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 200 nuns ranging from the ages of 9 to 40, since the new wing and Temple has been completed in March 2009. It has a staff of 15, including both teaching and non-teaching staff.
Some of the nuns come from Nepal, Bhutan and neighbouring 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 travelled 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 is 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.
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.
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.
Each year the nuns perform over 100,000 Green Tara pujas, normally commencing after Losar or Tibetan New Year, to overcome obstacles and create favourable 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.
In March 2009 His Holiness Sakya Trizin has finally inaugurated the Temple with a beautiful shrine hall. Efforts from friends from all over the world have made it possible. The temple has three floors and has been built in the traditional style.
The Sakya Nuns Study Institute is a new institute established by His Holiness Sakya Trizin especially to train nuns in the higher Buddhist philosophical studies. Located in a beautiful, large monastic facility in Manduwala, India, it has dormitory and classroom space for 100 nuns.
His Holiness the Sakya Trizin is directly in charge of the Institute, assisted by Venerable Khenpo Gyatso, who has worked very hard to establish the institution. The Principal of the Institute is the learned nun Acharya Ani Dechen Wangmo, and Venerable Khenpo Jampa Khedup is Abbot.
The new Sakya Nuns Study Institute is an important complement to Rinchen Choling Sakya Nunnery near Dehradun, which currently provides training in ritual studies to 200 nuns.
The Institute's curriculum rests on the 18 classical texts that comprise the course of study in the Sakya monastic colleges. Based on available funds, 25 outstanding nuns have been chosen from among many applicants to become the first class of students. They began their studies in September 2009 after an official inauguration and blessing by His Holiness Sakya Trizin.
Surrounded by forest, the Sakya Nuns Study Institute in Manduwala is less than an hour by car from the headquarters of the Sakya Order in Dehradun and is located just around the corner from two other important Sakya monastic facilities, Ngor Ewam Chodan Monastery, and Ngor Vajrayana College , both of which are for monks.
His Holiness Sakya Trizin has explained the reason for the new Sakya Nuns Study Institute: Buddhist philosophical studies are very deep and profound. In order to understand them, thorough study is required. Therefore, the establishment of a nuns’ institute is very important. There are 6 main subjects of study in the Buddhist institute curriculum, which encompass both the Buddhist philosophical view and the stages of the path. They are:
6. The Three Vows.
"Providing an opportunity for nuns to study these subjects is important for them to be able to teach others and for their own practice."
If you wish to support the Sakya Nuns Study Institute or the Sakya Nunnery, please contact, per email: gabriela.frey (at) free.fr.
You can make a donation and get a receipt via Sakyadhita France (for details see on this webpage under donations) or via the Sakya Foundation in Frankfurt Germany www.sakya-foundation.de