Author Topic: Bhikkhuni ordination in Vaishali to be historic event  (Read 7201 times)

Namdrol

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 257
    • Email
Bhikkhuni ordination in Vaishali to be historic event
« on: June 24, 2012, 11:09:00 PM »
http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=42,10948,0,0,1,0

by Lee Yu Ban, The Buddhist Channel, June 16, 2012

Vaishali, India -- About 2,600 years ago, the Buddha initiated the Order of bhikkhunis or nuns in Vaishali with the ordination of his aunt and step-mother, Maha Pajapati Gotami in the town of Vaishali, now in the state of Bihar, India.

<< The Vietnam Mahaprajapati Gotami Nunnery in Vaishali

This July, the event will occur again for the first time in modern times when several samaneris or novice nuns take ordination to become bhikkhunis in the Theravada tradition at the Vietnam Mahaprajapati Gotami Nunnery in Vaishali .

The event is the brain-child of Ven Lieu Phap Viditadhamma, a Vietnamese Theravada bhikkhuni and a lecturer with the Department of Buddhist Studies in the University of Delhi, who has been staying in India for almost 14 years.

The ordination ceremony will be held in the Nunnery in Vaishali in recognition of the town's historic connection with the birth of the bhikkhuni sangha more than two millenia ago.


The event is also part of a worldwide effort by Buddhists of the Theravada school to rebuild its order of bhikkhunis after the lineage was discontinued centuries ago in this school of Buddhism, although it continued to thrive in the Mahayana school.

Ven Lieu Phap has already received applications from samaneris from India as well as other countries giving this event an international flavour.  Bhikkhuni ordinations require the participation of both bhikkhus and bhikkhunis. 

In this regard, senior bhikkhus and bhikkhunis from India and Sri Lanka have been invited to the event. Ven. Nyaninda, a much respected and the most senior Burmese monk of Bodh Gaya is also expected to attend.

The new bhikkhunis are required to stay for at least 3 months to study the Vinaya, or rules of the order, before leaving for their home countries.

ratanasutra

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 345
Re: Bhikkhuni ordination in Vaishali to be historic event
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2012, 04:00:52 PM »
Thanks Numdrol for sharing the good news of the historic event of ordination of Bhikkhuni in India. I rejoice in the expansion of Bhikkhuni member.

I found this interesting information about Bhikkhuni to share here, its from http://buddhism.about.com/od/buddhisthistory/a/buddhistwomen.htm

Further, according to the canonical texts, before the Buddha allowed Pajapati into the Sangha, she had to agree to eight Garudhammas, or grave rules, not required of men. These are:

# A Bhikkuni (nun) even if she was in the Order for 100 years must respect a Bhikkhu (monk) even of a day's standing.

# A Bhikkuni must reside within 6 hours of traveling distance from the monastery where Bhikkhus reside for advice.

# On Observance days a Bhikkhuni should consult the Bhikkhus.

# A Bhikkhuni must spend rainy season retreats under the orders of both Bhikhus and Bhikkhunis.

# A Bhikkhuni must live her life by both the orders.

# A Bhikkhuni must on two years obtain the higher ordination (Upasampatha) by both Orders.

# A Bhikkhuni cannot scold a Bhikkhu.

# A Bhikkhuni cannot advise a Bhikkhu.

Nuns also have more rules to follow than monks. The Vinaya-pitaka lists about 250 rules for monks and 348 rules for nuns.

Jessie Fong

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 690
Re: Bhikkhuni ordination in Vaishali to be historic event
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2012, 12:18:08 PM »
Thanks Numdrol for sharing the good news of the historic event of ordination of Bhikkhuni in India. I rejoice in the expansion of Bhikkhuni member.

I found this interesting information about Bhikkhuni to share here, its from http://buddhism.about.com/od/buddhisthistory/a/buddhistwomen.htm

Further, according to the canonical texts, before the Buddha allowed Pajapati into the Sangha, she had to agree to eight Garudhammas, or grave rules, not required of men. These are:

# A Bhikkuni (nun) even if she was in the Order for 100 years must respect a Bhikkhu (monk) even of a day's standing.

# A Bhikkuni must reside within 6 hours of traveling distance from the monastery where Bhikkhus reside for advice.

# On Observance days a Bhikkhuni should consult the Bhikkhus.

# A Bhikkhuni must spend rainy season retreats under the orders of both Bhikhus and Bhikkhunis.

# A Bhikkhuni must live her life by both the orders.

# A Bhikkhuni must on two years obtain the higher ordination (Upasampatha) by both Orders.

# A Bhikkhuni cannot scold a Bhikkhu.

# A Bhikkhuni cannot advise a Bhikkhu.

Nuns also have more rules to follow than monks. The Vinaya-pitaka lists about 250 rules for monks and 348 rules for nuns.


From your listing above, it seems that a Bhikkhuni is not on equal terms with a Bhikkhu and she has more rules than the Bhikkhu.  Why is this so?  Buddhism places just as great or equal terms for the females.

IN this age, it is really much more difficult for someone to be ordained as a Bhikkhuni than a Bhikku.

Manjushri

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 442
Re: Bhikkhuni ordination in Vaishali to be historic event
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2012, 05:03:31 PM »
What is a Bhikkhuni?
A bhikkhuni (nun) is a woman who has renounced ordinary society to live a celibate monastic life.

I read that the Bhikkhuni's code of conduct is much more than a Bhikkhus's (monk), more specifically, 85 rules for which there are no direct correspondences in the code of conduct for the Bhikkhus due to the following reasons:

1.more than one third of these extra rules were formulated to protect bhikkhun?s from being the direct recipients of the abusive or careless behavior of other Bhikkhun?s;

2.two of the extra rules prevent Bhikkhun?s from putting themselves in a position of servitude to Bhikkhus or lay people;

3.according to the rules' origin stories, all but three of the extra rules were formulated only after Bhikkhun?s complained to the Bhikkhus about an errant Bhikkhun?'s behavior.

Therefore, on one hand, it may seem as if there is an unfair treatment for the Bhikkhunis as opposed to the Bhikkhus, but on the other hand, it might've been enforced for protecting, and for the wellbeing of the Bhikkhunis. Having these extra code of conducts will help the Bhikkhunis prevent themselves from being in a situation that is more detrimental to them, preventing themselves from putting themselves in a compromising situation. Hence, having more code of conduct to uphold might not necessarily be bad, in effect, it may be very helpful for the Bhikkhunis!

To read more on the code of conduct for Bhikkhunis, please refer here:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/vin/sv/bhikkhuni-pati.html

To read more on the history of Bhikhunis, please refer here:
http://www.thubtenchodron.org/BuddhistNunsMonasticLife/LifeAsAWesternBuddhistNun/the_history_of_the_bhikkhuni_sangha.html

bambi

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 722
Re: Bhikkhuni ordination in Vaishali to be historic event
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2012, 05:35:42 AM »
 ??? Bhikkunis have more vows than Bhikkus? I didn't know that. I guess being a woman, they have to work hard to 'prove' themselves. Look at the discrimination below. And Bhikkunis still have to hold more vows. Shocking! Shouldn't it be the other way round? I don't mean to disrespect the Sangha or Buddha but I am just curious. In the secular world, even women are discriminated.

"The English Theravadan monk Ven. Ajahn Amaro also spoke up: 'Seeing the nuns not receiving the respect given to the monks is very painful. It is like having a spear in your heart,' he said."

"American Tibetan Buddhist monk Thubten Pende gave his views: "When I translated the texts concerning the ordination ceremony I got such a shock. It said that even the most senior nun had to sit behind the most novice monk because, although her ordination was superior, the basis of that ordination, her body, was inferior. I thought, "There it is." I'd heard about this belief but I'd never found evidence of it. I had to recite this text at the ceremony. I was embarrassed to say it and ashamed of the institution I was representing. I wondered, "Why doesn't she get up and leave?" I would.'

In the Theravada tradition, some scholars believe that the bhikkhuni lineage became extinct in the 11th to 13th centuries, and that no new bhikkhunis could be ordained since there were no bhikkhunis left to give ordination.
I am not surprised...

Dr. Chatsumarn Kabilsingh, now known as Dhammananda Bhikkhuni, is a Thai scholar who took bhikkhuni ordination in Sri Lanka and returned to Thailand, where bhikkhuni ordination is forbidden and can result in arrest or imprisonment for a woman. She is considered a pioneer by many in Thailand and a "devil" by others.
Its so hard to become a nun. So many vows to hold and yet people can call her a "devil."

In Plum Village, the Eight Observations of Respect that nuns have to observe towards Buddhist monks are not observed, as Thich Nhat Hanh claims they were invented only to help the stepmother of the Buddha, and that one need only keep Nhat Hanh's 14 precepts properly. That's all. But of course he doesn't despise the traditional precepts. And I can accept them just to give joy to the monks who practice in the traditional way. If I can give them joy, I will have a chance to share my insights about women with them, and then they will be unblocked in their understanding.
How kind and understanding Master Thich Nhat Hanh is!

Vajraprotector

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 610
Re: Bhikkhuni ordination in Vaishali to be historic event
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2012, 06:47:10 PM »
The bhikshuni ordination lineage is important, for one becomes a nun by taking the ordination from those who have received it, and in this way, the purity of the transmission is traced back to the Buddha himself. Women are to receive bhikshuni ordination from a community of at least ten bhikshunis, and, at a separate ceremony later the same day, from a community of at least ten bhikshus (fully ordained monks). In lands where such a large number of monastics does not exist, communities of five can give the ordination.

The bhikshuni lineage flourished in ancient India and in the third century B.C.E. spread to Sri Lanka. From there it went to China in the fourth century C.E. Due to warfare and political problems, the lineage died out in both India and Sri Lanka in the eleventh century C.E., although it continued to spread throughout China and to Korea and Vietnam as well. The bhikshuni lineage was not established in Tibet due to the difficulties of crossing the Himalayan Mountains. A sufficient number of Indian bhikshunis did not go to Tibet, nor did a sufficient number of Tibetan women go to India to take the ordination and return to Tibet to pass it on to others. However, there are a few historical records of a few bhikshunis in Tibet receiving their ordination from the bhikshu sangha alone, although that never took hold in Tibet. Nowadays, monks in the Tibetan community give the sramanerika ordination. The bhikshuni ordination was never extant in Thailand. In Thailand and Burma, women receive eight precepts and in Sri Lanka they receive ten precepts. Although they live in celibacy and wear robes demarcating them as religious women, their precepts are not regarded as any of the three pratimoksa ordinations for women.

As Buddhism spread in ancient India, various Vinaya schools developed. Of the eighteen initial schools, three are extant today: the Theravada, which is widespread in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia; the Dharmaguptaka, which is practiced in Taiwan, China, Korea, and Vietnam; and the Mulasravastivada, which is followed in Tibet.

Tenzin K

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 835
Re: Bhikkhuni ordination in Vaishali to be historic event
« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2012, 07:39:54 AM »
Thanks Namdrol for the news. It’s always rejoicing to read up good news on the development or progression of the spread of Dharma.

According to Theravada tradition, the bhikkhuni order of nuns came to be five years after the bhikkhu order of monks. Buddhism is unique among Indian Religions in that Buddha, as founder of a spiritual tradition, explicitly states in canonical literature that a woman is as capable of nirvana (enlightenment) as a man, and can fully attain all four stages of enlightenment in the Dhamma and Vinaya of the Buddha Sasana. There is no equivalent, in other traditions, of the Therigatha or Apadanas which record the high levels of spiritual attainment by women. In Buddhism, women can openly aspire to and practice for the highest level of spiritual attainment.

The progression to ordination as a Bhikkhuni is taken in four steps. A lay person may take the five upasika vows. The next step is to enter the pabbajja or monastic way of life, which includes wearing monk's or nun's robes. After that, one can become a samaneri or novice nun. The last and final step is to take all the vows of a bhikkhuni a "fully ordained nun."

According to the vinaya, a bhikkhuni, unlike a bhikkhu, should not be accepted by the sangha to take these vows again in one life after "giving them back”. So she cannot be a buddhist nun again.