Female monks cause a stir - Bangkok Post

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

Female monks cause a stir - Bangkok Post

Postby GraemeR » Mon Jan 28, 2013 2:24 am

What do you think of the ordination of nuns?

http://www.bangkokpost.com/breakingnews ... vestigated

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Re: Female monks cause a stir - Bangkok Post

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Jan 28, 2013 2:27 am

A wonderful, fantastic development, what the Buddha wanted.

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Re: Female monks cause a stir - Bangkok Post

Postby James the Giant » Mon Jan 28, 2013 2:29 am

Then,
saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.
SN 9.11
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Re: Female monks cause a stir - Bangkok Post

Postby Anagarika » Mon Jan 28, 2013 2:43 am

The old misogynist Thai Sangha doesn't want Bhikkhunis in Thailand. As was pointed out already, it was the Buddha, after some encouragement, who ordained women as monks. Imagine what a progression this was in Brahmanic India at the time.

So, while the Buddha was willing to run afoul of the severe cultural restrictions of his time, the Thai Sangha still sees women as unfit to ordain. One more reason why Ven. Brahm's bhikkhuni ordinations were so necessary and important, and as the female ordained sangha grows, there will be more and more ordinations of women. It's clearly a great development for the Buddhasangha worldwide.

The male Thai Sangha will still fight this development. It's curious, as so many articles are now being written about the erosion and irrelevance of the Thai monks. I lived in a Wat for a while as a samanera, and it was clear to me the strongest devotees of the Wat and the monks were the lay women. The women went to the temple to chant and meditate. The women volunteered. It wasn't a sexist issue, it was just that the women are largely, IMO, more devout and committed than are the men in Thailand. Having more bhikkhunis will be empowering for women in Thailand, and will help to sustain the Thai Sangha.
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Re: Female monks cause a stir - Bangkok Post

Postby Sekha » Mon Jan 28, 2013 3:32 am

David N. Snyder wrote:what the Buddha wanted.

well, that would imply as far as I know that all existing versions of the Gotamī Sutta AN 8.51 (Pali, Chinese, Tibetan) are corrupt. Is that what you mean?
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Re: Female monks cause a stir - Bangkok Post

Postby cooran » Mon Jan 28, 2013 3:46 am

Hello Sekha,

Perhaps I am misunderstanding you - could you explain what you mean about the Gotami Sutta?
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

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Re: Female monks cause a stir - Bangkok Post

Postby Sekha » Mon Jan 28, 2013 4:21 am

I mean AN 8.51 which is called Gotami sutta in Burmese edition as in VRI's version and is not found on ATI. The Gotami Sutta in ATI (AN 8.53) is called Samkhitta sutta in Burmese edition.

See Analyo's comparative work:
http://www.buddhismuskunde.uni-hamburg. ... japati.pdf

If I remember properly, he examines 9 different versions and they all agree on the fact that the Buddha first refused to create the nuns' order. The reason for doing so may vary, but the fact seems to be quite established in the texts: it was not entirely his wish to create the nuns order. I recognize however, that following the same line of reasoning, one would conclude that it was not entirely his wish to teach the Dhamma, as he waited for Brahma Sahampati to call for it first, although it is even more difficult to assess the veracity of that super-normal encounter.
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Re: Female monks cause a stir - Bangkok Post

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Jan 28, 2013 5:12 am

Did the Buddha grant permission for women to ordain or did he not? He did grant permission.

I know you are talking about the initial reluctance, but there are three possibilities for that:

1. The condition and status of women at the time, would mean that fewer people would become interested in Buddhism if women were ordained. As people progressed, at a later date the ordination would be better.

2. Because these women (many who were mothers, daughters, wives, sisters, cousins of many of the bhikkhus) might be subjected to rape, assault, sexual harassment and being termed "prostitutes and thieves", which in fact, did later occur as recorded in the Vinaya.

3. The Buddha was testing Ananda, Maha Pajapati Gotami, and the other women to see how devoted they really are.

I wish it was for #3 above, but realistically I think it was due mostly to #2 above. As you know from the Suttas the Buddha did confirm that women can attain to the highest levels of the Path, full-enlightenment; and it is generally accepted in Theravada that arahants must ordain.

After the Venerable Ananda persuaded the Buddha, he did grant permission.
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Re: Female monks cause a stir - Bangkok Post

Postby perkele » Mon Jan 28, 2013 5:42 am

Sekha wrote:it was not entirely his wish to create the nuns order. I recognize however, that following the same line of reasoning, one would conclude that it was not entirely his wish to teach the Dhamma, as he waited for Brahma Sahampati to call for it first,

The underlined is exactly what I thought before I read the sentence.
Sekha wrote:although it is even more difficult to assess the veracity of that super-normal encounter.

I do not think it really is. As it is all in the past we have no chance to witness either account without recourse to supernormal powers.
Anyway, that's not the point.

In any case, he did initiate the bhikkhuni order. And he could not do that without "wanting" it in the end. It was his intention in the end, to let this happen, and so it happened. So that, I think, is quite an unequivocal point.
What happened over the course of 2500 years is probably a bit more difficult to understand, and I think, not very much to be meaningfully related to what and what not the Buddha wanted either way.
So what he would "want" in today's circumstances, is, I think, quite an invalid question, especially when it comes to such rather "worldly" issues. And to seriously try to base an argument on that, especially in a largely political/social disagreement, would be dishonest, I think, to say the least.

The other Gotami Sutta may actually be more relevant here:
"Gotami, the qualities of which you may know, 'These qualities lead to passion, not to dispassion; to being fettered, not to being unfettered; to accumulating, not to shedding; to self-aggrandizement, not to modesty; to discontent, not to contentment; to entanglement, not to seclusion; to laziness, not to aroused persistence; to being burdensome, not to being unburdensome': You may categorically hold, 'This is not the Dhamma, this is not the Vinaya, this is not the Teacher's instruction.'


I'm neither for nor against bhikkhuni ordination. Where it works, I think that's a good thing. But it's not good to be political about it.
I wish for all who want to end suffering that they find the best circumstances for that. No matter what clothes they wear, no matter whether they're male or female, no matter whether people respect them or not. It becomes more difficult when these points are important.

The Buddha-Sasana can't last forever. In whichever way it persists, we should try to make the best of it.
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Re: Female monks cause a stir - Bangkok Post

Postby shaunc » Mon Jan 28, 2013 6:20 am

I don't really understand this. As far as I know the Thai tradition has always had nuns. Some are only part-time & when they leave the temple go home to husbands, kids & jobs. But some are full-time nuns. The only visible difference being the shaved heads of the full-time nuns. The ones that I have seen, unlike the ones in the photograph wear white. Would someone be able toexplain the difference of them all to me.
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Re: Female monks cause a stir - Bangkok Post

Postby Sekha » Mon Jan 28, 2013 6:25 am

Got you David, it's finally a matter of what the Buddha may have "wanted" at which moment. Hope this is understandable. And I was actually wrong in considering your assertion had to imply necessarily a rejection of the suttas' authenticity.

However, I think it is always safe not to make assertions about which sankharas were happening in the Buddha's mind-matter phenomenon. I think it is to be included in the "buddha-range of a Buddha" as an inconjecturable. See http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

perkele wrote:In any case, he did initiate the bhikkhuni order. And he could not do that without "wanting" it in the end. It was his intention in the end, to let this happen, and so it happened. So that, I think, is quite an unequivocal point.
What happened over the course of 2500 years is probably a bit more difficult to understand, and I think, not very much to be meaningfully related to what and what not the Buddha wanted either way.

agreed

perkele wrote:I'm neither for nor against bhikkhuni ordination.

agreed

perkele wrote:it's not good to be political about it.

agreed. And I think we have to preserve whatever little harmony there is inside the sangha. I would never have dared to initiate such a controversy in the way ajahn Brahm did. I would have brought the debate at the global level before taking any steps, and I would have called for another council or something similar. I think the mistake ajahn Brahm made was to act too quickly, and now we have this happening. Looks like he's been driven away by labha-sakkara-siloka and I wouldn't like to be in his shoes.

perkele wrote:I wish for all who want to end suffering that they find the best circumstances for that. No matter what clothes they wear, no matter whether they're male or female, no matter whether people respect them or not. It becomes more difficult when these points are important.

agreed

perkele wrote:The Buddha-Sasana can't last forever. In whichever way it persists, we should try to make the best of it.

agreed
Last edited by Sekha on Mon Jan 28, 2013 7:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Female monks cause a stir - Bangkok Post

Postby cooran » Mon Jan 28, 2013 6:54 am

shaunc wrote:I don't really understand this. As far as I know the Thai tradition has always had nuns. Some are only part-time & when they leave the temple go home to husbands, kids & jobs. But some are full-time nuns. The only visible difference being the shaved heads of the full-time nuns. The ones that I have seen, unlike the ones in the photograph wear white. Would someone be able toexplain the difference of them all to me.

Hello shaunc,

These articles may help:

THE REVIVAL OF BHIKKHUNĪ ORDINATION IN THE THERAVĀDA TRADITION - VEN. BHIKKHU BODHI
http://www.ancient-buddhist-texts.net/S ... dition.pdf

On the Bhikkhuni Question - An Interview with Ajahn Brahmavamso
http://www.buddhanet.net/budsas/ebud/ebdha353.htm

Bhikkhuni and Siladhara: Points of Comparison FAQ
http://www.dhammadharini.net/entering-m ... arison-faq

with metta
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Re: Female monks cause a stir - Bangkok Post

Postby shaunc » Mon Jan 28, 2013 7:37 am

Thanks Cooran.
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Female monks cause a stir - Bangkok Post

Postby GraemeR » Mon Jan 28, 2013 7:42 am

shaunc wrote:I don't really understand this. As far as I know the Thai tradition has always had nuns. Some are only part-time & when they leave the temple go home to husbands, kids & jobs. But some are full-time nuns. The only visible difference being the shaved heads of the full-time nuns. The ones that I have seen, unlike the ones in the photograph wear white. Would someone be able toexplain the difference of them all to me.


Normally nuns in Thailand take 8 precepts and wear white robes. This is what most Thai people are used to seeing. In other traditions they are fully ordained, here is one Thai example:

http://www.iwmcf.org/IWMC.html

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Re: Female monks cause a stir - Bangkok Post

Postby Mr Man » Mon Jan 28, 2013 7:46 am

It's rather an odd litle article with no explanation - A bit like the sighting of a UFO or the Loch Ness monster.
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Female monks cause a stir - Bangkok Post

Postby GraemeR » Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:02 am

Mr Man wrote:It's rather an odd litle article with no explanation - A bit like the sighting of a UFO or the Loch Ness monster.


I think some Thai men consider seeing nuns in orange robes is about as strange as seeing the Loch Ness Monster!

You need to consider it in the context of Thai culture :)

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Re: Female monks cause a stir - Bangkok Post

Postby Mr Man » Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:15 am

GraemeR wrote:
Mr Man wrote:It's rather an odd litle article with no explanation - A bit like the sighting of a UFO or the Loch Ness monster.


I think some Thai men consider seeing nuns in orange robes is about as strange as seeing the Loch Ness Monster!

You need to consider it in the context of Thai culture :)

Graham



But don't you think the Bangkok Post could have demystified the story a bit Graham? They have had bhikkhuni related stories before.
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Re: Female monks cause a stir - Bangkok Post

Postby GraemeR » Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:55 am

Mr Man wrote:But don't you think the Bangkok Post could have demystified the story a bit Graham? They have had bhikkhuni related stories before.


Mr Man,

The Bangkok Post is doing it a little tongue in cheek. It is written for ex-pats familiar with the context, so they have made no effort to clarify the issues. :thinking:

I love to comment by the shop holder about wanting to make her daughter into a nun! :sage:

With metta,

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Re: Female monks cause a stir - Bangkok Post

Postby gavesako » Mon Jan 28, 2013 6:00 pm

In Bangkok this is still a rare and possibly confusing sight, but in some other parts of Thailand there are places in which both the white-robed mae chee and the brown-robed samaneri / bhikkhuni have been collecting almsfood regularly on the streets. In northern Thailand, south of Chiang Mai, there is probably the biggest training center for bhikkhunis called Nirotharam.

พีธีบรรพชาสามเณรี นิโรธาราม ที่ ศรีลังกา

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IAunaddlHA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lt74beuecuQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMXmTL9Y-AI

This video shows the Pabbajja ordination in Sri Lanka of a group of Thai samaneris from Wat Nirotharam, Chom Tong, Chiang Mai. At the end of the first part, they first ordain with the Bhikkhuni-sangha. Then in the second part, they go to another monastery to ordain with the Bhikkhu-sangha as well (accompanied by some drummers -- this is almost like a Tibetan oracle ceremony!). The group is led by Bhikkhuni Nandanyani who is a very confident Dhamma teacher in her own right. At the end of the third part, a senior monk from Sri Lanka comes to Thailand to offer a small Bodhi tree sapling to Wat Nirotharam.

About the senior monks in Chiang Mai: Ven Nandanyani is accepted by them as a Theravada bhikkhuni. The district head monk spoke about this explicitly. He mentioned gratitude to Sri Lanka for restoring the bhikkhuni lineage in Thailand, as had been done for the bhikkhu lineage in past. He spoke of how the Mahayana had been replete in borisat-si (4 assemblies) and that it is a blessing for the present and future of Buddhism in Thailand if the borisat-si be replete with bhikkhunis who are replete in sila (which he explained meant patimokkha sila), samadhi (which he said Ajahn Nandayani is very good with) and panna (which he said she is also very good with as a Dhamma teacher). He said that to be replete for the blessing and welfare of the long life of Sasana and to fulfill the Buddha's Teaching, that the Nirotharam bhikkhunis should learn and practice Vinaya well, in addition to their being good in samadhi and panna.

Ven Nanthayani has arranged for her community to be having an intensive study course for the sake of further Vinaya learning of the whole community. She very much hopes and aspires that some bhikkhus who are knowledgeable and well discipled in Vinaya and well disciplined Thai monastic customs will come to visit Nirotharam, or some educational/training arrangement can be made such that they can learn, so that she can be sure that their training and practice is replete and that they are fully living as an blessing to the Sasana. See www.nirotharam.com


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Re: Female monks cause a stir - Bangkok Post

Postby Sekha » Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:48 pm

Does it all stem from ajahn Brahm's decision?

I hope in the end everybody will agree and there will not remain opposed factions
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