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Life as Buddhist nun in the West

Life as Buddhist nun in the West

A presentation given at the 1996 “Life as a Buddhist Nun” conference in Bodhgaya, India, an international conference of Buddhist nuns. The talk was the basis for a chapter in Blossoms of the Dharma: Living as a Buddhist Nun.

  • Being a Buddhist fundamentalist in the beginning
  • Growing as a new nun with difficulty and pain. Learning from mistakes
  • Discovering what it meant to practice and work with the mind
  • The value and difficulty of living in monastic community
  • Deep seated individualism of western culture makes it difficult to live in a spiritual community
  • Lessons learned at ordination in Taiwan
  • What is culture and what is Dharma. Copying an external cultural form, imitating external behavior is not necessarily practicing the Dharma
  • Making peace with our past religion and our own culture
  • The prevalence of low self-esteem for westerners is a hindrance on the path
  • A shortage of role models for Buddhist nuns
  • Taking responsibility for the lineage and future nuns
  • Living alone as a bhikshuni versus living in a community

Experiences as western Buddhist nun (download)

Venerable Thubten Chodron

Venerable Chodron emphasizes the practical application of Buddha’s teachings in our daily lives and is especially skilled at explaining them in ways easily understood and practiced by Westerners. She is well known for her warm, humorous, and lucid teachings. She was ordained as a Buddhist nun in 1977 by Kyabje Ling Rinpoche in Dharamsala, India, and in 1986 she received bhikshuni (full) ordination in Taiwan. Read her full bio.