Around 26 nuns expelled from centuries old nunnery for refusing to denigrate Dalai Lama

DHARAMSALA, Nov 17: Around 26 nuns have been kicked out from a more than 500 years old nunnery for not agreeing to denigrate the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

The nuns belong to Jhamda nunnery, also called Palden Khachoedling in Bhenkar Township in Driru County in Kham Province’s Nagchu area (now incorporated into Tibet Autonomous Region).

Chamda nunnery in Driru County.
Chamda nunnery in Driru County.

According to a source from Tibet who does not wish to be named, several Chinese work team cadres have been ordering the nuns of Jhamda nunnery to denigrate the Tibetan spiritual leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama since their arrival in September this year.

“As the nuns defiantly disobeyed that order and none of the nuns spoke anything, the cadres started targeting and expelling the non- registered nuns. All the 26 nuns who were kicked out from the nunnery were non-registered nuns,” the source said.

Jhamda nunnery has around 140 nuns registered with the local authorities but many non-registered nuns also stay and study at the nunnery. Usually when Chinese work teams visit the nunnery, the non-registered nuns would hide in the hills or stay with Tibetan nomads till the work teams leave. But this time the work teams stayed longer than usual and have been harassing the nuns to denigrate the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader.

Founded in 1488 by Drungchen Sonam Dhondup, Jhamda nunnery initially followed Kagyu or black hat tradition of Tibetan Buddhism but later Takphu Thuchen Lobsang Jamphel turned it into Gelugpa nunnery, one that follows yellow hat school of Tibetan Buddhism. Though Jhamda nunnery, like other monasteries and nunneries in Tibet also suffered destruction during the Cultural Revolution it was rebuilt around 1984 by a several nuns led by a nun called Choezom. Not only nuns from Driru and neighbouring Counties but nuns also come from all the three traditional provinces of Tibet, U-Tsang, Kham and Amdo to study at the nunnery which at times houses more than 300 nuns.





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