View of Zangskar Valley
Zangskar Nunneries

Member nunneries of Zangskar Nuns Association:

  1. Karsha Chuchikjall Kachod Grubling
  2. Pishu Namgyal Choling
  3. Zangla Byangchub Choling
  4. Rizhing Dorje Dzong
  5. Tungri Phuntsog Ling
  6. Sani Kachod Ling
  7. Skyagam Phagmo Ling
  8. Manda Padma Choling
  9. Bya Dolma Choling
  10. Chumig Gyartse Namtak Choling


 

 

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Sani Kachod Ling

|| Photos || History ||

Sani Kachod Ling is located high on a rocky mountain slope, a 30 minute walk from the village, but with easy access to the main road. The nunnery is relatively new and already quite large with an assembly of 15 nuns, ranging in age from 7 to 44. The youngest remains with her family in order to attend school in the village so only 14 nuns reside at the nunnery at this time. Compared to other nunneries, the Sani nuns receive adequate support from their families and foreign donors.

Residential cells have been built over the last several years. The nuns recently completed the construction of their prayer hall and kitchen, and even more recently with funding from Gaden Relief Projects the nuns completed the construction of a large commercial size greenhouse. The nuns also completed half of the construction of a rock wall fence that will eventually surround the entire nunnery compound. In the future the nuns hope to construct retreat rooms. The nuns have a philosophy teacher from a nearby monastery and are studying in the Drukpa Kagyu tradition. All of the nuns balance long retreats during the winter with Tibetan grammar and writing studies. The nunnery is fortunate to have access to running water all year supplied by a good system of pipes and there are also several irrigation ditches to water the newly planted trees and small vegetable gardens.

Read more about the seasonal routine at Sani.

 


Sani Nuns Sani Buildings
Sani Sani

More Sani Photos

 


History of Sani Kachod Ling

"There were nuns' communities following the Drugpa Kagyud sect at Padum and Shilatse, which may date back to the end of the 17th century, according to the historic record. The Shilatse community was built around an 18th century chapel with painting by the famous Zhadpa Dorje (1747-1816), but it was decimated by a devastating landslide in the late 1980's. The Padum nuns left Zangskar to join their teacher in Bhutan around the same time. A group of Drugpa nuns has established a small retreat center above Sani at Starkhungsa, founded by one of Zangskar's foremost mediator, Ngawang Tsering (1657-1732)." [Excerpt from Kim Gutschow's Being A Buddhist Nun (Harvard University Press, 2004: p. 101)]

Khachod Ling means "Blissful Land of the Dakini". The nunnery was named by Gegen Khyentse Rinpoche, for the work of Khandro Thrinlay Chodon in this lifetime. The nunnery was founded in 1996. Two Zanskari nuns, Ani Tsering Drolma and Ani Sonam Lhadrol were students of Gegen Khyentse Rinpoche in Manali and he had instructed them to return to their homeland and practice diligently. At that time the young Apho Rinpoche's daughter, Thrinlay Chodon, encouraged them and promised to support their practice.

On their return to Zangskar they built two small huts on the hillside in accord with their teachers instructions which was to be away from the village, so that they could better study, practice, and devote their lives to realizing the teachings of their masters in female form.

Khachod Ling nunnery is on the same site that was once the home of the great mediation master Drupchen Ngawang Tsering. It has also been the home of other great yogis, and therefore well known as a very blessed and auspicious space.

Slowly more young women opted for the monastic life and joined the nunnery, building their own huts alongside Ani Sonam and Ani Tsering. Most of the nuns are from the village of Sani with the exception of one nun from Salapi, one nun from Stara, one nun from Pipcha and one nun from Shila, all of which are located around the Padum area.

When the nunnery first began, the founding nuns had very little support, except that from their families and villages and a small donation from Kim Gutschow. They had of course the full spiritual support of their master Gegen Khyentse Rinpoche. After the passing of Gegen Khyentse, Khandro Thrinlay Chodon has taken the role of their spiritual guide. She is the daughter of the late Apho Rinpoche (Gegen Khyentse's Master) and the great granddaughter of the renowned meditation master, Togden Shakya Shri. These great Masters are known in the Himalayan area as enlightened meditation masters of the Drukpa Kagyu lineage. Khachod Ling is the only Drukpa nunnery in all of Zangskar.

Gegen Rigdzin Wangdus has been teaching and guiding the nuns in their practices. Khandro Rinpoche appointed Gegen to be their ritual and meditation Master. Gegen is an impeccable student of Apho Rinpoche, Stagna Rinpoche and Shabdrung Rinpoche. Recently Khandro Rinpoche also appointed another accomplished yogi student of her father, Lama Rigdzin, to train the nuns for the traditional three year retreat.

 


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