Today, I got a wonderful opportunity to attend a lecture on Lojong Texts (mind training) by a British woman who left everything to become a Buddhist nun. We also saw a documentary based on her life, titled ‘Cave in the snow.’ Jetsunma meditated for 12 years inside a cave. She conquered her mind and wanted to live a life of solitude but she decided to start a nunnery because she felt it was her responsibility towards other women and girls. Because when she started out, she was the only woman in her monastery. There was gender bias..even in spiritual organizations! Women inside the monastery were not taught well, they were treated as inferior. Plus she was a westerner who came to India to learn Buddhism. If a Western man came to India, he was taught all spiritual things but if it happened to be a Western woman, things were different. She fought all this. She still fights all this.
In the documentary, Jetsunma meets the Dalai Lama and with a lot of courage tells him that Buddhist leaders are not doing much for women. But she says it with love and compassion.
It was amazing to see a female spiritual leader with integrity. Spirituality has always attracted me but the gender bias had always discouraged me even though spiritual teachings have nothing to do with gender. But watching this woman speak was inspiring. This lady has fought spiritual and political battles and she is not bitter at all. She is so funny and childlike.
It was always a dream to listen to someone who is into spirituality but is also involved in real world issues. Jetsunma is a feminist and a spiritual leader. She has no idea how important her work will be for the coming generations of women and men.
Her presence inspired me to become mindful of my thoughts. One could see how advanced she is, when it comes to having a control over her mind. She had no ideology to preach..she was not spreading Buddhism..all she wanted people to take away from her lecture was compassion and mind training.
I did not click any pictures because honestly, I was so mesmerized by her. I didn’t want to click, I still don’t know why. I just didn’t feel the need to do that. She was so sweet..she answered everybody’s queries and also patiently attended to the photo requests. I have never met a nun or a monk…someone who is into serious spiritual practice. I mean, her smile is something I have never seen on any face till now.
I want to thank K.J.Somaiya Centre for Buddhist Studies for this event. The organizers were so passionate. There is this student who sponsored Jetsunma’s trip to Mumbai and her dedication was quite inspiring as well.
I will share whatever she taught us in the next few blog posts. I am still in a trance..so, it will take time for me to organize all her ideas 🙂