Communities exist for Non Himalayan Nuns worldwide, but in reality there are few.
Those wishing to join such communities, for the most part, are required to provide their own financial support. There is great scope for these communities to flourish. As we become increasingly aware of their unique value within our societies, the recognition that we can support them also comes – just as the traditional monastic communities have benefited from our support.
Naturally, the traditional models differ, in accordance with the needs of the monastic communities they serve and in response to the society they serve – increasingly global.
Women ordaining from modern societies, are generally mature, independent and self-motivated and for some, living in community is not always the best option. Nonetheless, the needs remain the same – to enable monastics wherever they are placed – be it in a community, Dharma centre or retreat setting. Also to ensure that their basic needs are met, so their main focus can be on engaging in study and practice, that they may all the more quickly progress, stabliize their minds and benefit others.
Buddhism needs to embrace and serve the diversity of situations wherever monastics are found and so it must display great flexibility and open-mindedness in meeting the needs of its community – wonderful qualities to cultivate as we walk the path together.
The importance of living in community is to cultivate a place where the four-fold Sangha committed to the Dharma path can live, study and practice in a supportive environment.
ANHN is commited to helping current and future nuns build and maintain strong spiritual communities to support their practice, counter the trappings of the lay life, and to benefit the broader society through the Dharma.
– Tsunma Tenzin Sangmo
The Importance of Community
Lama Thubten Yeshe
If monks are nuns have difficulty just keeping their physical lives together, how will they ever get the chance to study and retreat? The strength of the sangha community is that it ensures that everybody has a chance to take teachings and retreat; it makes sure that everybody is okay, and minimizes the external conditions that cause one to lose mental discipline.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche
As for the project for nuns, yes, of course. If you are able to provide a place for nuns of different traditions to live, that is very good, also if you can support them—that part is extremely important. Usually that part does not happen, so there are some difficulties. Because of that lack of support, individuals have to go to work, which especially makes living away from a city difficult. – Response to student enquiry
Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron
As first generation Western Buddhist nuns, we indeed lead the homeless life. There are very few monasteries in the West, and if we want to stay in one, we generally have to pay to do so because the community has no money. That presents some challenges: how does someone with monastic precepts, which include wearing robes, shaving one’s head, not handling money, and not doing business, earn money?