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Thread: Kung Fu Nuns of the Drupka Order

  1. #31
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    500 nuns

    "Kung Fu" nuns bike Himalayas to oppose human trafficking
    by Nita Bhalla | @nitabhalla | Thomson Reuters Foundation
    Friday, 16 September 2016 02:48 GMT



    ABOUT OUR TRAFFICKING COVERAGE
    We shine a light on human trafficking, forced labour and modern-day slavery

    500 Buddhist nuns ride 4,000 km from Nepal's Kathmandu to Leh in India to change the attitude that girls are less than boys and show that "women have power and strength like men"
    By Nita Bhalla

    NEW DELHI, Sept 16 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Clad in black sweatpants, red jackets and white helmets, the hundreds of cyclists pedaling the treacherously steep, narrow mountain passes to India from Nepal could be mistaken for a Himalayan version of the Tour de France.

    The similarity, however, ends there. This journey is longer and tougher, the prize has no financial value or global recognition and the participants are not professional cyclists but Buddhist nuns from India, Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet.

    Five hundred nuns from the Buddhist sect known as the Drukpa Order, on Saturday complete a 4,000-km (2,485 mile) bicycle trek from Nepal's Kathmandu to the northern city of Leh in India to raise awareness about human trafficking in the remote region.

    "When we were doing relief work in Nepal after the earthquakes last year, we heard how girls from poor families were being sold because their parents could not afford to keep them anymore," 22-year-old nun Jigme Konchok Lhamo told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

    "We wanted to do something to change this attitude that girls are less than boys and that it's okay to sell them," she said, adding that the bicycle trek shows "women have power and strength like men."

    South Asia may boast women leaders and be home to cultures that revere motherhood and worship female deities, but many girls and women live with the threat of violence and without many basic rights.

    From honor killings in Pakistan to foeticide in India and child marriage in Nepal, women face a barrage of threats, although growing awareness, better laws and economic empowerment are bringing a slow change in attitudes.

    "KUNG FU" NUNS

    The bicycle trek, from Nepal into India, is nothing new for the Drukpa nuns.

    This is the fourth such journey they have made, meeting local people, government officials and religious leaders to spread messages of gender equality, peaceful co-existence and respect for the environment.

    They also deliver food to the poor, help villagers get medical care and are dubbed the "Kung Fu nuns" due to their training in martial arts.

    Led by the Gyalwang Drukpa, head of the Drukpa Order, the nuns raise eyebrows, especially among Buddhists for their unorthodox activities.

    "Traditionally Buddhist nuns are treated very differently from monks. They cook and clean and are not allowed to exercise. But his Holiness thought this was nonsense and decided to buck the trend," said Carrie Lee, president of Live to Love International, a charity which works with the Drukpa nuns to support marginalised Himalayan communities.

    "Among other things, he gave them leadership roles and even introduced Kung Fu classes for the nuns after they faced harassment and violence from monks who were disturbed by the growing shift of power dynamics," she said.

    Over the last 12 years, the number of Drukpa nuns has grown to 500 from 30, said Lee, largely due to the progressive attitudes of the 53-year-old Gyalwang Drukpa, who was inspired by his mother to become an advocate for gender equality.

    The Gyalwang Drukpa also participates in the bicycle journeys, riding with the nuns as they pedal through treacherous terrain and hostile weather and camp out in the open.


    Buddhist nuns from the Drukpa lineage pose for a picture in Himachal Pradesh during their cycle across the Himalayas to raise awareness about human trafficking of girls and women in the impoverished villages in Nepal and India, August 30, 2016. REUTERS/Live To Love International/Handout via REUTERS

    "PRAYING IS NOT ENOUGH"

    The Drukpa nuns say they believe they are helping to change attitudes.

    "Most of the people, when they see us on our bikes, think we are boys," said 18-year-old nun Jigme Wangchuk Lhamo.

    "Then they get shocked when we stop and tell them that not only are we girls, but we are also Buddhist nuns," she said. "I think this helps change their attitudes about women and maybe value them as equals."

    South Asia, with India at its centre, is also one of the fastest growing regions for human trafficking in the world.

    Gangs dupe impoverished villagers into bonded labour or rent them to work as slaves in urban homes, restaurants, shops and hotels. Many girls and women are sold into brothels.

    Experts say post-disaster trafficking has become common in South Asia as an increase in extreme events caused by global warming, as well as earthquakes, leave the poor more vulnerable.

    The breakdown of social institutions in devastated areas creates difficulties securing food and supplies, leaving women and children at risk of kidnapping, sexual exploitation and trafficking.

    Twin earthquakes that struck Nepal in April and May 2015, which killed almost 9,000 people, left hundreds of thousands of families homeless and many without any means of income, led to an increase in children and women being trafficked.

    More than 40,000 children lost their parents, were injured or were placed in precarious situations following the disaster, according to Nepali officials.

    The Drukpa nuns said the earthquakes were a turning point in their understanding of human trafficking and that they felt a need to do more than travel to disaster-hit mountain villages with rice on their backs.

    "People think that because we are nuns, we are supposed to stay in the temples and pray all the time. But praying is not enough," said Jigme Konchok Lhamo.

    "His Holiness teaches us that we have go out and act on the words that we pray. After all, actions speak louder than words," she said.

    (Reporting by Nita Bhalla, Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, land rights and climate change. Visit news.trust.org)
    So inspiring
    Gene Ching
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  2. #32
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    Fear

    Tricycle's Daily Trike

    How to Combat Fear
    The head of the Drukpa School of Tibetan Buddhism teaches us how compassion can make sure that we’re not fractured by differences.
    By Gyalwang Drukpa NOV 10, 2016


    Kung Fu Nuns | Wikimedia Commons
    I come from a part of the world where ethnic and religious minorities must navigate extremist elements, geopolitical instability, and limited resources. We know about uncertainty, survival, and fear. I’ve seen many of my own friends base decisions on fear; I’ve seen communities torn apart by it. I’ve seen fear creep into different crevices of peoples’ lives and politics. Fear thrives in the absence of mutual understanding and diversity, and it is a poisonous weapon. But there is an antidote: compassion. Compassion combats fear.

    In my religion, we believe in karma. Many people misunderstand the concept of karma. Karma is not a pre-determined destiny. Karma does not mean we accept injustice or inequality. Karma just means cause and effect. Karma means we are empowered to be part of the solution. Karma gives us a method to combat fear, terror, injustice, and inequality. Karma means that we are not defined by our situation but rather by the choices we make.

    As a believer in karma, I encourage the world to choose courage and compassion. Far too often we wait for leaders and governments to bring us peace. But think about it: it is individuals who build peace. And when individuals build peace, it is strong, it is lasting, and it is genuine. That does not mean that we sit nicely on a meditation cushion and enjoy our own inner peace. Peace requires action. Peace requires a real sense of urgency. Peace requires courage and hard work. Peace means that each and every one of us has an obligation to build mutual understanding and an obligation to reject fear. Peace requires us to not only accept but to celebrate the differences among us. Fear needs us to reject differences. Peace encourages us to embrace differences.

    The nuns of my lineage, often known as the Kung Fu Nuns, are great examples of that courage. In my part of the world, nuns are not afforded much opportunity for education or leadership. However, the nuns of the Drukpa Order take on real leadership roles and responsibilities within our community. They learn to work with each other even though they come from different countries and speak different languages. The nuns are learning Kung Fu as a means to instill physical and mental confidence, breaking centuries of tradition. After the Nepal earthquakes of 2015, for example, the Kung Fu Nuns delivered medical and relief supplies to some of the hardest hit regions. They traversed mountainsides and river-rafted to help Nepalis of all religions and backgrounds. They rejected fear and chose courage instead.

    In light of all the violence in the world, the Kung Fu Nuns and I have embarked upon a bicycle journey from Kathmandu to Kashmir to celebrate diversity and build mutual understanding. In Ladakh, where many of my nuns come from, there is a long history of diversity. Located along the Silk Route, the people of this community celebrated different religions, languages, ethnicities, and traditions. They know that these differences do not fracture us. Diversity strengthens us. Diversity is not something to be tolerated—it is to be celebrated. We should welcome it with curiosity, delight, and joy. This is what fear fears. While cycling is a small gesture, I hope we serve as an example of how women, religious leaders, and individuals from all communities have a role in peace building. You also have a role in peace building. Some of you have a large platform and can speak out for others who are not heard. Some of you are not in public service, but may make a big difference in your work place, in school, or at home. Every one of us can create an immediate impact and can build peace.

    (These remarks were given by His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa to the Bucerius Summer School on Global Governance in August 2016.)
    Gene Ching
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  3. #33
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    More on the Drukpa lineage nuns

    AUGUST 24, 2017 / 5:10 PM / 14 HOURS AGO
    Kung Fu nuns strike back at rising sex attacks on women in India
    Nita Bhalla


    Buddhist nuns in India's remote Himalayan region of Ladakh teach around 100 girls and young women the martial art of Kung Fu amid rising reports of rape in India. Taken on Aug 18, 2017. THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION/NITA BHALLA
    LADAKH, India (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - As dawn breaks, the sun edges over the expansive jagged mountains of Ladakh - a remote Buddhist ex-kingdom in the Indian Himalayas bordering Tibet - to reveal a world where time appears to have stood still.

    The chant of monks in a centuries-old monastery can be heard in the distance. Villagers slowly emerge from whitewashed stone cottages to tend to their wheat and barley fields, and ready their goats to search for pasture.

    Complete with its picture-perfect temples precariously perched atop rocky mountain outcrops, giant shrines and mantra-engraved walls, Ladakh’s age-old Tibetan Buddhist way of life appears almost untouched by modernity.

    Until, that is, you hear the energetic yells of scores of young women, clad in sweatpants and trainers. Fanned out in front of a majestic white temple-like structure, they stretch, lunge, jump, kick and punch on the orders of nuns.

    Meet the Kung Fu nuns - women from an age-old Buddhist sect who are using their martial arts expertise to challenge gender roles in this conservative culture and teach women self-defense, as reports of rapes rise in India.

    Unlike other nuns, their chants and prayers are followed by jabs and thrust kicks. Between meditation sessions, they attend gender equality lessons. Even their traditional maroon robes are periodically swapped for martial arts attire, with black belts.

    “Most people think nuns just sit and pray, but we do more,” said 19-year-old Jigme Wangchuk Lhamo, one of the Kung Fu trainers, as she rested after an intense two-hour session in Hemis village, 40 km (25 miles) from the northern city of Leh.

    “We walk the talk. If we act, people will think if: ’If nuns can act, why can’t we?’”

    “Kung Fu will make them stronger and more confident,” she said, adding that they decided to teach self-defense after hearing of cases of rape and molestation.

    HEROES

    Wangchuk is one of around 700 nuns globally who belong to the Drukpa lineage - the only female order in the patriarchal Buddhist monastic system where nuns have equal status to monks.

    Traditionally, nuns are expected to cook and clean and are not permitted to exercise. But this changed almost a decade ago when the leader of the 1,000-year-old sect, His Holiness The Gyalwang Drukpa, encouraged the nuns to learn Kung Fu.

    Inspired by his mother to advocate for gender equality, he also gave the nuns leadership roles and helped them study beyond Buddhist teachings to become electricians and plumbers.

    The nuns are active in the communities where they live, mainly in Nepal and India, treating sick animals and organizing eye care camps for villagers.

    They trek and cycle thousands of kilometers through Himalayan mountain passes to raise awareness on issues ranging from pollution to human trafficking.

    Following a massive earthquake in April 2015 in Nepal, they refused to leave but trekked to villages to remove rubble, clear pathways and distribute food to survivors.

    Carrie Lee, president of Live to Love International, a charity which works with the Drukpa nuns to support marginalized Himalayan communities, says they are exceptional role models.


    Buddhist nuns in India's remote Himalayan region of Ladakh teach around 100 girls and young women the martial art of Kung Fu amid rising reports of rape in India. Taken on Aug 18, 2017. THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION/NITA BHALLA
    “The Kung Fu Nuns are heroes of the Himalayas,” she said.

    “They are fiercely compassionate and brave. Not even earthquakes, avalanches, monsoons and cloudbursts can stand in their way.”

    CAT-CALLING

    Lee isn’t far wrong.

    The nuns are now taking on one of the biggest threats facing women and girls in India today. Rape.


    Slideshow (8 Images)

    Stories feature daily in Indian newspapers and television channels of girls being raped on their way to school, students molested in taxis, and women stalked heading home from work.

    The National Crime Records Bureau says 34,651 rapes were reported in 2015 - or four rapes every hour - a rise of 43 percent from 2011.

    There were 82,422 sexual assaults, an 67 percent increase over the same period.

    These figures are just the tip of the iceberg, say activists, as many victims are afraid to report cases, scared they will be blamed and shamed by their family and community.

    A wave of public protests after the fatal gang rape of a woman on a Delhi bus in 2012 jolted many in the world’s second most populous country out of apathy, and forced the government to enact stiffer penalties on gender crimes.

    Since then, a spike in media reports, government campaigns and civil society programs have increased public awareness of women’s rights and emboldened victims to register abuses.

    But with reports continuing every day, and many women feeling increasingly concerned about their safety, the Drukpa saw an opportunity to help in their own way.

    "We thought we must share what we know with others," said 28-year-old nun Jigme Yeshe Lhamo at a five-day workshop at Naro Photang - a majestic Buddhist palace-like building belonging to the centuries-old nearby Hemis monastery.

    Almost 100 women aged between 13 to 28 followed a rigorous 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. schedule during the course in August.

    It included techniques on handling being attacked from behind, moves such as takedowns and strikes, and discussions about how to react in possible sexual assault scenarios.

    "It's been tough and my whole body is aching but the nuns were very inspiring. All girls should learn Kung Fu," said one participant Tsering Yangchen, a 23-year-old student.

    "I am often uncomfortable going to the market as there are boys standing around looking, whistling and cat-calling. I was always hesitant to say anything but now I feel much more confident to speak out and even protect myself if I have to."
    There are more images in the slideshow if you follow the link.

    Kung Fu Nuns & Shaolin Nuns & Indian women counter rape with martial arts training.

    Here's the official website of the Druk Gawa Khilwa Abbey.
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  4. #34
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    On the newsstands now

    Buddhist Nuns Fight New Battles with Kung Fu
    By Lori Ann White
    January+February 2018 Kung Fu Tai Chi

    Gene Ching
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  5. #35
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    Meme from the JAN+FEB 2018 issue

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  6. #36
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    Another meme from JAN+FEB 2018

    Gene Ching
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  7. #37
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    Another meme from JAN+FEB 2018

    Gene Ching
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  8. #38
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    Another meme from JAN+FEB 2018

    Gene Ching
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  9. #39
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    An update


    The Kung Fu Nuns, of the Drukpa lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, teach girls that women can be just as powerful as men. (Photos courtesy of Kung Fu Nuns )

    These Buddhist nuns empower girls – with kung fu
    In addition to their humanitarian work, they teach women and girls self-defense and that 'they can be as strong and as powerful as a man'
    by Tony Inglis | 9 Mar 2018


    Nuns from the Himalayan Drukpa lineage of Tibetan Buddhism go into communities to teach women and girls how to defend themselves using the mythologized techniques of kung fu. Photo courtesy of Kung Fu Nuns

    In the West, perceptions of kung fu are reflected by our pop culture. Generations of kids who grew up watching Bruce Lee movies have gone on to create art that uses kung fu as a touchstone – from rapper Kendrick Lamar, who styled the tour and videos supporting his 2017 album “****” around the ancient martial art, to a series of box-office-smashing movies about a gifted animated panda.

    In the East, specifically in China, kung fu is a national symbol viewed with reverence and seriousness. As The New Yorker’s Evan Osnos wrote, a film like “Kung Fu Panda” “could only be made by a foreigner because Chinese filmmakers would never try to play with such solemn subjects” as kung fu or pandas. The idea of flipping kung fu conventions on their head at all, never mind creating something that portrays it as zany and cartoonish, is outlandish and disrespectful.

    “Actually,” said Jigme Konchok Lhamo, “kung fu is not for fighting or causing pain; it is for self-defense. It was the same for Shaolin monks. They would stay in retreats alone in the mountains, where there were robbers and thieves, so it was just to protect themselves. The Bodhidharma taught kung fu to monks for self-defense, not fighting or violation.”

    This is how Konchok shoots down the common misconceptions about kung fu. She is a nun from the Himalayan Drukpa lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. Here, the traditionally patriarchal makeup of Buddhist orders of monks and nuns has been subverted, and it is these young women who have taken the lead.

    A part of the mission they have taken upon themselves includes going into communities – so far, in the towns surrounding their monastery in Nepal, as well as parts of the northern Indian region of Ladakh – to teach women and girls how to defend themselves using the mythologized techniques of kung fu.


    Girls are taught by nuns of the Drukpa lineage how to use kung fu techniques for self-defense. Photo courtesy of Kung Fu Nuns

    Being branded as ass-kicking kung fu nuns is an eye-catching and unusual headline. But when I spoke to Konchok and her fellow Drukpa nun Jigme Wangchuk Lhamo – at Trust Conference, the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s annual human rights and anti-trafficking seminar in London – it was the dedicated and inspiring humanitarian work they do in the region that they eruditely and excitedly want to discuss and impress upon.

    “We traveled a long distance to bring a message to young girls,” said Wangchuk, who along with Konchok took part in an onstage panel at the conference. “They can be as strong and as powerful as a man, if you give them what they want and what they need, if you give them a chance.”

    Konchok called it an opportunity.

    “Girls maybe wouldn’t have believed before that they could do that,” she said. “That’s how kung fu came in. You always hear about Shaolin monks, right? But what about kung fu nuns? That’s a huge thing!”

    They both had a fizzing energy – finishing each other’s sentences and always united in what they believe. Multiple times during our conversation, they spoke in spontaneous unison. Sometimes it was hard to keep up, but their passion for their service pulled me through.

    “After learning kung fu, we became more confident. We were physically and mentally strong, and it even helps us with our meditation in our spiritual lives,” Konchok said. “Just because we practice and teach kung fu doesn’t mean we don’t follow our spiritual path too. We do each and every thing side by side.

    “We have been learning to play drums and to perform the dragon dance – all the things that girls were prohibited from doing in the early days of our order. So it’s not just kung fu. We have been doing all the things that society says girls and women can’t do, and that’s in terms of our Buddhist nunnery life also.”

    The Buddhist lineage the two young women belong to wasn’t always as forward-thinking and unconventional as it now seems. In 2008, the Gyalwang Drukpa, the leader of the Drukpa line, began reforms that brought the order’s nuns to the forefront and started their new tradition of dispersing thoughts that prioritize the fight for women’s equality and empowerment.

    “People think that nuns should stay inside a nunnery, serving monks, washing their clothes, acting like a waiter or something,” Konchok said. “They say we have to be peaceful, always meditating, (they begin to talk as one) in retreat, praying, chanting, sitting, doing nothing. We have a higher level of thinking here.

    “In our lineage, our monks have always supported us and shown us respect. We are equal.”

    It was this alternative attitude that inspired Wangchuk to dedicate her life to the order.

    “When I was small, my thoughts were really big,” she said. “I hated when people said girls can’t do anything. I loved helping and serving others, and from very early on, I knew I wanted to do this for my whole life. I had heard about what the Gyalwang Drukpa was doing from my uncle, who was a monk within the order, and he said, ‘I have the perfect place for you; you can find your dream there.’

    “I found this place, and I knew it was where I wanted to be. It meant the opportunity to do anything I wanted – to learn kung fu, to help and give support to other girls, and to help us discover and take heed of our own power.”
    continued next post
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  10. #40
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    Continued from previous post


    The Kung Fu Nuns perform kung fu techniques. Photo courtesy of Kung Fu Nuns

    In the historically gendered hierarchy of the religious establishment, achieving what the Drukpa nuns have is especially radical. They are now even entrusted with the secrets to the most esoteric form of meditation, something that was only previously available to male members of the order.

    This is even more apparent as we live through #MeToo and Time’s Up, movements in the Western world where women are beginning to be listened to when speaking out about experiences of systemic harassment, male privilege and sexual abuse that seem to have infected all walks of life.

    By speaking out and teaching kung fu, Wangchuk, Konchok and their community of fellow nuns are encouraging women and girls in marginalized sections of their region to start making change in their own way.

    “This world says ‘ladies first,’ but this phrase is useless if it isn’t applied in real life. There is nothing first in this world for ladies,” Wangchuk said. “It’s often said that our kung fu workshops empower women. And you say this about street papers too – they empower homeless people. But actually, what we are doing is not giving people power but allowing them to discover their own power. We all have our own power. We just need the support and the love to find it.”

    Behind the kung fu classes that made them famous, the Drukpa nuns do less publicized, but far more extraordinary, work in the communities surrounding their monastery home. This includes an eco pad yatra (walking pilgrimage) to remote villages, collecting plastics and other non-biodegradable waste to educate communities about protecting the environment. In the wake of the 2015 earthquake in Nepal, they rode bicycles in high altitude through the Himalayas to help with the relief effort, clearing rubble and helping deliver aid to people in places that even the world’s largest organizations couldn’t reach. At the same time, they advocated against the spike in slavery, human trafficking and sexual assault that sprung up in the aftermath.


    The Kung Fu Nuns deliver aid as part of their humanitarian work. Photo courtesy of Kung Fu Nuns

    Not only did this make a real, visible difference, but it also showed their detractors what 700 Buddhist women could achieve together.

    “After the earthquake, we heard that girls were being sold because their families believed that they weren’t capable of doing anything to help rebuild,” Konchok said.

    “But we have been doing so much work, and doing it ourselves. We told these people: ‘Look, we are girls, and we can do it, so why can’t yours? We are from the same place, the same culture; why are you pushing your girls back? You should have faith in your daughters and encourage them. Why don’t you give them a chance?’ This especially shocked us because we are nuns, but we are also sisters and daughters too.”

    Now that they and their fellow nuns are achieving international recognition for their work, they hope that they can inspire a similar change in the wider world. But, of course, being confined to their humble surroundings, they are taking their movement one step at a time.

    “If we leave an impact on one person and that person impacts on another, eventually we will begin to see people change their way of thinking, until it spreads throughout whole communities, Konchok said. “Here (at Trust Conference), we have met all these people who support us and what we do. That makes it seem like a bigger change is coming. We may only effect that change in a small part of the world, but it is still a change.”


    Kung Fu Nuns perform kung fu techniques. Photo courtesy of Kung Fu Nuns

    At Trust Conference, Wangchuk and Konchok wowed the crowd with their high kicks and somersaults on stage. But more impressively, the young women roused the audience with wisdom beyond their years and an idealism that perhaps the older, more experienced attendees had since replaced with cynicism.

    They talked about the importance of not only supporting women from an early age, but also better educating boys so that they grow up to respect women. They summarized a vision of equality about which they spoke so enthusiastically to me earlier that day.

    “Most boys are told that they have all the power in the house, and girls are told to sit silently,” Konchok said. “But the problem is that’s what has been passed down to them by parents. I want parents to teach their daughters to be strong, to defend themselves. It’s not compulsory that you need to know kung fu or to fight. It’s more the mentality they have to change.”

    Wangchuk agreed: “We’re not saying that men can’t change. We can – we have to – change their thinking. But it’s up to parents, too. Don’t warn your daughter not to go out; warn your sons to behave well and treat women with respect.

    “Until we are all equal, as long as we push one part of society down, no matter whether that be women or some other demographic, we will never achieve peace.”

    Courtesy of INSP.ngo

    Street Roots is an award-winning, nonprofit, weekly newspaper focusing on economic, environmental and social justice issues. Our newspaper is sold in Portland, Oregon, by people experiencing homelessness and/or extreme poverty as means of earning an income with dignity. Learn more about Street Roots
    This thread is really all about the Drukpa nuns save a few mere posts. I should copy that out into their own separate thread some day.
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  11. #41
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    ttt 4 2019!



    Climate change and kung fu nuns: the fight for women’s safety in South Asia
    A FUTURE WORLD LIFE & CULTURE 14.05.2019
    Text Brit Dawson
    Illustration Marianne Wilson

    In South Asia, there’s a devastating correlation between weather-related disasters and the rising number of women being trafficked for sex

    Every year, in the remote depths of the Himalayas, hundreds of nuns clean plastic from the waterways of the mountain range. Trekking miles, the group picks up tonnes of rubbish, carrying it down the mountains, and shipping it back to Delhi to be recycled.

    Known as the Kung Fu Nuns of the Drukpa Lineage, these women are at the forefront of environmental and social change in the Himalayas. With an increasingly temperamental climate exacerbating natural disasters and rapidly melting the mountain’s glaciers, Himalayan communities are facing extinction. For women and girls in the region, there’s an even more immediate threat: as they’re thrust into poverty and displaced from their homes, they become increasingly vulnerable to sex trafficking.

    In the aftermath of the 2015 Nepal earthquake, the Kung Fu Nuns offered aid to remote villages in need. Observing a disturbing increase in people selling off their daughters following the disaster, the nuns took direct action by way of bike rides across the Himalayas. “It was to show these villages that women were strong and capable enough to bicycle,” the group’s communications coordinator Carrie Lee tells me, “so they’d also be physically strong enough to farm, thereby worthwhile keeping and raising, and not selling off.”

    Although the Kung Fu Nuns are one of a kind, the plight of those they’re determined to help is not unique to the Himalayas. With 18.8 million people displaced from their homes due to weather-related disasters in 2017 alone, climate change is an enormous threat to countless women and girls – not in some far-off future, but right now.

    A Future World, Kung Fu Nuns


    The Kung Fu Nuns on their 2016 bicycle ‘yatra’ Courtesy Live to Love International / Wendy J.N. Lee

    With some of the highest numbers of climate-related displacements in the world, people in South Asia are particularly at risk. According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, in 2017 there were a total of 2.7 million new disaster-related displacements in India (1.3 million), Bangladesh (946k), and Nepal (384k). Dubbed ‘climate refugees’ – though this term isn’t recognised by international law – those migrating are often doing so within their own country, meaning they don’t have legal rights specific to their situation (unlike refugees crossing borders to flee conflict). This lack of recognition, and the fact they’ve typically been uprooted with no warning, often means internally displaced people don’t get the help they need, and it’s within this insecure environment that traffickers thrive.

    Drawing on research conducted after two cyclones hit Bangladesh (in 2007 and 2009), a 2016 report by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) identified women-headed households as especially vulnerable to exploitation.

    “The poorest and most vulnerable will be hit first and worst,” Steve Trent, co-founder of the Environmental Justice Foundation, explains. “And among those, it’s nearly always women and children. Where you have environmental degradation and forced land clearance, you see migration towards urban city centres; there you see women who are incredibly vulnerable being coerced or forced into the sex trade, as they have no other means of survival.”

    This gender imbalance is reflected in broader trafficking statistics. As reported by The Global Slavery Index, there were 40.3 million people worldwide living in modern slavery in 2016, 71 per cent of whom were female. Of this percentage, nearly three out of every four women and girls trafficked were done so for the purpose of sexual exploitation. While in South Asia, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) states that in 2016, women and girls made up 59 per cent of the region’s total number of trafficking victims.

    “There’s a perception that it’s somewhere else and in the future, but it’s not, it’s here and now” – Steve Trent
    Although there’s largely a lack of both media attention and state action when it comes to trafficking, there are local organisations working tirelessly to rescue victims and prosecute perpetrators. One of these is India’s Rescue Foundation, a non-governmental organisation taking direct action to rescue trafficked women and girls from prostitution. Speaking over the phone from their base in Mumbai, project director Gerard Mukhia tells me he believes climate-related trafficking directly correlates with how quickly and efficiently governments respond to disasters.

    “If you have a chaotic response to a situation like an earthquake, in that chaos families will get scattered,” Mukhia reveals. “But if you have a response team who are coordinated, and focus their efforts on not just helping families recover, but also protecting them from being separated, I think that would really play a big role (in the reduction of human trafficking).”

    Mukhia tells me that following the 2015 Nepal earthquake, trafficking into India “increased by 500 per cent”, meaning victims were more spread out across the country. “A lot of the prostitution was brothel-based,” Mukhia reveals, “but now it’s branched out into massage parlours, spas, commercial residences, and private residences.” Based on this, the Rescue Foundation started running community awareness programmes, in order to educate local people who could then provide rescue help. “It’s something that’s in their peripheral, but they don’t want to acknowledge it exists,” Mukhia explains, going on to tell me that local cooperation has increased since the awareness programme began.

    Education is also central to the Kung Fu Nuns’ method of working. “The nuns’ motto is: ‘No one’s coming to rescue you’,” Lee tells me, “so they do self-defence training. Not that in a week a girl is going to learn to be a badass kung fu master, but in these regions it’s the only safe place for these girls to come, and for the first time in their lives they’re learning the words ‘molestation’ and ‘rape’.”

    A Future World, Kung Fu Nuns


    Kung Fu Nuns, 2017Courtesy Live to Love International / Wendy J.N. Lee

    It’s a bleak idea that nobody is coming to rescue trafficking victims, and although organisations like the Rescue Foundation are working tirelessly to help, there isn’t nearly enough acknowledgement of how big the problem is, particularly when it’s linked to climate displacement. “There’s a perception that it’s somewhere else and in the future,” Trent asserts, “but it’s not, it’s here and now. The Western world has benefited the most from carbon, and yet people in poorer states are feeling the real impacts – whether it be forced migration, or the ultimate destination for a vulnerable woman into the sex slave trade.”

    With Greta Thunberg leading weekly school strikes, and activist group Extinction Rebellion taking direct action, climate change is being talked about now more than ever, but it seems little is actually being done when it comes to legislation in severely affected countries, particularly when human rights are involved. “There’s a role for education in rural areas, but you don’t need everyone to understand the connection between climate migration and trafficking in order for a city authority to put a plan in place to prevent people being trafficked,” Alex Randall, programme manager at the Climate and Migration Coalition explains. “You’ve got to create cities that can grow, where rural migrants can go to and be safe, and that’s as much about their work, housing, and education rights as it is about social safety nets.”

    Although it might feel like a problem far too big to tackle, there’s so much that can be done in the face of this mass climate displacement – whether that’s educating both those at risk and the wider world in general about the heightened danger of sex trafficking, or fighting to make social and legal change. India’s proposed anti-trafficking bill, for example – though flawed – is a step in the right direction, proving the country is paying attention to the problem.

    With human trafficking at a 13-year record high, and the world in a climate emergency, action needs to be taken now. “Many causes are driven by a kind of dialogue that says perfect is possible,” Trent concludes, “and in this situation perfect is not possible, but I refuse to let perfect be the enemy of good. If we get to good, we can be changing the lives, right now, of many tens of thousands of people.”

    In the film below, PhD student Otto Simonsson meets some of the young Bangladeshi girls forced into prostitution following climate displacement. The documentary will be screened in UK parliament on May 22.

    My favorite nuns in the world today...
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
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  12. #42
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    Drukpa revisited

    I've been way overdue for making an indie thread for Kung Fu Nuns of the Drupka Order independant of the Kung Fu Nuns & Shaolin Nuns thread.

    Kung Fu Nuns in Nepal Are Prepared to Fight
    by Matthew Hart
    Aug 15 2019 • 10:15 AM



    Writer’s note: Yes, kung fu is a very broad term, but because the featured video doesn’t specify which type of kung fu these nuns are practicing, we’re going to stick with it.

    Admit it: When you see the words “kung fu” you immediately hear Neo from The Matrix saying “I know kung fu” in your head. But while all Neo needed to do to learn kung fu was chill in a chair and have badass moves downloaded into his brain, learning the legendary martial art in real life takes an extraordinary amount of dedication. Just ask this group of hardcore Nepalese nuns who have been training in kung fu since 2008.



    The video above, created by the YouTube channel Great Big Story, gives a glimpse of the nuns belonging to the Buddhist Drukpa Order. Throughout the clip, we see them wielding sharp weapons and nunchucks, breaking bricks with their hands, and launching some seriously impressive flying kicks in the air. They also use fans sometimes, because why not learn to battle humidity along with vicious enemies? (Really though, they’re used to help master balance.)

    And if you’re saying to yourself “well, that’s just a lot of fancy dancing that anybody could pull off,” trust that the training regimen that these nuns execute on is seriously brutal. The Drukpa Order nuns wake up at 3 a.m., meditate, bicycle, and then train by running, climbing stairs, and practicing their martial art for three hours.



    According to the nuns, practicing kung fu helps them to feel stronger, more confident, better coordinated, and sharper mentally. There are also real-world applications for the nuns, who teach self-defense classes for women, and publicly demonstrate that “[girls] can do anything a man can do.”

    What do you think of these kung fu nuns? If you joined the Drukpa Order, how long do you think you’d last? Meditate on this topic in the comments!

    Images: Great Big Story
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
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  13. #43
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    In the news again


    Climate Change Forced Nepal Women Into Trafficking. Now, 'Kung Fu' Nuns are Cycling the Globe for Them

    After facing the consequences of climate change first-hand in their own villages, the nuns decided to start walking with two strong messages: protect the environment, and empower women.
    Adrija Bose | News18.com Updated:September 20, 2019, 4:38 PM IST


    A bunch of nuns from a Buddhist nunnery in the western valley of Kathmandu decided to pick up their tools and start building homes and broken compound walls.

    In 2015, when an earthquake hit Nepal, killing 9,000 people, women started to disappear. The survivors, who thought themselves lucky, soon found themselves without much choice, but to trust the promises of overseas work and education, turning many into victims of trafficking.

    This is when a bunch of nuns from a Buddhist nunnery in the western valley of Kathmandu decided to pick up their tools and start building homes and broken compound walls. Amid the chaos that followed Nepal’s biggest earthquake, the nuns went door to door, educating families about trafficking and women empowerment.

    "It was scary, but we had decided not to leave," said Dipam, a 'Kung Fu' nun. "No one ever imagined nuns could do martial arts. But we did. So when we saw homes being destroyed and women being taken away, we decided to educate the families on what a woman is capable of," she sai

    Just 13-years-old when she left her home in Himachal Pradesh’s Kinnaur, Dipam said she had always wanted to be a nun, but never thought that she would end up helping thousands of women in Nepal.

    In the rural mountain communities of Nepal, the impact of climate change is more keenly felt since much of the agriculture — a mainstay of the economy — continues to be rain-fed. With the area becoming increasingly vulnerable to climate hazards, resource degradation and food scarcity, the past decade has seen communities becoming poorer, with women and girls at particular risk. Although climate change has been the push factor in human trafficking in the area for a while, the earthquake destroyed already vulnerable livelihoods, creating a situation that traffickers actively exploited.

    In the three months after the earthquake, Nepal’s National Human Rights Commission reported a 15 per cent increase in the number of interceptions of people “vulnerable” to human traffickers. On the Indian side, the cases of trafficking being registered along the Indo-Nepal border also saw a sharp surge after the earthquake, from just eight cases being lodged by the Union Home Ministry's Shastra Seema Bal (SSB) in 2014 to 147 in 2017.


    Photo: Live to Love International

    In Nepal, the combination of delays in rebuilding homes, the loss of livelihoods that pushed people to the brink of desperation for money and established criminal networks resulted in an epidemic of human trafficking. According to reports, following the quake, many women were and are still are being sold into a global network that includes brothels and massage parlours in India, dance bars in Kenya, home-cleaning services in the Middle East, and slave labour in South Asia.

    The 26-year-old nunnery in the village of Ramkot is where the 800-odd nuns, between the ages of nine and 90, learn Kung Fu, fix electrical appliances and do plumbing, besides praying. And, they often cycle for miles across the Himalayas to let people know that "women are capable of everything". There were many who implored the nuns to evacuate the nunnery after it had collapsed, but they decided to stay and help.

    "The building had started breaking when we realised that the earthquake was strong. But we didn't shriek or cry, we decided to be brave and do our job," Dipam said. The job she refers to is 'community duty', which the nuns consider a 'spiritual exercise'.

    For days following the earthquake, the nuns would trek to nearby villages to help remove the rubble from people’s homes, salvage and return buried objects and clear pathways. They made night shelters for the affected and went around distributing rice and lentils. Back in their home, the nunnery, which was also completely destroyed, the nuns repaired solar panels, laid new tiles in the front yard and rebuilt their broken compound wall. At night, the older nuns patrolled in the streets outside the nunnery, while the younger nuns slept in tents on the lawn.

    "There were only dead bodies for days after the earthquake. Then we found out girls from poor families were being sold because their parents could not afford to keep them anymore," said Rupa, another Kung Fu nun from Lahol Spiti in Himachal Pradesh.

    With many of the nuns, hailing from Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Nepal, it is personal. After facing the consequences of climate change first-hand in their own villages, the nuns decided to start walking with two strong messages: protect the environment, and empower women. They have since travelled the world, learning about climate change, partnering with global non-profits and also participated in the 2014 United Nations, Conference of the Parties (COP 20).


    Photo: Live to Love International

    The nuns believe that when in 2008, the leader of the 1,000-year-old 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. "It taught me to be confident, I realised I am not less than anybody," said Dipam.

    In 2014, Dipam walked a distance of 800 km from Varanasi to Lumbini. Every day, the nuns would walk for 8 to 10 km and clean up villages along their route. In 2011, she went to Sri Lanka to spread the message of ill effects of plastic waste. "They think we are boys when they see us on our bike. We stop and tell them that not only are we women, but we are also Buddhist nuns," Rupa said, not being able to hide her glee.

    In 2016, led by His Holiness himself, the nuns, clad in black sweatpants, red jackets and white helmets, cycled 2,200km from Kathmandu to Delhi to spread the message of environmental awareness and encourage people to use bicycles instead of cars. "We talked about women trafficking on our journey because they are interconnected," said Rupa. “It was to show these villages that women are strong and capable enough to cycle,” the group’s communications coordinator Carrie Lee said.

    "We were not asking the women to run away from their families, we were educating them and helping build back their lives so they can continue to stay and feel empowered," said Rupa. The nuns’ motto is: ‘No one’s coming to rescue you’ and they couldn't be more spot on.

    This story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 250 news outlets to strengthen coverage of the climate story.
    Respect. So much respect.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  14. #44
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    Asia Game Changers Award


    Kung fu nuns of Drukpa Lineage get global award

    Nuns defied a centuries-old ban on exercise for nuns and adopted the martial arts
    Published: October 29, 2019 17:31
    IANS


    Image Credit: Supplied

    Leh: Kung fu nuns of the Drukpa lineage based here have been awarded the prestigious Asia Game Changers Award by the Asia Society in New York for inspiring and applying their unique talent to make the world a better place.

    The Asia Society is a leading educational organization dedicated to promoting mutual understanding and strengthening partnerships among people, leaders and institutions of Asia and the US in a global context.

    The kung fu nuns have devoted their lives to helping their community -- advocating for girls, protecting the environment, and serving as first responders during disasters like the 2015 Nepal earthquake.

    Originally honing their kung fu skills as a means of self-defence and meditation, the nuns draw awestruck crowds whenever they hold a demonstration, says a post on the website of the Asia Society.

    The Asia Game Changers Award, launched by the Asia Society in 2014, was presented on October 24.

    During the award-giving ceremony, soaring across the stage with gravity-defying kicks, they stunned with their acrobatic feats, drawing 'oohs and ahs' from the Cipriani crowd.

    "We do not believe in empowering women as the term means giving power or passing down power; we believe in awakening the power every woman has in them. May more women and girls around the world realize that power is ours and it's not something given by others. It is ours to own," said a representative of the nuns, upon receiving the award.

    "We believe no one is coming to save us, we will be our own heroes."

    Kung fu nuns, who defied a centuries-old ban on exercise for nuns and adopted the martial art as a way to spread awareness on gender equality, human trafficking and environment.

    They are from the Kathmandu-based Druk Amitabha Mountain nunnery, established by the 12th Gyalwang Drukpa, the spiritual head of the 1,000-year-old Drukpa Order based in Leh in Ladakh.

    The Druk Amitabha Mountain nunnery is a unique instance of gender reversal. Here the nuns run the administration, historically reserved for the monks.

    The Gyalwang Drukpa is propagating gender neutrality.

    The kung fu nuns, who are receiving modern education and the spiritual training, are gaining worldwide recognition.

    In celebration of their achievement and to honour the awardees, Live to Love International is holding the homecoming reception for the nuns in New Delhi on November 7 at the India Habitat Centre.
    This is their first trip to the USA. Their publicity reached out. I tasked one of our reporters to respond. Hopefully we'll get an interview out of it.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
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  15. #45
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    More on the Game Changer Award

    Same story, alternate pix

    Kung Fu Nuns gets Asia’s Game Changer Award
    By Daily Excelsior -26/10/2019


    Kung-Fu Nuns receiving awards in New york. —Excelsior/Morup Stanzin

    Excelsior Sports Correspondent

    Leh, Oct, 25: The Kung Fu Nuns of Drukpa order, some of the Himalayan’s most prominent rights advocates are received the Asia Society’s prestigious game Changer awards in New York for their path breaking work to empower women and dismantle gender stereotype in the Himalayas.
    The Kung Fu Nuns represent a new generation of Buddhists who use their teachings to take real action and effect meaningful change in the world by promoting gender equality and environmentalism. With this recognition, the Kung Fu Nuns join the likes of iconic Indian leaders Indra Nooyi, Mukesh Ambani, and Dev Patel, who have also been honoured by the Asia Society in the previous years for breaking the glass ceiling with their courage and inspiring their fellow citizens. A fair portion of the Kungfu Nuns hails from Ladakh making the newly granted UT Ladakh proud and this award came as a gift to the region.
    These nuns exemplify kindness in its fiercest form: empowering themselves and others to truly serve the world. They are known for their epic acts of service-from their recent 5,200-mile “Bicycle Yatra for Peace” from Nepal to Ladakh, India to speak out against human trafficking to their refusal to evacuate after the 2015 Nepal earthquake in order to deliver critical aid to neglected regions.
    Founded in 1956, the Asia Society is nonpartisan, non-profit educational Institution with offices in Hong Kong, Houston, Los Angeles, Manila, Melbourne, Mumbai, New York, San Francisco, Seoul, Shanghai, Tokyo, Washington, DC and Zurich.
    This one has a vid
    Kung Fu Nuns of the Drukpa Lineage Accept Asia Game Changer Award
    NEW YORK, October 24, 2019 — The Kung Fu Nuns of the Drukpa Lineage, whose martial arts skills and good works have attracted a wide following in India and Nepal, accept an Asia Game Changer award. (2 min., 33 sec.)
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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