportunity to attend these teachings. These great teachings from our most senior teachers were very inspiring and helped all the doctors to study hard. H.H.The Dalai Lama gave teachings for three days at Choglamsar and four days at Zanskar. The most Ven. Gaden Tipa Rezong Rinpoche la also gave teachings for ten days at the Samkars Monastery.

The nuns appreciate all opportunities to receive teachings. The most Ven. Rinpoche la, patron of LNA released an important DVD containing introduction of the basic practices of Buddhism at Leh.