A Place of learning for Nuns
Jangchub Choeling Nunnery is a Buddhist Center in Mundgod,Southern India. It is located between two of the largest monasteries in India, Drepung and Gaden. Jangchub Choeling came into existence from 1987.
How Jangchub Choeling Nunnery Was Established
In the early 1980's His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, whose vision includes the preservation of Tibetan culture and heritage, recommended the building of a nunnery which would foster philosophical education and training in Mundgod, India. His recommendation was delivered to the Tibetan Settlement Representative Officer, Mundgod as well as the local Tibetan Women’s Association (TWA). They then requested Venerable Thupten Lhatso La to take responsbility of the nunnery.
In 1986, a small prayer hall was built with the help of the Tibetan Government in Exile. Disused houses belonging to the neighboring old age home was renovated with the support of the Tibetan Centre Hamburg in Germany. Due to the hosing shortage, one of the hostels is kindly supported by Mrs. Irmtraut Wager of German Aid to Tibetans. The rest of the hostels and food expenditure are kindly supported by Bhikshuni Jampa Tsedron (Carola Roloff), head of the Tibetan Centre Hamburg and many other members and sponsors of its organisation.
A year later, the first 18 nuns all from the local Tibetan settlement in Mundgod and moved in 1987. The nuns were at the time aged between 6-17 years, they used to practice only prayer memorization.
The founding nun, Venerable Thupten Lhatso la had been so kind to look after all the young nuns who used to go to the central school for Tibetans, studying different subjects at school and then practice dharma in the evening.
In 1989, two Geshes (Monk Scholars) Geshe Konchok Tsering and Geshe Khenrap Dhargay from Gaden Shartse started to teach philosophy.
LIVING CONDITIONS HAVE IMPROVED
Traditionally, two nuns share a room, however the dilapidated disused buildings donated were not conductive for proper living because of their extremely small, dark and insect infested conditions, giving lot of trouble for the nuns.
Since 1991, new nuns start arriving from Tibet, Nepal, Himalayan region, foreign countries and from different Tibetan settlements in India. The number of nuns is increasing each year and till now we have about 250 nuns in our nunnery. Which created housing shortage for us but fortunately our nunnery Jangchub choeling continue to flourish and improve in time with the kind support of Tibetan Centre Hamburg, Gisa Stulpe and Tibetan Centre Offenburg, Paul Syska, one of our unwavering supporter.
The nunnery now includes offices, a larger prayer hall, a debate hall, a small shop and a hotel, a kitchen and classrooms. There are 130 rooms, all of which are occupied, we are most obliged and grateful for the generous help.
The practice of Buddhist Philosophy is now thriving at Jangchub Choeling. Some of the nuns from Tibet are unable to read even Tibetan, as they have never had the opportunity to go to school or to practice dharma, due to so much restriction. Thus they eagerly come to join this nunnery, where the conditions for study are so much better than in Tibet.
In Tibet the Chinese occupation limits the freedom to practice religion. Most of the monasteries have been completely destroyed, and those which have been re-created are very small. Religious studies and ritual practice is controlled by the Chinese government. Because of this many nuns and monks are forced to flee from Tibet and live in India.
NUNS RECEIVE GESHEMA DEGREE
In December, before the end of 2016, a group of nuns made history for becoming the first ever Buddhist women who successfully passed all the exams of Geshema degree, equivalent to the doctorate in Buddhist philosophy and became Geshema..
From the total 20 nuns who got Geshema degree from His Holiness the Dalai Lama, we have five nuns from our nunnery who successfully got Geshema degree and we are more than proud to have our representative and model to strive better and aim higher.