Empowerment in Exile: Twenty Years of Transforming Lives Through Education

Rinchen Khando Choegyal, Director,Tibetan Nuns Project
Elizabeth Napper, Co-Director, Tibetan Nuns Project



Starting in the late 1980s, Dharamsala, India, became home to hundreds of ordained Tibetan women forced to flee Tibet to escape religious persecution. Many were tortured and imprisoned. These women want nothing more than to live, study, practice, and teach in accordance with the Buddha’s teachings. Ranging in age from early teens to mid-80s, they come from all parts of Tibet. Most arrive without knowing how to read or write, having had little opportunity to learn more than basic prayers.

The education the nuns have received for more than twenty years under the support of the Tibetan Nuns Project has transformed their lives. Nuns now have access to the full breadth of Tibetan Buddhist teachings, as well as a modern education that includes classes in math, English, history, computer skills, and health care training. Today these women, once virtually illiterate, are entering into advanced studies, graduating with the highest degrees in their tradition, and reaching a status equivalent to monks. These nuns are empowered to become teachers, leaders, administrators, and decision makers in the nunneries and in the Tibetan exile community at large.

In this informative talk, Rinchen Khando Choegyal and Elizabeth Napper reveal more about the transformative effect advanced education has had on these spiritual women, the Tibetan exile community at large, and the preservation of the Tibetan culture and spiritual traditions.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010 | 7:30 pm — 9:00 pm
Building 260 - Room 113, Main Quad

Ho Center for Buddhist Studies at Stanford