Author Topic: The World's First Order of KungFu Nuns  (Read 5847 times)

icy

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The World's First Order of KungFu Nuns
« on: May 10, 2015, 05:12:16 AM »
We often hear of martial arts monks in China but there are martial arts nuns too in Nepal.  These are not just nuns but are kungfu nuns.  They are young and courageous.  These 300 nuns had refused to be flown by plane and chopper out of an earthquake ravaged Nepal but stayed back to help earthquake victims in Nepal. Clearly, they aren't ordinary women - they are nuns of the Ladakh-based Drupka order.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsiBRVxh3qc&feature=player_embedded
The Amitabha Drukpa Nunnery in Kathmandu, Nepal, houses the world's first order of kung fu nuns. 



RAMKOT, Nepal — The earthquake shook the sprawling Buddhist nunnery near this village in the western valley of Kathmandu so violently that the nuns jumped through shattered glass windows, smashed open rattling doors, and dived over a collapsing staircase.

They are, after all, the ‘‘kung fu nuns of Kathmandu.’’ And they have been training for about four years to react with just such speed and agility.


‘‘None of us shrieked in fear or crouched on the floor crying. We moved quickly, dodged falling pieces of the wall, and escaped,’’ said Jigme Konchok, 21, showing the hall where she and her fellow nuns used to assemble for daily kung fu sessions at the Druk Amitabha Mountain nunnery.

The nuns began learning kung fu from a Vietnamese teacher in defiance of accepted gender codes in the Buddhist monastic system.

But over time, they have harnessed the ancient Chinese martial art for meditation, community work, edgy campaigns against toxic waste, and for women’s empowerment and pledge walks against the prevalence of plastic products in everyday life.

Now they are using their skills and energy in providing relief to victims of the earthquake that hit Nepal, killing thousands. After assessing the structural damage to their sanctuary, the nuns quickly recovered and refocused when they saw the large-scale death and destruction in the villages outside their walls.

‘‘Community duty is also a form of spiritual exercise, and our strong limbs are now trained to work hard and for long hours,’’ said Konchok, who oversees the Internet and sound system at the nunnery.

Every day, the maroon-robed nuns trek to nearby villages to help remove the rubble from people’s homes, salvage and return buried objects, and clear pathways. They also distribute rice and lentils during the day and help pitch tents for night shelters.

The 26-year-old nunnery is a unique example of a gender reversal in the rarefied world of monastic life, where monks often occupy positions of power, leaving nuns the menial chores. But here in Ramkot, the kung fu nuns learn the skills that men do: plumbing, electrical fitting, computers, riding bicycles, the English language, and, of course, praying.

‘‘In many monasteries, women are not given a chance to rise up the hierarchy. Nuns are typically made to cook, clean, and serve food, while the monks take big decisions and run the administration — just like it is in many of our families,’’ said Jigme Yeshi Lhamo, 26, an office administrator who fled her home in India to join the nunnery a decade ago.

The nuns recently climbed a pile of debris that was once Nirmaya Tamang’s house in Kalabari village. Wearing masks to protect against swine flu, the nuns removed the stones with their bare hands and retrieved pots and cooking oil jars from Tamang’s kitchen.

‘‘I lost my daughter and my husband in the earthquake. My house is destroyed. I have nothing left,’’ Tamang said. ‘‘The kung fu nuns said they will give me a hand because I have no older person in my family now to help. I did not ask them for help; they came on their own.’’

For the nuns, the community work is an extension of their kung fu training.

‘‘Kung fu is not meant to attack people or fight with them. It prepares you for enduring difficult situations, like this earthquake,’’ Lhamo said. ‘‘It is also a form of meditation because it helps us concentrate, keep our minds still and body nimble and light.’’

During the day, the older nuns pray for the souls of the villagers who lost their lives in the earthquake. By night, they patrol the streets outside the nunnery, even as the younger nuns sleep in tents on the lawn.

‘‘Our teachings say that nothing is permanent,’’ Lhamo said looking at the destroyed kung fu practice hall. ‘‘We feel sad because the earthquake damaged something that was so dear to us. At least we have a roof over our heads and food to eat, and we are in a position to help others. That is important.’’

http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/world/2015/05/09/nepal-kung-nuns-draw-their-strength-aid-earthquake-recovery/avjXySOO9aeND6atxzqO7N/story.html?

Dondrup Shugden

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Re: The World's First Order of KungFu Nuns
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2015, 05:12:02 PM »
‘‘Kung fu is not meant to attack people or fight with them. It prepares you for enduring difficult situations, like this earthquake,’’ Lhamo said. ‘‘It is also a form of meditation because it helps us concentrate, keep our minds still and body nimble and light.’’

The above definition of Kung Fu is so awesome.  If there is one element of goodness that came out of this horrendous Nepalese earthquake is that such a nunnery exists in Nepal and the fearlessness of these nuns is awesome.

Fearlessness with compassion and kindness is so very inspiring.  Thank you Icy for the information.

Kim Hyun Jae

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Re: The World's First Order of KungFu Nuns
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2015, 02:31:05 PM »
I have the opportunity to watch these "kung fu" nuns dancing the Yogini dance when they were practicing in their monastery in Kathmandu, Nepal. These young nuns are just like normal female like our mothers but what they have is great faith in their guru, a belief of what they can do and quiet strength that will not give up even in adversity. These group of nuns were trained well in "kung fu" not for self-defense only but also to practice compassion, discipline and control. They can also dance elegantly, like I mentioned, in Yogini dance.

I read online that they were allowed to return home just after the earthquake in Nepal but all of them refused and instead chose to stay to help victims and poor villagers. I saw them carrying rice and vegetable on their back on steep hills to bring them to poor villagers. I can't help but feel proud and rejoice for these nuns to be able to benefit others this way.





Blueupali

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Re: The World's First Order of KungFu Nuns
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2015, 11:38:15 PM »
I think these are the Drukpa Kungfu Nuns: https://www.facebook.com/Gyalwang.Drukpa

yontenjamyang

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Re: The World's First Order of KungFu Nuns
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2015, 05:37:44 AM »
Wow, these nuns are beautiful is extraordinary ways. So elegance and courageous on the outer level and we can detect also on the inner levels. They are really an inspiration of what Dharma practice is all about ie to benefit others. 

Quote
The nuns began learning kung fu from a Vietnamese teacher in defiance of accepted gender codes in the Buddhist monastic system.

But over time, they have harnessed the ancient Chinese martial art for meditation, community work, edgy campaigns against toxic waste, and for women’s empowerment and pledge walks against the prevalence of plastic products in everyday life.

Now they are using their skills and energy in providing relief to victims of the earthquake that hit Nepal, killing thousands. After assessing the structural damage to their sanctuary, the nuns quickly recovered and refocused when they saw the large-scale death and destruction in the villages outside their walls.

‘‘Community duty is also a form of spiritual exercise, and our strong limbs are now trained to work hard and for long hours,’’

Now these nuns can us their training to benefit others in the most effective ways, both physically and mentally. I take inspiration in these nuns and hope to hear more of them in better times.

gbds3jewels

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Re: The World's First Order of KungFu Nuns
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2016, 02:34:47 AM »
Thank you for posting this. I have never heard of these kungfu nuns and knowing about them is encouraging. We still do live in a generally male dominant society and women are looked at as inferior. These nuns showed us the true strength of the female form. It also shows that we are never alone. No matter your philosophy, principles or beliefs are, you can always find like minded people. What is encouraging is that when we believe in something we don't just sit around and talk about it, when we meet like minded people we don't just let the opportunity past by. What is encouraging is that these women came together to start something meaningful and beneficial, changes lives and become an inspiration to others. I applaud and bow to these nuns.

Midakpa

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Re: The World's First Order of KungFu Nuns
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2016, 01:41:38 PM »
These nuns are amazing! They are an inspiration for young women who aspire to be nuns but at the same time they can learn skills such as kung fu not just for self-defense but also to remain fit and healthy in order to help others. In China, when the Indian monk and zen master Bodhidharma went to the Shao-Lin monastery, he saw that the monks were weak and not in good form. He taught them chi gong and the rest is history!. Now Shao-Lin monks are famous all over the world for their kung fu skills. I hope the Nepalese nuns will continue to train and inspire others through kung-fu.

kris

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Re: The World's First Order of KungFu Nuns
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2016, 08:51:51 AM »
Thank you @icy for sharing this information. It is indeed very inspiring to see nuns who are walking the path of enlightenment through various methods, and in this case, it is using the path of kung fu.

From what I understand, there are many ways of enlightenment, and there are many ways of meditation and calming the mind. Some people use arts, some people use music, and some people use kung fu. It is just different ways.  :D

Klein

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Re: The World's First Order of KungFu Nuns
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2016, 07:23:03 AM »
Learning kung fu has many benefits as stated in the article. If these nuns are the Drukpa nuns, HH Gyalwang Drukpa arranged for them to learn kung fu for self defence. My friend who's HH's PR staff told me this. HH realised that it's not safe for nuns in the nunnery as there has been quite a few cases of harassment and rape in many nunneries. So the best remedy would be to teach them kung fu for self defence.

I believe it worked out well. Not only are the nuns physically stronger and more agile, they are more courageous to reach out to the lay people living nearby in times of crisis.

grandmapele

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Re: The World's First Order of KungFu Nuns
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2016, 07:59:08 AM »
‘‘Kung fu is not meant to attack people or fight with them. It prepares you for enduring difficult situations, like this earthquake,’’ Lhamo said. ‘‘It is also a form of meditation because it helps us concentrate, keep our minds still and body nimble and light.’’

I like this quote from the nuns. They are so focused already and following what the Buddha teach. They are practicing patience, compassion and mindfulness.

Being versed  in kung fu seems to enable them to help maintain peace in the areas where they stay. They seem to be following the footsteps of the Shao Lin monks in China.

My respects to them. May they achieve their goals of attainments on their path. 

Pema8

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Re: The World's First Order of KungFu Nuns
« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2016, 03:28:20 AM »
Wow! Thank you Icy for this information and the great pictures. This is very inspiring as Kung Fu is about being ready no matter what is going on around us. Again it is the training of the mind. This is compassion in action as the nuns refused to leave the country after the earthquake but stood back to help those in need.

SabS

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Re: The World's First Order of KungFu Nuns
« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2016, 05:30:39 PM »
Oh wow! Thank you Icy for sharing this inspiring article on the Kungfu Nuns. I am not sure but I think there are some nunneries in China that also practises Kungfu. I agree with these Nuns that learning Kungfu will help with their focus or concentration and in building up their body strength as well as resilience. It is wonderful that the Nuns so selflessly contribute towards helping of others during the devastating Nepal earthquake even though their own Nunnery had been damaged too. They are living the Buddhist tenet of compassion and caring for others above self. May their practice spread and influence worldwide with their courage and compassion.

pgdharma

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Re: The World's First Order of KungFu Nuns
« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2016, 02:51:11 PM »
Martial art becomes a mean of spiritual empowerment for these Buddhist nuns. It is the training of mind and body. Not only is Kungfu good for exercise and self defense, it is good for discipline and concentration as well as development of self -confidence. It is good that they used their skills and energy in community development and helped those affected by earthquake.  My respect to them for their compassion and their selflessness.

Drolma

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Re: The World's First Order of KungFu Nuns
« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2018, 12:16:22 PM »
Wow, this is impressive! We have only heard of the Shaolin KungFu monks but never the KungFu nuns. It is very heartwarming to see the nuns are given the same opportunity as the monks to do Buddhist practice. Since Buddha preached about equality, love for all sentient beings, why are nuns considered less superior than the monks? Whether monks or nuns, they have the same motivation ie. to benefit all sentient beings. Since their motivations are the same, they should be treated the same. In Tibetan Buddhism, many higher tantra practices are actually female deities, for example, Vajrayogini.