The following article is from the Summer, 1995 issue of the Snow Lion Newsletter and is for historical reference only. You can see this in context of the original newsletter here.

Since the time of the Buddha, some individuals have been called to conunit deeply to the Dharma by offering their lives through the renunciation of worldly concerns and comforts, and the cultivation of ethical purity. They have gone forth in faith, and the transmission of pure teachings has greatly relied on the efforts of these nuns and monks. Those efforts have helped insure that true, clear teachings might be offered to us today. In Asia, the commitment of individual monastics is supported by the ordained Sangha community and by the laity through its deep respect for monastics and offerings to nuns and monks.

As Buddhism moves to the West, nuns ordained in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition have found themselves unified with the Tibetan Sangha and the Buddhist laity through the teachings of the Buddha, but they have also found themselves in a sort of limbo without sufficient direction from the teachers who are already occupied with Tibetan ordinates and without strong support from the Western laity. It is not uncommon for nuns to be ordained and then to be quickly turned back into the Western world with little support. Some must take secular work to support themselves. Furthermore, they also find themselves without an established monastic community who might help them balance a renunciate's life in the Western world. Speaking to His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the 1993 Western Buddhist Teacher's Conference, Ven. Tenzin Palmo explained, They start with so much enthusiasm, with so much pure faith and devotion, and gradually their inspiration decreases. They get discouraged and disillusioned, and there is no one who helps them. It is a very hard situation, and it has never happened in the history of Buddhism before.

As a result of the discussions with His Holiness, several Western nuns who practice in the Tibetan tradition are organizing a three-week intensive training program. It will be held in Bodhgaya, India in February 1996. Teachings on Vinaya monastic discipline will be given by Ven. Geshe Konchong Tserrng and Ven. Bhikshuni Wu Yin. Other senior teachers who have confirmed include Khadro Rinpoche, Jetsun Chime Luding, and Geshe Sonam Rinchen. In addition, twenty other nuns and teachers will be on hand offering their insights on topics which include women practitioners; life in and outside a monastery for Western nuns; history of the Bhikshuni Sangha; the practices of the various Buddhist traditions; areas that Westerners frequently misunderstand; and learning from Christian nuns.

Registration and detailed information can be obtained by writing to: Dharma Friendship Foundation, do Sarah Porter, 711 N. 70th Street, Seattle, WA 98103 USA. Tel. 206-782-7873.

Tax-deductible donations, payable to Dharma Friendship Foundation, can be sent to the same address. Please write your name, address and phone on the back of the check. Thank you for your support!