Curtana (curtana) wrote in little_details,

Buddhist nuns

I'm looking for info about Buddhist nuns. Setting is the Serenity 'Verse, so I'm prepared to make changes/adaptations from present-day reality as necessary, but I'd like to know where I'm diverging, if that makes sense :) For what it's worth, though, this character is of Chinese descent and follows the Mahayana tradition. The way I'm envisioning her right now, she is in her sixties or so, and was not especially devout until about five years ago, when she suddenly retired from her previous career as a physician and entered the nunnery.

I guess what I'd like to know is, is this plausible in the first place? (Not her change of heart so much as the idea that a nunnery would accept someone in their sixties who hadn't previously been especially devout...) What sort of things would she be doing at this stage in her training? Would she likely be a full-fledged nun after five years, or still a novice, or some other rank that I don't know about? I don't need to know too much about the religious aspects of Buddhism, as I think I have a pretty good handle on that side of things and it won't be a major factor in my story in any case, but any info about daily life as a Buddhist nun that anyone can provide would be useful.

In particular, I need to set up a scene where a young man of her former acquaintance comes to speak to her - is this likely to be allowed, or would it not be permitted? Would it be more plausible if they met somewhere outside the nunnery? If so, what might she be doing that would take her out into the world? Would it make any difference if it was a woman coming to speak to her?

Search terms include "buddhism", "buddhist nun", "bhikkhuni". I've read the relevant wiki articles as well. There's a lot of information about the history of the different monastic lineages and the Buddha's teachings about women, and I've found some articles by/about Westerners who've become Buddhist nuns, but I suspect their experiences might not be typical. Any help is appreciated!
Tags: ~religion: buddhism

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