The ordination ceremony began at 7.15pm, Perth time. Ayyā Tathāālokā, a respected bhikkhuni of 13 years standing, was formally appointed as the preceptor (pavattinī) by the bhikkhuni Sangha. Since no more than three should be ordained at one time, the candidates were ordained in two groups of two. The full procedure is carried out by the bhikkhuni Sangha, with the candidates requesting their preceptor, being instructed outside the Sangha and questioned inside the Sangha, before the final ‘Motion and Three Announcements’ (ñatticatutthakamma), which is the ordination proper.
When the two pairs had been ordained among the bhikkhuni Sangha, they were led in pairs to the bhikkhu Sangha. The ordination in front of the bhikkhus is much simpler, as there is no questioning of the candidates or appointment of a preceptor. The role of the bhikkhu Sangha, according to the Pali Vinaya, is simply to confirm the ordination, stamping it with their seal of approval, and acknowledging the acceptance of the candidates. Ajahn Brahm and I did the chanting, and I confess to more than one shower of rapture as the auspicious words finally came true: evam etaṁ dhārayāmi – thus I will bear it in mind. The ceremony concluded around 9.00pm.
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