Kung Fu Nuns Smash Conventions – Crypto News Aktuell in Englisch
As the first rays of the sun broke through the clouds covering the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas, Jigme Rabsal Lhamo, a Buddhist nun, drew a sword from behind her back and thrust it at her opponent, causing her to fall to the ground.
“Eyes on target! Concentrate!” Ms Lhamo yelled at the dejected nun and looked her straight in the eyes outside a whitewashed temple at the Druk Amitabha nunnery on a hill overlooking Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal.
Ms. Lhamo and the other members of her religious order are known as kung fu nuns and are part of an 800-year-old Buddhist sect called Drukpa, the Tibetan word for dragon. Across the Himalayan region and around the world, their devotees are now mixing meditation with martial arts.
A nun walks around a stupa. SAUMYA KHANDELWAL/The New York Times
Every day, the nuns swap their maroon robes for an umber uniform to practice kung fu, the ancient Chinese martial art. It is part of their spiritual mission to achieve gender equality and physical fitness; Her Buddhist faith also encourages her to lead an eco-friendly life.
Mornings at the nunnery are filled with the pounding of heavy footsteps and the clash of swords as the nuns train under Ms. Lhamo’s tutelage. Under the soft rustling of their loose uniforms, they cartwheel, hit and kick each other.
“Kung fu helps us break down gender barriers and develop inner confidence,” said Ms. Lhamo, 34, who came to the nunnery from Ladakh in northern India a dozen years ago. “It also helps to look after others in times of crisis.”
For as long as Buddhist scholars can remember, women in the Himalayas who attempted to practice as spiritual equals with male monks have been stigmatized by both religious leaders and broader social customs.
Nuns demonstrate kung fu. SAUMYA KHANDELWAL/The New York Times
Barred from participating in the intense philosophical debates encouraged among monks, women were confined to such duties as cooking and cleaning in monasteries and temples. They were forbidden from engaging in physical activity, leading prayers or even singing.
In recent decades, these limitations have become at the heart of a furious struggle waged by thousands of nuns in many sects of Himalayan Buddhism.
left to right The nuns warm up before practicing kung fu with swords in the early morning. Photos: SAUMYA KHANDELWAL/nyt
At the forefront of change are the kung fu nuns, whose Drukpa sect launched a reformist movement 30 years ago, led by Jigme Pema Wangchen, also known as the 12th Gyalwang Drukpa. He was willing to break centuries-old traditions and wanted nuns who would carry the sect’s religious message outside the convent walls.
“We’re changing the rules of the game,” said Konchok Lhamo, 29, a kung fu nun. “It is not enough to meditate on a pillow in a monastery.”
Today, Drukpa nuns not only practice kung fu, but also lead prayers and go on pilgrimages for months to collect plastic waste and raise awareness of climate change.
For the past 20 years, with the exception of one hiatus during the pandemic, the nuns have traveled about 2.00 kilometers from Kathmandu to Ladakh high in the Himalayas every year to promote eco-friendly transportation.
Along the way, they stop to educate people in rural areas of Nepal and India about gender equality and the importance of girls.
Nuns practice kung fu early in the morning at Druk Amitabha nunnery on a hill overlooking Kathmandu. SAUMYA KHANDELWAL/The New York Times
The sect’s nuns were first introduced to the martial arts in 2008 by devotees from Vietnam who had come to the nunnery to learn the scriptures and how to play the instruments used during prayers.
Since then, about 800 nuns have been trained in the basics of martial arts, and about 90 are undergoing intensive training to become trainers.
The 12th Gyalwang Drukpa also trained the nuns to be chant masters, a position once reserved for men only. He has also given them the highest level of teaching called Mahamudra, a Sanskrit word for “great seal,” an advanced system of meditation.
Nuns offer prayers for the sick or deceased. SAUMYA KHANDELWAL/The New York Times
The nuns have become known both in the predominantly Hindu Nepal, which is around 9% Buddhist, and beyond the country’s borders.
But the changes for the sect did not come without fierce backlash, and conservative Buddhists have threatened to burn down Drukpa temples.
On their journeys down the steep slopes from the nunnery to the local market, the nuns were verbally abused by monks from other sects. But that doesn’t deter them, they say. Traveling in their open vans with their heads shaved, they can look like soldiers ready for action on the front lines and able to defy any bias.
Nuns participate in nolsang, prayers for the sick or dead. SAUMYA KHANDELWAL/The New York Times
The sect’s sprawling campus is home to 350 nuns who live with ducks, turkeys, swans, goats, 20 dogs, a horse and a cow, all of whom were either rescued from butchers’ knives or off the streets. The women work as painters, artists, plumbers, gardeners, electricians and bricklayers and also run a library and a medical clinic for lay people.
“When people come to the convent and see us at work, they think being a nun is not ‘useless,'” said Zekit Lhamo, 28, referring to an insult sometimes hurled at nuns. “We don’t just care about our religion, we care about society.”
Scriptures are read during morning prayers. SAUMYA KHANDELWAL/The New York Times
Her work has inspired other women in Nepal’s capital. “When I look at them, I want to become a nun,” said Ajali Shahi, a doctoral student at Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu. “They look so cool and you want to leave it all behind.”
Every day the nunnery receives at least a dozen requests to join the order from places like Mexico, Ireland, Germany and the United States.
“But not everyone can do it,” said Jigme Yangchen Ghamo, a nun. “It looks attractive from the outside, but inside it’s a tough life.”
Some nuns scroll through prayer texts on iPads, which were introduced to minimize paper usage. SAUMYA KHANDELWAL/The New York Times
A woman dances around doves in Kathmandu, Nepal, where the Drukpa nuns are known for their kung fu expertise. SAUMYA KHANDELWAL/The New York Times
Nuns practice kung fu early in the morning. SAUMYA KHANDELWAL/The New York Times
Nuns wash their utensils. SAUMYA KHANDELWAL/The New York Times
A nun paints a torma, a figure made of flour and butter used as an offering in Buddhist rituals. SAUMYA KHANDELWAL/The New York Times
Nuns leave the temple after morning prayers at Druk Amitabha Nunnery. SAUMYA KHANDELWAL/The New York Times
Source: Crypto News Deutsch