2012 will be the fourth year that Dechen has supported the Sakya Nuns Shedra in Manduwala, North India, Tsechen Shedrup Samten Phuntsok Ling. The college was inaugurated by His Holiness Sakya Trizin and opened in September 2009 with 25 resident nuns, each selected for their ability. An additional intake of 10 nuns was possible last July, due to an increase in funding. There are 10 more nuns from the Sakya Nunnery who would be eligible to take their places at the Nuns’ college in July this year if the necessary funding becomes available.
This academic year, the main text studied by the first year nuns is Nagarjuna’s ‘Friendly Letter’ with the commentary by Rendawa Shonu Lodro, the same commentary that Karma Thinley Rinpoche taught in the U.K. in 1977. The syllabus for the second year students includes Tshedma Rigster, ‘The Treasury of Logic’ by Sakya Pandita, with its commentary by Gorampa. The nuns also perform philosophical debate every evening, and attend language classes in Tibetan, English and Hindi. In effect the nuns in the first ever nuns’ shedra within the Sakya tradition are studying the same syllabus as that taught to monks at Sakya College.
This nuns’ shedra has so far been a considerable success, and it is the wish of the founders to continue expanding the college, thus allowing more nuns to extend their depth of knowledge of the Buddhadharma.