“My parents were in a bad financial state, so I had to become a nun. I left for Nepal at a young age of only 7. We were three monks and one nun in a class full of regular students. The lessons were difficult as some were taught in Nepali. But soon I started to love studying and became a regular on the topper’s list. With my straight-A grades in class 10, I dreamed of becoming a doctor. I even had some people from faraway lands agree to partially fund me if I chose to go to a medical college. But my family couldn’t support this dream. They could barely even afford to put me through school. However, I was determined to study and spoke to the head nun. She commended my desire to continue my studies and said there were Buddhist universities I could join. I found out that monastic institutes in Nepal and Bhutan were short of tutors with qualifications in both modern and Buddhist studies. So I came back to Bhutan to study for a 12-year degree in Buddhist philosophy, and to return as a scholar and teacher. This year I’m the topper in my class.

With strict codes of conduct, being a nun is not the same as being a layperson. But times have changed, and we enjoy more freedom than many may think. We even sing and dance on festive occasions. Personally, I enjoy photography and have been complimented on my skills. Armed with a second-hand Canon camera, I am often the event photographer in our shedra. I also enjoy watching English shows and K-dramas. Once before, amidst the uncertainty I’d faced with continuing my studies, I’d briefly even considered to discontinue my life as a nun. This wish had hurt my mother. She had told me that she wanted to take the religious path too. I still apologise to her because she says, and I agree, that it takes great fate and fortune to become and remain a lifelong nun. And I’ve been lucky enough to have gotten the opportunity to live this life of virtue.”

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