About Tsoknyi Gechak Ling Nunnery

Tsoknyi Gechak Ling is the only nunnery practicing the Tsoknyi tradition outside of Tibet. The ancient hilltop village of Chobhar, outside of Kathmandu, is renowned for the centuries old temple of the Chobhar Adhinath, also known as Anandadi Lokeshvara, one of the Kathmandu Valley’s four main temples of Avalokiteshvara. Situated quite near the 15th century temple, the gompa’s main shrine hall also holds an extraordinary image of thousand-armed Avalokiteshvara, lord of compassion. The practice of Avalokiteshvara has a very long history in this village, as it was here in the 9th century that the Buddhist nun Gelongma Palmo established the Nyungne purification practice of fasting and prayer focused on this very deity.  This is the site of the new home of the Tsoknyi Nuns which is now under construction. In addition, the village sits above the Chobhar Gorge, where according to legend the Bodhisattva Manjushri compassionately cut through the hills surrounding the Kathmandu Valley, opening what was previously a lake for human habitation. Tsoknyi Gechak Ling opened in the spring of 2010 with about 32 nuns, and is now home to well over 150 anis (Buddhist nuns). Many of the original nuns had come from Gechak Gonpa in Nangchen, eastern Tibet, to be with their teacher, Tsoknyi Rinpoche. The first five nuns arrived in 1994, and Rinpoche rented a house for them in Parphing, a place sacred to Guru Rinpoche just outside the Kathmandu valley. Over time their numbers increased, and they were joined by new young nuns from Nepal. Rinpoche arranged a larger residence and under his guidance, they practiced according to the Tsoknyi lineage tradition. In 2009, the entire community moved to Chobhar in preparation for the opening of Tsoknyi Gechak Ling, where Rinpoche has also established a shedra to complete the nuns’ Buddhist philosophical education. Later in 2010, Rinpoche visited his home village of Samagaon in Nubri, in the mountains of northern Nepal. He bestowed a public empowerment and helped inaugurate a joint community/government school. Rinpoche encouraged parents to send their children, including their daughters, to this school. He also mentioned that he had established a new nunnery in Kathmandu. In the spring of 2011, 82 young girls arrived in Chobhar to join the gompa. In a devout Himalayan Buddhist community like Nubri, many parents still prefer to send their children for a traditional Buddhist education rather than to a secular school. Faced with no place for the newcomers to stay, Rinpoche had to quickly turn a new administration building into dormitories and build temporary classroom space. By the end of 2011, Rinpoche had created a vision to build a new nunnery at the Chobhar location as the current facilities were just too small for the number of nuns and young ani’s in residence.  In early 2012 a Capital Campaign was started to raise funds from Rinpoche’s students around the world.  Rinpoche’s vision is to build a new primary school, nuns residence and shedra classrooms, three year retreat building, international retreat center and a large shrine hall.