Around 235 nuns from the Drukpa Buddhist order, famous for its Kung Fu discipline, have ridden 2,200 kilometres across India to spread the message around women’s empowerment and environmental conservation.
The current leader, the twelfth Gyalwang Drukpa, explained that the ride was about more than just cycling – focusing on tackling ideas that there are things women ‘shouldn’t do’.
“Many people think that Kung Fu is only for the men… and [it’s] very rare women knowing about it. I think this is not right – not only Kung Fu – but I think there are many things [people think] women should not be doing,” he said.
The nuns have already made a name for themselves – attracting media attention recently after Nepal’s earthquake shook their village in Kathmandu. Unlike many monks who “ran away” in the leader’s words, they remained strong and did not leave the area so they could help the survivors. The Gyalwang Drukpa said: “I think the nuns really showed their mental strength.”
One nun explained the reasons behind the ride, saying: “Just because we are nuns, we are not only supposed to be sitting in monasteries and meditating. We want to come out and show we are also physically capable. We want to create awareness about the environment and gender equality.”
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