retrofuturist wrote:Yes, I think that if the source were as you remembered it, it would certainly have been found and popularised in these present times when reinstatement of the bhikkhuni order is such a topical issue.
I believe I have heard some advocates of Bhikkhuni reinstatement interpret the following passage from the Mahaparinibbana Sutta as evidence that "... it was [the Buddha's] intention from the beginning to establish orders of both nuns and monks."http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .vaji.html
7. And when the Venerable Ananda had gone away, Mara, the Evil One, approached the Blessed One. And standing at one side he spoke to the Blessed One, saying: "Now, O Lord, let the Blessed One come to his final passing away; let the Happy One utterly pass away! The time has come for the Parinibbana of the Lord.
"For the Blessed One, O Lord, spoke these words to me: 'I shall not come to my final passing away, Evil One, until my bhikkhus and bhikkhunis, laymen and laywomen, have come to be true disciples — wise, well disciplined, apt and learned, preservers of the Dhamma, living according to the Dhamma, abiding by the appropriate conduct, and having learned the Master's word, are able to expound it, preach it, proclaim it, establish it, reveal it, explain it in detail, and make it clear; until, when adverse opinions arise, they shall be able to refute them thoroughly and well, and to preach this convincing and liberating Dhamma.'
8. "And now, O Lord, bhikkhus and bhikkhunis, laymen and laywomen, have become the Blessed One's disciples in just this way. So, O Lord, let the Blessed One come to his final passing away! The time has come for the Parinibbana of the Lord.
You are exactly right! I have confirmation. But that isn't the only relevant passage in the Pali Canon it turns out. There are several.
In DN 16.3.7 Mara says that the Buddha once told him that he wouldn't pass on until he had well-trained nuns (etc.). This invites the question, "When
did the Buddha tell Mara this?" In the essay "Women's Renunciation in Early Buddhism: The Four Assemblies and the Foundation of the Order of Nuns" (in the book Dignity and Discipline
, edited by Thea Mohr and Jampa Tsedroen) Ven. Analayo points to an early tradition (in the Sanghabedavastu of the Mula-sarvastivada Vinaya) that this occurred "when the Buddha had been afflicted by disease after partaking of his first meal after awakening." Analayo concludes that the "implication of this passage, preserved in each of the major Buddhist languages and by a range of different Buddhist schools, would be that soon after his awakening the Buddha had decided to establish an order of nuns."
Furthermore he suggests, "From the perspective of the Buddhavamsa, a later work in the Theravada canon, this is not at all surprising, since other past buddhas also had nun disciples. From this it would follow that for a Buddha to establish an order of nuns is a natural course of events." Ven. Analayo also points out that the Buddha teaches in DN 29 (Pasadika Sutta) that the Buddha's teaching is successful or the holy life is complete only if his disciples include monks, nuns
, and laity at all levels of training. (See especially DN 29.12-13. In Walshe's translation: "In such cases, if there are such senior teachers, and such senior disciples, but... no senior disciples among the nuns,... no middle ranking or junior nuns... then the holy life is not perfected. If, however, all of these conditions are fulfilled, then the holy life is perfected.") This is the passage that is most significant to me.