'No, but we are different. Tonpa Sherab treated men and women in the same way, he passed on his teachings to both men and women and that is why we nuns are on equal footing with the monks, quite unlike the Buddhists.' The Bon religion is often seen as a part of the Tibetan Buddhism but its bond is actually far more complex and has its own origin in the history of Tibet. The role of women worshipping in Bon and Tibetan Buddhism, is quite different. And although there are studies on Buddhist nuns, there is hardly any research available on nuns in the Bon tradition. This pioneering study vividly portrays the nuns of the Redna Menling monastery in Dolanji (India), the headquarters of the Bon religion, in exile. It focuses on the developments of the Bon in exile, the specific context in which Bon nuns live and how the monastic tradition takes shape. It provides interesting insights into the monastic community in exile, the historic context of the Bon religion as well as the personal motives to become a nun.
Joke van de Belt (1961) completed her Master's Degree in Religious Studies at the Radboud University Nijmegen (The Netherlands) in 2008. With her fieldwork among the nuns of the Redna Menling Monastery, she strikes new paths in researching the women of the Bon religion. Van de Belt is now preparing a dissertation on the same subject and is working as a psychotherapist.