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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.

Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche, © Copyright Lama Yeshe Wisdom ArchiveIn 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 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.

The Dharma Flourishes

Khensur Jampa TegchokGeshe Jampa Tegchog of Sera-Je was the Abbot of Nalanda until 1994 when the duties of becoming the Abbot of Sera-Je took him to South India. 

Over the years he gave amazingly wide, profound, and detailed Dharma teachings to Western monks, nuns, and lay people who were always welcome for the teachings at Nalanda.

Also Geshe Tashi Tsering was a resident teacher at Nalanda for two years until taking up the position of Resident Teacher at Jamyang Buddhist Centre in London in 1994.

Geshe Jampa GyatsoIn 1994 Geshe Jampa Gyatso was appointed abbot of the monastery by Lama Zopa Rinpoche. Although living in Italy, Geshe Jampa Gyatso came regularly to teach the monks, but mainly due to health reasons this became more and more difficult. There were also many other lamas who came to visit and teach.

In 1995, Khensur Dorje Tashi came for two years, while Mogchok Rinpoche came for one year in 1996-1997. During the times when there was no resident teacher, the monks enjoyed going to nearby Vajra Yogini Institute to follow the teachings given by Geshe Tengye or Geshe Palden or other visiting lamas.

After a few years without a resident teacher Geshe Lobsang Jamphel arrived at Nalanda in January 2000 and became the resident teacher. Since January 2003, Geshe Jamphel has been the main teacher at both the Nagarjuna Centre in Barcelona and at Nalanda.

Following the passing away of Abbot Geshe Jampa Gyatso in 2007, Lama Zopa appointed Geshe Jamphel as the new abbot in 2008. Geshe Jamphel also teaches at other FPMT centres in France and Spain. 2008 saw a lot of changes for the monastery, mainly the start of the FPMT Basic Program running for 5 years, with Geshe Jamphel as the main teacher. Nalanda also re-established the rains retreat during 2008 which has been followed every year as part of the commitment for fully ordained monks.

The Future

After the Basic Program finished in 2012, Nalanda commenced the extensive 7-year FPMT Masters Program in September 2013. In February 2013 the second Basic Program started. We welcome new students for either program.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche gave his blessing to these plans after a meeting with the students during his visit to Nalanda in 2011. A new teacher, Geshe Gyaltsen has taken up residence at Nalanda to teach the Basic Program, with Geshe Jamphel teaching the Masters Program.


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