#GoodNews: Buddhist Nuns Teach Kung Fu to Fight Gender Injustice
Meet the Kung Fu nuns who are cutting gender imbalance and patriarchy out of the society.
Camera: Mukul Bhandari
Editor: Puneet Bhatia
The nuns of the Drukpa lineage, a thousand-year-old Buddhist tradition that began in the Himalayas, are learning Kung Fu to fight gender imbalance in our society. They are learning as well as imparting their knowledge to young girls so that they are empowered enough to fight their own battles.
“We believe we are returning to our true spiritual roots by championing gender equality, physical fitness, environmentally-friendly ways of living, and respect for all living beings. We began learning Kung Fu for self-defense and for building our inner and outer strength, and it has helped us with meditational focus, staying strong, and working hard for others.”Kung Fu Nuns
The nuns believe that when in 2008, the leader of the Drukpa lineage, His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa, changed the order of gender stereotypes and got the nuns to learn Kung Fu, things became different for them.
“I have been in this order for the last 13 years. When I was 13, I joined this order because our guru, His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa, had inspired me a lot. So, I had decided that I will only become his nun. The Himalayas is one such place where women are often subjugated, they not allowed to move around, not allowed to talk to people openly. But, our Holiness does not think like this. He thinks that girls should do whatever they want to do. If they trust themselves, girls can do anything. He believes that girls should not be subjugated and that whatever a girl’s dreams are, they should be fulfilled. He also believes that society should help girls realise their dreams.”Jigme Rupa Lhamo, Kung Fu Nun
These nuns don’t just want to be not relegated to a corner, but wish to actively take part in making the world a more sustainable and a better place.
“We believe that it is important that our compassion and meditation should translate into action. Many nuns are not given the main spiritual teachings and nuns are often far behind. We believe that we should do something, we should stand for gender equality.”Jigme Migyur Palmo, Kung Fu Nun
The nuns were recently felicitated in New York. They won the Asia Society’s Game Changer award. The award was a recognition of their outstanding work in tackling the key challenges of the Himalayas in the 21st Century, in the field of sustainability, gender equality and environment issues.
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