Tsoknyi Gargon Ling

Tsoknyi Gargon Ling: A Sacred Himalayan Nunnery

Tsoknyi Gargon Ling is situated high in the Himalayas at the revered pilgrimage site of Muktinath, known as Chumig Gyatsa (the place of a hundred springs) to Tibetans. Both Buddhists and Hindus visit Muktinath to bathe in its holy waters. Renowned as a place where all the elements converge, Muktinath holds great significance for the worship of Lord Vishnu. Tibetan Buddhists consider it a sacred realm of Dakinis and an exceptional place for accumulating merit. Guru Rinpoche and numerous mahasiddhas have blessed the area, leaving sacred signs and imprints in the surrounding rocks and hillsides.

The Muktinath nunnery has existed for at least 400 years, but a devastating fire destroyed it around 70 years ago, leaving the nuns without a home. After the passing of their lama, the nuns struggled to maintain their nunnery without spiritual guidance or material support. Despite these challenges, they persevered with their prayers in their deteriorating shrine room. In 1991, three senior nuns embarked on a journey across mountainous terrain to Kathmandu, seeking the spiritual and material aid of Tsoknyi Rinpoche, a teacher of their lineage.

Rinpoche’s initial visit to Tsoknyi Gargon Ling resulted in the immediate construction of ten rooms for the nuns. Since then, the nunnery has continued to expand and undergo repairs, with the addition of a medical clinic, kitchen, and dining hall. In October 2011, a new, grand shrine hall was completed and inaugurated during a joyful full moon celebration. Currently, the Muktinath nuns split their time between Muktinath and Tsoknyi Gechak Ling in Chobar, near Kathmandu. Many nuns’ study at the shedra or primary school, while others practise at the Gargon Ling hermitage in Sitapaile, which will soon accommodate nuns undertaking the traditional three-year retreat practice.