Bhikkhuni ordination

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Bhikkhuni ordination

Postby robertk » Thu Jan 07, 2010 4:45 am

I was waiting to post on esangha on this topic but they seem to be slow in putting up the site these days.
So I will post here. Coud moderators please leave this in classical theravda- last time I was on dhammawheel they moved a topic I was involved in that was in this section.

This is a review of the book 'Innovative Buddhist Women - Swimming against the Stream', (2000), Karma Lekshe Tsomo (Ed), Curzon Press, Richmond, UK. Paperback. Reviewed by Y.K. Yau
http://home.iprimus.com.au/zordon/Publi ... icles/Book% 20review.htm

"In her paper ` Inaccuracies in Buddhist Women's History', Bhikkuni Kusuma turns an age-old misreading of the dual ordination of women in the Buddhist canon on its head. Bhikkuni Kusuma, a Pali scholar who received a Ph.D for her research on Bhikkuni Vinaya (Buddhist Nun monastic discipline) could find no canonical evidence to suggest that a nun's ordination is only valid if it is witnessed by both orders, the order of monks and the order of nuns. The truth is that it will suffice for the order of monks to ordain a nun. Neither could Bhikkuni Kusuma find any evidence to suggest that the lifespan of the Buddha's dispensation will be shortened on account of women's admission to the order. In fact, she found evidence to the contrary in the Commentary of Buddhaghosa, a 5th century Buddhist monk. She also argues that the eight special rules (garudhammas) that Mahapajapati Gotami had accepted on her own behalf to gain admission to the order did not apply to other nuns. This is because the Buddha had ordained his own aunt and stepmother when she was just a laywoman. It was a quirk of history that caused controversy to rage for 10 centuries. If the eight special rules were to apply to other nuns, it would have meant nuns' subservience (not deference), to monks. And that would be very contrary to the Buddha's egalitarianism."
__________________


This sutta is in the Anguttara Nikàya. Note that Mahapajapati was given higher ordination directly by the Buddha there and then, and that the sutta also mentions those (other woman) who will be preparing for higher ordination: "A trainee bhikkhuni should spend two rains observing the six precepts and be accomplished for the higher ordination, in the presence of both Communities, bhikkhus and bhikkhunis."
QUOTE
Gotamãvaggo- Gotamisuttaü- To Gotàmi.
"""Ananda, if Mahapajapati Gotami accepts these eight strong rules, that will be her higher ordination: ßA bhikkhuni with one hundred rains should worship, attend willingly, revere with clasped hands and exchange friendly greetings with a bhikkhu who has just attained higher ordination. This rule should be honoured, revered, esteemed and should not be thrown out until life lasts. A bhikkhuni should not observe the rains in a monastery where there are no bhikkhus. This rule should be honoured, revered, esteemed and should not be thrown out until life lasts. Every fortnight the bhikkhuni should approach the Community of bhikkhus to beg for two things. To know the day of recital of the full moon observances for confession and for advice. This rule should be honoured, revered, esteemed and should not be thrown out until life lasts. A bhikkhuni should emerge from the rains observances, by seeing or hearing or clearing suspicions in the presence of both Communities, bhikkhus and bhikkhunis. This rule should be honoured, revered, esteemed and should not be thrown out until life lasts. A bhikkhuni guilty of transgressing the strong rules should atone it, in the presence of both Communities, bhikkhus and bhikkhunis. This rule should be honoured, revered, esteemed and should not be thrown out until life lasts. A trainee bhikkhuni should spend two rains observing the six precepts and be accomplished for the higher ordination, in the presence of both Communities, bhikkhus and bhikkhunis. This rule should be honoured, revered, esteemed and should not be thrown out until life lasts. A bhikkhuni should not abuse a bhikkhu for any reason. This rule should be honoured, revered, esteemed and should not be thrown out until life lasts. From today the words of the bhikkhunis are obstructed to the bhikkhus. The words of the bhikkhus are not obstructed to the bhikkhunis This rule should be honoured, revered, esteemed and should not be thrown out until life lasts. Ananda, if Mahapajapati Gotami accepts these eight strong rules, that will be her higher ordination:" Venerable Ananda, learning these eight strong rules in the presence of The Blessed One approached Mahapajapati Gotami and said: ßGotami, if you accept these eight strong rules, that will be your higher ordination: ßA bhikkhuni with one hundred rains should worship, attend willingly, revere with clasped hands and exchange friendly greetings with a bhikkhu who has just attained higher ordination. This rule should be honoured, revered, esteemed and should not be thrown out until life lasts. A bhikkhuni should not observe the rains in a monastery where there are no bhikkhus. This rule should be honoured, revered, esteemed and should not be thrown out until life lasts. Every fortnight the bhikkhuni should approach the Community of bhikkhus to beg for two things. To know the day of recital of the full moon observances for confession and for advice. This rule should be honoured, revered, esteemed and should not be thrown out until life lasts. A bhikkhuni should emerge from the rains observances, by seeing or hearing or clearing suspicions in the presence of both Communities, bhikkhus and bhikkhunis. This rule should be honoured, revered, esteemed and should not be thrown out until life lasts. A bhikkhuni guilty of transgressing the strong rules should atone it, in the presence of both Communities, bhikkhus and bhikkhunis. This rule should be honoured, revered, esteemed and should not be thrown out until life lasts. A trainee bhikkhuni should spend two rains observing the six precepts and be accomplished for the higher ordination, in the presence of both Communities, bhikkhus and bhikkhunis. This rule should be honoured, revered, esteemed and should not be thrown out until life lasts. A bhikkhuni should not abuse a bhikkhu for any reason. This rule should be honoured, revered, esteemed and should not be thrown out until life lasts. From today the words of the bhikkhunis are obstructed to the bhikkhus. The words of the bhikkhus are not obstructed to the bhikkhunis This rule should be honoured, revered, esteemed and should not be thrown out until life lasts. Gotami if you accept these eight strong rules, that same will be your higher ordination:"ß Venerable sir, Ananda, just as a young man, woman, or child who has washed his head was to receive a garland of flowers of blue lotuses, jasmines or a very attractive garland of flowers would accept it, with both hands and would place it on his head. In that same manner I accept the eight strong rules, not to throw out until life lasts. Then venerable Ananda approached The Blessed One, worshipped, sat on a side and said: Venerable sir, Mahapajapati Gotami has accepted the eight strong rules, not to throw out until life lasts." ßAnanda, if women did not obtain the going forth from the household as homeless, in the dispensation of the Thus Gone One, the dispensation would have lasted longer a thousand years Ananda, as women have obtined the going forth from the household to become homeless, it will not last long, the good Teaching will last only five hundred years Ananda, just as families which have more women and few men are attacked by robbers and cheaters in the same manner in a dispensation in which there is the going forth for women, the holy life does not last long Ananda, just as in an accomplished rice field, there falls an illness named white seeds and it does not last long. In the same manner in a dispensation in which there is the going forth for women, the holy life does not last long. Ananda, just as in an accomplished cane field, there comes an illness named turning red and it does not last long. In the same manner in a dispensation in which there is the going forth for women, the holy life does not last long. Ananda, just as a man was to build an embankment as a future protection for a huge reservoir, so that water would not reach over the boundary these eight strong rules are declared to the bhikkhunis not to be thrown out until life lasts, as future protection.""___http://www.metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pitaka/4Anguttara-
Nikaya/Anguttara5/8-atthakanipata/006-gotamivaggo-e.htm


Reagrding the comment that Neither could Bhikkuni Kusuma find any evidence to suggest that the lifespan of the Buddha's dispensation will be shortened on account of women's admission to the order[/b]

this is patently false.



http://www.metta.lk/mirror/www.accesstoins.../modern/thaniss
aro/bmc2/ch23.html
""But, Ananda, if women had not obtained the Going-forth from the home life into homelessness in the Tathagata's doctrine and discipline, the holy life would have lasted long, the true Dhamma would have lasted 1,000 years.[b] But now that they have gotten to go forth...this holy life will not last long, the true Dhamma will last 500 years. Just as a clan in which there are many women and few men is easily plundered by robbers and bandits, in the same way, in whatever doctrine and discipline women get to go forth, the holy life does not last long..""


The commentary explains that the sasana will last longer because the Buddha laid down the eight grave rules for Bhikkhuni, and because of the reciting of the Tipitaka at the first council. Thus it is partly because of holding to the eight grave rules that teh sasana that sasana still exists.

It is appalling that some buddhist are now trying to overturn one (or more ) of these grrve injunctions- the rule about dual ordination.
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Re: Bhikkhuni ordination

Postby robertk » Thu Jan 07, 2010 4:51 am

an old letter from R. Eddison ( venerable Dhammanando).




Jinavamsa wrote:

J: Now, here is my question: when the first three bhikkhunis were ordinated originally, this could not have been through there being 3 earlier bhikkhunis to make up a quorum for such a sanghakamma, a community action. How was that accomplished? My guess is that it was through the Buddha and/or community performing with them an ordination ceremony. ("Come and see" or some other wording being used at the time, depending on what the situation/timing was, I would again guess.)

R: Yes, that seems to have been the case. There are actually several of the eight 'weighty principles' (garudhamma) that would have been impossible to implement immediately upon the ordination of Mahapajapati and the Sakyan ladies. The Vinaya Pitaka's narrative depicts a gradual implementation of these when suitable occasions arose.

J: What in vinaya is prohibiting such an ordination from occurring once again, until there are 3 Theravada bhikkhunis who could them ordinate other women into the Theravada bhikkhuni sangha?

R: Essentially it is by analogy with other Vinaya rules and procedures. Most of these evolved in stages. The modified form of a rule at each stage entirely superceded the previous form, and the form a rule had assumed by the time of the Buddha's parinibbana is taken as definitive.

Examples:

When the third parajika rule was originally laid down it only prohibited a bhikkhu from deliberately killing a human being. As the rule evolved its scope was extended to cover other killing-related actions, e.g. ordering someone to kill someone else, persuading someone to commit suicide, and counselling a woman to have an abortion. As each amendment to the rule was added, the earlier and laxer form of the rule was abandoned.

When the practice of meeting to recite the patimokkha on uposatha days was established, the former practice of meeting in silence was abandoned. Likewise, when the rule requiring dual ordination was implemented, the practice of ordination being granted by the bhikkhusangha alone was abandoned.

The only cases where the later form of a rule or procedure did not entirely supplant the earlier one are those in which the Buddha was exercising his own prerogative. For example, the Buddha established a procedure whereby a man who had formerly been a follower of some other teacher was required to undergo a period of probation before he could be accepted as a bhikkhu. Yet on some occasions the Buddha would make exceptions for particular individuals, giving them ordination at once just as he had done in the early days of his ministry.

It is noteworthy that there is no mention of bhikkhus in the Buddha's day making exceptions in such cases, or even thinking themselves qualified to do so.

So, if modern bhikkhus were to suggest that they could discard the definitive form of the rules about ordination and revert to an earlier phase in the rules' evolution, then they would be...

1) claiming a prerogative that even the Buddha's own disciples did not presume to claim for themselves.

2) setting a precedent that could conceivably be applied to other Vinaya rules.

As an example of the latter, one might imagine a liberal modernist bhikkhu with pro-abortion views proposing that the third parajika rule should be observed in its earlier form, where only killing with one's own hands was prohibited. This would allow him to preach his views and to counsel abortion (which at present he may not and would be disrobed if he did).

J: I assume there must be something about that. What could it be, and what is it status held to be?

R: Its status is very weighty. The Theravadin sangha tends to exercise great caution in establishing precedents and does so only when they can be clearly supported by the Vinaya.

In two and a half millenia I don't think there is even one single case of a Theravadin Vinaya master proposing that bhikkhus should revert to observing a Vinaya rule in its primitive rather than its definitive state.* I think it would be an extraordinary precedent if bhikkhus did so today.

Best wishes,

Robert

* There are, however, well-documented cases of Chinese Vinaya masters doing so during the Sung Dynasty, precisely in order to justify the ordination of bhikshunis by the bhikkhusangha alone. One modern Taiwanese Vinaya master has argued that the Chinese bhikshuni lineage became irreparably broken as a result of this policy.
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Re: Bhikkhuni ordination

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Jan 07, 2010 4:54 am

Greetings Robert,

Good analysis. Indeed, it appears as if Bhikkuni Kusuma did not do sufficient research prior to making her claims, as the pitakas clearly provide evidence contrary to her opinion.

Metta,
Retro. :)
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Re: Bhikkhuni ordination

Postby robertk » Thu Jan 07, 2010 4:55 am

This is dicussion I had with venerable Sujato on a pali list
In Pali@yahoogroups.com, "rjkjp1" <rjkjp1@y...> wrote:
--- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, "Bhante Sujato.." <suj..@g...> wrote:

==============

Robert:. You cannot say that someone who ordains as a Tibetan Monk or a Dhamagupta is a Bhikkhu by Theravada standards.

>===========================


Bhante Sujato..: Why not? That is, in fact, exactly what i do say.

I have been recently forming an Australian Sangha Association, and in my work for this i have had the pleasure of meeting many monastics from all traditions. They all agree on the fundamental meaning of Sangha - a community of celibate Buddhist monastics ordained in an authentic lineage. Not one has suggested that monastics from other traditions should not be regarded as properly ordained. I am aware that this is the view, sadly, that prevails in some theravadin countries, but that clearly is changing.

==================================

Robert: The only reason it could be changing is because a few well-meaning, but (IMHO) misguided souls are actively ignoring millenia of tradition. There is no example anywhere in the scriptures, of monks from outside sects being considered as Theravada and invited to participate in sanghakamma. Have you considered the dangers in this and how it was because of the strict conservatism of Theravada that the Dhamma has been preserved until now.

=====================================

QUOTE
Sujato *As far as i can see, the term 'Theravada' does not occur in the Pali Culavagga account of the Second Council, although the bhikkhus from Pava are referred to as 'theras'. But the proceedings of that Council took place entirely on the basis of what was Dhamma and Vinaya, not on the basis of who pledges allegiance to a certain sectarian grouping.

I mentioned in an earlier message that many other schools, such as the Sarvastivadins, might just as well claim the 'orthodox' bhikkhus as their forbears

================

In any case, the chief issue was handling money. Since we see today that the vast majority of bhikkhus, whether Theravadins or otherwise, use money, in violation of the precepts and of the findings of the second council, in what sense can they be regarded as the 'keepers of the flame'? Surely we should, rather, encourage and support any bhikkhus or bhikkhunis who has the courage to keep the rules and renounce money, regardless of what tradition they hail from..

==================

Robert: Surely it is outrageous that some Theravada Bhikkhus now handle money, but this is a different matter. As far as I know none of these bhikkus are suggesting the vinaya be changed to suit their behaviour.

I now quote from the Katthavathuppakarana-Atthakatha (by Buddhoghosa) (p3 of Points of contoversy, PTS) I am an exceedingly slow typist so I only put in the most relevant sections.

It talks about after the second council (about 100 years after Buddha parinibbana)

"Ten thousand of the of the Vajjiputtaka bhikkhus[after spliting from the good monks] seeking adherents among themselves, formed a school called the Mahasanghika [these then split several times] Thus from the school of the Mahasanghikas, in the second century only two schools seceded from the Theravada[note that the rightful monks are called Theravada by Buddhaghosa]-Mahimsinsasakas and Vajjiputtakas... [it lists more that split later]..Thus from the Theravada arose these eleven seceding bodies making 12 in all. And these 12 together the six schools of the Mahasanghikas constitute the 18 schools which arose in the second century. Of the eighteen, 17 are to be understood as schismatics, the Theravadan only being non- schismatic."""

The commentary continues and cites the Dipavamsa The Bhikkhus [of the schismatic sects] "
settled a doctrine contrary [to the true faith] Altering the original redaction, they made another. they transposed suttas which belonged in one collection to another place;they destroyed the true meaning and the faith in the vinyaa and in the five collections. Those bhikkus who understood neither what had been taught in long expositons...settled a false meaning in connection with spourious speeches of the Buddha. These bhikkhus destroyed a great deal of meaning under the colour of the letter. Rejecting the other texts- that is to say the Pavara, the six sections of the Abhidhamma, the Patisambhidhida, the niddessa and some portions of the Jataka they composed new ones. They changed their appearance, ..forsaking what was original..."


There is more along the same lines. Thus we see how fragile the Dhamma is - and open to abuse by foolish monks changing and rejecting sections of the Tipitaka at their whim. It is only because of the steadfastness of the Theravada that we have the Dhamma preserved until today.
Last edited by robertk on Thu Jan 07, 2010 5:26 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Bhikkhuni ordination

Postby robertk » Thu Jan 07, 2010 5:04 am

This is an old post from Venerable Dhammanando (hope he doesn't mind me reposting his letters ) tp ven sujato.
In Pali@yahoogroups.com, Dhammanando Bhikkhu <dhammanando@c...> wrote:

Bhante,

Thank you for your response.
"
Sujato: That's an important point: the 'victors' are not necessarily the majority, but those on the side of Dhamma-Vinaya. Leaving aside qualms about how this event has been used to justify sectarianism."

Dhammanando: It might also be a good idea to leave aside this rather loaded word "sectarian," or at least restrict it to the sort of mental attitude conveyed by the words, "My sect is right because it's my sect." The word ceases to be of much value if one simply applies it to anyone who uncompromisingly adheres to what he believes to be sound doctrine and practice, or to a tradition that he believes embodies this.
The Buddha instituted procedures for varying degrees of ostracism and banishment to be applied to monks who were holders of wrong view or indulgers in various sorts of wrong conduct. Although the aim of these was to apply pressure to these monks to mend their ways, inevitably there would be situations where the banished monks were convinced that they were in the right and rather than seeking to be reconciled would instead turn the tables and banish their banishers. Assuming that the original act of banishment was well-founded according to Dhamma and Vinaya, the scrupulous monks' refusal to associate with the banished monks was simply the sangha taking the necessary steps to preserve its integrity. That it might appear to some as "sectarian" or "bigotted" or "sanctimonious" is just too bad.



Sujato"...
"Do you mean that the Vajjiputtakas' ten theses are notexplicitly stated in the Mahasa`nghika *paatimokkha*? If so, then this would not be surprising, for most of the ten have to do with how the training rules are interpreted, not with how they are stated, and not all of them even pertain to Paatimokkha rules.

"This is clearly not the case with the money rules, which are
stated quite clearly and explicitly in the Vinaya (and
Sutta)."


D: I did not mean to suggest otherwise. I was drawing a distinction between the Paatimokkha training rules and the Vinaya as a whole. My point was that from bare statements like...

"yo pana bhikkhu vikaale khaadaniiya.m vaa ...."

and...

"yo pana bhikkhu jaataruuparajata.m ugga.nheyya vaa ...."

one cannot draw any particular conclusion about what time is "wrong" for eating, or how wide is the scope of "gold and silver". The solution to these questions needs to be sought elsewhere in the texts. Therefore the fact that the Mahaasanghika version of the Paatimokkha may phrase the relevant rules the same way as the Pali offers no evidence as to what view they took on the ten Vajjiputtaka theses.

For example, a Mahaasanghika might have phrased NP 18 the same as in the Pali, but then glossed "goldand silver" as "large quantities of bullion to be used in land transactions or for the purchase of elephants" (or whatever).

So what I was asking Stephen was whether he was drawing his conclusion merely from the Mahaasanghikas' Paatimokkha or from their Vinaya exegeses.



Sujato: "As per my previous message, contra Stephen, the Mahasanghika Vinaya maintains an identical attitude to the Theravada over money. How far this reflects actual practice is of course a different matter.

"So far, no-one has tried to answer my question: since there are monks and nuns of all schools today who handle money; and other monks and nuns of all schools who do not handle money, should we not regard the ones who do not handle money as the true heirs of the ancient Theriyas, regardless of which school they belong to?"


Dhammanando:No, not on that account alone.

Proper Vinaya observance is a necessary but not a sufficient condition to make a monk a true heir of the ancient theras.

According to one Chinese pilgrim the monasteries of one of the Puggalavaadin schools (I think it was the Sammitiyas) had the strictest Vinaya observance in the whole of India. Should we on that account consider the Puggalavaadins to have been the "true heirs of the ancient Theriyas" ?

I trust that you will answer no and agree that a monk's view is also of some relevance here. So, there is Vinaya, and there is right view. A third condition, I would suggest, is a Theravaadin upasampadaa, but this is a view based upon the Pali Atthakathaas, so I suppose there is little likelihood of our agreeing on this point.

_________________________

In another post you wrote:


Sujato: "In the rule against using money, (Pali Nissagiya Pacittiya 18) Pachow pg 104 for Mahasanghika Vinaya does not note any relevant difference. He merely notes the Chinese translation 'sheng she shih she' for 'jaataruuparajata'. He also adds 'or has attachment for it', which presumably stands for the Pali 'saadiyeyya'. In other words, apart from translation issues, the rule seems to be identical."

Dhammananado: I have not read the Mahaasanghika recension of the Paatimokkha in any original language, so I'm dependent on Charles Prebish's translation of it (together with the Muulasarvaastivaada version) in his _Buddhist Monastic Discipline_. If his translation is accurate, then it seems to me that its differences from the Pali version are more substantial than you and Dr. Pachow suggest. Overall the impression I get is that the Muulasarvaastivaadins weren't much different to us in their Vinaya, but the Mahaasanghikas come across as a downright sleazy bunch. They remind me of the pigs in Orwell's _Animal Farm_, who kept altering the rules to make life more comfortable for themselves ("No animal shall sleep in a bed ... with sheets."). At first sight their rules don't seem much different to ours, but examine each one closely with alawyer's attention to detail and you will often find that some tiny addition, or subtraction, or just the alteration of a single wordhas changed the training rule entirely, either to make it easier to observe or in some cases almost impossible to transgress.

Let's take a look at three of the examples in your post...

QUOTE
"The other rules involving money are NP 19 (trading precious things) and NP 20 (buying and selling), and in both of thes the other schools, including Mahasanghika, add no variations of interest."

No variations of interest!? Good gracious, in Prebish's translation of NP 20 the Mahaasanghikas have inserted a loophole as wide as the Mersey Tunnel:

"Whatever monk should undertake activity in various sorts of sales *in gold and silver*, that is a ni.hsargika-paacattika."

The Pali says nothing about gold and silver. If the Mahaasanghika version means using gold and silver as the means of exchange, then it would permit activities like bartering that are prohibited in the Pali. If it means only that a bhikkhu may not sell gold and silver, then it would permit almost everything that is prohibited in the Pali ! If the latter is the case, then just by the insertion of one compound word the Mahaasanghikas have whittled down the obligation to almost nothing.

"Nor is NP 10, about how to appoint a kappiya for receiving funds, significantly different."


I disagree. In this case too the Mahaasanghikas' phrasing completely undermines the rule. In all recensions of the Vinaya the last part of NP 10 begins in essentially the same way, with the monk asking the sangha steward for a robe up to three times and if that fails then hinting by standing in silence up to six times. The Pali version then continues:

tato ce uttari.m vaayamamaano ta.m ciivara.m
abhinipphaadeyya, nissaggiya.m paacittiya.m

...then, [having stood silently up to six times],
if upon exerting himself further that robe is
obtained [by the monk], it entails expiation with
forfeiture.

So in this version (and in that of the Muulasarvaastivaada) the monk, having stood silently up to six times, is prohibited from making *any further effort* to obtain the robe. But the Mahaasanghika version only prohibits him from *asking* further. There is nothing to stop him from exerting himself by other means, such as the various forms of hinting. The Mahaasanghika monk can carry on pestering the sangha steward till the end of the kalpa and he still won't have broken any rule.


sujato
"Finally Pacittiya 84, the ratanapaacittiya (about picking up valuable items) is also substantially identical, except the Mula- sarv, evidently by mistake, adds an exception for when in the house of a householder (whereas the exception should be when in a monastery only)."


D: The Mahaasanghika version seems to have a much more serious flaw: it leaves out the word "nikkhipitabba" from the final clause. So, it would appear that if a lady were to mislay her diamond tiara in a Mahaasanghika monastery, a resident monk might pick it up and give it to his mother as a Christmas present without breaking any rule. He is only obliged to pick up the tiara, not to look after it for the owner as a Theravaadin bhikkhu must.
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Re: Bhikkhuni ordination

Postby Paññāsikhara » Thu Jan 07, 2010 5:10 am

Thanks for sharing some orthodox Classic Theravada views on the other schools, RobertK.
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Re: Bhikkhuni ordination

Postby robertk » Thu Jan 07, 2010 5:23 am

From Venerable Dhammanando an old post fon esangha I saved


QUOTE
QUOTE(Anicca @ Jul 6 2006, 10:24 AM)
Maybe the Thai Bhikkhuni movement should just refer to the Bhikkhunis as Dharmaguptaka Bhikkhuni as, as you state, that is what they really are by ordination lineage.



No doubt that would serve to reduce the indignation of its critics; it wouldn't alter the fact that a Hong Kong or Taiwanese Dharmaguptaka ordination would be a greatly inferior choice if it is the Theravāda Dhamma that a Thai woman (or any woman) wishes to study and practise. In effect she would be cutting herself off from the domestic resources of education and meditation instruction that would have been available to her as a mae chii. And in return for what? If she does what a bhikkhunī should do and trains with her preceptor for the minimum of five years then she will just be learning Mahāyānism. On the other hand, if she does what most of these Hong Kong-manufactured instant nuns do, which is to get ordained and then fly back home, what will she have learned? Nothing.

[

My sympathies, therefore, lie with reformist monks like Phra Prayut Payutto and not with [snip] the bhikkhunī revivalists. Over the past two decades the reformists' quiet and patient efforts to open up the monastic schools to mae chiis and promote state-funding for them have benefited thousands. By contrast, the Thai bhikkhunī revivalists have done very little at all [snip].


QUOTE
QUOTE
Like the 'Mahāyāna' Bhikkhuni, who are also of the Dharmaguptaka lineage, they can be considered to be following the Theravāda Philosophical teachings. We must distinguish between lineage and philosophical system, there is a difference.



There is no "must" about it. It would be more accurate to say that Mahāyāna vinayadharas are inclined to make the distinction you refer to, while Theravādin ones are not. The distinction is perfectly logical in a Mahāyāna context, for the Indian Mahāyāna was not a single nikāya but a movement that spanned several nikāyas. But the Theravāda wasn't and so for our vinayadharas there is no easy separation of a bhikkhu's Vinaya lineage from the doctrinal tenets that he espouses; the two things are seen as ineluctably bound up with each other. There have over the years been attempts to foist the Mahāyānins' view upon us, (starting with Sangharakshita in the 1940's and now most recently Sujāto and his pals), but among the mainstream of the Theravāda sangha there are very few takers. Among our best Vinaya scholars there are no takers at all.


QUOTE
QUOTE
"There are actually no Mahāyāna Bhikkhu or Bhikkhuni, all ordain according to a non-Mahāyāna vinaya, either Dharmaguptaka or Mulasarvastivada
."


Again this is Mahāyānin thinking. From the Mahāvihāra point of view there are actually just two Vinaya lineages: Theravādin and all the rest. The non-Theravādin Vinaya lineages are just collectively classed as "schismatical" (bhinnavādin). For Vinaya purposes it doesn't matter to a Theravādin whether a non-Theravādin bhikkhu got his ordination from the Dharmaguptakas or the Mūlasarvāstivādins, for one schismatical lineage is as bad as another. If distinctions need to be made then our commentators and chroniclers distinguish them solely on the basis of the doctrinal tenets they espouse. And so from the Theravādin point of view there are Mahāyāna bhikkhus.


QUOTE
QUOTE
And, one question, do you know if the 'Dharmaguptaka Theravada' Bhikkhuni chant their pattimokha in Pali, or in Chinese? If Pali, is this a translation of the Chinese, or are they chanitng the Theravada version?



In those Chinese monasteries where the monks actually bother to observe the Uposatha, they will listen to the Dharmaguptaka prātimokṣa recited in Chinese.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
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Re: Bhikkhuni ordination

Postby robertk » Thu Jan 07, 2010 5:25 am

Paññāsikhara wrote:Thanks for sharing some orthodox Classic Theravada views on the other schools, RobertK.

My pleasure. :anjali:
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Re: Bhikkhuni ordination

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Jan 07, 2010 5:30 am

robertk wrote:
Reagrding the comment that [b]Neither could Bhikkuni Kusuma find any evidence to suggest that the lifespan of the Buddha's dispensation will be shortened on account of women's admission to the order[/b]

this is patently false.


The quote from Bhikkhuni Kusuma is based off of a book review by someone else. It would be interesting to see the exact wording that Ven. Kusuma used. The reviewer might be taking the words out of context.

I don't have the original words by her, but I imagine her point was probably more like what Ven. Dhammananda said here:

When the Buddha allowed women to be ordained, it was because he realized women have the same spiritual potential as men to be enlightened. He therefore allowed them to become nuns. The statement that by accepting women, Buddhism
would be shortened from 1000 years to 500 years is no longer valid because the Buddha's teachings had prospered for over 2500 years. So such words could have not have come from the Buddha. He also set out the Garudarama or the Eight Important Rules in order to strengthen the sangha. So there is no question that Buddhism would decline because women become nuns. When we read the texts, we must read it critically and in its proper context. If we just read one passage in isolation and do not make references to other parts of the scriptures, we will not understand the whole essence. Sometimes we quote out of context, resulting in many negative interpretations of what the Buddha really meant. http://www.purifymind.com/IV3.htm
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Re: Bhikkhuni ordination

Postby Bankei » Thu Jan 07, 2010 5:34 am

Thanks for collecting this Robert as the old esangha is now dead. There was some good debates on their.
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Re: Bhikkhuni ordination

Postby Paññāsikhara » Thu Jan 07, 2010 5:35 am


No doubt that would serve to reduce the indignation of its critics; it wouldn't alter the fact that a Hong Kong or Taiwanese Dharmaguptaka ordination would be a greatly inferior choice if it is the Theravāda Dhamma that a Thai woman (or any woman) wishes to study and practise. In effect she would be cutting herself off from the domestic resources of education and meditation instruction that would have been available to her as a mae chii. And in return for what? If she does what a bhikkhunī should do and trains with her preceptor for the minimum of five years then she will just be learning Mahāyānism. On the other hand, if she does what most of these Hong Kong-manufactured instant nuns do, which is to get ordained and then fly back home, what will she have learned? Nothing.



Just regards "If she does what a bhikkhunī should do and trains with her preceptor for the minimum of five years then she will just be learning Mahāyānism."

Actually, I think there may be a few groups in Hong Kong and Taiwan that could give training to nuns like this, without any Mahayana practices or teachings at all.
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Re: Bhikkhuni ordination

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Jan 07, 2010 5:47 am

Greetings Bankei,

Bankei wrote:Thanks for collecting this Robert as the old esangha is now dead. There was some good debates on their.


Just in case you're not aware, Robert has undertaken similar valuable collations at his site...

Abhidhamma Vipassana Forum
http://www.abhidhamma.org/forums/

It's certainly worth a look, particularly if you're interested in the Classical Mahavihara perspective on certain issues.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Bhikkhuni ordination

Postby robertk » Thu Jan 07, 2010 5:50 am

David N. Snyder wrote:


I don't have the original words by her, but I imagine her point was probably more like what Ven. Dhammananda said here:

When the Buddha allowed women to be ordained, it was because he realized women have the same spiritual potential as men to be enlightened. He therefore allowed them to become nuns. The statement that by accepting women, Buddhism
would be shortened from 1000 years to 500 years is no longer valid because the Buddha's teachings had prospered for over 2500 years. So such words could have not have come from the Buddha. He also set out the Garudarama or the Eight Important Rules in order to strengthen the sangha. So there is no question that Buddhism would decline because women become nuns. When we read the texts, we must read it critically and in its proper context. If we just read one passage in isolation and do not make references to other parts of the scriptures, we will not understand the whole essence. Sometimes we quote out of context, resulting in many negative interpretations of what the Buddha really meant. http://www.purifymind.com/IV3.htm



If the Dhammanda you mention above is the one ven Dhammando mentions below then she is so unreliable/deceiving that I would be dubious about anything she writes:
From Venerable Dhammanando (old letter)

http://www.lioncity.net/buddhism/index. ... ntry464820
Dhammananda:
It was Maha Pajapati Gotami, the Buddha's step mother and aunt who received this heritage directly from the Buddha. She was praised by the Buddha for being Rattannu (long standing) to start the bhikkhuni lineage.




Dhammānandā has it the wrong way round. Rattaññū ("one who has known [many] nights") is a term for a bhikkhu or bhikkhunī disciple of the Buddha who has been ordained for a long time. Since Mahāpajāpati was the first bhikkhunī, when she had attained to some seniority the Buddha gave her the title "foremost of rattaññū bhikkhunīs", in effect making her the female counterpart to Ven. Aññāta Koṇḍañña. He did not have her start the bhikkhunī sangha because she was rattaññū.

Bh
ikkhus and bhikkhunis lasted up to 11th C.AD. both disappeared after the invasion of Turk Muslims who invaded India during that time. With their shaved heads and bright saffron robes they were outstanding targets, hence none of them survived.

This is an absurd oversimplification of the disappearance of the monastic sanghas from India.

]However, if the Tibetan bhikkhu Sangha do not want to follow the Chinese tradition, they can still perform the single Sangha ordination for the women as allowed by the Buddha in the Vinaya, "O, monks, I allow you to give ordination to bhikkhunis." (Vinaya Pitaka, Cullavagga)


Dhammānandā does not mention that this allowance was laid down at an earlier stage in the evolution of the rules for ordination, and that it was later superceded

QUOTE
This will be validated as there are no bhikkhuni sangha in Tibetan tradition before, and to give ordination to bhikkhunis would not be against the allowance of the Buddha.


Dhammānandā's assumption here is that if it is not possible to carry out the ordination according to the definitive form of the procedure given in the Vinaya, then it is permissible to revert to an earlier form. The Vinaya offers no support for this opinion and indeed the adoption of it would lead to insuperable difficulties, as I pointed out in an earlier post in this thread.

QUOTE
One is reminded also just before the time of the Buddha's Great Passing away, His allowance was "minor rules may be lifted up if the Sangha so wish." (Mahaparinibbana Sutta, Sutta Pitaka)

This would be irrelevant if we follow the standard Theravadin exegesis of this passage,
.

QUOTE
These are the two possible alternatives for the Tibetan Sangha if they want to establish the bhikkhuni sangha as established by the Buddha. It is their responsibility to fulfill what is lacking as an expression of respect to the Buddha.


It is their responsibility to comport themselves to the Vinaya as an expression of their respect to the Buddha who promulgated it. If the Vinaya doesn't let them re-establish the bhikkhunī sangha, then it doesn't let them.

QUOTE
Considering positive changes in Cambodia, the ordination of women is possible in the future.


The positive changes in Cambodia have no bearing on the question of whether a lawful bhikkhunī ordination is possible.

In 433 A.D.(2) a group of Sri Lanka bhikkhunis went to China, headed by the chief bhikkhuni whose name was Devasara. They gave ordination to 300 women at the Southern Forest in Nanking. This formed the nucleus of the following bhikkhuni sangha in China and later on Korea. The record of outstanding Chinese bhikkhunis(2) can be seen in their biography written by a Chinese monk, Bhikshu Pao Chang a scholar who recorded biography of 65 leading Chinese bhikkhunis who lived between 326 A.D.-457 A.D. While the Chinese lineage of bhikkhunis exist up to present, their strong hold is now in Taiwan where bhikkhunis out number bhikkhus. The revival of Buddhism in this country has been mostly the work of bhikkhunis.


Dhammānandā has omitted some details - vital details, for they have a bearing on why the Dharmaguptaka bhikkhunī lineage is considered dubious by vinayadharas in the Theravada tradition (and also, I believe by those in the Mulasarvastivada tradition of Tibet).

The original transmission (or rather, alleged transmission) of the bhikkhunī ordination to China in fact took place in 357 CE. This alleged transmission was carried out by bhikkhus alone and was therefore invalid by Theravadin criteria. It led, however, to a century-long tradition of Chinese bhikkhunī ordinations being given by bhikkhus alone. Moving forward to 433 CE, of the 300 women ordained in this year some had not done the two years' training as a sikkhamāna, while others had already been living as bhikkhunīs beforehand, having received ordination from the bhikkhu sangha alone. Therefore, by Theravadin criteria their ordinations failed on the grounds of "defect in the material to be ordained" (vatthu-vipatti). Those women who had never been sikkhamānas were ineligible to be ordained until they had fulfilled this preliminary training. Those women who had already been one-sidedly ordained were living in communion by theft and were therefore banned for life from receiving a genuine bhikkhunī ordination. Therefore Dharmaguptaka nuns are not bhikkhunīs by Theravadin criteria. Moreover, this judgment is not unique to the Theravada, for even within the Dharmaguptaka tradition the validity of Dharmaguptaka bhikkhunī ordinations has been challenged, notably by the Taiwanese Vinaya master Ven. Dao-hai. Dao-hai has argued that at several points in Chinese history the bhikkhunī paramparā was irreparably broken (see his Discussion of Bhikṣuṇī Ordination and its Lineage in China, Based on Scriptures of Chinese Vinaya and Historical facts, p. 18-19, Dharamsala 1998).

The second batch of bhikkhuni ordination came in 1996 with the Korean bhikkhu sangha organizing it in Sarnath. There were 10 silmatas who received full ordination. However there were some loopholes, like one of the leading candidates did not spend 2 years as a sikkhamana before taking the full ordination, and that the ordination was not given with the proper dual platform ordination.
To carry out formal transactions of the sangha in such an irregular manner is not a "loophole"; it is a violation of Vinaya and a defect that invalidates the ordination.

QUOTE
That is first by the bhikkhuni sangha and later by the bhikkhu sangha. The event was VDO taped, and names of bhikkhus and bhikkhunis were given. It was clear that on the bhikkhuni side there were only 3 of them, not sufficient as a sangha (minimum five is required.) However, the ordination of bhikkhuni became known to the larger public in Sri Lanka for the first time, accepting or not accepting.


If the necessary quorum was missing then the ordination failed through "defect in the assembly" (parisā vipatti). This defect would not be rectified by the fact that the event was videotaped, nor by the Sri Lankan public getting to watch it on TV or whatever (why does Dhammānandā even waste the reader's time with such irrelevancies?).

QUOTE
The third batch, and most effective happened in 1998 when the educated and liberal senior monks in Sri Lanka helped screen 20 most capable silmatas in the island who were ready and applied for full ordination. They were sent to Bodh Gaya for full ordination with at least 10 most senior monks from Sri Lanka as their teachers and mentors. Among these Maha Theras(4), the names of some of them will be internationally well known, i.e. Ven.G. Gunaratna Maha Thera (based in Virginia), Ven.Somalankara, Ven.Sumangalo Maha Thero (now Maha Nayaka).


What is "most effective" supposed to mean? The validity or invalidity of ordinations is not something that comes in degrees.

QUOTE
Fo Guang Shan was the main sponsor and organizer of the event. But they have researched well in advance and tried their best to make their effort most acceptable. They had invited all the major leading Theravada monks to participate as witnessing acharyas.


That is not so. In fact they invited any Theravada monks whom they thought they might cajole (with sweet words and offers of cash) into going along with it. They even tried to invite me, and I'm certainly not "a major leading Theravada monk". Curiously, there wasn't a single vinayadhara, or even a noted Vinaya scholar, among the monks who finally showed up.
QUOTE
This is the nucleus of the existing Theravada bhikkhuni sangha in Sri lanka now. Since 1998 Ven.Sumangalo Maha Thera has been organizing annually ordination for bhikkhunis at his Syamvamsa chapter in Dambulla. Out of the 20 newly ordained bhikkhunis, 2 most senior and capable bhikkhunis who had at least 42 years standing as silmatas before their upasampada (bhikkhuni ordination) were chosen and appointed by the sangha to become the upajjhaya (preceptor) on the bhikkhuni side.


Newly ordained as bhikkhunīs and now instant upajjhayas as well? Even Mahāpajāpati didn't progress that fast.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
Last edited by robertk on Thu Jan 07, 2010 6:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bhikkhuni ordination

Postby Bankei » Thu Jan 07, 2010 5:59 am

I would also like to point out that the Bhikkhuni who went from Sri Lanka to China to establish the lineage there were from the Mahisasaka vinaya lineage. Somehow the vinaya they used in China changed sometime in the distant past.
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Re: Bhikkhuni ordination

Postby robertk » Thu Jan 07, 2010 6:06 am

David N. Snyder wrote:
robertk wrote:
Reagrding the comment that Neither could Bhikkuni Kusuma find any evidence to suggest that the lifespan of the Buddha's dispensation will be shortened on account of women's admission to the order[/b]

this is patently false.


The quote from Bhikkhuni Kusuma is based off of a book review by someone else. It would be interesting to see the exact wording that Ven. Kusuma used. The reviewer might be taking the words out of context.

I don't have the original words by her, but I imagine her point was probably more like what Ven. Dhammananda said here:

When the Buddha allowed women to be ordained, it was because he realized women have the same spiritual potential as men to be enlightened. He therefore allowed them to become nuns. The statement that by accepting women, Buddhism
would be shortened from 1000 years to 500 years is no longer valid because the Buddha's teachings had prospered for over 2500 years.[b] So such words could have not have come from the Buddha.
He also set out the Garudarama or the Eight Important Rules in order to strengthen the sangha. So there is no question that Buddhism would decline because women become nuns. When we read the texts, we must read it critically and in its proper context. If we just read one passage in isolation and do not make references to other parts of the scriptures, we will not understand the whole essence. Sometimes we quote out of context, resulting in many negative interpretations of what the Buddha really meant. http://www.purifymind.com/IV3.htm

This is another silly/appalling/misleading statement by the "venerable" Dhamananda:

It is said in the Anguttara Nikaya by the Buddha. Oh but according to her the Buddha didn't say it. Why doesn't she mention that the passage is explained by the Commentaries to mean that by setting up the eight weighty rules that the Buddha helped it to late longer.
But for her and her ilk any part of the Commentaries or Suttas or Vinaya that doesn't agree with their sentiments must have been invented and placed into the Buddha's mounth.
ßAnanda, if women did not obtain the going forth from the household as homeless, in the dispensation of the Thus Gone One, the dispensation would have lasted longer a thousand years Ananda, as women have obtined the going forth from the household to become homeless, it will not last long, the good Teaching will last only five hundred years Ananda, just as families which have more women and few men are attacked by robbers and cheaters in the same manner in a dispensation in which there is the going forth for women, the holy life does not last long Ananda, just as in an accomplished rice field, there falls an illness named white seeds and it does not last long. In the same manner in a dispensation in which there is the going forth for women, the holy life does not last long. Ananda, just as in an accomplished cane field, there comes an illness named turning red and it does not last long. In the same manner in a dispensation in which there is the going forth for women, the holy life does not last long. Ananda, just as a man was to build an embankment as a future protection for a huge reservoir, so that water would not reach over the boundary these eight strong rules are declared to the bhikkhunis not to be thrown out until life lasts, as future protection.""
___http://www.metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pitaka/4Anguttara-
Nikaya/Anguttara5/8-atthakanipata/006-gotamivaggo-e.htm
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Re: Bhikkhuni ordination

Postby Bankei » Thu Jan 07, 2010 7:54 am

Hi Robert

Do you believe the Bhikkhu lineage is valid? If so which Nikaya?
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Re: Bhikkhuni ordination

Postby robertk » Thu Jan 07, 2010 9:10 am

Bankei wrote:Hi Robert

Do you believe the Bhikkhu lineage is valid? If so which Nikaya?


I presume this question come out of the scurrilous argument used by the Bhikkhuni people: to wit that if we can't prove beyond certainty that the Bhikkhu orination is vaild then why worry about a thousand year gap in the Bhikkhuni order, just give a little wink and away we start it up again.

The reply is this: if any of the nikayas now extant in Theravada have a broken lineage then the Bhikkhus in them are not in fact bhikkhu as the ordination was invalid. However, there has been no proof of this at all. To take the case of the Dhammayut and mahanikaya in Thailand. the Dhammayut was not a new order- it came about because one monk decided to reordain under burmese mon monks. And while he may have had some doubts about the purity of the mahanikaya monks he never proved or even stated that the Mahanikaya were a broken lineage.


As it stands the fact of the Bhikkhuni being extinct in Theravada is beyond any doubt , but then to try to shame the bhikkhu by asserting that they are or might be equally extinct is a rather dangerous thing, kammically, to be saying.
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Re: Bhikkhuni ordination

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Jan 07, 2010 10:25 am

Hi Robertk
don't remember seeing you for a good while, either I have been blind, my memory is failing me, or Hi (again),


My sympathies, therefore, lie with reformist monks like Phra Prayut Payutto and not with [snip] the bhikkhunī revivalists. Over the past two decades the reformists' quiet and patient efforts to open up the monastic schools to mae chiis and promote state-funding for them have benefited thousands. By contrast, the Thai bhikkhunī revivalists have done very little at all


I am not 100% sure if this is you or you quoting another?
but if it is you, or not, what do you thing of the founding of a new order? which is by any comparison of dhammavinaya theravadin, but not a direct line from the original. I think the Siladhara order does fit in with this to some degree.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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Re: Bhikkhuni ordination

Postby robertk » Thu Jan 07, 2010 10:40 am

Manapa wrote:Hi Robertk
don't remember seeing you for a good while, either I have been blind, my memory is failing me, or Hi (again),


My sympathies, therefore, lie with reformist monks like Phra Prayut Payutto and not with [snip] the bhikkhunī revivalists. Over the past two decades the reformists' quiet and patient efforts to open up the monastic schools to mae chiis and promote state-funding for them have benefited thousands. By contrast, the Thai bhikkhunī revivalists have done very little at all


I am not 100% sure if this is you or you quoting another?
but if it is you, or not, what do you thing of the founding of a new order? which is by any comparison of dhammavinaya theravadin, but not a direct line from the original. I think the Siladhara order does fit in with this to some degree.


thanks manapa, It has been awhile, I was hoping to post all this on esangha but they are so slow to put it back up.
That citation was from ven Dhammanando I copied it from esangha.

I met venerable Sumedho over 20 years ago and said I thought the siladhara was a good idea of his. He said even then the Thai people didn't like it but he went ahead. In hindsight it seems - despite his extremely good intentions, and all the work he and his brother monks have put in worldwide with the siladhari- that it has been problematic. You see they are ,as with meechi, still upasika no different ,except in taking a stricter code of sila , than any other buddhist laywoman.

I have no problem with there being tibetan bhikkhuni , dharmagupta bhikkhuni, or western order bhikkuni or if someone wants to start a new order that is fine: but don't then try to fit them by sleight of hand into the Theravada as Theravada bhikkuni.
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Re: Bhikkhuni ordination

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Jan 07, 2010 11:49 am

Hi Robert,
I don't mean restart the bhikkhuni order with a wink and a blind eye, which I think you may of thought I meant, but rather roses are red & violets are blue, similar plants in some respects but different in others.

a new order rather than a restarted dead one. its own distinct history but the same rules, maybe (slightly) different clarification on procedures, as Thanissaro points out in the letter on Dhammalight, some of the procedures aren't necessarily valid from a legalistic point of view, but they are essentially both the same thing, a higher ordination for women within Theravada, which conforms to the Dhammavinaya.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
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"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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