Urgent fund raising for the nuns in Laphag Nunnery, Eastern Tibet.
Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo has been helping the nuns in Laphag Nunnery since 2006 by building simple dwellings on land provided near Khampagar Monastery in Tibet. The nuns spent several months a year at these dwellings to receive teachings, then return to their nunnery site for practice and retreat.
We have been in contact with them recently and the photos were taken when their winter supplies were being delivered. At the site of Laphag Nunnery, the nuns live in tents and practice through the harsh winters at high altitude. In addition to raising funds to provide the nuns with basic supplies, Jetsunma is now raising funds to build individual retreat huts for each of the nuns. Construction cost for each retreat hut is approximately US$2,000. There is currently around 100 nuns at Laphag Nunnery, with a wait list of 200 girls waiting to join the nunnery if facilities are available. The funds need to be raised urgently by April 2014 to commence construction in time for the next winter.
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Laphag Nunnery in Eastern Tibet
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 are 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.
The nuns of Laphag Nunnery hope one day to rebuild their Nunnery. It is not yet certain how land can be obtained, or how much funding the nuns will need to achieve their goal, but Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo has pledged to help them.