Drikung Acharya Nuns Leadership Fellowship

The first year of the Tibetan Himalayan Fellowship Program with Acharya Yeshe was blessed by H. H. Drikung Kyabgön Chetsang Rinpoche and supported by the U.S. Drikung Foundation and numerous donors. Acharya is now the Secretary of Samtenling Nunnery and is teaching programs in English for international students.

Listen to Acharya’s Dharma talk “Taming the Mind” in English, after a year in our Leadership Program for Tibetan Himalayan Nuns.

The Tibetan/Himalayan Nuns Leadership Program is a year-long Fellowship for Drikung Nuns, based at Vajra Dakini in Portland, Maine. The program develops skills for international leadership and the empowerment of Tibetan Buddhist nuns as they lead their nunneries into the future. 

The Leadership Program was developed by the Acharya nuns at Samtenling Nunnery (DKI) in India, with Khenmo Drolma, Abbess of Vajra DakiniNunnery (Samtenling’s affiliate in Falmouth, Maine), Mrs. Taklha (former Director of Samtenling Nunnery), and advisors from multiple centers. This program is designed to benefit the over 100 nuns of Drikung Samtenling. Each year, a Fellow is selected to spend a year in the United States, undergoing an individual program designed to strengthen her skills and develop new areas that will benefit her fellow nuns. She then agrees to present a workshop to her fellow nuns upon her return and to use her new skills to benefit Samtenling for at least three years after her residency.

The first Fellow in the program is Acharya Ani Yeshe. A graduate of the rigorous nine-year philosophy program at Samtenling. Acharya Yeshe is on the teaching faculty there and guides the youngest nuns. Acharya’s work began at Vajra Dakini’s Liberation House, where she was immersed in English Dharma language and computer classes in Portland. Throughout the year, Acharya has continued her studies, assisted in Dharma classes and interfaith activities, visited other nunneries in the United States, and participated in further training modules in Iowa and New York.

As her year here drew to a close, Acharya worked with Khenmo to explore the full potential of the program and to create a plan for sharing her newly-acquired knowledge and skills with her sister nuns at Samtenling and beyond.

As the Acharya nuns assess current and future goals, we tailor the program to prepare them with additional skills, which may include education programs, hospice work, small medical clinics, book-publishing, and GoGreen projects. Many of the challenges experienced at Samtenling are also being faced by other nunneries in India; thus, the knowledge and skills gained here will have an even wider application.

Empowering nuns with 21st-century skills

This program is designed to empower the 100 nuns of the Drikung Samtenling Nunnery. Like their brothers, the monks who serve internationally, they are essential as future leaders in the Drikung Kagyu lineage. 

Your donation will go directly for her travel and support. Vajra Dakini is a 501(c)3 and all donations are tax deductible.  VDN will post a financial report on this program annually and you will be able to follow her activities on VDN’s Facebook page. Expenses include:

  • Travel to the U.S. and centers offering training; travel to significant buddhist nunneries

  • Health insurance

  • Small monthly stipend for the Fellow’s personal expenses

  • Visa expenses

  • Contribution to hosting centers, if budget permits

  • Participation in Sakyadhita, International Buddhist Women’s Conference, if budget permits

Support This and Other Vajra Dakini Programs

Vajra Dakini operates soley by donation. Your generosity sustains the lives and works of the nuns of Vajra Dakini Nunnery and our annual donation to Drikung Kagyu Samtenling Nunnery.