Freda Bedi was a British woman who was the first Western woman to take ordination in Tibetan Buddhism, which occurred in 1972. She was born in Derby, England.
In 1959, when the Dalai Lama arrived in India after an arduous trek across the Himalayas followed by thousands of his Tibetan devotees, she was asked by India's prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru to help them and spent time improving facilities for refugees at camps in Assam and West Bengal.
She became an observant Tibetan Buddhist and she followed the guidance of the 16th Karmapa of the Kagyu School.
She worked, with the support of the Dalai Lama, to establish the Young Lamas Home School.
Buddhist convents also called Gompas have historically been well established in Tibet, certainly from the twelfth century and with traditions reaching back as far as the eighth century.
Traditional education in the nunneries included reading, writing, and lessons in ancient scriptures and prayers taught by the senior nuns or lamas from monasteries.
Traditional activities for the nuns included performance of rituals requested by the lay community and crafts such as embroidery and sewing.
A bhikkhunī or bhikṣuṇī is a fully ordained female monastic in Buddhism.
Male monastics are called bhikkhus. Both bhikkhunis and bhikkhus live by the Vinaya, a set of rules.
Until recently, the lineages of female monastics only remained in Mahayana Buddhism and thus are prevalent in countries such as China, Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam but a few women have taken the full monastic vows in the Theravada and Vajrayana schools over the last decade. .