We are a budding community of Buddhist nuns in the Gelug tradition, situated in the small town of Fiac, in Southwest France, northeast of Toulouse. The first resident nun was Venerable Chantal Dekyi, director of the monastery project. Currently, there are four residents: Ven. Chantal, fully ordained in 1992, and the novice nuns Vens. Gyaltsen Chökyi, Gyaltsen Palmo, and Thubten Lhamo. Our abbot is Geshe Thubten Loden, who is also the resident teacher at the nearby Vajrayogini Institute.
Dorje Pamo Monastery is a project affiliated with the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), a worldwide organization under the spiritual leadership of Lama Zopa Rinpoche. The monastery is also part of an international community of Western FPMT monks and nuns known as the International Mahayana Institute (IMI), which has more than 300 monastics, among them 180 nuns, of which approximately 60 are Europeans. While there are a few physical monasteries in the Tibetan Buddhism tradition around the world, Dorje Pamo Monastery is the only one for nuns in Europe.
Unique is the fact that Dorje Pamo Monastery is situated near the Vajra Yogini Institute and Nalanda Monastery, both also FPMT affiliates, together thus serving male and female monastics and lay people.
Through the benevolence of a kind donor and the Vajra Yogini Institute, a suitable property has been obtained. This is the Domaine En-Baut, located in Fiac in the Tarn area, which comprises a large farmhouse and numerous outbuildings, and extends over 6 acres of green areas, orchards, meadows, woods, and includes a small pond. Its previous use was agricultural and there was an operational bakery on the premises. Due to past fire damage, and the need to expand residential accommodations, a lot of renovation work has been done.
The property has the potential to accommodate 12 nuns.
Why a Monastery?
There is suffering, but we can become free of suffering because there is a valid path leading to freedom. This path is as relevant today as it was at the time of the Buddha, as it points to the essence of the human condition beyond time and culture.
For those who want to dedicate their life to the spiritual path, the Buddha advocated the importance of giving up the householder’s life and stepping forth into monastic life. For these renunciates he established the four-fold Sangha: fully ordained monks, fully ordained nuns, male and female lay followers. This stable basis enables the teachings to remain a living tradition wherever it is established.
The Sangha needs a place to live – it cannot just dwell somewhere in space. It needs to be organized and this organization is the monastery. The monastery is the place where monks and nuns can live in vows, sheltered from distractions. The monastery plays a crucial role in preserving the Dharma. Without monasteries, it is difficult for monastics to take ordination and remain ordained.
«Without proper monastic communities and discipline, it will be very difficult to preserve and spread the Dharma.»
Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Why a monastery for nuns?
The few currently existing monasteries in the Gelug tradition in the west are mostly for monks. Thus, there is a critical need for monastic communities to provide a proper environment where nuns can live according to their vows, where they can practice together, where new nuns can be educated and where all can be taken care of.
Developing the Monastery
The nuns need support and are very grateful for your help
To render the premises habitable for the nuns to move in and start the community, we had to undertake important building work. The development of the residential area reserved for nuns and the construction of the temple and adjoining library are completed.
The next important phase to be realized is the furnishing of the gompa, and specifically the altar. We want it to be as beautiful and inspiring as possible.
The altar is already in place, and painted, and we are planning a final phase of decoration. Lama Zopa Rinpoche would like classical Tibetan decoration for the Dorje Pamo altar, as suggested to a few local artists. The statues will also have to be choosen.
Your participation to rhis work is most welcome: