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Bumthang: Thegchog Chholing Anim Shaydra
Institute for higher studies for nuns
Queen

Her Majesty Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck lays the foundation stone

Her Majesty the Queen Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck laid the foundation stone for the construction of a residential wing of the Thegchog Chholing Anim Shaydra (institute for higher studies for nuns) at Tang Bebzur in Bumthang.

The rabney ceremony was conducted by Gangtey Trulku, the founder of the shaydra, and the anims of the institute.

he single-storey building, constructed in traditional architecture, will accommodate more than 200 nuns. The shaydra also plans an academic wing, hostels, a meditation hall, library with networked computers for research and learning, a self-sufficient solar power system, and a clinic to attend to minor illnesses.

Bumthang
According to the Bumthang dzongda, Kunzang N. Tshering, the institute has plans to build a separate lhakhang (monastery) and to develop a centre for spiritual learning which can accommodate about 500 nuns, enabling women from all parts of Bhutan to visit and to spend time studying Buddhism.

"There are many girls who cannot pursue higher studies after Class XII, who are interested in enrolling as anims in the institute," the Bumthang dzongda said.

The construction will be funded by Gangtey Trulku who founded the institute as the first shaydra for women on the same spot, known as Pema Chholing, housed in temporary huts. There are about 100 anim students in the institute.

Many of the anims joined with little or no education, some of them as young as 11 years and the oldest being 60 years. They study and meditate and receive a traditional curriculum that was not available to women.

Bumthang: Kunchosoum Lhakhang Bumthang: Tamzhing Lhakhang
The nuns begin the day at 5:00 am and wind up their daily chores by 6.00 pm to begin evening studies with the help of kerosene lamps. The curriculum includes English, Dzongkha, logic, embroidery, stitching and the making of traditional crafts to equip them with the skills to earn a living for themselves and to benefit their communities in the future.
Monastery in Bumthang
According to the Bumthang dzongda, Kunzang N. Tshering, the institute has plans to build a separate lhakhang (monastery) and to develop a centre for spiritual learning which can accommodate about 500 nuns, enabling women from all parts of Bhutan to visit and to spend time studying Buddhism.

"There are many girls who cannot pursue higher studies after Class XII, who are interested in enrolling as anims in the institute," the Bumthang dzongda said.

Studies vary with the capacity of each student and 11 women are already in the third year of the rigorous nine-year course of study at the shaydra.

Dzongda Kuenzang N. Tshering said that, in the long term, the pursuit of education and spiritual practice by women at Thegchog Chholing will be of immense benefit in training women teachers in the Buddhist tradition.

Dzongkhag officials and the community of the Tang valley attended the foundation-laying ceremony.

Queen
Bumthang
This article was contributed by Rinzin Wangchuk, Kuensel, Bhutan's national newspaper, 2005
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