A tip of the hat to Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly Online, which recently brought us news of a documentary recently aired on Channel News Asia that is now available online: Secret Tribes: Bhikkhunis, which takes viewers inside the lives of Thai nuns.
The website Dharma Documentaries describes it this way:
This is a short but informative and positive look at the current state of bhikkhunis in Thailand with interviews with people on both sides of the debate.
The documentary is made as part of the Secret Tribes series which is fronted by Malaysian presenter Ezra Zaid.
It is a bit hard to see how bhikkhunis fit in with the series as they are neither secret – they operate quite openly and unashamedly – nor in any meaningful sense a tribe. Nevertheless the film is surprisingly well-informed, balanced and positive towards the bhikkhunis.
The film visits the Office for National Buddhism to get the official perspective on the status of bhikkhunis in the country, but spends most of its time talking to the nuns at Ven Dhammananda’s Songdhamkalyani Temple in Nakhon Pathom, west of Bangkok.
There are now around 150 bhikkhunis in Thailand, and the film includes interviews with the Head of the Temple Ven Dhammananda, and also talks to some of the other bhikkhunis at the temple, and follows their routine to see what their daily life is like.
The film also includes interviews with a former well-known monk Dr. Mettanando, Ven Dhammananda’s son, and Payoong Outtakot, as a representative from the Maechee community of nuns.
Watch it in full below…