Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Religious Studies

Reader 1

Zayn Kassam

Reader 2

Zhiru Ng

Reader 3

Teresa M. Shaw

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Rights Information

© 2009 Amy L. Mann


The figure of the Tibetan Buddhist nun as a female monastic is situated within a matrix of complexities and contradictions that are constituted by textual and doctrinal sources, Tibetan social views on gender and female monasticism, and experiential realities. In order to understand the situation of nuns, one first must understand that monasticism, mainly the order of monks, has been a highly respected and financially supported institution in Tibetan society for centuries. However, because the histories of Tibetan nuns and female renunciants have gone primarily undocumented, their lineages and stories are much more opaque than those of Tibetan monks. Therefore, most of the scholarship on female Buddhist practitioners, with the exception of a few extraordinary yoginis, dates after the Chinese occupation of Tibet in the 1950s. Historically it is believed that there were a few great nunneries that existed centuries ago, but the majority of Tibetan nunneries have been smaller and lacking in the lay support and funding granted to monasteries. Currently, however, the landscape of Tibetan nuns is beginning to shift, as new resources and educational opportunities are beginning to be made available for Tibetan nuns in exile. It is on these nuns and nunneries in exile that this thesis will focus.


Previously linked to as:,66

OCLC number: 549520277