Since the time of Buddha Sakyamuni, the historical Buddha, there has been a strong tradition of ordained sangha, men and women holding vows of individual liberation, the foundational practice in all schools of Buddhism.
While it is certainly not required that one receive ordination in order to study and practice Buddhism; traditionally, removing worldly distractions and aims is recognized as the ideal lifestyle for pursuing a serious study of Dharma. By becoming ordained as a monk or nun, one puts aside emphasis on worldly, impermanent things and focuses on renunciation of samsara.
Throughout the history of Buddhism in Tibet, monks and nuns were cherished and supported as preserving Dharma and the transmission of study and scholarship in all of the Buddhist traditions.
Furthermore, the laity saw support of the ordained sangha as a meritorious activity and a way to contribute to maintaining the Dharma for the benefit of all beings.
In the present time, many Tibetan monasteries and nunneries have been re-established in exile and they continue to produce amazing scholars. We also see the tradition continuing to evolve, as with His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s recent institution of the Geshe-Ma degree; thus making the highest scholastic degree in the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism available to female scholars.
At SICGU, our aim is to firmly plant the Nalanda tradition of scholarship in the west. Ordained and non-ordained women members and friends are essential in the building of our organization.
In recognition of the importance that they play and to further expand the possibilities of more in-depth participation in our study program; it is essential that we support the efforts of our ordained female sangha.
Therefore, we would like to introduce our Ani Fund. (“Ani” is the colloquial term for an ordained nun in Tibetan. More properly, nuns are called Tsunma, but Ani remains a term of endearment and respect).
The purpose of the Ani Fund is to ensure the continuing education of our nuns. We recognize that although there is the motivation for nuns to fully immerse themselves in Dharma study; often the lack of proper financial backing becomes a hindrance to their full participation, especially in the west.
Humbly we request your financial support for the SICGU Ani Fund. Your support will enable our ordained nuns to continue their study with SICGU full-time, free them from concerns about supporting themselves, and enable them to fully actualize the renunciate lifestyle- their motivation for becoming ordained. Furthermore, your support will help us to fully transplant the scholarly tradition of Nalanda to the west, thereby benefitting countless generations to come.
At SICGU, our goal is to educate and provide to all students, regardless of race or gender, the teachings from our Sera Jey University teachers, thus expounding all the traditions of learning that have been passed down since the beginning of the Nalanda University in India.
Won’t you join us in taking this first step and supporting the SICGU Ani Fund?