Nalanda Monastery is a unique community for Western monks in the Tibetan Gelug tradition. It offers an ideal environment to live and combine practice and study in an appropriate lifestyle. Currently, around 20 monks, 8 nuns and 40 lay people form the core of the community.
Nalanda is located close to Lavaur, about 40 km from Toulouse in the Tarn district of Southwest France (see map). Located on the river Agout and with its own gardens, the monastery is surrounded by farmers' fields, enjoying a peaceful and quiet environment. Nearby is our sister centre Institut Vajra Yogini.
"All the people who are living and working here have brought about the near completion of new building. This big new building, the whole building, is in a very good state; and we have a lot of rooms in the new building. What we should do from here onwards is protect and keep a vision for the future: to change this whole place into a very large university-style monastery where many people will come to live and study."
Abbot Geshe Lobsang Jamphel
Lineage and Teachers
Lama Zopa Rinpoche is the Spiritual director of Nalanda and together with his teacher, Lama Yeshe, he founded Nalanda in 1981 as the first Western monastery of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT). Geshe Lobsang Jamphel is the current Abbot.
Additionally, we are extremely fortunate to welcome other distinguished teachers and High Lama's throughout the year. Ven. Gyaltsen, our director, coordinates the day-to-day running of the monastery, while other senior monks take roles such as study program coordinators, translators, disciplinarian and book-keeper.
Nalanda aims to offer a protective and conducive environment for monks to train in philosophy, monastic discipline and retreat.
As ambassadors of the Buddha's teachings and His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Nalanda's Sangha aim to inspire others through example and behaviour. Nalanda's community contributes to world peace as well as individual spiritual growth by keeping the Buddha's teachings alive in Western society, and inspiring others with values of ethical behaviour, tolerance, compassion and wisdom.
For 30 years, the monks of Nalanda Monastery have tirelessly helped to bring the Buddha's teachings throughout FPMT projects worldwide as teachers, retreat leaders, project directors, program coordinators, and counsellors. Nalanda's responsibility to carry out the wishes of our precious teachers, Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche, is only possible through the kind generosity of sponsors.
Alongside the monks, lay men can also stay at Nalanda while women have the opportunity to stay in the local area.
Nalanda extends a warm welcome to all visitors. Visitors are especially welcome every Sunday afternoon between 14:00 and 18:00, or by appointment outside these times.
"Nalanda is well kept and in a good state. It's good that you maintain this building and that the new building will be ready in a while, and I hope that then the number of monks will increase. As Lama Yeshe wished that the number of monks would be 50 at minimum, that would be very good. That is my sincere innermost wish. Like the historic Nalanda, at that time very big in India, I hope that in future there will be 10,000 monks here. It's clear that great places go down and end up in ruins, and that some small places will grow. So we shouldn't fix on the idea how it is now, but look to the future."
Abbot Geshe Lobsang Jamphel