Where can I find the embarrasing questions which were asked of the Bhikkhunis during ordination?

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walrus
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Where can I find the embarrasing questions which were asked of the Bhikkhunis during ordination?

Post by walrus » Mon Jun 10, 2019 12:10 am

Hi Folks,

I want to know where in the Pali texts I can find the embarrassing questions which are to be asked of prospective bhikkhunis. (e.g. "Is your vagina a real vagina?") The prospective bhikkhunis were too embarrassed to answer these questions in front of the monks and so the Buddha changed the procedure so that bhikkhunis asked the questions instead of the bhikkhus. I need the info for a letter/article I am writing relating to Theravadan Buddhism. If you know where I can find this please let me know.

Thanks in advance,

Vincent

alfa
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Re: Where can I find the embarrasing questions which were asked of the Bhikkhunis during ordination?

Post by alfa » Mon Jun 10, 2019 2:28 am

Aargh, this is so disgusting. Looks like all organised religions are the same.

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Volo
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Re: Where can I find the embarrasing questions which were asked of the Bhikkhunis during ordination?

Post by Volo » Mon Jun 10, 2019 4:13 am

walrus wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 12:10 am
Hi Folks,

I want to know where in the Pali texts I can find the embarrassing questions which are to be asked of prospective bhikkhunis. (e.g. "Is your vagina a real vagina?") The prospective bhikkhunis were too embarrassed to answer these questions in front of the monks and so the Buddha changed the procedure so that bhikkhunis asked the questions instead of the bhikkhus. I need the info for a letter/article I am writing relating to Theravadan Buddhism. If you know where I can find this please let me know.

Thanks in advance,

Vincent
Could it be this one?
Kd.20.17.1 Now at that time ordained women were to be seen without sexual characteristics and who were defective in sex and bloodless and with stagnant blood and who were always dressed and dripping and deformed and female eunuchs and man-like women and those whose sexuality was indistinct and those who were hermaphrodites.86 They told this matter to the Lord. He said:

“I allow you, monks, to question a woman who is being ordained about twenty-four things that are stumbling-blocks. And thus, monks, should she be questioned: ‘You are not without sexual characteristics? … You are not a hermaphrodite? Have you diseases like this:87 leprosy, boils, eczema, consumption, epilepsy? Are you a human being? Are you a woman? Are you a free woman? Are you without debts? You are not in royal service? Are you allowed by your mother and father, by your husband?88 Have you completed twenty years of age?89 Are you complete as to bowl and robe? What is your name? What is the name of your woman proposer?’”90

Kd.20.17.2 Now at that time monks asked nuns about the things which are stumbling-blocks. Those wishing for ordination were at a loss, they were abashed, they were unable to answer. They told this matter to the Lord. He said: “I allow, monks, ordination in the Order of monks after she has been ordained on the one side, and has cleared herself (in regard to the stumbling-blocks) in the Order of nuns.”

walrus
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Re: Where can I find the embarrasing questions which were asked of the Bhikkhunis during ordination?

Post by walrus » Mon Jun 10, 2019 12:14 pm

Hi Volo,

Thanks for your response. The text you provided seems to very likely be what I was looking for. But the key wording has been replaced by an ellipsis. I would like to be able to review that full text in its full context (i.e., including surrounding text). Do you have a link to it? Where can I find it? The citation appears to be: Kd.20.17.1 and Kd.20.17.2. What does "Kd." stand for?

Vincent

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Volo
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Re: Where can I find the embarrasing questions which were asked of the Bhikkhunis during ordination?

Post by Volo » Mon Jun 10, 2019 12:24 pm

walrus wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 12:14 pm
Hi Volo,

Thanks for your response. The text you provided seems to very likely be what I was looking for. But the key wording has been replaced by an ellipsis. I would like to be able to review that full text in its full context (i.e., including surrounding text). Do you have a link to it? Where can I find it? The citation appears to be: Kd.20.17.1 and Kd.20.17.2. What does "Kd." stand for?

Vincent
It's from Vinaya. Kd.20 means khandaka #20 (a part Vinaya), the other numbers are paragraph, sub-paragraph, etc. You can download Vinaya from here https://suttacentral.net/downloads (The Book of the Discipline). It's available in different formats (pdf https://github.com/suttacentral/suttace ... f?raw=true). After downldownloading search either for a reference like Kd.20.17.1 or for the text I've quoted in the previous post.

walrus
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Re: Where can I find the embarrasing questions which were asked of the Bhikkhunis during ordination?

Post by walrus » Mon Jun 10, 2019 1:40 pm

Hi Volo,

Thank you for the links.

I downloaded The Book of the Discipline from one of the links you provided and I found the passage that you quoted. But it contained the same ellipsis as the one you included. So the words I am looking for are still not there. However, I noticed that that translation of The Book of the Discipline, by I. B. Horner, in the Translator's Introduction (on p. 1357), refers to an earlier translation by Oldenberg. I guess I will try to find a copy of that translation.

Thanks for at least bringing me closer to finding the text I am looking for.

Vincent

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Volo
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Re: Where can I find the embarrasing questions which were asked of the Bhikkhunis during ordination?

Post by Volo » Mon Jun 10, 2019 2:44 pm

walrus wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 1:40 pm
Hi Volo,

Thank you for the links.

I downloaded The Book of the Discipline from one of the links you provided and I found the passage that you quoted. But it contained the same ellipsis as the one you included. So the words I am looking for are still not there. However, I noticed that that translation of The Book of the Discipline, by I. B. Horner, in the Translator's Introduction (on p. 1357), refers to an earlier translation by Oldenberg. I guess I will try to find a copy of that translation.

Thanks for at least bringing me closer to finding the text I am looking for.

Vincent
If you have some knowledge of Pali here is the passage in question:
423. tena kho pana samayena upasampannāyo dissanti -- animittāpi, nimittamattāpi, alohitāpi, dhuvalohitāpi, dhuvacoḷāpi, paggharantīpi, sikhariṇīpi, itthipaṇḍakāpi, vepurisikāpi, sambhinnāpi, ubhatobyañjanāpi.
Some terms indeed are quite obscure.

walrus
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Re: Where can I find the embarrasing questions which were asked of the Bhikkhunis during ordination?

Post by walrus » Mon Jun 10, 2019 3:47 pm

Hi Volo,

Thanks for providing the Pali translation. No, I don't know Pali. I tried plugging some of the words into online Pali-English dictionaries and several of the words were not recognized. I think I probably will have to find an actual physical library and get the Oldenberg version of the Pali texts. I do remember reading the full text of that section years ago so I believe there is a proper translation somewhere.

Your responses have nonetheless been helpful because now at least I know the name of the text to look for and search in.

Vincent

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JamesTheGiant
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Re: Where can I find the embarrasing questions which were asked of the Bhikkhunis during ordination?

Post by JamesTheGiant » Mon Jun 10, 2019 9:43 pm

walrus wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 3:47 pm
. I think I probably will have to find an actual physical library
You could try contacting Bhante Sujato or Ajahn Brahmali through suttacentral.
Or simply ask this question again on the suttacental forum. They are likely to be able to answer exactly.

walrus
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Re: Where can I find the embarrasing questions which were asked of the Bhikkhunis during ordination?

Post by walrus » Tue Jun 11, 2019 1:29 am

Hi JamesTheGiant,

I have posted a question about this in SuttaCentral. I will see if they can provide an answer.

Vincent

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JamesTheGiant
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Re: Where can I find the embarrasing questions which were asked of the Bhikkhunis during ordination?

Post by JamesTheGiant » Thu Jun 13, 2019 7:54 am

As I thought, Ajahn Brahmali and Venerable Vimalanyani gave excellent answers here:
https://discourse.suttacentral.net/t/wh ... unis/13017

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