Bhikkhuni Ordination performed - by Ajahn Brahmavamso

Discussion of ordination, the Vinaya and monastic life. How and where to ordain? Bhikkhuni ordination etc.

Re: Bhikkhuni Ordination performed - by Ajahn Brahmavamso

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Nov 20, 2009 5:34 pm

LEARNING TO LISTEN - Ajahn Chah
Later, the Master went on to say, .Practice is not moving forward, but there is forward movement. At the same time, it is not moving back, but there is backward movement. And, finally, practice is not stopping and being still, but there is stopping and being still.
So there is moving forward and backward as well as being still, but you can't say that it is any one of the three.

this is similare to his advice to Ajahn Sumedho about being an Abbot & setting up monasteries
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Re: Bhikkhuni Ordination performed - by Ajahn Brahmavamso

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Nov 20, 2009 7:45 pm

Anders Honore wrote:What's done is done. Is it a question worth asking still (that is, if the circumstances were proper) now that it can't be undone? Isn't it time to be looking towards what this means now?

It means that certain Theravada groups ordain Bkhikkhunis and certain others don't, which is no different from how it was before except that this particular ordination has a higher profile in some circles because it involves someone from Ajahn Chah's group. Some of those who don't ordain Bhikkhuni's chose not to cooperate with some of those who do, which is why Ajahn Brahm's monastery is no longer part of the group it used to be part of.

So it really doesn't mean anything new. Different groups will continue to do what they feel is most effective. I hope that in the long term more groups will ordain Bhikkhunis, but I'm dismayed by the oversimplifications that are put forward in some circles about the most effective way to proceed.

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Re: Bhikkhuni Ordination performed - by Ajahn Brahmavamso

Postby pink_trike » Fri Nov 20, 2009 8:28 pm

The whole debate seems framed and focused oddly - a matter-of-fact obsession with and clinging to structures and forms, rules and politics, entrenched beliefs - all being used in the service of an unacknowledged, deeply ingrained traditional fear of women, and mind's tendency to fetishize how things have been done in the past...while the importance and urgency of people's quest for liberation seems to fade into the background.
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Re: Bhikkhuni Ordination performed - by Ajahn Brahmavamso

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Nov 20, 2009 8:42 pm

Hi PinkTrike
pink_trike wrote:...while the importance and urgency of people's quest for liberation seems to fade into the background.

Well, that's the point isn't it? Liberation. There are serious problems with clinging to views and forms on both sides that devalue this point. There are people who clearly want to facilitate liberation for all on both sides.

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Re: Bhikkhuni Ordination performed - by Ajahn Brahmavamso

Postby cooran » Fri Nov 20, 2009 8:49 pm

This is your view - what you wish to believe - and not related to the truth of the situation as it unfolded. Do you personally know even one of the Abbots involved? ( Ven Dhammasiha, Abbot of Dhammagiri, Brisbane, will be attending the Meeting in Thailand in December).

You seem to be impugning the characters of highly respected Abbots, not based on any understanding of the issues involved. It is also greatly disrespectful to the many ethical Ordained Sangha working with hope and goodwill towards the resolution within the Ajahn Chah tradition of Bhikkuni Ordination.

This quite unnecessary problem caused by Brahmavamso's less than open and honest behaviour, has been distorted and magnified by slanted posts by Sujato on his Blog, and by he and Brahmavamso encouraging the 'taking of sides' by lay people, most of whom only see it as a debate about equality of women - which has little if anything to do with the stance taken by the Ajahn Chah sangha around the world ~ many of whom are not Thai and are not bound by Thai laws.

I view things much the way Bhikkhu Bodhi does - equality is one thing, the unwholesome methods used give pause for thought about the ethics involved, and may be counter productive.
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Re: Bhikkhuni Ordination performed - by Ajahn Brahmavamso

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Nov 20, 2009 9:08 pm

Chris wrote:This is your view - what you wish to believe - and not related to the truth of the situation as it unfolded. Do you personally know even one of the Abbots involved? ( Ven Dhammasiha, Abbot of Dhammagiri, Brisbane, will be attending the Meeting in Thailand in December).

You seem to be impugning the characters of highly respected Abbots, not based on any understanding of the issues involved. It is also greatly disrespectful to the many ethical Ordained Sangha working with hope and goodwill towards the resolution within the Ajahn Chah tradition of Bhikkuni Ordination.

This quite unnecessary problem caused by Brahmavamso's less than open and honest behaviour, has been distorted and magnified by slanted posts by Sujato on his Blog, and by he and Brahmavamso encouraging the 'taking of sides' by lay people, most of whom only see it as a debate about equality of women - which has little if anything to do with the stance taken by the Ajahn Chah sangha around the world ~ many of whom are not Thai and are not bound by Thai laws.

I view things much the way Bhikkhu Bodhi does - equality is one thing, the unwholesome methods used give pause for thought about the ethics involved, and may be counter productive.


hi Chris,
I firmly agree, I find it interesting that the Bhikkhuni patimokha has this rule
Saṅghādisesa
1. Should any bhikkhunī start litigation against a householder, a householder's son, a slave, or a worker, or even against a wandering contemplative: this bhikkhunī, as soon as she has fallen into the first act of offence, is to be (temporarily) driven out, and it entails initial and subsequent meetings of the Community.

yet none for Bhikkhus so he (sujato) can go about suggesting and prompting law suits against the Forest Sangha, and he finds pedicting the future with odd's appropriate.
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Bhikkhuni Ordination performed - by Ajahn Brahmavamso

Postby pink_trike » Fri Nov 20, 2009 9:13 pm

Chris wrote:
You seem to be impugning the characters of highly respected Abbots, not based on any understanding of the issues involved.


Hi Chris,

I'm curious...how do you presume to know what my level of understanding of this situation that goes back at least 30 years is?
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Re: Bhikkhuni Ordination performed - by Ajahn Brahmavamso

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Nov 20, 2009 9:18 pm

pink_trike wrote:
Chris wrote:
You seem to be impugning the characters of highly respected Abbots, not based on any understanding of the issues involved.


Hi Chris,

I'm curious...how do you presume to know what my level of understanding of this situation that goes back at least 30 years is?


how does this situation go back 30 years?
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Bhikkhuni Ordination performed - by Ajahn Brahmavamso

Postby cooran » Fri Nov 20, 2009 9:22 pm

I don't 'presume' to know anything else about you. I comment only on what you seem to imply in your posts about this particular situation. Let's keep it on topic.
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Re: Bhikkhuni Ordination performed - by Ajahn Brahmavamso

Postby pink_trike » Fri Nov 20, 2009 9:24 pm

Manapa wrote:
pink_trike wrote:
Chris wrote:
You seem to be impugning the characters of highly respected Abbots, not based on any understanding of the issues involved.


Hi Chris,

I'm curious...how do you presume to know what my level of understanding of this situation that goes back at least 30 years is?


how does this situation go back 30 years?

The current set of circumstances are hatching from a debate that extends back many many years. This isn't a flash in the pan, at least not here in the U.S.
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Re: Bhikkhuni Ordination performed - by Ajahn Brahmavamso

Postby jcsuperstar » Fri Nov 20, 2009 9:39 pm

there are a lot of question that this little thread can raise

just why do women "need" to be bhikkhuni? are they somehow limited in their practice or atainments if they cant fully ordain? if so what does this say about us as laypeople, that we are just limited and unworthy?

why are these abbots that opose the ordination "highly respected" in the 1st place? is it simply because they were the 1st white guys to ordain in this tradition? are there reasons why some here might find their actions in this instance a reason to question the validity of that respect?

it seems people have already taken sides and some of the responces here seem limited,

on one hand we are told that ajahn brahm should have waited, why? as an aboot and a long time associate of these other abbots shouldnt his opinion of how he thought those other abbots would react trump what we suppose they would have done?

also there is this "lay people need to stay out of it" attitude too but is that really so? should the lay people also stay out of it when it comes to providing for the welfare of the ordained sangha? because it is the actions of the ordained sangha that the lay people should be paying attention to. i know people will disagree with me but i am of the opinion that a monk is not simply worthy of respect because he takes the precepts, but rather for how well he follows them, how he conducts himself and how he practices. as seen here in this chant we perfrom everyday in thai temples

Sangha Bhithuti - Praise to the Sangha
(นำ) หันทะ มะยัง สังฆาภิถุติง กะโรมะ เส ฯ
Handa mayam sanghaabhithutim karoma se:
(LEADER): Now let us give high praise to the Sangha:

(รับ) โย โส สุปะฏิปันโน ภะคะวะโต สาวะกะสังโฆ,
[Yo so supatipanno] bhagavato saavaka-sangho,
(ALL): The Sangha of the Blessed Ones disciples who have practiced well,

อุชุปะฏิปันโน ภะคะวะโต สาวะกะสังโฆ
Uju-patipanno bhagavato saavaka-sangho,
the Sangha of the Blessed Ones disciples who have practiced straightforwardly,

ญายะปะฏิปันโน ภะคะวะโต สาวะกะสังโฆ,
Ñaaya-patipanno bhagavato saavaka-sangho,
the Sangha of the Blessed Ones disciples who have practiced methodically,

สามีจิปะฏิปันโน ภะคะวะโต สาวะกะสังโฆ,
Saamiici-patipanno bhagavato saavaka-sangho,
the Sangha of the Blessed Ones disciples who have practiced masterfully,

ยะทิทัง จัตตาริ ปุริสะยุคานิ อัฏฐะ ปุริสะปุคคะลา,
Yadidam cattaari purisa-yugaani attha purisa-puggalaa:
i.e., the four pairs — the eight types — of Noble Ones:

เอสะ ภะคะวะโต สาวะกะสังโฆล อาหุเนยโย
Esa bhagavato saavaka-sangho —
That is the Sangha of the Blessed Ones disciples —

ปาหุเนยโย ทักขิเณยโย อัญชะลีกะระณีโย,
AAhuneyyo paahuneyyo dakkhineyyo añjali-karaniiyo,
worthy of gifts, worthy of hospitality, worthy of offerings, worthy of respect,

อะนุตตะรัง ปุญญักเขตตัง โลกัสสะ,
Anuttaram puññakkhettam lokassa:
the incomparable field of merit for the world:

ตะมะหัง สังฆัง อะภิปูชะยามิ
Tam-aham sangham abhipuujayaami,
I worship most highly that Sangha,

ตะมะหัง สังฆัง สิระสา นะมามิ ฯ
Tam-aham sangham sirasaa namaami
To that Sangha I bow my head down.
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: Bhikkhuni Ordination performed - by Ajahn Brahmavamso

Postby cooran » Fri Nov 20, 2009 9:59 pm

Hello jcsuperstar, all,

It has nothing to do with equality but rather with the improper procedure and secretive way things were done. This topic was set down for discussion in December.
As Bhikkhu Bodhi says, it should have waited until then.

Bhikkhu Bodhi said: I believe that, even if you both had felt that the urgency of bhikkhuni ordination had reached a “tipping point,” the meeting in December would have served as the ideal venue to press for a final decision. Even if you were pessimistic that the meeting would have had fruitful results, it still could have served as a final testing ground. If, at that meeting, the international abbots had approved bhikkhuni ordination, at least for Western Australia, you would have been at liberty to arrange the ordination in harmony with the wider WPP Sangha (at least the international branches) and thus hurt feelings would have been minimized. If, on the other hand, the proposal to conduct bhikkhuni ordination was flatly rejected, Ajahn Brahm could have made a reasonable choice. He could either have decided to withdraw from the WPP network and arrange the ordination as a fully autonomous elder monk; or else, while still belonging to the WPP Sangha, he could have conducted the ordination in defiance of the prevailing decision and risked excommunication. In such an event, at least, the decision to proceed with bhikkhuni ordination would have been made openly and after a final attempt at persuasion had failed. Six more weeks of waiting, and the issue could have been decided by a simple up or down vote. As it is, by conducting the ordination in a secretive way, without giving sufficient heed to the opinions and feelings of others in his tradition, he has caused divisions, belligerence, and pain which, with more circumspection, might have been avoided or at least reduced.


is it simply because they were the 1st white guys to ordain in this tradition?

My Abbot is 'a white guy' and so are many of the others from around the world.

on one hand we are told that ajahn brahm should have waited, why? as an aboot and a long time associate of these other abbots shouldnt his opinion of how he thought those other abbots would react trump what we suppose they would have done?

He should have waited because all the other Abbots in the Ajahn Chah Forest Sangha were flying into his state and country for a meeting at his Monastery in a week or so's time, and the Bhikkuni ordination was the main item on the Agenda. Brahmavamso acted secretly and diesrespectfuly 6 weeks prior to the meeting, to try to present them with a fait accompli and against the direction of his superior in the Sangha, Ajahn Sumedho.
It is the way things were done that is most unwholesome.

metta
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Re: Bhikkhuni Ordination performed - by Ajahn Brahmavamso

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Nov 20, 2009 10:40 pm

Hi Pink
the issue of Bhikkhuni ordination goes back allot further, 90 years would be to part it but the debate dates back even further than that.

the issue being discussed is this ordination (see thread title) and its effects on wider acceptance of the re-establishing of the Bhikkhuni line, the full discussion of the history and how it is possible is would need to be another thread t another time to keep it away from the heat of the problems of this ordination. and so it could be discussed more with equipose.
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Re: Bhikkhuni Ordination performed - by Ajahn Brahmavamso

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Nov 20, 2009 10:50 pm

just came accross this from Thanissaro Bhikkhu on the Dhamma light site

November 13, 2009


Dear Venerable,





You sent me a copy of the transaction statements used at the recent bhikkhunī ordination ceremony in Australia and asked for my opinion as to their validity. After looking them over and rereading the relevant passages in the Canon and commentaries, I would like to focus on one aspect of the statements: the use of a form in which two candidates are mentioned in a single proclamation. This is a detailed technical point, and the discussion will have to be long, so please bear with me.





First, to establish context: A striking feature of the Canon’s rules for the bhikkhunīs, when compared with its rules for the bhikkhus, is how sketchy they are. Many procedures are mentioned without a detailed explanation of how they should be done; the Vibhaṅgas, or explanations of the Bhikkhunī Pāṭimokkha rules, omit many discussions that would be par for the course in the Vibhaṅgas for the Bhikkhu Pāṭimokkha rules; the Pāṭimokkha rules that the bhikkhunīs have in common with the bhikkhus are not listed in the Canon; and the narratives surrounding the stage-by- stage development of specific procedures contain large gaps. Thus the traditional approach in filling in these blanks has been to apply the Great Standards (mahāpadesa) given in Mahāvagga VI:




“Bhikkhus, whatever I have not objected to, saying, ‘This is not allowable,’ if it conforms with what is not allowable, if it goes against what is allowable, that is not allowable for you.

“Whatever I have not objected to, saying, ‘This is not allowable,’ if it conforms with what is allowable, if it goes against what is not allowable, that is allowable for you.

“And whatever I have not permitted, saying, ‘This is allowable,’ if it conforms with what is not allowable, if it goes against what is allowable, that is not allowable for you.

“And whatever I have not permitted, saying, ‘This is allowable,’ if it conforms with what is allowable, if it goes against what is not allowable, that is allowable for you.”—Mv.VI.40.1





To apply these standards in this area means that if the bhikkhunīs are required or allowed to follow a certain procedure that is not explained in their rules, the procedure can be adapted from a corresponding procedure in the bhikkhus’ rules. In some cases, very little adaptation is required. For example, bhikkhunīs are allowed to impose disciplinary transactions on any of their misbehaving members, but nowhere are the transactions or their requirements described as applied to bhikkhunīs. The traditional solution to this problem has been to take the relevant procedures from the bhikkhus’ rules and simply change the genders in the transaction statements.




Other adaptations, however, are more complex. The fifth garudhamma, for example, requires that a bhikkhunī who has broken any of the eight garudhammas must observe a half-month penance in both the Bhikkhunī Saṅgha and the Bhikkhu Saṅgha. Only one fragment of this procedure is recorded in the bhikkhunī rules: at Cv.X.25.3, treating a problem that would come up in a bhikkhunī’s penance but not a bhikkhu’s. The Commentary’s solution—in its comments on Cullavagga III (pp. 271ff. in volume three of the Thai edition)—is to adapt the procedures from a bhikkhu’s penance for a saṅghādisesa offense. This involves adding steps dealing with the particular problems that would come up for all concerned given that the bhikkhunī has to observe her penance in two Saṅghas instead of just one, and subtracting regulations rendered inoperable by the fact that a bhikkhunī’s penance, unlike a bhikkhu’s, is always for half a month, regardless of whether she conceals the offense.




So it’s a standard feature, when discussing the bhikkhunī rules, to make heavy use of the Great Standards. This is not an ideal situation, for there are times when it is hard to find an exact correspondence between a rule for the bhikkhunīs and the nearest similar rule for bhikkhus. But it’s the situation we’re in.





Now for the specific considerations surrounding the transaction statements in question:





1) In some cases, a Community can perform a Community transaction with two or three people as the objects.





2) Mv.I.74.3 places a special condition on applying this principle to the Acceptance (full ordination) of bhikkhus: “I allow a single proclamation to be made for two or three if they have the same preceptor, but not if they have different preceptors.”





3) There is no corresponding allowance for bhikkhunī ordination.





4) It might be argued on the basis of the Great Standards that an allowance similar to Mv.I.74.3 could be assumed for bhikkhunī ordination. However, there is an important difference between the rules surrounding bhikkhus’ preceptors (upajjhāya) and the bhikkhunīs’ sponsors (pavattanī): Rules 82 and 83 in the Bhikkhunī pācittiyas state:




Bhī Pc 82. Should any bhikkhunī sponsor [Acceptances—act as a preceptor] in consecutive years, it is to be confessed.




Bhī Pc 83. Should any bhikkhunī sponsor [Acceptances—act as a preceptor for] two [candidates] in one year, it is to be confessed.





There are no corresponding rules for bhikkhus. The origin stories for these rules indicate that they were formulated at a time when there weren’t enough residences for bhikkhunīs, but the Vibhaṅgas to the rules do not relax them when residences are plentiful. Thus they are intended to be always in force. And for good reason: They have the practical effect of protecting aspiring bhikkhunīs and the Bhikkhunī Saṅgha as a whole. Unlike bhikkhus, whose dependency on their mentors must last at least five years, a bhikkhunī’s dependence on her sponsor lasts only two. Thus these rules ensure that, in that reduced time period, she has the full attention of her sponsor in receiving her training. Once her dependency is over, the Bhikkhunī Saṅgha will find her easier to live with because she has been thoroughly trained.





5) However, Bhī Pc 82 and Bhī Pc 83 have an important role in shaping the proper Acceptance procedure for bhikkhunīs. Unlike an upajjhāya, who may take on up to three candidates in a single proclamation, a pavattanī may take on only one. Otherwise she would be breaking Bhī Pc 83. Thus the Great Standards cannot be used to extend to bhikkhunīs the allowance given to bhikkhus in Mv.I.74.3. A single transaction statement giving Acceptance to two or three bhikkhunī candidates with a single sponsor would intrinsically involve a pācittiya offense for the sponsor, and—according to the Vibhaṅga to Pc 83—dukkaṭa offenses for all the other bhikkhunīs participating in the transaction. This sort of transaction statement, because it intrinsically entails the breaking of a rule, would thus be totally unauthorized. In the words of Mv.X.3.2, it would be “apart from the Vinaya… apart from the Teacher’s instruction.” As Mv.X.3.2 further states, any transaction of this sort is “not a transaction and should not be carried out.”





6) It bears noting that there are no examples of transaction statements authorized in the Canon where the sheer form of the statement would intrinsically entail the breaking of a rule.





7) Generally, whatever a “transaction that is not a transaction” claimed to accomplish would automatically not count as accomplished. For example, if a bhikkhunī were censured by her fellow bhikkhunīs through such a transaction, she would not actually count as censured and would not have to undergo the penalties attendant on that transaction. Applied to Acceptance, this would mean that the candidates accepted through such a transaction would not count as genuine bhikkhus or bhikkhunīs.





8) However, the Canon does contain one possible instance in which an unauthorized form of a transaction statement might be used for an Acceptance transaction and yet the candidate would count as validly accepted. I say “possible” and “might” because the Canon does not explicitly make this point, and we have to look into the commentarial literature to see if this is actually true. Because this would be the only possible parallel for validating the Acceptance of two or three bhikkhunī candidates using a single transaction statement, it is worth taking a look.

Mahāvagga I, in its discussion of bhikkhu ordination, contains a long list of people who should be not be given the Going-forth and/or Acceptance into the Bhikkhu Saṅgha. Mv.IX.4.11 classifies many of these people into two sorts: those who, even though they are given full Acceptance, do not count as validly accepted; and those who, if given full Acceptance, count as validly accepted even though the bhikkhus who accept them incur dukkaṭas. Not all of the cases mentioned in Mv.I are classified by Mv.IX.4.11, and among those that aren’t classified is the case that most resembles the question at hand—the resemblance lying in the fact that it might entail an unauthorized form of a transaction statement, and yet the candidate would count as accepted. This is the case, mentioned in Mv.I.69.1, of a candidate given Acceptance without a preceptor. (Mv.I.69.2-3 mentions two similar cases—a candidate given Acceptance with the Community or a group as his preceptor; Mv.I.70.1-3 mentions cases in which a candidate without a bowl or robe is given Acceptance. All of these could potentially entail an unauthorized form of a transaction statement, but the commentaries treat them all in the same way that they treat Mv.I.69.1, so for convenience’s sake I will focus attention solely on Mv.I.69.1.)

The Commentary (page 100 in volume three of the Thai edition) classifies a candidate given Acceptance without a preceptor as one who, if given full Acceptance, still counts as validly accepted. It notes, without explanation, that there are some teachers who would not agree with this verdict, but then adds—again, without explanation—that the opinion of those teachers should not be held to. For the sake of the issue at hand, we will assume that the Commentary is correct on this point.

In defining what is meant by “one without a preceptor,” the Commentary states: “Upajjhaṁ agāhāpetva sabbena sabbaṁ upajjhāyavirahitaṁ: One who, without having been made to take on the state of having a preceptor, is entirely and in every way devoid of a preceptor.” This definition raises several questions. First, the meaning of “entirely and in every way devoid of a preceptor” could mean at least two different things here. (a) On the one hand, it might simply have been a way of contrasting this case with the ones following it in Mv.I.69, which deal with preceptors who are invalid for various reasons. With this sense, it might simply mean that the candidate has not taken a preceptor—in the standard procedure preliminary to the Acceptance transaction—but that a preceptor is nevertheless mentioned in the actual transaction statement. Or (b) it might mean not only that the candidate has not taken a preceptor, but also that no preceptor is mentioned in the transaction statement at all—the emphasis on sabbena sabbaṁ would certainly give this impression. Because an Acceptance transaction that does not mention the preceptor would break with the authorized pattern (see Mv.I.28.4-6 and Mv.I.76.9-12), this latter meaning—if it is indeed what the Commentary intended—would grant an exemption from following the authorized form. If this were the case, it would be the only known instance where an unauthorized form did not invalidate a Community transaction. This is why it is of particular interest to our discussion.





9) It turns out, however, that there is another passage in the Commentary that rules out possibility (b). This is the Commentary to Parivāra XIX.1.3 (pp. 611-612 in volume three of the Thai edition). The passage it is commenting on lists five ways in which a transaction statement is rendered invalid, thus invalidating the transaction as a whole: if it doesn’t touch on the matter, doesn’t touch on the Saṅgha, doesn’t touch on the individual, doesn’t touch on the motion, or if it later sets aside the motion. The Commentary, in explaining the phrase, “doesn’t touch on the individual,” gives as an example a case of an Acceptance transaction where the preceptor is not mentioned: “’Suṇātu me bhante Saṅgho. Ayaṁ Dhammarakkhito āyasmato Buddharakkhitassāti’ vattabbe ‘Suṇātu me bhante Saṅgho. Ayaṁ Dhammarakkhito upasampadāpekkhoti’ vadanto puggalaṁ na parāmasati nāma: He doesn’t touch on the individual means saying ‘May the Saṅgha listen to me, venerable sirs. This Dhammarakkhita is a candidate for Acceptance,’ when ‘May the Saṅgha listen to me, venerable sirs. This Dhammarakkhita is Ven. Buddharakkhita’s [candidate for Acceptance]’ should be said.” A statement of this sort would thus invalidate the transaction.

The author of the Sub-commentary (Sāratthadīpanī), in expanding on the Commentary to Mv.I.69, saw the potential contradiction between the two passages in the Commentary and so resolved it in the following way (pp.195-196 in volume four of the Thai edition).

First he explained the Commentary’s definition of “without a preceptor”— “Upajjhayaṁ aggāhāpetvāti [sic]: Upajjhāyo me bhante hohīti evaṁ upajjhaṁ aggāhāpetvā: ‘Without having been made to take on the state of having a preceptor’ [means] without having been made to take on the state of having a preceptor thus: ‘May you be my preceptor [this is a reference to the familiar preliminary procedure in the Acceptance ceremony].’”

Then he made the following observation: “Kammavācāya pana upajjhākittanaṁ kataṁyevāti daṭṭhabbaṁ. Aññathā puggalaṁ na parāmasatīti. Vutta-kamma-vipatti- sambhavato kammaṁ kuppeya. Teneva upajjhāyaṁ akittetvāti avatvā upajjhaṁ aggāhāpetvā icceva vuttaṁ: It is to be seen that, ‘in the transaction statement, the mentioning of the preceptor is absolutely [i.e., must be] done’ [I have not been able to trace this quotation]. Otherwise, ‘the individual is not touched on’ [this is a quotation from Pv.XIX.1.3]. Because of the condition of the invalidity of the spoken action, the transaction would be overturned. Therefore, without having said, ‘without having mentioned the preceptor’ it was simply said, ‘without having been made to take on the state of having a preceptor.’”

This sort of laconic, convoluted style is typical of the Sub-commentary. What it means is this: The Commentary’s statement, saying that the state of not having a preceptor would not automatically invalidate the transaction, applies only in cases where the Community has skipped the preliminary step of getting the candidate to formally request a preceptor but then proceeds to mention a preceptor in the transaction statements. It would not apply in the case where the transaction statement mentioned no preceptor at all, for that lack would yield an unallowable form of the transaction statement that would automatically invalidate the transaction as a whole.





10) Thus the Parivāra, Commentary, and Sub-commentary all insist on the need to preserve the form of the transaction statement, not granting validity to unauthorized forms in any situation, regardless of other exemptions. In other words, they recognize no exception to the principle stated in Mv.X.3.2, that any transaction “apart from the Vinaya… apart from the Teacher’s instruction is not a transaction.” This point would hold especially in cases where the form intrinsically entailed the breaking of a rule.

Following this standard, a bhikkhunī ordination in which the transaction statements mentioned more than one candidate per statement would not be considered valid, and the candidates would not count as accepted.





11) One possible objection to this argument is that it relies heavily on the Parivāra and commentaries, which are not universally recognized as authoritative. However, if we were to argue strictly from the Sutta Vibhaṅga and the Khandakas—the most authoritative texts in the canonical Vinaya—we would come to the same conclusion:





a) Bhī Pc 83 does not allow a bhikkhunī to act as a sponsor for more than one candidate for ordination in a year. This rule is in force regardless of the number of residences available for bhikkhunīs.

b) There are no examples of transaction statements authorized in the Canon where the sheer form of the statement would intrinsically entail the breaking of a rule

c) Thus the allowance at Mv.I.74.3—allowing a single proclamation to mention two or three candidates for bhikkhu ordination—cannot be extended to bhikkhunīs, for such a statement would intrinsically be “apart from the Vinaya… apart from the Teacher’s instruction.”

d) As Mv.X.3.2 states, any transaction using this sort of statement would be “not a transaction.”

e) There are no cases where the Canon explicitly states that an unauthorized form of a transaction statement might be used for an Acceptance transaction and yet the candidate would count as validly accepted. In other words, there are no exemptions for the ruling at Mv.X.3.2.

f) Thus a bhikkhunī ordination in which the transaction statements mentioned more than one candidate per statement would not be considered valid, and the candidates would not count as bhikkhunīs.





Of course, not everyone takes even the most authoritative Vinaya texts in the Canon as totally authoritative, but there are those who do. Any Community that wanted its transactions to receive universal recognition from other Communities would be well advised to give these points serious consideration and stick strictly to the authorized forms.





12) Another possible objection is that this concern with form is narrow and heartlessly legalistic. We have to remember, though, how the Buddha instituted the Saṅgha. He created no overarching organization to administer or police the survival of his Dhamma and Vinaya. Instead, he established rules, protocols, and other patterns of behavior, entrusting each local Community with the task of governing itself in line with those forms. The act of adhering to the authorized forms for Community transactions is one of the few ways we have of showing to ourselves and others that we are deserving of the Buddha’s trust.

This is why the Canon is so insistent that the forms be followed accurately. Mv.IX.3.4, for instance, defines a non-dhamma transaction as various combinations of motions and proclamations, the two parts of a transaction statement, in which motions are confused with proclamations, or a deficient number of proclamations are made. It then goes on to declare all these transactions as “reversible and unfit to stand.” This pattern holds even though the statements are otherwise allowable. If an otherwise allowable transaction is invalidated simply by confusing motions with proclamations, or by leaving out a proclamation, why would an unallowable form of a transaction statement be fit to stand?

Admittedly, the fact that a group follows the authorized forms when conducting Community transactions may provide only a minimal guarantee of its trustworthiness, but it is at least an outward sign that the members of the Community know something of the Buddha’s teachings, respect what they know, and are behaving in good faith. If a Community were to deviate from the authorized forms, that fact would immediately call their knowledge and motives—their fitness to carry on the Dhamma and Vinaya—into question. This is why the forms are so important for mutual respect, harmony, and trust—all qualities of the heart—in the Community at large.

Concerning the issues of ordaining and training bhikkhunīs, there are many other points that have to be considered, but this was all you requested, so I’ll ask to stop here.





With best wishes,

Thanissaro Bhikkhu
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Re: Bhikkhuni Ordination performed - by Ajahn Brahmavamso

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Nov 20, 2009 10:59 pm

Hi Chris,
Chris wrote:This is your view - what you wish to believe - and not related to the truth of the situation as it unfolded. Do you personally know even one of the Abbots involved? ( Ven Dhammasiha, Abbot of Dhammagiri, Brisbane, will be attending the Meeting in Thailand in December).

I hope you're not referring to my posts. I was actually agreeing with you and Manapa and trying to get across that I find it counterproductive to label those who are not fully behind ordaining Bhikkhuni's this instant as conservative and obstructive. I think all three of us have had some contact with some of the Abbots involved.

On the other hand, there are forces in the overall culture of Buddhism in Thailand that made this an issue in the first place. That's what I was referring to when I mentioned difficulties on both sides - I wasn't referring to the Ajahn Chah Abbots...

Metta
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Re: Bhikkhuni Ordination performed - by Ajahn Brahmavamso

Postby cooran » Fri Nov 20, 2009 11:10 pm

Hello Mike,

No - I think you and I agree.

I was having a hissy-fit with Mr. Pink ~ just dosa ~ I'm over it now. :smile:

metta
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Re: Bhikkhuni Ordination performed - by Ajahn Brahmavamso

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Nov 20, 2009 11:31 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Chris,
Chris wrote:This is your view - what you wish to believe - and not related to the truth of the situation as it unfolded. Do you personally know even one of the Abbots involved? ( Ven Dhammasiha, Abbot of Dhammagiri, Brisbane, will be attending the Meeting in Thailand in December).

I hope you're not referring to my posts. I was actually agreeing with you and Manapa and trying to get across that I find it counterproductive to label those who are not fully behind ordaining Bhikkhuni's this instant as conservative and obstructive. I think all three of us have had some contact with some of the Abbots involved.

On the other hand, there are forces in the overall culture of Buddhism in Thailand that made this an issue in the first place. That's what I was referring to when I mentioned difficulties on both sides - I wasn't referring to the Ajahn Chah Abbots...

Metta
Mike

someone agrees with me :tongue:
LOL
Yes I have met Ajahn Sumedho, just being in his presence made me want to go forth
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Bhikkhuni Ordination performed - by Ajahn Brahmavamso

Postby Dhammanando » Sat Nov 21, 2009 4:08 am

Hi Manapa,

Manapa wrote:just came accross this from Thanissaro Bhikkhu on the Dhamma light site

[...]

Of course, not everyone takes even the most authoritative Vinaya texts in the Canon as totally authoritative, but there are those who do. Any Community that wanted its transactions to receive universal recognition from other Communities would be well advised to give these points serious consideration and stick strictly to the authorized forms.

[...]

Another possible objection is that this concern with form is narrow and heartlessly legalistic. We have to remember, though, how the Buddha instituted the Saṅgha. He created no overarching organization to administer or police the survival of his Dhamma and Vinaya. Instead, he established rules, protocols, and other patterns of behavior, entrusting each local Community with the task of governing itself in line with those forms. The act of adhering to the authorized forms for Community transactions is one of the few ways we have of showing to ourselves and others that we are deserving of the Buddha’s trust.


Thanks for posting this. It's an excellent vinicchaya on the part of Ven. Thanissaro.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando
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Re: Bhikkhuni Ordination performed - by Ajahn Brahmavamso

Postby catmoon » Sat Nov 21, 2009 4:48 am

Manapa wrote:the sangha which is harmonious is stronger than the sangha which is scattered, arguing, and hurt.


This seems to deny the possibility of a sangha that is harmonious and utterly mistaken. Is the sangha immune from groupthink?
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Re: Bhikkhuni Ordination performed - by Ajahn Brahmavamso

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Nov 21, 2009 5:34 am

Welcome back Venerable,
Dhammanando wrote:Thanks for posting this. It's an excellent vinicchaya on the part of Ven. Thanissaro.

Would you be willing to venture some guidance about the issue of whether Bhikhuni ordination completely compatible with the Vinaya is actually possible, and, if not, where the key problems are?

Metta
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