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Wolakha nunnery upgraded to Buddhist College

Religion: Nuns across the country will start studying a curriculum that has been developed for them, and discontinue the one that was developed for monks.

The Bhutan Nun Foundation’s patron, Her Majesty Gyalyum Tshering Yangden Wangchuck, launched the new curriculum on April 26 at the Sangchen Dorji Lhundrup Choeling in Wolakha, Punakha.

Along with the launch, the Gyalyum also inaugurated the upgrade of the nunnery to a Buddhist College.

The Buddhist College, according to principal Khenpo Dorji, is the first such institute that would allow nuns to pursue higher Buddhist studies upto the master’s level.  Until today, the nunnery offered monastic education up to zindra-IV (higher secondary level).

Khenpo Dorji said the new curriculum was required because the nuns have been following the same curriculum meant and developed for monks.  The curriculum for monks not only has contents developed for monks, but also has rules specifically for them.  Most textbooks had little information for nuns.

He said the curriculum was developed by a nine-member committee under Pun-Thim dratshang and took them about six months.  Suggestions and contents of the Indian-based Tibetan nunnery shedras were also included in the new curriculum, he added.

The college is built with unique feature of structures skillfully carved with black marble blocks surrounding the stupa, depicting the 84 mahasiddhis, 16 arhats, and the great lamas of Drukpa Kagyu lineage.

Initiated in 2008 by Yab Dasho Ugyen Dorji, the nunnery was completed in 2010, with more than 170 nuns.

By Dawa Gyelmo, Wangdue

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