Many people think that Buddhist nuns just do meditation. However, the nuns themselves believe that helping others is the Buddhist religion. So, sitting in one place doing mediation is not that effective these days. Nepal’s nuns of the Drukpa are the only female order that practices the deadly martial art of Kung Fu.
The Progressive Attitude of the Druk Nuns
The Druk Amitabha Mountain nunnery in Kathmandu is home to young nuns rewriting their place in the Buddhist hierarchy. The Drukpa order, especially when it comes to the nunnery, is an example for the rest of the female practitioners, particularly the rest of the family.
When it comes to the male practitioners, traditionally being from Tibet and the Himalayas monks always have a position. People look up to them, but it is not a respected one when it comes to the nunnery and female practitioner. The nuns also don’t do much. The progressive Attitude of the nunnery’s spiritual leader has raised eyebrows among the traditional Buddhists. In the female practitioner’s case, it was a golden opportunity for them to do whatever they would like to do. There are no restrictions, for instance, regarding the spiritual dances. Nuns never did them before; even the Tibet nun never did it before. Monks always perform all spiritual dances. However, the nuns now feel very lucky and privileged because their root guru has given the nuns a chance as well. Therefore, in the Druk Amitabha Mountain nunnery, they lead from top to bottom in terms of the Puja, dances, leading, and from office to everything is by the nun.
Removal of the Traditional Barriers
The removal of the traditional barriers has encouraged more nuns to join the 900-year-old Drukpa Lineage of Himalayan Buddhism. Presently, there are about 500 nuns in the Druk nunnery. The youngest is nine years old, although there is no such thing as age according to them. It depends on your renunciation and your motivation and why you would like to become a nun. Among all-female monastery’s unorthodox activities, Kung Fu is their daily training.
“I’m telling that Kung Fu is not for fighting as many people think. For me Kung Fu is essential to our inner meditation,” says Jigme Yangchen, a Kung Fu nun.
According to the nunnery, Kung Fu is an art that is not only designed for men but women too. It also gives them an immense sort of confidence mentally and physically fitness. This is why Kung Fu is compulsory to learn for every single nun.
Leaving in Fear: Threats of Violence
Many girls and women in the region live with the threat of violence. Therefore, the nuns have to take care of their own safety through Kung Fu as a way of self-defense. The nuns do a lot of Padi Yatra like cycle Yatra, and they go out of their nunnery to very far distances. The nuns recently cycled 3000 miles through Nepal and India to raise awareness about human trafficking.
The Buddhist philosophy of motivation and devotion works with compassion and actions. Before they started Kung Fu, whenever they had difficulties, they got tired and gave up quickly. But since they learned Kung Fu, the nuns are mentally and physically stronger.
“So, we thought since we are nuns and they are doing these things, why don’t we share it with other young girls?” said one of the younger nuns
Young Girls are their future; therefore, if they taught them how to defend themselves and become emotionally and physically stronger, it would be crucial.
‘Many Great Masters Are in Shock’
Many people criticize the idea of nuns doing Kung Fu. It doesn’t go along with their believes and mindset. They also disagree about the spiritual dances, while many great masters are in shock as they have never heard of female practitioners performing masked dances. Therefore, they don’t like it.
However, they have never stopped because their master has given them a great opportunity. They strive to do it to change the mindset of people about female nun practitioners concerning martial arts and spiritual dances.
“If we focus on criticism, then we cannot walk outside. We, as nuns, want to help others either spiritually or socially. Until our breath is here, we would like to serve this earth.”
They also hope that there will be the same level for men and women, such that there is no fear or emotional torture in this century and the coming ones.
“I am a very proud Drukpa Kung Fu nun. Finally, all these girls can walk the talk if they get an opportunity,” said the Head-nun.
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