Can I come and live at Shechen, and possibly become a monk or a nun?

By Matthieu Ricard on November 06, 2009

Many western friends live nearby the monastery. They study Buddhism with teachers who live around and participate to some of the activities of the monastery. There are major teachings given by great masters every year or two, which may last for several months and are open to the public. There are also regular ceremonies and sacred dance Festivals, performed by the whole monastic community, which are also attended by large numbers of lay devotees. Besides that, our monastery has not been organizing regular teachings or seminars specifically designed for Western students. In our philosophical college, the teachings on Buddhist philosophy are given in Tibetan to ordained monks. Laypersons don't live within the monastery itself but can find accommodation at our Shechen Guesthouse (, which is just next to the monastery.

In the Tibetan tradition, monastic vows for both monks and nuns are taken for the entire duration of life. In the Nyingma tradition, to which Shechen monastery belongs, monastic vows are given from time to time by major holders of the Vinaya tradition, such as Kyabje Trulshik Rinpoche, Kyabje Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche, and Khenchen Pema Sherap. Once a year, his holiness the Dalai Lama also gives monastic vows to Western aspirants in Dharamsala, in northern India (for this, people need to register well ahead of time and attend a pre-ordination course. Please inquire at