EQUAL RITES: TIBETAN NUNS SEEK MATCHING STATUS

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SERTAR, China: With a shaved head, flowing burgundy robes and religious devotion, Xinde Shijiamouni has all the trappings of a Tibetan Buddhist monk. But her serenity is troubled — because as a nun, she cannot reach the same clerical status as a man. In harsh terrain and relative isolation, Tibetan culture has long been patriarchal. Now more than 100 nuns at the Larung Gar Buddhist Institute — the largest Tibetan Buddhist academy in the world — are challenging that, holding study sessions on feminism and sparking a nascent religious movement.

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