A Buddhist monastery near Kathmandu is enjoying a surge in popularity after its spiritual leader directed its 300 nuns to use martial arts techniques.
Enrolment is rising and Buddhist nuns as far afield as the Himachal Pradesh in India want to become kung fu instructors.
The Druk Gawa Khilwa (DGK) nunnery near the Nepalese capital teaches its nuns a mixture of martial arts and meditation as a means of empowering the young women. In Buddhism, like many religions, the voices of women have traditionally been muted. But the leader of the 800-year-old Drukpa – or Dragon – order, to which DGK belongs, is determined to change all that.
"As a young boy growing up in India and Tibet I observed the pitiful condition in which nuns lived," says His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa, the spiritual head of the Drukpas.
"They were considered second-class while all the privileges went to monks. I wanted to change this." Full story...