khachoe1.GIF (9435 bytes)

How 87 nuns in
Nepal are keeping
alive a Tibetan
religious and
cultural tradition 


Buddhism flourished in Tibet for more than 1,000 years until the Chinese invasion in 1959 which led to the Dali Lama fleeing to exile in India. With him came thousands of Tibetans determined to continue their religious and cultural traditions. Because of their efforts the Tibetan Buddhist teachings, transmitted unbroken and unaltered through a lineage of learned teachers to the present day, are still taught in the few monasteries and nunneries the Tibetans have been able to establish in exile.

The Khachoe Ghakyil Ling Nunnery is one of those nunneries. Lama Yeshe, one of the founders in 1969 of Kopan Monastery established near Kathmandu in Nepal, admitted the first nuns to live and study in 1979. His aim was to establish a nunnery in which many nuns could study and practice the teachings of the Buddha in a supportive environment and to pursue their spiritual development. 

Fund raising to build a nunnery started in 1985 which allowed for the purchase of land in 1990. The nuns did most of the construction work themselves over the next three years, digging the foundations, building a rock wall, unloading the bricks and carrying them heavy basket by heavy basket to the building site. They gave up their classes for a year for the construction work.



Monasteries and nunneries provide the best environment for the study and practice of the Buddha's teachings. The main study emphasis is on philosophy and debate and the Lam Rim, the graded path to enlightenment. Languages, principally Tibetan, English and Nepali, are taught along with Buddhist rituals and chanting. Nuns undergo the same study course as the monks at nearby Kopan Monastery where they attend their classes. The nuns undertake daily prayers and pujas together and share the daily work such as cleaning and cooking. A committee of three nuns looks after the administration of the nunnery. They are supported in their work by the monks of Kopan and guided by Lama Lhundrup, the Abbot of Kopan.


The Nunnery 

Today there are some 87 nuns at the Khachoe Ghakyil Ling Nunnery. They come from various parts of Tibet, Nepal and India. There are very few nunneries in India and Nepal so there is always a long list of women wanting to join the nunnery. Because of lack of space (already there are up to 16 beds in each dormitory) and finance, only a few can be admitted. The facilities at the nunnery are still very basic. The nunnery hopes to expand over the next few years with more rooms so that around 100 nuns can live and study there. Space for classrooms and accommodation for teachers are also planned.



Many of the nuns come from very poor families or have fled from Tibet with nothing but the robes they are wearing. They cannot afford to pay a regular contribution for their food and accommodation to the nunnery. By accepting these nuns into their community the nunnery takes on the full responsibility for their welfare. 

Counting everything from clothing and food to the last stick of wood it costs about $1.30 a day to completely take care of a nun. At present the nunnery has no independent funding. This creates uncertainty for the future of the nunnery and is not a good basis for a young, growing community. It is imperative to secure the future of the nunnery financially to enable it to survive and fulfill its responsibility towards the members of its community. 

The nunnery has established a special food fund where the interest would enable the nunnery to continue taking care of its members and provide food.. All contributions to this food fund will stay there for three years to allow the fund and interest to accrue. The interest only will be used after this period to help feed and maintain the nuns. The fund is financially secure and is run on a voluntary basis by professionals in this field.


There are two ways you can help

1. Sponsor a nun

Contribute just $35 a month which will completely take care of a nun, feed, clothe and house her for a month. While the sponsored nun would get a small amount of this as pocket money the rest would go into the food fund. So in this way you are helping the whole community. 

When you sponsor a nun you make a personal commitment to continue the sponsorship for one year or more and we would encourage you to communicate with you nun on a regular basis. Sponsoring a nun in this way is also an acknowledgement of the courage that many of these women are showing in their decision to leave their homeland where they cannot pursue their spiritual beliefs and development.

2. Contribute directly to the Special Fund

If you would rather not take on the commitment to sponsor a nun but would like to help, perhaps you might prefer to make a contribution to the Food Fund. 

In this way you help to ensure that the nunnery will be able to look after the community, not just now, but in the future as well. Securing their future in this way the nuns will be able to concentrate on their studies and dharma practice, breaking out of the traditional way of life for a nun which is hard physical work and little time for studies. 

Your contribution would go into an investment fund for three years by which time there should be enough money in the fund to pay out a monthly sum from the interest. Giving to a worthy cause like this with a good heart and motivation will not only help the nuns, but also help you in the knowledge that you are contributing to the survival of the religious and cultural tradition of Tibet.


If you would like to help the nuns of the Khachoe Ghakyil Ling Nunnery please print out this form, fill in the details and return to the address shown below:
Yes, I would like to sponsor a nun at $35 a month until further notice
Yes, I would like to make a contribution of $ to the Food Fund.
Post Code:
Please make out all cheques to FPMT Nunnery Account
Send to:
Ms Alison Ogdon,
Sponsorship Coordinator
Khachoe Ghakyil Ling Nunnery
PO Box 1986
Sydney NSW 2001


The nuns at the Khachoe Ghakyil Ling Nunnery would like to thank you for taking the time to read this information about their activities and their need for your help. If you would like further information about the nunnery, or about other ways you can help, please contact Ms Alison Ogdon at the above address, or telephone: +61(02) 974 4295


FPMT Info FPMT Centres FPMT People FPMT Offices
FPMT Lamas Lama Zopa's Page Dharma Dates FPMT Jobs

FPMT Centres | FPMT People | B Images | B V Forum | B Teachings | B V Home | Zamba Home