Dr. Bhikṣuṇī Jampa Tsedroen (also known as Carola Roloff) was born in 1959 in Germany. She is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and seasonal lecturer at the University of Hamburg, specializing in nuns’ ordination and gender in Buddhism.
Jampa Tsedroen became a novice nun in 1981 and obtained full ordination in Taiwan in 1985. From 1981 to 1996, she studied Tibetan Buddhist theory and practice as well as Vinaya with the late Ven. Geshe Thubten Ngawang, and then classical Indology and Tibetology at the University of Hamburg, where she received her M.A. in 2003 and her Ph.D. in 2009. For more information, her publications and her full CV, visit www.jampatsedroen.de.
Jampa Tsedroen was one of the founding members of Sakyadhita International and served from 1987 to 1995 first as National Representative and then as Vice president. In 1987 Jampa Tsedroen was requested to become the chair of the Sakyadhita Vinaya Research Committee and began her comparative Vinaya studies, keeping in close contact with Prof. Dr. Chatsumarn Kabilsingh (now Ven. Bhikkhunī Dhammananda) from Thailand, with Dr. Kusuma Devendra (now Bhikkhunī Kusuma) from Sri Lanka, and with Ven. Karma Lekshe Tsomo (now Associate Professor at the Department of Theology & Religious Studies at San Diego University).
After the First Sakyadhita International Conference on Buddhist Nuns in 1987 Jampa Tsedroen visited Jangchub Choeling Nunnery in Mundgod (South India). Encouraged by Tenzin Geyche Tethong, Private Secretary to H.H. the Dalai Lama then, she began a fundraising project on behalf of Tibetisches Zentrum in Hamburg to set up a study program for Tibetan nuns at Jangchub Choeling Nunnery. She managed this and other projects to benefit Tibetan monastics in Indian exile for 25 years. At this time, more than 200 nuns are participating in the 17-year-geshe study program. Between 2006 and 2011 forty-seven nuns successfully completed this course, but so far they have not received the final academic title of a geshe. The main reason for not having received the geshe title so far, is that without having received full ordination, novice nuns are not allowed to study the entire Vinaya which for Tibetan monks is part of the monastic curriculum. However, the monk scholars teaching in Jangchub Choeling refer to those nuns as geshes and they have received the title of a rabjampa, or "master learned in all scriptures". For further information on Jangchub Choeling Nunnery see their website: http://www.jangchubchoelingnunnery.org/
In 1988 the Foundation for Tibetan Buddhist Studies Hamburg (nowadays Foundation for Buddhist Studies) asked Ven. Jampa Tsedroen to become a councillor and put her in charge of their Vinaya Project. For more details please click here.
In 1991 Jampa Tsedroen completed 10 years of Vinaya study with late Ven. Geshe Thubten Ngawang (1932-2003). During the years 1988-2002 she helped to found the Bhikṣuṇī community of Tibetisches Zentrum in Hamburg, which still consists of five bhikṣuṇīs. In December 2002 it became the first complete saṅgha of bhikṣuṇīs in Europe, who are practising in the Tibetan tradition. From 1985 onwards, when both the bhikṣuṇī and bhikṣu saṅghas at Tibetisches Zentrum were still incomplete, Jampa Tsedroen and the other bhikṣuṇīs were allowed to participate together with the bhikṣus in the regular poṣadha and varṣa ceremonies. These were performed according to the Tibetan Mūlasarvāstivāda tradition. Once the bhikṣuṇī saṅgha was complete, shortly before his passing away, Ven. Geshe Thubten Ngawang instructed the nuns to perform the monastic rites according to the Dharmagupta tradition. One of Jampa Tsedroen's sisters, Ven. Bhikṣuṇī Thubten Choedroen (fully ordained in 1988), is nowadays the head of the German Buddhist Monastic Community (DBO). For their German website >Click here. Another sister of her, Ven. Bhikṣuṇī Soenam Choekyi (fully ordained in 1995), after teaching Buddhism for many years, is undergoing a three-year-retreat now.
In 1992 Jampa Tsedroen published the first results of her research in: Bhikṣuṇī Jampa Tsedroen. A Brief Survey of the Vinaya. Its origin, transmission and arrangement from the Tibetan point of view with comparisons to the Theravāda and Dharmagutpa traditions (Vinaya Research 1) Hamburg: dharma edition.
In 2005 Jampa Tsedroen became a founding member of the Committee of Western Bhikṣuṇīs. For further information on the history of the committee see: http://www.bhiksuniordination.org/about_history.html
In 2006 His Holiness the Dalai Lama asked her to intensify her research in the bhikshuni vinaya and related vinaya ordination lineages. (Please see attached letter). She was also asked to become a Member of the Bhikkhunī Ordination Committee of the Department of Religion and Culture of the Central Tibetan Administration and to participate in The 3rd Seminar of Vinaya Scholars about Gelongma Lineage, Dharamsala 22 to 24 May, 2006. There she distributed the Paper "A Response to Necessary Research Regarding the Lineage of Bhiksuni Vinaya" compiled by the Committee of Western Bhikshunis. For download in English and Tibetan go here: http://www.congress-on-buddhist-women.org/index95dc.html?id=29.
In 2007 together with Dr. Thea Mohr (University of Frankfurt) Jampa Tsedroen organized the First International Congress on Buddhist Women's Role in the Saṅgha. For further details see here: http://www.bhiksuniordination.org/about_history.html.
In January 2010 Jampa Tsedroen began a three-year research project at the University of Hamburg (DFG project) on the ordination of nuns in the Tibetan Buddhist canon and its presentation in Tibetan commentaries. >Click here for more.
In 2011, Jampa Tsedroen was invited to participate in a discussion panel on Vinaya and Modernity during the International Conference on Vinaya at the Central University of Tibetan Studies. (Her statement can be downloaded here). Furthermore Jampa Tsedroen presented a paper at the international conference "Buddhist Nuns in India" at the University of Toronto http://www.religion.utoronto.ca/buddhist-nuns-in-india/ . She also presented a panel, together with Ven. Damchö Diana Finnegan (University of Wisconsin), on The Prospects for Bhikṣuṇī Ordination in Tibetan Buddhism at the IABS at Dharma Drum Buddhist College in Taiwan and a paper on The Buddhist Nuns Order Restoration Movement and its Implications for Modern Society during the Global Buddhist Congregation 2011 in New Delhi.