From Bangladesh to Korea: Struggles and Successes on the Path to Female Monasticism
Jungto Society, the international Buddhist community founded by the revered Korean Dharma master and social activist Venerable Pomnyun Sunim (법륜스님), hosted an intensive eight-day study trip in South Korea in June for young leaders and activists affiliated with the International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB).
From 13–20 June, 19 Buddhist leaders from nine countries and territories in Asia—Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam—gathered in a warm and welcoming atmosphere of kalyana-mitrata* to practice, to learn, and to connect; to exchange ideas, to inspire, and to be inspired. BDG was privileged to join this unique assembly of monastic and lay practitioners, leaders and activists, to share a Dharmic journey that combined elements of study, experiential workshops, and field trips, with the discipline and commitment of a traditional Buddhist retreat.**
One of the female leaders attending this learning experience was Venerable Krisha Goutomi Bhikkhuni, who is a member of the modern wave of female monasticism in Bangladesh. Ven. Krisha Goutomi resides at Sanjibani Meditation Centre, a small monastery in the Chittagong Hill Tracts region of Bangladesh that is home to 11 indigenous ethnic groups, the majority of whom practice Theravada Buddhism. For decades, the region has been plagued by conflict and oppression, amid tensions with Bangladesh’s Muslim-majority population, with minority communities reporting widespread persecution by the government and the security forces stationed in the region.