- Don't bother demanding respect. You'll get less. Earn respect through what you do, you get more.
so, they're relegated to running the temple cafe and gift shops then?
do the laundry, tend the garden, chant to buddha.
I was hoping they would be ass kickers too, but..oh well.
- Don't bother demanding respect. You'll get less. Earn respect through what you do, you get more.
ya most likely. i randomly found that image on google images. it is funny though. or maybe a fake monk for a tv show or something.
For whoso comes amongst many shall one day find that no one man is by so far the mightiest of all.
Does anyone know what type of kung fu the nuns practice.
I looked at their website and I saw some nuns in a horse stance holding out their arms straight in front of them with their hands in a bridge hand position.
They did not however mention a style of kung fu they practice.
Is it a form of contemporary Wushu or Hung Gar perhaps?
nuns. no sense of humor.
If I ever get out of here,
I'm going to Katmandu.
The kung-fu nun of Kathmandu
Druk Amitabha Nunnery 9 May, 2010 - She appears sheepish and timid as she makes her way up to the concrete roof of the giant four-storied assembly hall from the courtyard.
Once on the roof, 12-year old Jigme Wangchuk Lhamo is anything but gentle and compassionate.
Changing into loose maroon cotton pants and a long sleeved shirt, belted around the waist, Jigme throws quick jabs and punches and kicks higher than an average person. She is among 400 other nuns of the Druk Amitabha nunnery in Kathmandu, Nepal, who reminds visitors of a scene from a Shaolin kung-fu flick.
Everyday, the nuns wake up at 4 am and begin reciting and memorising Buddhist texts for about an hour, following which they engage in an hour-long practice of the martial art. The devote another hour towards the evening.
Jigme from Nganglam Dechenling in Pemagatshel is the most energetic and enthusiastic of the group.
She enrolled in the nunnery last year, after completing class five from Lungtenphu primary school in Thimphu.
Although she was among the top ten position holders in her class at Thimphu, Jigme said her faith in dharma and interest to become a nun caused her to discontinue studies.
“It’s my sixth month running here at the nunnery,” she said. Within that short span of time, Jigme can fluently speak Nepali, Hindi, Tibetan and Ladhaki languages, which are widely spoken at the nunnery.
Her Vietnamese master said that, although kung-fu was new to her, Jigme was able to attained the sixth of the 16 basic levels of the art.
“When I practise, I visualise I’m in a real combat,” Jigme said.
Besides learning to defend themselves from a handful of troublemakers in the vicinity of the monastery, kung-fu, Jigme said, made one capable of sitting straight-backed for many hours during meditations, ceremonies and teachings.
“It keeps me physically fit, mentally sound and helps me focus better,” she said.
The idea and the story resonates with those of the Shaolin monks in China, who learnt the martial art to defend themselves from passing bandits, besides the real concept of introducing it for health reasons by an Indian Buddhist priest named Bodhidharma (Tamo in Chinese), who visited a Shaolin temple.
Tamo, who joined the Chinese monks, observed that they were not in good physical condition. They spent hours each day hunched over tables where they transcribed handwritten texts.
The Shaolin monks lacked physical and mental stamina needed to perform even the most basic of Buddhist meditation practices. Tamo countered this weakness by teaching them moving exercises, modified from Indian yoga, which were based on the movements of the 18 main animals in Indo-Chinese iconography like tiger, leopard, snake and dragon, to name but a few.
He did not, however, introduce kung-fu, which existed in China much before his arrival. The ancient martial art is popular even in big Mahayana Buddhist monasteries. They believe that sound mind comes from sound body.
“Even Buddha Shakyamuni had said that, if you are sick, take medicine, even if a medicine is fish. Otherwise without body, practice is impossible,” His Eminence Khamtrul rinpoche said.
Jigme said the art taught the nuns to channel their energy and be positive about everything they attempted to do in their daily lives.
The founder of the nunnery, H.H the 12th Gyalwang Drukpa rinpoche, the spiritual head of the drukpa lineage introduced kung-fu class two years ago after watching nuns practising kung-fu in Vietnam.
He was told that it helped the nuns concentrate better and made them self-reliant.
Rinpoche said that was true because, ever since kung-fu was introduced in the nunnery, nuns rarely fell ill, which was a frequent occurrence otherwise.
On the contradiction of Buddhist principles of non-violence against learning martial arts, rinpoche explained that it all depended on motivation.
“If you are aggressive out of good motivation, you are an angry bodhisattva,” he said. Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, an English lady, who became a nun more than 30 years ago, said if one knows how to defend oneself, one can stop an opponent without necessarily doing tremendous amount of damage.
“You’ll know which part of a body to disarm without hurting,” she said.
Apart from training the mind, keeping fit and improving concentration, kung-fu, she added, gave them a sense of confidence to protect themselves.
“When young men in our locality know the nuns practise kung-fu, they keep away,” Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo said.
Meanwhile, Jigme Wangchuk Lhamo hopes to, one day, introduce the ancient martial art in Bhutan. “My dream is to become the first Bhutanese kung-fu master, even if I can’t master Buddhist scripts,” she said.
By Tenzin Namgyel
Only under 25?
Bad Karma Beware: Meet the Kung Fu Nuns of Nepal
By Hillary Brenhouse Monday, Jul. 12, 2010
The word out of central Nepal is so startling that it sounds almost mythical. Every day at 4 a.m. in the Kathmandu Valley, far from the birthplace of kung fu, 200 nuns of the Tibetan Buddhist Drukpa sect — a school not associated with the Chinese martial art — are said to assemble to throw punches. Weather permitting, the young women have been seen practicing on the roof of the Naro Assembly Hall of the Druk Gawa Khilwa Nunnery, set against forested mountain and the open sky. The nuns describe their hour-long routines: spreading apart their feet and planting them down decidedly in the so-called horse stance, bringing thumb together with forefinger to form a crane's beak with their hands, striking down and then back again, lunging forward and taking off with soaring kicks. "We all like it very much," 17-year-old Jigme Konchok Lhamo says in a phone interview. "Everyone does it, except those nuns who are very old." In other words, morning kung fu sessions are only open to nuns under 25.
Kung fu came to the nunnery in 2008, after His Holiness the 12th Gyalwang Drukpa, head of the Drukpa school, saw nuns in combat training while he was on a visit to his followers based in northern Vietnam. "I was inspired because these Vietnamese nuns exhibited tremendous self-confidence and strength, not only in their movements but also in their attitude toward people outside their own enclosed community," he says. Kung fu has long been established in the country, having moved south from traditional martial-arts centers in China, including the famous Shaolin Temple, which was founded by a separate Buddhist sect, Chan (or Zen, as most Westerners know it).
His Holiness took back to Kathmandu not just the idea of introducing martial arts, but also four experienced Vietnamese Drukpa nuns to serve as teachers. The Buddhist leader was keen on keeping the program all female, insisting that bringing in learned monks as instructors would only reinforce gender stereotypes. The physical and spiritual empowerment of women is high on his list. "Before coming here," he says, "girls who had become nuns in different parts of the Himalayas in search of independence mostly ended up doing household chores in the monasteries and sometimes in their own gurus' family homes."
That the young Vietnamese women, all of them in their early 20s and themselves trained by men, are passing their new expertise forward is a testament to how far Buddhist nuns have come. Martial-arts historians agree that there were almost certainly nuns in the Shaolin Temple but that it's unlikely they received martial-arts training due to their lesser status. In any case, they would not have gone on to coach. But after just two years of instruction, a handful of quick-learning Nepalese nuns are said to have begun trying their hand at teaching and now reportedly help lead morning lessons.
Martial-arts training is great exercise, supplementing the nuns' yoga classes. But it was also introduced to help with their Buddhist practice. "Our meditation gets easy with the kung fu," says the young nun Konchok Lhamo. "It helps us to sit up straight, to learn how to concentrate." The continual repetition of moves builds control and focus, thought to be an asset to any discipline requiring intense concentration — all things useful for young women who are expected to sit in the same position for hours and sometimes undertake retreats during which they cannot speak for months at a time.(Comment on this story.)
The Vietnamese Drukpa nuns only began their own martial-arts training in 1992, when their local religious head, the Most Venerable Thich Vien Thanh, initiated the practice at the Tay Thien nunnery. There were only three nuns then. Now all 80 of the nuns there are said to spend sunup sparring. Many of them are eager to join their four sisters in Nepal, so they can be closer to the Gyalwang Drukpa and also try teaching. Initially, the nuns were trained in combat techniques by soldiers from the Vietnamese military. But in the past few years the program has become more formal, and male students of kung fu grandmasters have gone from the cities to teach the women a mixture of Shaolin methods and specifically Vietnamese martial arts. Tay Thien's head nun Jigme Samten Wangmo, who is Vietnamese but goes by her Tibetan religious name, says that one of these indigenous styles, Kinh Thuat, "was created by the generals and warriors of the Tran Dynasty who defeated the invader Genghis Khan." Her nuns have never had to fight off intruders themselves. Says Samten Wangmo: "Perhaps that's because hearing that we have kung fu, strangers are afraid of getting close to our place."
In other times, it might have been odd for kung fu practitioners in Nepal to be learning Chinese or Vietnamese fighting forms. Thomas Green, editor of the just published Martial Arts of the World: An Encyclopedia of History and Innovation, calls it "an adventure in globalism," noting that knocking down boundaries in this way is now commonplace. "In a very nationalistic period, for instance, Taekwondo was the Korean martial art," he says. "But with the Buddhist nuns, what you have is a community that crosses national lines." Regardless of the particular type of kung fu being disseminated there, "this effort at pride, strength, self-actualization is something that is certainly filling a need with these women."
And the nuns' effort is likely to go even more global in the coming year. Once they are prepared, several of the more skilled Kathmandu nuns may be asked to pass on their abilities at a third Drukpa nunnery, the Dongyu Gatsa Ling in the north Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, a former librarian from London who established the nunnery in the late 1990s, caught the Nepal nuns demonstrating their newfound knowledge one evening during the annual Drukpa Council last year. The presentation stunned the crowd. "Frankly, it brought the house down," says Tenzin Palmo. "I think the monks and lamas were very envious."
Tenzin Palmo says taking kung fu to her own nunnery "would help the nuns build self-esteem, which is one of the things, on the whole, young nuns lack. They're not trained to have confidence. They're trained to be deferential, especially in the presence of males." Learning martial arts would also give them the means to defend themselves should local men ever get any ideas. "You just need one group of young guys at a wedding or something to get drunk and suddenly remember that there's a whole community of young women in the vicinity," says Tenzin Palmo.
She is currently in negotiations with the other nunneries to invite girls over, but is concerned that her own nuns — whose days already are heavy with yoga classes, Buddhist philosophy and Tibetan- and English-language lessons — will not be able to fit anything else in. But the nuns couldn't be more enthusiastic. Says Tenzin Palmo: "They just see themselves as kung fu heroines."
it is said that Ngoh Mei P'ai has a women's sect.
"My Gung-Fu may not be Your Gung-Fu.
"I will not be part of the generation
that killed Kung-Fu."