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I am interested in learning more about Siima - which are monastic boundaries. Siima are used for sanghakamma or official monastic acts such as recitation of the Patimohka and ordination ceremonies. Essentially they are boundaries where every monk present must agree for an act to be valid. Siima have become increasingly complex over the years with many requirements for their proper establishment and many different types of siima. One type is a water boundary. This is where a small 'island' is developed so that all sides of the boundary are water. There was a major dispute in Sri Lanka within the Siyam Nikaya over a water siima. One group argued it wasn't a proper siima because there was a small plank attaching the platform to the land. This lead to a split within the Siyam Nikaya.
You may notice if you go to a Thai temple that has a Bot or (Uposatha Hall) that there are about nine markers surrounding it. These are the siima markers.
Also, I believe the requirements for siima differ between the Theravada tradition and the Dharmaguptaka tradition. This is why some Theravadins believe Chinese monks are not properly ordained and this therefore creates problems for the reintroduction of Bhikkhuni ordination from the Chinese tradition.
What I would like to know is, if anyone knows, how did the siima develop. Is there requirements about the siima in the canonical vinaya or did it develop in the commentaries or sub-commentaries.
Also, what about the other schools
I know that there is a German scholar who has done extensive research on the Siima. Her name is Petra Kieffer-Pülz and she has written mostly in German, and a few articles in English - which are hard to acccess.
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Thanks for the reference, Bhante.
Makes me now wonder if I should still plan to fly into Cambodia for a Fang Roop Nimit ceremony, if the sima is not going to be eternal...
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Well it is still a part of most such ceremonies that the old previous Sima which may
have existed there before has to be formally removed first. Recently a group of Thais came to our monastery in Germany and one of the ladies said, "I have a strong feeling that on this land, there used to be a monastery in the time of the previous Buddha Dipankara." If you believe such intuitions, I guess you have to remove old Simas, if you dont then you dont need to...
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