For centuries, Buddhist nuns have been banned from practicing the deadly martial art of kung fu, but a few years ago the Druk Amitabha Mountain nunnery in Nepal became the home of the world’s first first order of kung fu nuns.
Traditionally, the inherently patriarchal Buddhist monastic system has nuns performing only the most meanial of domestic tasks, while the monks can lead prayers and occupy powerful positions. Nuns are perceived as inferior to monks and usually spend their time working in the kitchens and gardens of Buddhist monasteries. Learning ancient martial arts is definitely off limits for them, so how did the nuns of Druk Amitabha Mountain nunnery come to practice kung fu up to two hours every day?
Roughly 26 years ago, members of the of the 800-year-old Drukpa order rebelled and formed the Druk Amitabha Mountain nunnery, a place where women are treated with the same respect as men. “When I was very small, I was already thinking that it was not right to suppress women in our society,” His Holiness The Gyalwang Drukpa, leader of the Buddhist sect, says. “But then when I grew up, I started to think what can I do for them? Then I thought what I can do is to build a nunnery and then give them an opportunity to study and practice spiritually.”