Bhikkhuni ordination...

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

Bhikkhuni ordination...

Postby appicchato » Wed Apr 29, 2009 12:35 am

The bhikkhuni question

http://www.bangkokpost.com/leisure/leisurescoop/15800/the-bhikkhuni-questionRe-examining%20conventional%20wisdom%20on%20the

issue of bhikkhunis in the Theravada Buddhist tradition
By: NISSARA HORAYANGURA
Published: 28/04/2009 at 12:00 AM
Newspaper section: Outlook

The bhikkhuni (fully-ordained Buddhist female monk) issue in Thailand can either stir up a lot of controversy or summon nothing more than a shrug.

Ajahn Brahm: It is a myth that Theravada bhikkhunis cannot be revived correctly according to Vinaya.

To many, it is a non-issue, either because they do not believe the Theravada bhikkhuni sangha can be revived, do not see any need for it, do not think women want it, or do not even know it already exists. Yet, with Theravada bhikkhunis now found in every region of Thailand, as well as around the world, the issue cannot be ignored for long.

Whether one is for, against, or indifferent to bhikkhunis, having accurate and broad-based information is key for understanding the issue more deeply and forming well-grounded opinions. Here, Ajahn Brahm, shared his knowledge and perspectives on the issue.

The UK-born and Cambridge-educated monk was ordained in 1974 and trained for nine years under Ajahn Chah in the Thai forest. He is well-known for his Vinaya scholarship and is currently the abbot of Bodhinyana Monastery in Australia, where there are growing calls for Theravadan bhikkhuni ordination to occur on Australian soil.

Here are some excerpts from the interview.

- Is it true that since the Theravada bhikkhuni sangha 'died out' many centuries ago, it has been impossible to ordain new bhikkhunis correctly according to Vinaya? And are Thai bhikkhunis who have been ordained since the Theravada bhikkhuni sangha, which was restored in Sri Lanka [in the late 1990s with Mahayana bhikkhunis as preceptors], not legitimate Theravada bhikkhunis?

The four pillars of Buddhist society—bhikkhus (male monks), bhikkhunis (female monks), ‘upasaka’ (male lay devotees) and ‘upasika’ (female lay devotees)—are pictured on a mural in the Hall of the Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho. PHOTOS OF THE MURALS ARE COURTESY OF SUSAN PEMBROKE—ALLIANCE FOR BHIKKHUNIS

That is a myth. In Thailand, we sometimes spend too much of our time believing our teachers, believing accepted wisdom rather than investigating and challenging. I thought, too, when I was a young monk in Thailand that the bhikkhuni order couldn't be legally revived. But having investigated and studied, I've found there is no problem at all. Someone like Bhikkhu Bodhi [a respected Theravada scholar-monk] has researched the Pali Vinaya and his paper is one of the most eloquent I've seen - fair, balanced, comes out on the side of 'It's possible, why don't we do this?' I've helped to publish the Thai translation of Bhikkhu Bodhi's paper, which will be distributed to monks and other interested people in Thailand.

One of the biggest myths is that bhikkhunis in the Mahayana tradition are somehow separated from the Theravada. But the truth of the matter is, there is no such thing as a Mahayana Vinaya. In all the Mahayana schools, they follow mostly a Dharmagupta Vinaya. Dharmagupta is one of the Theravada sects. They follow Theravada Vinaya. So the bhikkhunis we see even now in Taiwan and China is a lineage that is unbroken since the time of the Buddha.

In addition, there is another way of reading the Vinaya to say that the Buddha left an opportunity open for just the bhikkhus to ordain bhikkhunis and revive the bhikkhuni sangha.

Given this possibility in the Vinaya, we can argue that point as scholars, but also out of compassion. You have to follow the rules, but if there is a possible interpretation, which is the kind one, that's the one we should follow because that's what the Buddha would have encouraged us to do.

It was very easy before to say it can't be done. Now the argument is not whether it can or can't be done, but why it should or shouldn't be done.

- So why do you think it should be done?

In close-up view, it is clear the saffron-robed figures on the mural are female.

Why did the Buddha establish the bhikkhuni order if it wasn't going to help further the dharma or give more possibility for women to become enlightened? We always say the Buddha knows better than us. If the Buddha thought it was a good idea, then why can't we?

It actually saddens me as a monk that women don't have the support to renounce. If they were given half the chance, many women would like to live the monastic life. If we had ordinations and monasteries for bhikkhunis just like we have for bhikkus, they would flourish. They would not abuse the opportunity, they would not destroy the sangha, they would enhance it, embellish it and they'd do a marvellous service of bringing Buddhism into the 21st century and into the forefront of Thai society again.

It's often said that Thai people, both in Bangkok and the provinces, are moving away from Buddhism. Having bhikkhunis would be one very powerful, effective way to restore that confidence in Buddhism. It'll show that we're modern. And it'll show that we are a fair religion. How can we say that we are following reason and truth and fairness when we deny 50 percent of the population the same opportunities?

In a country like Australia, there is no choice. When other religions are introducing equal rights to women, if Buddhism doesn't we're not going to survive. It's culturally unacceptable to have a lack of equity for men and women in Western countries and it's becoming that way in Thailand.

Buddhism is also fading in Thailand because people aren't respecting monks so much. Get the women on board and they can help clean it up.

- In Thailand, there are already many laywomen who are dharma teachers and 'mae chees' [white-robed nuns] who are highly respected and content with their role. Many laypeople say it doesn't matter to them if someone is wearing the yellow robe or not, as long as they give good teachings. So why do we need to have bhikkhunis?

Even in countries like Australia or the US, where there are many lay teachers, along with monk teachers and monks who don't teach. Even the monks who don't teach get more support than the lay people who do teach. People support the sangha because the Buddha himself said in the suttas [discourses] that any gift given to the bhikkhu and bhikkhuni sangha earns much higher merit than a gift given to a layperson. Why? Because you're not supporting a person, you're supporting a tradition, a vehicle.

Mae chees are not a field of merit as such. The Buddha never established a mae chee order. He established the bhikkhuni order. You can't argue with that.

The reality is in Thailand, most mae chees do not have the prestige, and with it, the support. Perhaps if there were bhikkhunis, women would get more support.

And some people will ask me, 'Are there even any women who want to become bhikkhunis?' As long as there's one person who wants to become a bhikkhuni, we should make that an opportunity for them. Not everyone wants to become a bhikkhuni. But if there's one, 10, 20, then why not? And as far as I know, many women do want to become bhikkhunis.

- It is not necessary to be a bhikkhuni to realise enlightenment - some laywomen and mae chees have done it. How can being a bhikkhuni help one to progress in dharma and reach the highest goal? This is related to the issue of support. The Buddha said you need sappaya [conducive conditions] for practice - a quiet place, good support and not too many duties to perform. Currently, it's very hard for women to find such places.

Another benefit is the inspiration it gives you. As a monk, I know I'm in a lineage, which goes back 2,500 years. Recently, I was in Sri Lanka where there is a cave that has inscriptions saying it was offered to the sangha 1,500 years ago. And you could sit in that cave and know that there'd been monks who'd been sitting in that cave for the last 1,500 years, meditating. Keeping the same precepts that I was. That gave me such an inspiration. You feel you have to keep up that tradition and honour those monks who came before. That's a huge help to my own practice. It's powerful.

Also, a bhikkhuni has more rules of restraint than an upasika (female disciple) or a mae chee [eight to 10 precepts versus 311 precepts for bhikkhunis]. What we are restraining are the senses, the outflows of the mind, the defilements. So in a very profound sense, when one makes that transition, even from a novice to a bhikkhu, or mae chee to a bhikkhuni, those extra rules are very helpful. Because of greater restraint, you usually find that it's easier to gain the deeper attainments in meditation and also enlightenment.

- But can't women practitioners just study the bhikkhuni rules and keep them on their own, without needing to be bhikkhunis?

When you keep the rules when you're living in a community [of monks], then you really do keep the rules. Because there are other monks checking on you. And you're in a situation where you're supported to keep the rules. If you try to keep them by yourself, other people who don't understand their importance will argue with you, and you will lose those rules.

- Similarly, women are commonly told by many monks and even other laywomen that 'it's not necessary to ordain to practice'. You can ordain in your heart ['buad thi jai'] and practise wherever you are. What do you think?

If monks say [to women] that it's not necessary to ordain to practice well, then they should disrobe and practise as laypersons. Then at least they'll be true to their word. The reason why they are monks is because it is easier to practise as a bhikkhu or bhikkhuni.

I was there with Ajahn Chah one evening when Christopher Titmuss [a lay teacher in the UK], who was then a monk, went to tell Ajahn Chah he was about to disrobe. Ajahn Chah said, "Why?" And he said, "Because I want to teach the dharma in the West, and it's easier to teach as a layperson than a monk". And Ajahn Chah responded, "Then why did the Buddha establish the sangha?" He made a very strong point, that the Buddha established it because it is the best vehicle for a person to practise to reach enlightenment, and also the best vehicle for teaching the dharma.

- Do you think that during the time that the Theravada bhikkhuni order was discontinued for centuries, fewer women have attained enlightenment than would have otherwise been possible?

Reason tells me that the spiritual attainments of women would have been less without the bhikkhuni sangha. The spiritual attainment of men would have also been less [without the bhikkhu sangha].

- So in a way is it rather like 'lip service' to say 'women and men have equal spiritual potential' if there are not equal supporting conditions to realise that potential?

I agree. I'd use a simile. We may say that women are as intelligent as men, but then have no universities that accept women. When I went to Cambridge University there were about 30 colleges for men and only three colleges for women. Today men and women are equally represented throughout that university. If we'd have said, "Yes, women are as intelligent" but still kept 30 men's colleges to three women's colleges, would that be acceptable?

- Many people negatively perceive those seeking bhikkhuni ordination as strident feminists demanding equal rights.

The ones I've met who are seeking ordination are not like that at all. I think that's another myth. They're not demanding. They've come to me and said "I'm not doing this for myself". What they're going to do will be tough, tough as ever, but they want to do it as a service. There's almost a sense of mission, to make it possible, not maybe for them, but for other women, to live the Holy Life in its purity. So there's a sense of sacrifice - they're doing this out of high ideals, not out of personal gain.

- Many, even those sympathetic to bhikkhunis, feel powerless to do anything because of the Thai Sangha Council's 80-year-old ruling forbidding monks from ordaining women and the still weak societal acceptance of bhikkhunis. What can people, both monk and lay, do to help support the bhikkhuni revival?

It's never the case that "nothing can be done". It's just that you haven't thought of it yet. Keep on thinking, keep on investigating, and eventually solutions come up.

If there's anything we can do to improve society, even simple things, we should. It's irresponsible not to. Because it's our duty as human beings.

The main obstacle is ignorance of the fact that the bhikkhuni lineage has already been revived and is legitimate. So, we should spread this news to the Buddhist institutions and societies, and the media.

Next, the small bhikkhuni sangha requires special material support to grow from almost no resources, so give offerings to the sangha of both genders just like laypeople did in the Buddha's time. And when the bhikkhuni sangha in Thailand has grown in numbers, and is well respected for its virtuous conduct and peaceful teachings, then its popularity will be the natural cause for changing any discriminatory legislation.

- Any parting words?

It's not hard to establish the bhikkhuni sangha if there are women wanting to do it and monks willing to perform the ordination. It's legally valid [according to Vinaya]. Why not? It's an experiment. Have an open mind, give it a chance, see what happens. And if it is true that it's not really necessary and that laypeople can practise just as well, then it won't last very long. So why not give it a try and see what happens?

Bhikkhu Bodhi's paper 'The Revival of Bhikkhuni Ordination in the Theravada Tradition' is available in both English and Thai at http://bhikkhunicommittee.googlepages.com/articles.

For a paper copy in Thai email info.bhikkhuni@gmail.com; include your name, address, affiliation and if desired some information about your background.

Visit http://www.bhikkhuni.net/library.htm/ for the full transcript of this interview with Ajahn Brahm.
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Re: Bhikkhuni ordination...

Postby Fede » Wed Apr 29, 2009 6:21 am

A fervent wish that this will come to pass..... sad that 2000 years after the Buddha's passing, in this so called enlightened age (pun intended) there is still this closeted view....

Thank you as ever, Bhante.... :bow:
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I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


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Re: Bhikkhuni ordination...

Postby puthujjana » Wed Apr 29, 2009 6:49 am

Thank you very much for posting this article, Bhante :bow:

I hope some Thai people will get inspired and help to reestablish the bhikkhuni sangha.

May the bhikkhuni sangha get reestablished soon.
May many women get the chance to walk on the path to freedom, peace and bliss as fully ordained nuns.
May many nuns attain final liberation.

:heart:

with metta
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Re: Bhikkhuni ordination...

Postby salmon » Wed Apr 29, 2009 8:14 am

It heartens me to hear such encouraging words from respected Venerables.

While the bhikkhuni order has been "lost" in Thailand, I do believe they have been revived in Sri Lanka? Some of my Thai teachers share similar sentiments to Ajahn Brahm but knowing how difficult it would be to get the Thai Sangha to recognize them, they have chosen to work within their own abilities of ordaining mae chees and treating them like ordained women, teaching them the dhamma and giving them due respect. All these, unfortunately, are confined to the walls of their own monastery. Outside those walls, these mae chees would have to fend for themselves. :(

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Re: Bhikkhuni ordination...

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Apr 29, 2009 2:25 pm

salmon wrote:It heartens me to hear such encouraging words from respected Venerables.

While the bhikkhuni order has been "lost" in Thailand, I do believe they have been revived in Sri Lanka?

The bhikkhuni line has been re-established. The controversy is over the acceptance of the fully ordained bhikkhunis. Many Theravadins, especially in the West and in Sri Lanka do accept the fully ordained nuns, but in Thailand and Burma there is much more resistance. Here is the timeline:

http://dhammawiki.com/index.php?title=B ... ordination

Here is a list of some bhikkhunis, some from historical times, but mostly from modern times:

http://dhammawiki.com/index.php?title=Category:Ayyas
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Re: Bhikkhuni ordination...

Postby clw_uk » Wed Apr 29, 2009 2:31 pm

Thanks for sharing this Bhante :smile:


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Re: Bhikkhuni ordination...

Postby Nadi » Thu Apr 30, 2009 12:36 am

In Sri Lanka, even the 10 precept nuns wear the brown robes, and are supported by the community. My first retreat was at a monastery run by 10 precept nuns about 6 years ago, and it was like any other monastery. There were facilities for both men and women to meditate, and instructions were given by the nuns. People would bring dana (breakfast and lunch) for the nuns and the people on retreat. And there is a long waiting list to book a dana there.

But of course it would be wonderful to have a fully restored bikkhuni sangha again!
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Re: Bhikkhuni ordination...

Postby phalanyani » Thu Apr 30, 2009 6:44 am

Thank you for sharing this with us. It fills my heart with hope.

Good news:
Since a few weeks there is a new Bhikkhuni, a former Mae Chii living in north Thailand, she ordained in China, in a Theravada tradition, with help of her preceptor, a Thai Ajahn. She lives in a monks-monastery and is respected by most of the monks. Most other Mae Chii's, after hearing about all the rules a Bhikkunis have to keep, lost interest in ordaining as Bhikkhunis, but there or some who will go for it.

My impression is that laity in broad and wide is ready for Bhikkhunis – if they keep the rules. They are tiered of bad behaving monks and have kind of hope that women will ordain because they wish to live the holy life.

I am Mae Chii farang since 10 month and live presently with an old monk in a small shabby forest monastery. He does not practice meditation nor does he teach. But he is very open minded and lets me do my meditation practice, lets me wear brown robes, and even protects me against the outside world, if necessary (a high monk of the district came to rebuke me for wearing brown robes and an outer robe that was looking almost like a monks robe but without pattern. In the end I was allowed to wear it and remain in brown.)
The old monk I'm staying with would even accept if i wore real monks robes all day. And so would the villagers whom i know from going on alms round every day. They respect me as much as the 3 other monks going on alms round in this village. I spoke to some of the villagers (my thai is extremely poor, though) and they would like to see me as a Bhikkhuni. I feel extremely fortunate to have found such a place where I'm accepted as the Mae Chii who tries best to live a life as a good monk - and where I can practice in peace.

Lets hope, monks will understand soon that women are an undeniable part of the fourfold Buddhist community of Bhikkhus, Bhikkhunis, Laymen and Laywomen.
May the word of Ajahn Brahm and the work of Bhikkhu Bodhi bear fruit and may the open minded and compassionate Bhikkhuship find a solution how to restore theTheravadian Bhikkhuni orden whithout causing a schism in the sangha.

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Re: Bhikkhuni ordination...

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Apr 30, 2009 2:27 pm

I agree with this part 100% (from Ajahn Brahm interview):

"If you don’t ordain bhikkhunis then Western people are going to stop being Buddhists. They’re going to throw away Buddhism. Because they’ll say it’s hypocritical. It’s not compassionate, it’s not wise, it’s just like another old religion - dogmatic, exploitive, rooted in the past, and can never really adapt to a country like Australia. There’s no reason why it can’t adapt. When we have bhikkhunis in countries like Australia, England, the US, and Europe, it will give a boost to Buddhism and Dhamma.

Part of my job in Australia is not just to practice Buddhism, but also to spread Buddhism. That’s my job, my role. One way of achieving that job and role is to encourage the inclusion of women in Buddhism at all levels."
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Re: Bhikkhuni ordination...

Postby Jechbi » Sun May 17, 2009 3:58 am

Can someone help me track down a scriptural reference regarding this:
I've heard that eight days after his enlightenment, the Buddha clearly stated his intention to establish a bhikkhuni order.
This occurred as Mara was trying to persuade him to pass into parinibbana without teaching anyone. The Buddha responded that he would not do so until he had established disciples who were bhikkhus, bhikkhunis, laymen and laywomen.
That would tend to counter the notion that the Buddha was reluctant to establish a bhikkhuni order in the first place and had to be persuaded by Ananda. It seems to have been more a matter of timing than whether or not to establish such an order.
Where can I find the story about the conversation with Mara?
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Re: Bhikkhuni ordination...

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun May 17, 2009 5:34 am

Jechbi wrote:Can someone help me track down a scriptural reference regarding this:
I've heard that eight days after his enlightenment, the Buddha clearly stated his intention to establish a bhikkhuni order.
This occurred as Mara was trying to persuade him to pass into parinibbana without teaching anyone. The Buddha responded that he would not do so until he had established disciples who were bhikkhus, bhikkhunis, laymen and laywomen.

Maybe you're think about the mistranslation in Sister Vajira & Francis Story's translation of the Mahāparinbbāna Sutta. There, Māra allegedly says to the Buddha:
"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.'

However, the Pāli text makes no mention of Bhikkhūṇis at all. It just goes to show how translators can change the meaning of the texts when they have an axe to grind.
Bhāsitā kho panesā, bhante, Bhagavatā vācā — ‘Na tāvāhaṃ, pāpima, parinibbāyissāmi, yāva me bhikkhū na sāvakā bhavissanti viyattā vinītā visāradā bahussutā dhammadharā dhammānudhammappaṭipannā sāmīcippaṭipannā anudhammacārino, sakaṃ ācariyakaṃ uggahetvā ācikkhissanti desessanti paññapessanti paṭṭhapessanti vivarissanti vibhajissanti uttānī karissanti, uppannaṃ parappavādaṃ sahadhammena suniggahitaṃ niggahetvā sappāṭihāriyaṃ dhammaṃ desessantī’ti.

I wasn't yet able to find the much earlier conversation between Māra and the Buddha alluded to by Māra in the Mahāparinibbāna Sutta. It should be in the Vinaya Mahāvagga.
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Re: Bhikkhuni ordination...

Postby Jechbi » Sun May 17, 2009 5:39 am

Thank you, Bhante. :anjali:
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
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Re: Bhikkhuni ordination...

Postby Dhammanando » Sun May 17, 2009 2:17 pm

Bhante,

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:Maybe you're think about the mistranslation in Sister Vajira & Francis Story's translation of the Mahāparinbbāna Sutta. There, Māra allegedly says to the Buddha:

"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.'



It's an abridgement, not a mistranslation. The Pali passage that you quoted concerning bhikkhu disciples is then repeated by the Buddha, replacing 'bhikkhus' with 'bhikkhunīs', then with 'upāsakas', lastly with 'upāsikās'. Sister Vajirā has compressed these four paragraphs into one.

I wasn't yet able to find the much earlier conversation between Māra and the Buddha alluded to by Māra in the Mahāparinibbāna Sutta. It should be in the Vinaya Mahāvagga.


Right. All the suttas in which the earlier conversation is reported take place during the narrative leading up to the parinibbāna.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
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Re: Bhikkhuni ordination...

Postby Dhammanando » Sun May 17, 2009 2:26 pm

Hi Jechbi,

Jechbi wrote:This occurred as Mara was trying to persuade him to pass into parinibbana without teaching anyone. The Buddha responded that he would not do so until he had established disciples who were bhikkhus, bhikkhunis, laymen and laywomen.

That would tend to counter the notion that the Buddha was reluctant to establish a bhikkhuni order in the first place and had to be persuaded by Ananda.


Yes, though I would add that it wouldn't necessarily make the Vinaya account false, as is sometimes asserted by modernists. For the Buddha might have had the intention to eventually do it, but in the meantime feigned reluctance (as in the Brahmā Sahampati episode). He even lays down a Vinaya allowance for bhikkhus to behave like this in some circumstances.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
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    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

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Re: Bhikkhuni ordination...

Postby Jechbi » Sun May 17, 2009 4:27 pm

Very interesting. Thank you, Bhante. :anjali:
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
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Re: Bhikkhuni ordination...

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun May 17, 2009 4:31 pm

Dhammanando wrote:It's an abridgement, not a mistranslation. The Pali passage that you quoted concerning bhikkhu disciples is then repeated by the Buddha, replacing 'bhikkhus' with 'bhikkhunīs', then with 'upāsakas', lastly with 'upāsikās'. Sister Vajirā has compressed these four paragraphs into one.

Ah! Thank for pointing that out. I should have read on a bit further. I had little time this morning before going for alms.
Dhammanando wrote:Right. All the suttas in which the earlier conversation is reported take place during the narrative leading up to the parinibbāna.

So the Bhikkhuṇī Sangha was already established.

Anyway, since the Buddha was Omniscient, he would have known that in his sāsana there would be a Bhikkhuṇī Sangha before there actually was.
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Re: Bhikkhuni ordination...

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed May 20, 2009 9:30 pm

Here is an update on bhikkhuni ordination from Susan Pembroke, President of Alliance for bhikkhunis:

'In 2000, there were no bhikkhunis in Thailand. As of the spring of 2009, there are about 45 Thai samaneris and bhikkhunis. This may seem an insignificant number, but if you consider recent Sri Lankan bhikkhuni history, you will understand how quickly this nucleus of ordained women can mushroom. In the mid-1990s, there were no bhikkhunis in Sri Lanka. Once women began ordaining in the late 1990s, within 11 to 12 years, their numbers swelled to about 600 bhikkhunis. Given the caliber of women I encountered while touring Thai bhikkhuni monasteries in March 2009, I fully expect to see a flourishing Thai bhikkhuni Sangha within a decade or two. (See my “Letter from the President” in the spring edition of our online newsletter Present, http://www.bhikkhuni.net/ ) The newsletter also features an interview with Ajahn Brahm. An article on Theravada bhikkhuni ordination by Bhikkhu Bodhi has been added to our Library as well.'

:toast: :woohoo:
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Re: Bhikkhuni ordination...

Postby Cittasanto » Thu May 21, 2009 3:20 pm

There was a nun at the Forest Hermitage but she had to leave due to the Visa, and I believe she has settled nicely into a Forest Monastery of Ajahn Chah's now, hope she does well.
never actually talked to her but we did meet once or twice in passing.

on a note about the ordination, I know there will be reasons etc but why dont High Ranking Bhikkhus follow the rules for admitting women into the order untill there are enough well trained Bhikkhunis to do the job themselves, after all the first nuns were 'ordained' by a man?

not actually wanting or expecting an answer for that one just a thought!
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Re: Bhikkhuni ordination...

Postby gavesako » Thu May 21, 2009 3:55 pm

Interesting to see the number of places in Thailand where bhikkhunis can live now. Also the ordinations performed by senior monks in the North: I was told that they regard it as a matter of honour to restore the 4-fold assembly in the Sasana particularly in the Lanna region, which has different cultural and historical roots compared to central Thailand.

Practically speaking, it is not at all easy to actually develop a functioning Bhikkhuni Sangha: on the paper it looks easy, just give us some places to live and money to send the nuns to university, but on the human level it comes down to the personalities involved, and sometimes finding a harmonious way of living together is the biggest obstacle.
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Re: Bhikkhuni ordination...

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu May 21, 2009 6:01 pm

Manapa wrote:on a note about the ordination, I know there will be reasons etc but why dont High Ranking Bhikkhus follow the rules for admitting women into the order untill there are enough well trained Bhikkhunis to do the job themselves, after all the first nuns were 'ordained' by a man?

not actually wanting or expecting an answer for that one just a thought!


Hi Manapa,

A bhikkhuni must first be ordained by a quorum of nuns and then by bhikkhus, thus, the controversy because it is not so much from the 'lack' of willing monks, but rather the lack of nuns (before reinstatement occurred).

But you are right, the first nuns, including Maha Pajapati Gotami and the 500 women with her who became nuns, had no quorum of nuns present.
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