Bodh Gaya, Feb 4 (IANS) Tibetan religious head and 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje on Thursday announced the setting up of a monastic college to educate and empower female Buddhist practitioners from the Himalayan region.
The announcement came on the last day of the Third Arya Kshema Winter Dharma Gathering here, an annual three-week event that the Karmapa started in 2013.
Noting tremendous improvement in the nuns’ study and debate skills, and a visible increase in their confidence, an official statement quoting the Karmapa said: “Nuns are future holders of the Buddha dharma. This education will help prepare you to fulfill that great responsibility.”
This historical town in Bihar is considered the birthplace of Buddhism.
The planned monastic college will offer educational opportunities to laywomen as well as to Buddhist nuns.
In presenting his planned steps to increase the intensity of the nuns’ scholarly training and debate skills, the Karmapa told over 400 nuns from nunneries across the Himalayas, “I believe you are ready”.
The three-week event included daily discourses by the Karmapa himself especially for nuns, intensive study and formal debate sessions, as well as special pujas and meditative practices.
As head of the 900-year-old Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, the 17th Karmapa teaches millions of Buddhists around the world.
The Karmapa created an eco-monastic movement with over 55 monasteries across the Himalayan region acting as centres of green activism.
In the Tibetan religious hierarchy, he is considered the third-most important religious head after the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama.