2500 years ago the Buddha established a community of monks and nuns, known as the Sangha, and set up guidelines of conduct for them, the Vinaya.
The Buddha said, "Wherever there is Sangha, there the Dharma will flourish."
He also said, "Wherever a monk or nun observes the Vinaya, that place is luminous. I myself abide there."
The community of monks and nuns flourished in many countries, and is still in existence to this day, with more and more western Buddhists becoming inspired to take ordination.
In order to create a supportive environment, Lama Thubten Yeshe and Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche founded Nalanda monastery as the first Western monastery of their organisation in 1981. They didn’t want to create a Tibetan monastery in Europe, but rather a community adapted to Western needs.
Elizabeth Drukier, at that time director of Institut Vajra Yogini near Lavaur, bought the property that was to become Nalanda in response to Lama Yeshe’s appeal for a place to house the IMI Sangha. Vajra Yogini Institute and their resident teacher Ven. Geshe Tengye have always been very supportive of Nalanda and indeed Nalanda owes its existence to them.
During 1981, two monks came to establish the community with Ven. Adrian Feldman as Director and occupied the building, an old manor farmhouse in the countryside.
After the first 'Enlightened Experience Celebration' many of the Western Sangha came to France and Nalanda was established for the monks and Dorje Pamo (which no longer exists) was established for the nuns. In the past there have been between 10 and 20 monks living at Nalanda, and some of those are now teaching all over the world. Others were able to use their time at Nalanda to create a strong foundation in studies and monastic life, with which they have been able to pursue further studies or retreat.
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