The Tibetan Nuns Project, a US-registered charity based in Seattle and in the Kangra District of Himachal Pradesh, India, has announced an appeal to fund the urgently need improvements to the water supply of the Buddhist nuns of Dolma Ling Nunnery and Institute, in order to ensure that they have adequate access to unpolluted water.
“Water is life, but in recent years there’s been a growing scarcity of water reaching the Dolma Ling campus,” The Tibetan Nuns Project shared with BDG. “The nuns had been asking for a reliable, safe supply of water for years. Currently, the amount and quality of the water are very poor and the situation is becoming very difficult to manage. It also strains the relationship of the nunnery with the local people.” (Tibetan Nuns Project)
Inaugurated by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 2005, Dolma Ling Nunnery and Institute of Buddhist Dialectics is located in Kangra Valley near Dharamsala in northern India. The nunnery was the first institute dedicated to higher Buddhist education for Tibetan Buddhist nuns from all traditions, and is fully funded by the Tibetan Nuns Project (TNP).
According to the TNP, a supply of water will be sourced from the outflow of a small hydro-electric project installed on the nunnery’s local river. A project to access this new supply will be half funded by the local government and will also benefit 800 residents of the village below the nunnery.
“The cost to the nuns is US$29,680 and includes the catchment, storage, chlorination, and piping of the water for 400 residents of Dolma Ling,” the TNP explained. “The stable water supply will serve the entire campus, including the nuns’ housing blocks, the teachers’ housing, the medical clinic, and the guesthouse.” (Tibetan Nuns Project)
Some 250 nuns are fully engaged in study, practice, and nunnery work at Dolma Ling, as well as organizing self-sufficiency projects, such as tofu-making and producing handicrafts. In 2013, 10 of the Dolma Ling nuns made history when they took part in the first-year Geshema examinations.*
The existing water system for Dolma Ling is decades old. It relies on the traditional local village system of channelling water from the hills above the nunnery through streams that are maintained by the villagers and farmers. The villagers use the channelled water for their livestock, crop irrigation, and domestic purposes.
The TNP further explained:
In 2019 . . . the nuns installed a bore well at the front of the property. The well water is pumped through a filtration and purification system which then directly supplies the kitchen, the water faucets in the dining hall, and the hot water boilers where nuns refill their thermoses. However, this bore well is also not sufficient to provide for the nuns’ needs.
When the supply channel runs dry there is no water at all in the nunnery. Increasingly, over the past few years, the nuns have had to regularly walk up to the stream in the early morning or evening to find out why the water is not running. The rapid expansion of the village above the nunnery means that there is increasing demand for the water. Recently the nuns have been reproached by angry villagers or farmers who have diverted the stream to their land and will not allow the nuns to change the stream’s course to get water.
The quality of water in the stream has also deteriorated. People nearby use it to wash cars and poor construction practices mean that dirty water pollutes the stream. To get safer water, the nuns have taken to filling their pond reservoir only at night when the supply is cleaner because people are not using the stream to wash clothes or vehicles.(Tibetan Nuns Project)
The Tibetan Nuns Project provides education and humanitarian aid to refugee nuns from Tibet and Himalayan regions of India. Established under the auspices of the Tibetan Women’s Association and the Department of Religion and Culture of the Central Tibetan Administration, it supports hundreds of nuns from all Tibetan Buddhist lineages living in nunneries and elsewhere in India. Many of the nuns are refugees from Tibet, but the organization also reaches out to the Himalayan border areas of India where women and girls have had little access to education and religious training.
For more information how to support the TNP’s water appeal for Dolma Ling Nunnery and Institute, click here.
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