In September of 2006 Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo’s guru, H.E. Khamtrul Rinpoche at Khampagar Monastery in India, requested her to come to the aid of the nuns from Laphag Nunnery in Kham, Eastern Tibet. He made this request on the 42nd anniversary of Jetsunma’s first ordination by the former Khamtrul Rinpoche. Of course she could not refuse.

Jetsunma was told that there were 75 nuns in dire need of help. The original Laphag Nunnery had been destroyed during the Cultural Revolution and the nuns subsequently built some simple rooms on that site.

Their lama was a reincarnation and the nuns were serious practitioners who had invited many high Rinpoches to the area to give teachings. The nuns completed many retreats and 50 of them finished a 12 year retreat. However, their site later became crowded with local villagers and their Lama and the nuns moved into the hills to enable them to practice in a quiet environment.

After their Lama died in 2004 the nuns struggled to support themselves. The villagers approached by the nuns could not help, so they went to a nearby Rinpoche and monastery requesting assistance to enable the Nunnery to continue. The Rinpoche and monastery offered emergency food and clothing but could not undertake long-term support of the nuns as they themselves are rebuilding.

Khamtrul Rinpoche heard of the nuns plight and, with winter approaching and only temporary shelter available, he asked Jetsunma to help now and in the future. An immediate survival budget for the approaching harsh winter was drawn up and Jetsunma, through various means, managed to get US$15,000 to them for tents, bedding, winter clothing, kitchen equipment and food for the next 6 months.

Since then, with the dedicated help of Singapore based friend, May Ling Yeo, sufficient funds have been raised to build more permanent dwellings for the nuns.  Interest to join the Nunnery continues to increase with a pressing need for further accommodation.

May Ling Yeo remains in regular contact with Laphag Nunnery and has sent us this recent report.

The 108 completed retreat huts

“I am happy to report that we have completed the construction of 108 retreat huts and central kitchen in time for winter. 130 nuns will be spending winter in the huts.

Currently, there are around 80 women waiting to join the nunnery if accommodation is available. Some of them are already spending summer at Laphag, returning home when the weather turns cold.”

“The estimated construction cost in 2014 was US$2,000 per hut but due to inflation, the actual construction cost is now US$2,500. We will continue to raise funds and hope to build additional 100 huts for the nuns.”

The 108 completed retreat huts

“I am happy to report that we have completed the construction of 108 retreat huts and central kitchen in time for winter. 130 nuns will be spending winter in the huts.

Currently, there are around 80 women waiting to join the nunnery if accommodation is available. Some of them are already spending summer at Laphag, returning home when the weather turns cold.

The estimated construction cost in 2014 was US$2,000 per hut but due to inflation, the actual construction cost is now US$2,500. We will continue to raise funds and hope to build additional 100 huts for the nuns.”

Donations to support this project are very welcome on the following link (opens in a new window)

www.shop.tenzinpalmo.com/collections/donations-laphag-nunnery-in-tibet

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