Might be of interest to some of you. It’s a good example of how bhikshunis are quite independent and capable in the Chinese tradition. Also, Chinese Chan is poorly represented in the West, so it’s always interesting to get a chance to learn more about it.
Cross-culture comparisons I think are a good way to sort out what’s custom and what’s fundamental in one’s own culture because often another culture will prove that people are perfectly capable of doing things differently. It’s pretty amazing all the prejudicial attitudes that are prevalent in Theravada when you can visit a Chan temple and notice all sorts of nuns going about the business of practicing monastic Buddhism.
Yea, outside of major cities or urban centers, Theravada has a major issue in that regards.
There are three major Theravada temples that I am aware of in St. Louis, two Thai and one Sri Lankan. The monastics there are all male, and barely speak english, or even if they do, are only really interested in their ethnic communities.
OTOH, we have two major Mahayana monasteries nearby, Chan and FGS. There, the monastic demographics skew towards young, female, and multilingual. The Chan center has multiple native .onastics, while the FGS temple is staffed permanently by two Taiwanese Bhiksunis who, between them, know more languages than wikipedia.
Guess which ones the interested westerners are flocking to.