Canonicity of the Bhikkhuni Garu Dhamma

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

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.
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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)?
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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
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Re: Canonicity of the Bhikkhuni Garu Dhamma

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

Paññāsikhara wrote: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)?
No, I would say literally, words spoken by the sammasambuddha... but I had no intention of denigrating the non-buddhavacana parts of the canon.
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Re: Canonicity of the Bhikkhuni Garu Dhamma

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

Manapa wrote:Image

I would be interested in reading the article though

Alright... freedom of information and all that...

http://www.thebuddhadharma.com/pdf/the_ ... s_come.pdf
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Re: Canonicity of the Bhikkhuni Garu Dhamma

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

yuttadhammo wrote:
Manapa wrote:Image

I would be interested in reading the article though

Alright... freedom of information and all that...

http://www.thebuddhadharma.com/pdf/the_ ... s_come.pdf

Thanks!
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
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Re: Canonicity of the Bhikkhuni Garu Dhamma

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

yuttadhammo wrote:
Paññāsikhara wrote: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)?
No, I would say literally, words spoken by the sammasambuddha... but I had no intention of denigrating the non-buddhavacana parts of the canon.


Bhante:
So, if you consider it as "literally, words spoken by the sammasambuddha", but you have "no intention of denigrating the non-buddhavacana parts of the canon", why should the notion that the garu-dhammas are canonical (ie. "parts of the canon") but added by someone else, (ie. non-buddhavacana), be that much different? I'm trying to find the water-shed point, if you can see what I mean. (You mention this notion on non-canonicity at the start of your post, saying you'll refer to it later, but I couldn't locate it.)
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Re: Canonicity of the Bhikkhuni Garu Dhamma

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

yuttadhammo wrote:Please feel free to poke holes and show me.


yuttadhammo wrote:In this sense, I think interpreting Cv X as sexist is at the least rash, and at the worst, denigrating the Buddha's words.


Dear Venerable Yuttadhammo

How can we be certain Cv X are the Buddha's words, when the same words are not found in the suttas? Does not the reluctance of the Buddha described Cv X appear to be in contrast to the Buddha's aspiration described in the Maha-parinibbana Sutta?

42. "There was a time, Ananda, when I dwelt at Uruvela, on the bank of the Nerañjara River, at the foot of the goatherds' banyan-tree, soon after my supreme Enlightenment. And Mara, the Evil One, approached me, saying: 'Now, O Lord, let the Blessed One come to his final passing away! Let the Happy One utterly pass away! The time has come for the Parinibbana of the Lord.'

43. "Then, Ananda, I answered Mara, the Evil One, saying: 'I shall not come to my final passing away, Evil One, until my bhikkhus and bhikkhunis, laymen and laywomen, have come to be true disciples — wise, well disciplined, apt and learned, preservers of the Dhamma, living according to the Dhamma, abiding by appropriate conduct and, having learned the Master's word, are able to expound it, preach it, proclaim it, establish it, reveal it, explain it in detail, and make it clear; until, when adverse opinions arise, they shall be able to refute them thoroughly and well, and to preach this convincing and liberating Dhamma.


yuttadhammo wrote: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. 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.


Dear Venerable Yuttadhammo

I will offer some hole poking in respect to your reasoning. First, where did the Buddha say "the main benefit of ordaining in the first place" was to live separate from women? Did not the Buddha instruct us "the main benefit of the holy life was the unshakeable freedom of mind"?

Second, as monk, you yourself come into contact with women often, such as layfollowers, alms givers, your personal benefactors, those who administer your worldly affairs, etc. These women do not have their heads shaven and their entire bodies covered in the manner of a bhikkhuni. Monastic life in modern Asian monasteries is characterised by many maichees living in the monastery.

In contrast to this, there is the classic 'boy's club' you have referred to. During the 1990's, I recall the resignation of many senior Western bhikkhus in the Ajahn Chah tradition. Each or most of these bhikkhus, in my recollection, returned to sensuality. Is it possible a strict environment such as Wat Pananachat lead to many men remaining in robes longer than their inherent tendencies (anusaya) and parami should have allowed?

yuttadhammo wrote: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...

When we read the suttas, in general, the stories of men leaving the home life show, on most occassions, these men had already developed dispassion towards sensuality and sexuality. Similarly, whilst less often, in general, the stories of the bhikkhunis in the Therigatha show the same, of women who had already developed dispassion towards sensuality and sexuality.

Personally, what is problematic, in my opinion, is the marketing of the Buddha-Dhamma in such a way which holds "establish yourself in Vinayana and enlightenment is guaranteed". Although it cannot be disputed the Buddha instructed all of the various attainments are not possible without sila, the Buddha did not instruct the perfection of sila alone will guarantee the various attainments.

yuttadhammo wrote: 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

Dear Venerable Yuttadhammo

As you said, celibacy and poverty are two of the salient characteristics of the monastic life. However, surely there are more models than the three you have proposed. In our modern times, where the rape of bhikkhunis is of less concern, separateness is possible. This does not inevitably result in two governing bodies making independent decisions because both bodies are established in the same Dhamma-Vinaya.

The Garudhammas state:
7) "A bhikkhu must not in any way be insulted or reviled by a bhikkhunī...

8) "From this day forward, the admonition of a bhikkhu by a bhikkhunī is forbidden, but the admonition of a bhikkhunī by a bhikkhu is not forbidden. This rule, too, is to be honored, respected, revered, venerated, never to be transgressed as long as she lives.

Personally, I think it is not appropriate for either bhikkhu or bhikkhunī to admonish each other. The bhikkhu and bhikkhunī should at most times remain separate, especially in respect to their training and relationships with teachers. Sexual psychology & dynamics are such that admonishment by the opposite sex can be more provocative of innate sexual reactions than mere eye sight of the opposite sex.

Warm regards

:smile:
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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
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Re: Canonicity of the Bhikkhuni Garu Dhamma

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

Paññāsikhara wrote:
yuttadhammo wrote:Bhante:
So, if you consider it as "literally, words spoken by the sammasambuddha", but you have "no intention of denigrating the non-buddhavacana parts of the canon", why should the notion that the garu-dhammas are canonical (ie. "parts of the canon") but added by someone else, (ie. non-buddhavacana), be that much different? I'm trying to find the water-shed point, if you can see what I mean. (You mention this notion on non-canonicity at the start of your post, saying you'll refer to it later, but I couldn't locate it.)
well, by "non-buddhavacana" I was referring to those parts clearly demarcated as originating from another source, not passages claiming erroneously to have been spoken by the Buddha. I hope you see the difference.
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Re: Canonicity of the Bhikkhuni Garu Dhamma

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

Sunset wrote:Dear Venerable Yuttadhammo

How can we be certain Cv X are the Buddha's words, when the same words are not found in the suttas? Does not the reluctance of the Buddha described Cv X appear to be in contrast to the Buddha's aspiration described in the Maha-parinibbana Sutta?

I don't see any reluctance in Cv X, but then my opinion is only one. The Buddha tells Ananda not to be pleased by the ordination of women. Ananda gets himself in some trouble with women, if you read about his life story, and the Buddha is helping him to see the problems that will come with the inevitable ordination of women. The Buddha didn't always speak directly according to what he know - sometimes he would ask the monks what they were doing, even though he knew already. It is clear that the Buddha knew the ordination of Bhikkhunis was inevitable, but wanted to make it clear problems would arise therefrom.
I will offer some hole poking in respect to your reasoning. First, where did the Buddha say "the main benefit of ordaining in the first place" was to live separate from women? Did not the Buddha instruct us "the main benefit of the holy life was the unshakeable freedom of mind"?

I don't believe I ever quoted the Buddha as you ask. The main purpose of the vinaya bhikkhu is to create a lifestyle conducive to meditation, which in turn has as its main benefit the unshakable freedom of mind. Ordination is just an expedient, but I am surprised you would deny that the isolation from the opposite gender is an important part of that expedient.
Second, as monk, you yourself come into contact with women often, such as layfollowers, alms givers, your personal benefactors, those who administer your worldly affairs, etc. These women do not have their heads shaven and their entire bodies covered in the manner of a bhikkhuni. Monastic life in modern Asian monasteries is characterised by many maichees living in the monastery.

In contrast to this, there is the classic 'boy's club' you have referred to. During the 1990's, I recall the resignation of many senior Western bhikkhus in the Ajahn Chah tradition. Each or most of these bhikkhus, in my recollection, returned to sensuality. Is it possible a strict environment such as Wat Pananachat lead to many men remaining in robes longer than their inherent tendencies (anusaya) and parami should have allowed?

I might agree with you on that. I am not so up on Wat Pa Nanachat, but I would venture to suggest that if what you are saying is correct, then they have turned the expedient into the goal and lost sight of the true goal. It does one no good to become a vinaya bhikkhu but not a sutta bhikkhu.
When we read the suttas, in general, the stories of men leaving the home life show, on most occassions, these men had already developed dispassion towards sensuality and sexuality. Similarly, whilst less often, in general, the stories of the bhikkhunis in the Therigatha show the same, of women who had already developed dispassion towards sensuality and sexuality.

That is certainly not the rule, otherwise the vinaya would not have been instated. Read the vinaya pitaka and you'll see the monks who made it into the Theragatha and Therigatha were only the role models.

Personally, what is problematic, in my opinion, is the marketing of the Buddha-Dhamma in such a way which holds "establish yourself in Vinayana and enlightenment is guaranteed". Although it cannot be disputed the Buddha instructed all of the various attainments are not possible without sila, the Buddha did not instruct the perfection of sila alone will guarantee the various attainments.

Yes, I think that is poor marketing. I hope I did not come across that way.
As you said, celibacy and poverty are two of the salient characteristics of the monastic life. However, surely there are more models than the three you have proposed. In our modern times, where the rape of bhikkhunis is of less concern, separateness is possible. This does not inevitably result in two governing bodies making independent decisions because both bodies are established in the same Dhamma-Vinaya.

I am not sure about rape of a bhikkhuni being of less concern, but I'm willing to take your word for it. Maybe you could propose a fourth model? You say separateness is possible without resulting in two governing bodies, and yet you have just created two governing bodies - one that accepts the garu dhamma and one that doesn't. They are now established in two different vinayas. And you think more differences of opinion will not follow? History does not agree with you.
The Garudhammas state:
7) "A bhikkhu must not in any way be insulted or reviled by a bhikkhunī...

8) "From this day forward, the admonition of a bhikkhu by a bhikkhunī is forbidden, but the admonition of a bhikkhunī by a bhikkhu is not forbidden. This rule, too, is to be honored, respected, revered, venerated, never to be transgressed as long as she lives.

Personally, I think it is not appropriate for either bhikkhu or bhikkhunī to admonish each other. The bhikkhu and bhikkhunī should at most times remain separate, especially in respect to their training and relationships with teachers. Sexual psychology & dynamics are such that admonishment by the opposite sex can be more provocative of innate sexual reactions than mere eye sight of the opposite sex.

Again, I am not an expert on anything, but I can see the difference of opinion rests on whether we should consider the sangha as one or two entities. If the sangha is one entity, then I think the two options are either admonish according to seniority, which I think we both agree is not possible (along with the Buddha), or admonish from one group to the other. If the sangha is two entities, my position is you have created a schism.

Best wishes,

Brother Noah
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Re: Canonicity of the Bhikkhuni Garu Dhamma

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

Terasi wrote: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?'

I hope I didn't give you that impression... I was actually using the "boy's club" reference tongue-and-cheek. My wish in posting this, besides getting things straight in my own mind, was to find some way of coming to terms with the growing schism that is taking place around the world over this issue. I hoped to calm people's fears and concerns in regards to the issue, but I can't erase the fact that this issue exists.

No, Theravada Buddhism is not an exclusive boy's club. The monastic part of it was, originally, because no woman in India was ever given the right to become a monastic until the Buddha showed up. If you really read my post, you can see that there is no exclusivity involved, only an inequality. Every monk is in an unequal position compared to every other monk. That's all. The Buddha acknowledged it would be difficult to accept these rules, that's why they are called "garu" or heavy, but in the end that's all they are, and should really have no bearing on one's monastic life beyond simple logistics.
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!

I didn't say we should let the girls out into the cold... if women wish to ordain, they should be given the same right to do so as men. The obvious qualifications to that do not leave them out in the cold, but it does force them to give up a good portion of their egos.

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?

Ah, maybe you are referring to my statement that monks should not encourage women to ordain. I think the wording is wrong. I meant not to actively encourage women, because then one become's involved with them in an improper way. A male monk should be removed from the process, explaining the requirements for ordination and sending the female applicant on to be ordained with the female monks. He should not influence the decision making, that's all. I am pretty sure I never suggested women should not 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

Thank you for writing - ranting is always a good way to get things out into the sunlight. I really am sorry to have to drag this issue out into the forefront since it obviously will send some people running without taking the time to fully appreciate the magnitude of the problem. Most people think of monasteries as perfect pillars of wisdom and enlightenment. They tend, in my experience, to more resemble slaughterhouses, where few if any get out alive, mostly because monastic discipline is lax or absent, and understanding of the dhamma-vinaya poor to say the least.

I assume by the contrarian posts I have failed to offer convincing argument that Cv X is a necessary expedient, even in modern times. I still attribute this to misplaced feminist ideology, but as a male monk, I am in a poor position to judge.
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Re: Canonicity of the Bhikkhuni Garu Dhamma

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

yuttadhammo wrote:I am surprised you would deny that the isolation from the opposite gender is an important part of that expedient.

With respects Venerable Yuttadhammo, I do not have the faintest idea of what you are talking about. "Isolation" is not only a very strong word but also an unrealistic one. Similarly, with your phraseology "the supermagnetic attraction between the genders", I do not have the faintest idea of what you are talking about. The Buddha advised in the suttas how his bhikkhus remain free from sensuality by regarding each woman as a 'mother', 'sister' or 'daughter' and, if required, practise the meditation on 'loathsomeness' in respect to the parts of the body.

I personally commenced all of my meditation in retreats that comprised of men & women and later practised more meditation alone in forests. I do not recall any difference.

With metta

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Re: Canonicity of the Bhikkhuni Garu Dhamma

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

yuttadhammo wrote:
Paññāsikhara wrote:
yuttadhammo wrote:Bhante:
So, if you consider it as "literally, words spoken by the sammasambuddha", but you have "no intention of denigrating the non-buddhavacana parts of the canon", why should the notion that the garu-dhammas are canonical (ie. "parts of the canon") but added by someone else, (ie. non-buddhavacana), be that much different? I'm trying to find the water-shed point, if you can see what I mean. (You mention this notion on non-canonicity at the start of your post, saying you'll refer to it later, but I couldn't locate it.)
well, by "non-buddhavacana" I was referring to those parts clearly demarcated as originating from another source, not passages claiming erroneously to have been spoken by the Buddha. I hope you see the difference.


Studies of the textual history of the canon indicate that these things were and are not so "clearly demarcated" as we may think. A very hard kind of formalization occurs with modern print in particular, as opposed to oral transmission. This involves the use of commentary interwoven amongst the original.
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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.
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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 here.
"Sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya" (AN 7.58).

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Re: Canonicity of the Bhikkhuni Garu Dhamma

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

Sunset wrote:
yuttadhammo wrote:I am surprised you would deny that the isolation from the opposite gender is an important part of that expedient.

With respects Venerable Yuttadhammo, I do not have the faintest idea of what you are talking about. "Isolation" is not only a very strong word but also an unrealistic one.

Wow, we really are in two worlds then. I am talking about a very important Buddhist term, viveka. Kaayaviveka (physical seclusion) is the biggest advantage I can think a monk has over a lay person... I can only assume your belief that it is unrealistic has something to do with your understanding of the monastic life, which is obviously quite different from mine.
Similarly, with your phraseology "the supermagnetic attraction between the genders", I do not have the faintest idea of what you are talking about. The Buddha advised in the suttas how his bhikkhus remain free from sensuality by regarding each woman as a 'mother', 'sister' or 'daughter' and, if required, practise the meditation on 'loathsomeness' in respect to the parts of the body.

I'm sorry, please don't take it personally, but I have to assume you haven't really made a thorough investigation of the Buddha's teaching. The Buddha told Ananda that they should not see women if at all possible (DN 16). The opening chapter of the Anguttara Nikaya should be enough to give you at least a "faint" idea of what I'm talking about.
I personally commenced all of my meditation in retreats that comprised of men & women and later practised more meditation alone in forests. I do not recall any difference.

Basically what you are saying is this:

I practiced meditation with men, then practiced alone. I can recall no difference. Therefore, no problems arise when celibate men come in close contact with women.

I'll bet many, many of my ex-fellow monks wish it were as you say.

The Buddha admonished monks not even to look at a woman's face when receiving alms from her (Cv VIII). I could go on, but it shouldn't really be necessary. On the one hand you are arguing that the Bhikkhunis should be a separate entity, and on the other that they should be able to live together with the Bhikkhus. I stand by my belief that neither position is tenable, not from a canonical point of view nor a practical one.
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Re: Canonicity of the Bhikkhuni Garu Dhamma

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

Paññāsikhara wrote:Studies of the textual history of the canon indicate that these things were and are not so "clearly demarcated" as we may think. A very hard kind of formalization occurs with modern print in particular, as opposed to oral transmission. This involves the use of commentary interwoven amongst the original.

Which studies are those? I think you are reading far too much into my words. I used the word "buddhavacana" to mean something stated in the canon as being said by the Buddha. I have yet to find a compelling reason to believe they were not, but I'm willing to listen. As for clearly demarcated non-Buddhavacana in the canon, I was referring to suttas like the Sammaditthi Sutta or the Rathavinita Sutta, and parts of KN, like the Patisambhidamagga or the Milindapanha. These are clearly demarcated in my mind as being non-buddhavacana. I was making no reference to the argument as to whether any part of the canon is ascribed to the Buddha or one of his disciples erroneously.

I guess what you are trying to say is that the garu dhamma are offspring of " commentary interwoven amongst the original". Your task then is to find both a factual and practical basis for the application of this theory. I tried to argue that it is clear that practically speaking, even if the Buddha didn't instate something like the garu dhamma, he should have anyway. Perhaps I failed in this. M'eh. How can I not fail, me with my very little brain?

:back to meditating:
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Re: Canonicity of the Bhikkhuni Garu Dhamma

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

yuttadhammo wrote:I was referring to suttas like the Sammaditthi Sutta.

Dear Venerable Yuttadhammo.

Off topic but why the Sammaditthi Sutta? I have never noticed any conflict there.

What about the Satipatthana Sutta and its incoherent listing of various disconnected and random ordered meditation teachings? For example, how could contemplation of the five hindrances occur in the fourth Satipatthana, at the end? This would indicate no concentration has been developed.

Warm regards

:smile:
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Re: Canonicity of the Bhikkhuni Garu Dhamma

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

yuttadhammo wrote:
Paññāsikhara wrote:Studies of the textual history of the canon indicate that these things were and are not so "clearly demarcated" as we may think. A very hard kind of formalization occurs with modern print in particular, as opposed to oral transmission. This involves the use of commentary interwoven amongst the original.

Which studies are those? I think you are reading far too much into my words. I used the word "buddhavacana" to mean something stated in the canon as being said by the Buddha. I have yet to find a compelling reason to believe they were not, but I'm willing to listen. As for clearly demarcated non-Buddhavacana in the canon, I was referring to suttas like the Sammaditthi Sutta or the Rathavinita Sutta, and parts of KN, like the Patisambhidamagga or the Milindapanha. These are clearly demarcated in my mind as being non-buddhavacana. I was making no reference to the argument as to whether any part of the canon is ascribed to the Buddha or one of his disciples erroneously.

I guess what you are trying to say is that the garu dhamma are offspring of " commentary interwoven amongst the original". Your task then is to find both a factual and practical basis for the application of this theory. I tried to argue that it is clear that practically speaking, even if the Buddha didn't instate something like the garu dhamma, he should have anyway. Perhaps I failed in this. M'eh. How can I not fail, me with my very little brain?

:back to meditating:


"What studies?"

Are you familiar with Gethin's work in this area? And also, just basic comparisons of alternate versions of the same texts, in Pali, Gandhari, Sanskrit, Chinese, etc. and then back reference to the commentaries. What one tradition has as a commentary, another tradition has in the text itself. That is the "factual basis", which results from the "practice" of how the canon was compiled, and the commentaries, in ancient India.

And then, the position of attributing the Pts within the KN by some schools, which is canonical, ie. buddhavacana. Whether or not " [t]hese are clearly demarcated in [your] mind as being non-buddhavacana". Other schools say otherwise.

So, not so clearly demarcated at all. Unless we wish to do a: What the Pali Text Society editions (or whatever version) say are sutta are sutta, are not sutta are not sutta, and leave it at that. But then we'd have to say that the garudhammas are taught by the Buddha, and leave it at that, too. I'd rather dig a little deeper.
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