Message from Jetsunma on the Bhikshuni Ordination

Jetsunma with the three nuns from DGL Nunnery who received the Gelongma ordination

Dear Friends, 

We are pleased and honored to announce that on 21 June 2022, the full Bhikshuni Ordination was bestowed on 142 nuns at an auspicious site below Paro Taktsang in Bhutan by His Holiness the Je Khenpo, Tulku Jigme Chhoeda, head Lama of the Drukpa Kagyu monastic order in Bhutan. This historic event was supported by His Majesty King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and organized by Her Majesty the Queen Mother, Ashi Tshering Yangdoen Wangchuck, who is the Patron of the Bhutanese Nuns Foundation and Dr Tashi Zangmo, the founding director of the Bhutanese Nuns Foundation, BNF.


Traditionally, the full ordination for nuns was not given in the Mulasarvastivada vinaya lineage extant in Tibetan and Bhutanese Buddhism. The nuns only received as far as novice or shramanerika ordination. The revival of the full ordination has been a subject of research for many years but no resolution on how it could be carried it out had been agreed upon. It remains a highly controversial subject.


However nowadays nuns are living in well-run nunneries and becoming highly educated in Buddhist philosophy and practice. They themselves are now teachers and authoring books. So the time was ready for them to take the next step and become fully ordained as the Buddha Himself specified and as modern scholarship has shown to be a valid possibility. The nuns are fully capable of studying and undertaking the Vinaya or Monastic code, performing the monastic rituals and leading an exemplary life. In this way the Fourfold Sangha of monastics and laity will be completed as was the Buddha’s intention.


Therefore, it was with great courage and compassion that His Holiness the Je Khenpo of Bhutan made the decision to bestow this higher ordination on nuns, thus opening the door to the elevation and encouragement of all nuns in the Mulasarvastivada tradition.

HH the Je Khenpo and presiding Bhikshus at the Ordination

The ceremony itself was carried out by the bhikshu [monk] sangha with HH the Je Khenpo as ordaining master. This method of ordination was allowed by the Buddha in the absence of a bhikshuni [nun] sangha. After 12 years as bhikshunis the nuns themselves will be empowered to constitute a twofold ordaining sangha of both nuns and monks.

Since there were so many nuns and they meticulously ordained three nuns at a time, the actual ceremony stretched over 3 days. On the first day His Majesty the 4th or former King, Jigme Singye Wangchuk, along with his wife the Queen Mother and other members of the Royal family, visited the ordination site and the king gave an encouraging and inspirational address to the nuns.

The Royal Family of Bhutan

This is a truly momentous occasion for nuns in the Mulasarvastivada lineage and we rejoice that finally a high Lama of impeccable reputation such as the Je Khenpo has stepped forward to help and support the female sangha in this tradition.

We are grateful for the support of our many friends and patrons around the world who support Dongyu Gatsal Ling Initiatives, making it possible for many nuns to study and practice the Buddhadharma.

May all beings be well and happy.

Tenzin Palmo

Bhikshuni Ordination in Bhutan slideshow



With the advent of the momentous Bhikshuni Ordination in Bhutan in June, we pause to offer our heartfelt thanks and salutations to Jetsunma on her birthday. We celebrate this special day reflecting on Jetsunma’s extraordinary accomplishments and activities that have touched the hearts of countless beings worldwide.

Her commitment to ensuring the establishment and foundation of the Bhikshuni Sangha, fulfilling the expressed wish of Shakyamuni Buddha, will be a long-lasting legacy. We pray for Jetsunma’s continued good health and wellbeing!


Thank you to our Donors

All of us at Dongyu Gatsal Ling Initiatives thank you for your generous ongoing support. None of the various projects that support the activities of Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo would be possible without you. Please note that donors in the US are able to make tax-deductible contributions.

If you are interested in learning more about the DGLI Endowment and how to make bequests, please email us at info@dgli.org. The endowment has been created to ensure the nunneries and organizations we support will be provided for well into the future. For more information on DGLI, please visit our website: dgli.org.

With heartfelt gratitude,

May Ling, Chrysanne, Lindsay, Linda and Lillia

DGL Initiatives Board of Directors


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About Us


Dongyu Gatsal Ling Initiatives is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in the United States. For USA residents your donation is tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.

DGL Initiatives supports the mission of our Spiritual Director, Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo. We are dedicated to improving the education standards and living conditions of Tibetan Buddhist female monastics and their communities.


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