The Drukpa Nuns of Druk Amitabha Mountain


His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa shares his vision for Druk Gawa Khilwa Abbey of Amitabha Mountain:

“Everyone, man or woman, has the potentials and the rights to attain Buddhahood. Unfortunately for many generations, not only in Tibet or Ladakh, but also in America, in fact throughout the entire world, women have not been treated fairly. Thanks to education and social revolution, nowadays the situation is a lot easier and fairer for women.

I started Druk Gawa Khilwa Abbey mainly with the motivation to lift up the status of female practitioners in my small community. I feel that I am responsible for the well-being and spiritual progress of both monks (the male practitioners) and nuns (the female practitioners). I did not start this with a great ambition of promoting female rights or movement, I just thought that at least my very small community of 300 nuns should not suffer an unfair treatment due to the social or cultural discrimation that has existed for so many generations.

What I am trying to do is to give my handful of poor nuns equal rights as the monks to receive trainings, teachings and instructions. At the same time, I do not wish to downgrade the trainings for the monks, in order to match the nuns. So I am training monks and nuns equally. Whatever the monks are getting, the nuns get them too. This is because I strongly believe that female practitioners can serve the society, the people and beings tremendously, just as their male counterparts, through the practice of Buddhist philosophy. There is no doubt about it and also there is no reason why not.

Because of cultural or social expectations, women were not allowed to touch the kangling (the traditional trumpets), wear the ritual hats, perform the Vajra dances, etc. But Buddha Shakyamuni had never said in his teachings or Sutra that women cannot do these things.

Therefore, in July 2004 during the Naropa Ceremony and the Drubchen (Great Accomplishment) ceremony, I put 200 of my nuns in charge of the entire ritual, allowing them to lead and perform all the ceremonies throughout the ten days of public events, right before an audience of over 135,000 people. Through this, I hope to bring to public awareness that female practitioners can also inspire and benefit beings on the spiritual path, and I hope that female practitioners themselves would be convinced that it is possible to progress on the spiritual path in a female form.

I am very proud of my nuns because what they are doing is really from their heart, and not from the superficial level. In this way, I am very happy and it gives me at least some good reasons to stick around in this world.”