YOU CANNOT POST. OUR WEB HOSTING COMPANY DECIDED TO MOVE THE SERVER TO ANOTHER LOCATION. IN THE MEANTIME, YOU CAN VIEW THIS VERSION WHICH DOES NOT ALLOW POSTING AND WILL NOT SAVE ANYTHING YOU DO ONCE THE OTHER SERVER GOES ONLINE.

Canonicity of the Bhikkhuni Garu Dhamma - Dhamma Wheel

Canonicity of the Bhikkhuni Garu Dhamma

Discussion of ordination, the Vinaya and monastic life. How and where to ordain? Bhikkhuni ordination etc.
User avatar
yuttadhammo
Posts: 143
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2010 5:03 pm
Location: Sri Lanka
Contact:

Canonicity of the Bhikkhuni Garu Dhamma

Postby yuttadhammo » Fri Sep 10, 2010 7:02 am

Dear friends,

Just thought to post some thoughts on the Bhikkhuni here and get some ideas. Maybe I'm on the wrong track with some of this and it would be nice to get feedback from those more knowledgeable on the issue. Maybe this all has been hashed and rehashed elsewhere, please forgive. would ask that if you read this you refrain from the following:

1) reacting according to your own views and opinions
2) reacting according to what your teacher has said
3) reacting according to what you think most people think
...
just try not to react. Think first, meditate a bit, then and only then come back and teach :)

There's an article that was brought to my attention recently and I'm reluctant to give out the link to it, since I think it is fairly biased. Basically, it says the eight garudhamma for bhikkhuni are a later addition to the canon. I'd like to talk about this idea here.

It seems to me we can take one of three stances on these eight rules, rules that in essence require bhikkhunis as a group to be on a level below bhikkhus:

1) we say the rules are not buddhavacana
2) we say the rules are buddhavacana but are not appropriate for modern times
3) we say the rules are buddhavacana and are appropriate for modern times

This seems to cover the main positions on this issue.

The thing I always find myself explaining to people when they ask why monks are bound by this or that precept is that the monk's life is an expedient, not a ultimate truth. Sure, you can touch money without getting attached to it, but when monastic communities apply this principle, havoc ensues in most cases (believe me, I'm not exaggerating). It's a good expedient to adopt the rule not to use money, even though it may cause hardship in certain instances. It doesn't mean that money is intrinsically unwholesome.

Sex, I think it is fair to say, is intrinsically unwholesome, and the first thing a Buddhist renunciant has to give up. I would say this is the more basic of the two fundamental monastic principles (poverty and celibacy). Poverty comes second to celibacy. If we can agree that this is the base of the holy life (brahmacariya), then it seems a wise expedient for a group of heterosexual male monks to exclude females from their group. This, afaics, is what happened in the time of the Buddha. Correct me if I'm wrong, it seems this is what all such "boy's clubs" do. The Buddha was in fact the first in India to allow women to ordain, as I understand.

So, the problem is what do you do what your boy's club turns out to be the sole path to eternal salvation (or something of that magnitude)? You can only explain the benefits of part-time lay practice for so long until sooner or later the girls want to play hardball too. But unlike a boy's club, this is a group of people dedicating their lives to celibacy. As with the money issue, many people have pointed out that men and women can live together without... you know. But the point is not what is theoretically possible, but what actually happens. When you apply the principle of men and women monastics living together, celibacy is not a reasonable outcome in most cases. I think the relationship between homosexuality and monasticism has proven this time and again, though I won't give any examples.

So what do you do? The people who want to say that the garu dhamma are fake have to come up with a better plan, and explain why that plan was instituted in the time of the Buddha but then white-outed and replaced with the current misogynist drivel. The article I mentioned above suggests just such intermingling as I claim above to be impossible, and indeed encourages bhikkhus to go out of their way to pay respect to bhikkhunis as a show of support.

Again, three models seem to appear to me for allowing male and female monastics:

1) separate but equal
2) together, rank by seniority
3) separate, rank by seniority

The third option, from my POV, is what happened. Agree or disagree with what is written in Cv X, but I don't think you can make me believe it was sexism that prompted the garu dhamma. It seems pretty clear that what occurred was a decision that the best way to remain celibate was obviously to remain separate. Separate but equal doesn't work, because a) the bhikkhunis would have no seniors to learn the Buddhadhamma from, and b) it would be equivalent to creating a schism in the sangha, with two governing bodies making independent decisions. Unless you accept some sort of joint operation, and thus constant interaction (sitting together for sanghakamma, etc), this is clearly not acceptable. Not acceptable to the Buddha, not acceptable to monks today. So, you either allow bhikkhus and bhikkhunis to mingle, thus nullifying the main benefit of ordaining in the first place, or you go by seniority, group-style. Bhikkhunis came after, bhikkhunis come after.

I guess the only potential problem with this theory is the Buddha's words on how awful it is for women to join the sangha, but that really is up to interpretation. If you interpret it to mean that women are incapable of monasticism, I think you are missing the point. Sure, there are problems with women living in the forest (sexual assault being a big one), but it seems clear that the problem is more because of all the men already in the sangha; adding women to the mix would be like allowing rust to eat your crops, to use the Buddha's own metaphor.

In this sense, I think interpreting Cv X as sexist is at the least rash, and at the worst, denigrating the Buddha's words. And I think that the argument that "the time has come" to change the rules, due to change in society, etc. is unfounded. If, as I propose, the rules were instituted based not on gender differences, but the supermagnetic attraction between the genders, then the only change we can observe today is for the worse - I'm told that 64% of the Internet is porn... (just think, every post on dhammawheel is offsetting that :) ) If anything, we need new rules to deal with things like homosexuality; I don't really mean that, I think we're just up a crick without a paddle; all good things come to an end. All we can do is try to stall the inevitable decline of the Buddhasasana... I really believe that (but please don't derail the thread arguing against me), looking realistically at the situation Buddhism is in and not just because it seems to be what the Buddha says in Cv X. The bhikkhuni situation is just one more in a long list of fragmentations of this heavily-laden vessel we call our religion. The only way back is to patch up the cracks; we should be asking ourselves as we sink into the ocean, why aren't we doing that? Instead of creating more complexity, starting fights for things that have nothing to do with enlightenment, why can't we just live with the simplest, most expedient solution? i.e. what's in the canon.

The obvious truth, IMO overlooked by most people on both sides of this argument is that we ordain to give up, not to take on. When women talk about the empowerment of becoming an equal status bhikkhuni, it sounds like their minds are still stuck in laypeople gear. Equality has no place in Buddhist monasticism. Neither does empowerment. Every monk has a place on the totem pole, irrespective of their worth as a monk, and more to the point, irrespective of their worth as a human being. This is an expedient; it tends to favour spritual growth, rather than hinder it (something to remember when you're in line behind the laziest monk in the monastery). When bhikkhus rant and rail against the ordination of bhikkhunis (I was recently called a schismatic for posting a photo of a bhikkhuni ordination on my website and expressing my appreciation of ordination in general), they are falling into the same trap - creating something out of nothing, erecting a wall where there is none, stepping on a rope and crying "snake!"

I've said before (and been called to task for it) that bhikkhus should not encourage bhikkhuni ordination. What I meant was literally that. Don't go out and recruit Bhikkhunis. As far as we know, the Buddha was of that vein. To me, this is a very practical maxim, like "don't tell Suzie Derkins you've got a pet tiger", etc. That, to me seems the happy medium between denying the validity of people who are going to ordain elsewhere anyway and causing nothing but bad press and schism, and opening the flood gates, so to speak, by welcoming the bhikkhunis with open arms... so to speak. I think it is great to see more people ordaining. That's really what's important here, why can't we all see this? Why bicker and argue over who's on first base? If what it's going to take to solve the problem is to put the Bhikkhuni sangha above the bhikkhu sangha, I vote for that, and I'll be first in line to bow down to my seniors female counterparts. Better than having to live with them. I don't have a problem bowing, it's good for the knees.

The problem in Buddhist monasticism, imho, is not the eight garu dhamma, it's the false idea in Buddhist societies (held, they say, by the Buddha) that women are inferior to men. I hope I don't have to pull quotes to refute this one, but I sure can. I hope I've offered an alternative reading to the text that to me seems the most obvious reading anyway, making the sexism argument untenable. If the Buddha was sexist, it was only insofar as he figured it would be easier, as a man, to teach men how to be celibate, rather than women. I don't even think it goes that far. I just think people like to find problems where there are none. That's really the problem... papanca.

</rant>

Please feel free to poke holes and show me.




Upasampadā: 4 December, 2001

Paññāsikhara
Posts: 980
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 5:27 am
Contact:

Re: Canonicity of the Bhikkhuni Garu Dhamma

Postby Paññāsikhara » Fri Sep 10, 2010 9:54 am

Bhante, how do you understand the word "buddhavacana"?
In the very literal sense of "words spoken by Gautama the buddha"?
Or, as a term to explain teachings that were considered canonical, but not necessarily taught by Gautama the buddha (eg. taught by Ananda, Sariputta, et al)?
My recently moved Blog, containing some of my writings on the Buddha Dhamma, as well as a number of translations from classical Buddhist texts and modern authors, liturgy, etc.: .

User avatar
Cittasanto
Posts: 6524
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin
Contact:

Re: Canonicity of the Bhikkhuni Garu Dhamma

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Sep 10, 2010 10:50 am

Image

I would be interested in reading the article though


He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

User avatar
yuttadhammo
Posts: 143
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2010 5:03 pm
Location: Sri Lanka
Contact:

Re: Canonicity of the Bhikkhuni Garu Dhamma

Postby yuttadhammo » Fri Sep 10, 2010 2:54 pm





Upasampadā: 4 December, 2001

User avatar
yuttadhammo
Posts: 143
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2010 5:03 pm
Location: Sri Lanka
Contact:

Re: Canonicity of the Bhikkhuni Garu Dhamma

Postby yuttadhammo » Fri Sep 10, 2010 2:55 pm





Upasampadā: 4 December, 2001

User avatar
Cittasanto
Posts: 6524
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin
Contact:

Re: Canonicity of the Bhikkhuni Garu Dhamma

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Sep 10, 2010 3:44 pm



He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

Paññāsikhara
Posts: 980
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 5:27 am
Contact:

Re: Canonicity of the Bhikkhuni Garu Dhamma

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sat Sep 11, 2010 2:20 am

My recently moved Blog, containing some of my writings on the Buddha Dhamma, as well as a number of translations from classical Buddhist texts and modern authors, liturgy, etc.: .

Sunset

Re: Canonicity of the Bhikkhuni Garu Dhamma

Postby Sunset » Sat Sep 11, 2010 4:23 am


Terasi
Posts: 79
Joined: Thu Jul 08, 2010 5:47 am

Re: Canonicity of the Bhikkhuni Garu Dhamma

Postby Terasi » Sat Sep 11, 2010 12:22 pm

I am disappointed. Yes, it's naive, but I have to get it out. I've been reading about many matters in Theravada in the attempt to know more about the path of my choice, and so far this is one issue which I fail to persuade myself to understand. As a newcomer to Theravada, I have nothing to say in terms of Vinaya, Sutta, etc, but I do have something to say as a female who is currently on the doorstep of Theravada. So, this sect that I thought is down-to-earth, fair, rational, cool-headed, is actually an exclusive boy's club?'

Stop thinking from male or female point of view, think about human. It's hard to be born as human, why would half the population want to deprive the other half? Both the boys and the girls have to learn to control "the supermagnetic attraction between the genders". Please do not think that for the sake of the boys, then let the girls out in the cold. I can understand the reason why monastics do not handle money, which is to rid themselves of the temptation to be greedy. In this matter though, let's not forget this is not money, not just a thing/object, here we are talking about women who.. surprise surprise... are human!

OK, I've said I got nothing to contribute. The person described in OP's post doesn't sound like the Buddha I've been hearing about so far. How are we to be sure that the words come from the Buddha himself? And if those are truly his, it must be for 2500 years ago, and now.. hello.. time's changed. Separation is possible, noone said monks and nuns have to reside together, travel together, meet everyday etc - if you are worried about some monks being "chick magnet". The Buddha himself said that minor adjustments are possible, while on the other hand the Sangha was described as consisting of bhikkhunis too. Trying to keep bhikkhunis out of the picture, that would be a major change. Why would a good monk be refrained from helping his fellow seekers, who happen to be women, to ordain?

Saying so much, this's only a minor fraction of Theravada. There are bhikkhunis in other countries - why can't they learn from others. Sorry, I definitely don't know much, the ordination, the Vinaya, etc. are not my concern (yet). I just can't stand outdated misogynistic views, be it in Buddhism or elsewhere. Stopping this little rant now, back to my corner.

/rant

User avatar
yuttadhammo
Posts: 143
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2010 5:03 pm
Location: Sri Lanka
Contact:

Re: Canonicity of the Bhikkhuni Garu Dhamma

Postby yuttadhammo » Sat Sep 11, 2010 2:20 pm





Upasampadā: 4 December, 2001

User avatar
yuttadhammo
Posts: 143
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2010 5:03 pm
Location: Sri Lanka
Contact:

Re: Canonicity of the Bhikkhuni Garu Dhamma

Postby yuttadhammo » Sat Sep 11, 2010 2:59 pm





Upasampadā: 4 December, 2001

User avatar
yuttadhammo
Posts: 143
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2010 5:03 pm
Location: Sri Lanka
Contact:

Re: Canonicity of the Bhikkhuni Garu Dhamma

Postby yuttadhammo » Sat Sep 11, 2010 3:20 pm





Upasampadā: 4 December, 2001

Sunset

Re: Canonicity of the Bhikkhuni Garu Dhamma

Postby Sunset » Sat Sep 11, 2010 4:22 pm


Paññāsikhara
Posts: 980
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 5:27 am
Contact:

Re: Canonicity of the Bhikkhuni Garu Dhamma

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sat Sep 11, 2010 11:41 pm

My recently moved Blog, containing some of my writings on the Buddha Dhamma, as well as a number of translations from classical Buddhist texts and modern authors, liturgy, etc.: .

User avatar
Modus.Ponens
Posts: 2637
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 2:38 am
Location: Gallifrey

Re: Canonicity of the Bhikkhuni Garu Dhamma

Postby Modus.Ponens » Sun Sep 12, 2010 12:26 am

An interesting article about this is here:

http://www.buddhanet.net/budsas/ebud/ebsut067.htm

scroll down to the 8 rules part, which is relatively small.
He turns his mind away from those phenomena, and having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.'
(Jhana Sutta - Thanissaro Bhikkhu translation)

User avatar
Jason
Posts: 474
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 1:09 am
Location: Earth
Contact:

Re: Canonicity of the Bhikkhuni Garu Dhamma

Postby Jason » Sun Sep 12, 2010 2:06 am

I also don't think that the Buddha was sexist, even if he did institute the eight weighty rules for women. And while I don't have anything new to add to the discussion, anyone who's interested can read my past thoughts about this topic .
"Sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya" ().

(Buddhist-related blog)
(non-Buddhist related blog)

User avatar
yuttadhammo
Posts: 143
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2010 5:03 pm
Location: Sri Lanka
Contact:

Re: Canonicity of the Bhikkhuni Garu Dhamma

Postby yuttadhammo » Sun Sep 12, 2010 6:27 am





Upasampadā: 4 December, 2001

User avatar
yuttadhammo
Posts: 143
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2010 5:03 pm
Location: Sri Lanka
Contact:

Re: Canonicity of the Bhikkhuni Garu Dhamma

Postby yuttadhammo » Sun Sep 12, 2010 6:40 am





Upasampadā: 4 December, 2001

Sunset

Re: Canonicity of the Bhikkhuni Garu Dhamma

Postby Sunset » Sun Sep 12, 2010 7:24 am


Paññāsikhara
Posts: 980
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 5:27 am
Contact:

Re: Canonicity of the Bhikkhuni Garu Dhamma

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sun Sep 12, 2010 8:28 am

My recently moved Blog, containing some of my writings on the Buddha Dhamma, as well as a number of translations from classical Buddhist texts and modern authors, liturgy, etc.: .


Return to “Ordination and Monastic Life”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 14 guests

Google Saffron, Theravada Search Engine