Bhikkhunis is not Aj Brahm's project.

Discussion of ordination, the Vinaya and monastic life. How and where to ordain? Bhikkhuni ordination etc.
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Re: Bhikkhunis is not Aj Brahm's project.

Post by Zom » Fri Mar 30, 2018 9:36 pm

This may be true in the West where Buddhists do not care for the difference between a Mae Chi and a Bhikkhuni. In Asia it is a very different picture. With few exceptions, Mae Chis and similar preceptors have no support, do not receive dana, have no monasteries to stay in, no scholarships from govt, minimal donations from the laity and command little respect from laity. In Thailand, they have to pay their own way in public transport and no seats are reserved for them. Nobody asks for their views on anything, much less the Dhamma. Most of the time they get to stay in monasteries only if they "pay" for their stay thru menial work, cleaning, and cooking.
I can say same about monks in Thailand. Really, it depends not on status, but on personality and his/her personal activity. I know foreign Mae Chees who do very well in Thai monasteries and have support just like all monks do. There were/are some very famous and highly respected Mae Chees - more famous and more respected than many monks. Trying to be a bhikkhuni over there is not about living a spiritual life, but about fighting for women rights.

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Re: Bhikkhunis is not Aj Brahm's project.

Post by Zom » Fri Mar 30, 2018 9:38 pm

Imagine if the Sautrāntikāḥ were still around. Would people be calling them "not monks/nuns" on account of strictly sectarianism? They followed vinaya just as well as any other early Buddhist school.
Image we have a group of vinaya-ordained monks who started to preach Islam. Would people be calling them "monks"? 8-) The thing is - Dhammavinaya is one thing, it cannot be separated, torn apart, as some trying to do. For this reason (good) monks (who truly respect Dhammavinaya) won't allow you to participate in Uposatha (or other Sangha inner ceremonies/affairs) if they see that your views on Dhamma are wrong. But they will allow if you rectify your views. Remember that situation with Sangha during Asoka's reign. Monks refused to do all that because many people (legally) ordained, but had non-dhammic views, and ordained just to have support from lay community.

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Re: Bhikkhunis is not Aj Brahm's project.

Post by Zom » Fri Mar 30, 2018 9:55 pm

Some of that still exists here too. Not too many years ago, I visited a Burmese temple during lunch dana time. The Mae chis had no support so lived in some of the rooms at the monastery that was supposed to be for monks only. And the Mae chis were sitting on the floors while the monks were sitting in regular, padded chairs at the table. Then the Mae chis cooked and served the monks food. After the monks ate, the Mae chis ate while sitting on the floors. Other times visiting there I could see the Mae chis doing cleaning and other chores with no help from the monks. They looked more like maids than semi-monastics. While technically okay, since they are not bhikkhunis, this is not the Buddha wanted, as he called for a four-fold assembly, not a three-fold assembly.
If mae chi wants to practise "hardcore meditation" and not be "a maid" - she can do that, there are many places for that. The thing is - most of them simply don't want to and are perfectly fine with "maid" role. I don't say that this (or similar) institution gives her exactly the same amount of opportunities as bhikkhu insitution - but still - if one wants, one will get what he (well, "she") wants.

And again, I don't know a place where "bhikkhuni" status would give you better conditions for spiritual development than "mae chi (or similar)" status. Quite otherwise, I'd say. Mae chis are respected everywhere as nuns, as someone, who practises diligently and deeply, not like lay people. And bhikkhunis are not respected this way everywhere - only in rare certain places.

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Re: Bhikkhunis is not Aj Brahm's project.

Post by DooDoot » Sat Mar 31, 2018 12:24 am

pilgrim wrote:
Fri Mar 30, 2018 4:21 am
In Asia it is a very different picture. With few exceptions, Mae Chis and similar preceptors have no support, do not receive dana, have no monasteries to stay in, no scholarships from govt, minimal donations from the laity and command little respect from laity. In Thailand, they have to pay their own way in public transport and no seats are reserved for them. Nobody asks for their views on anything, much less the Dhamma.
The above appears to be Western-left-wing socialism, i.e., a sense of unworked-for-entitlement. I think Buddha-Dhamma is not like this. In Buddha-Dhamma, my impression is the Sangha was built with virtuous kamma & that Buddha-Dhamma is about 'kamma'. I think a reason why women do not have Western-Jewish-left-wing socialist feminist 'equality' in the Sangha is because they did not do the work (kamma) to create & sustain Buddhism; such as leave the monastic comforts of India (earned by the men) and face the dangers & obstacles of establishing Buddha-Dhamma in Burma, Thailand, etc.
pilgrim wrote:
Fri Mar 30, 2018 4:21 am
Most of the time they get to stay in monasteries only if they "pay" for their stay thru menial work, cleaning, and cooking.
My experience in Thailand is basically everyone has a work role in a monastery that is appropriate for the individual & for the Vinaya. In large monasteries, with many monks, nuns, men & women, there is generally a kitchen and, naturally, the women do the cooking.
pilgrim wrote:
Fri Mar 30, 2018 4:21 am
In brief, in countries where Dhamma is available and opportunities are plenty, they have poor conditions for practice and the only thing causing this is their lack of "status".
Is there any evidence for this? When I lived in a monastery in Asia, my condition was living a small wooden hut in the jungle. Once I lived in a thatch hut for many months that did not even have proper walls & the only thing protecting my body at night from creeping things & deadly snakes was a mosquito net. I used to walk 45 minutes, one-way, thus 90 minutes return trip, to collect one meal for the day.
DNS wrote:Some of that still exists here too. Not too many years ago, I visited a Burmese temple during lunch dana time.
'Dana time'. I recall the Buddha taught somewhere there is happiness in giving dana (rather than receiving dana).
DNS wrote:
Fri Mar 30, 2018 4:02 pm
And the Mae chis were sitting on the floors...
This sounds like when reading the suttas, with the impression the Buddha & the Bhikkhus sat on the floor.
DNS wrote:
Fri Mar 30, 2018 4:02 pm
while the monks were sitting in regular, padded chairs at the table.
Are paddled chairs "regular" in the life of a bhikkhu or in the life of worldlings?
Bhikkhu_Jayasara wrote:
Fri Mar 30, 2018 4:02 pm
Then the Mae chis cooked and served the monks food.
I enjoy cooking for others. Again, I recall the Buddha taught somewhere there is happiness in giving dana (rather than receiving dana).
DNS wrote:
Fri Mar 30, 2018 4:02 pm
After the monks ate, the Mae chis ate while sitting on the floors.
When I lived in Thailand, I often ate after the monks, sitting on the floor. In fact, in the story I told above about walking 90 minutes to collect food, sometimes a sickly (Western) monk would intermittently live where I was living and he would not go on arms round and I would have to collect food for him, walking for 90 minutes. At the time, it did not bother me, since I was practising giving up self rather than build up self.
DNS wrote:
Fri Mar 30, 2018 4:02 pm
Other times visiting there I could see the Mae chis doing cleaning and other chores with no help from the monks.
Generally, work roles are allocated. Generally, monks have certain work to do & women have other work to do. Again, my impression is Buddha-Dhamma is not Soviet Communism.
DNS wrote:
Fri Mar 30, 2018 4:02 pm
They looked more like maids than semi-monastics.
They may have looked like maids to you. To me, maichees looked like women who had a sense of community, gratitude & joy in giving.
DNS wrote:
Fri Mar 30, 2018 4:02 pm
While technically okay, since they are not bhikkhunis, this is not the Buddha wanted, as he called for a four-fold assembly, not a three-fold assembly.
I doubt we you know what the Buddha wanted; let alone why many of these Asian women live as maichees. Given, to me, your posts appear so immersed in Western hubris, I doubt you know clearly the Asian mind or Asian culture. As for the suttas, they say:
For the Blessed One, O Lord, spoke these words to me: '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 the 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.'
They do not say:
For the Blessed One, O Lord, spoke these words to me: 'I shall not come to my final passing away, Evil One, until my bhikkhus and bhikkhunis, laymen and laywomen, have come to be untrue disciples — unwise, poorly disciplined, unapt and unlearned, non-preservers of the [true] Dhamma, not living according to the [true] Dhamma, not abiding by the appropriate conduct, and not having learned the Master's word, are not 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 unable to refute them thoroughly and well, and to preach this convincing and liberating Dhamma.'
Last edited by DooDoot on Sat Mar 31, 2018 1:16 am, edited 6 times in total.

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Re: Bhikkhunis is not Aj Brahm's project.

Post by DNS » Sat Mar 31, 2018 1:11 am

DooDoot,

You quoted the Bhikkhu, but those were from my posts. (edit: I see you fixed those, thanks)

We do know what the Buddha wanted, unless you doubt the authenticity of the Suttas? In the Suttas, he calls for a four-fold assembly in numerous places and grants permission for women to ordain.

Soviet-communist? I've been called a lot things, but never a Soviet-communist. :lol: I'm not a SJW, but even conservatives accept the idea of equality of opportunity. That doesn't mean that there are not differences between the genders, etc just allowing opportunity for those who want to lead the full holy life and all that entails. There is still no guarantee of arahantship, just the opportunity and then it is still the hard work after that; compatible with conservative principles. (everyone has opportunity and access, but how successful they become depends on their hard work, i.e. equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome.)

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Re: Bhikkhunis is not Aj Brahm's project.

Post by DooDoot » Sat Mar 31, 2018 1:21 am

DNS wrote:
Sat Mar 31, 2018 1:11 am
We do know what the Buddha wanted, unless you doubt the authenticity of the Suttas? In the Suttas, he calls for a four-fold assembly in numerous places and grants permission for women to ordain.
Sure, maybe. But he would have established this four-fold assembly, under his supervision, where the Dhamma was doctrinally uniform. Personally, I am not against bhikkhuni ordination but I think it must conform to the Dhamma.
DNS wrote:
Sat Mar 31, 2018 1:11 am
Soviet-communist? I've been called a lot things, but never a Soviet-communist.
Thanks. I wasn't referring to you, personally, but to the idea that the men & women should do the same work & chores in the monastery; such as both men & women mingling in the kitchen, cooking the required food when there is a large community. My impression of many rationales is they use the framework of modern leftist ideology.
DNS wrote:
Sat Mar 31, 2018 1:11 am
There is still no guarantee of arahantship, just the opportunity and then it is still the hard work after that; compatible with conservative principles. (everyone has opportunity and access, but how successful they become depends on their hard work, i.e. equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome.
Maybe. But in Asia, both men & women are living in monasteries for many reasons. In other words, I think Western superficial impressions of machees should not be used as grounds of bhikkhuni ordination. Many of the machees enjoy cooking for the monks because they are merit-making for their next reincarnation. They look to the monks as their sons & personally gain pleasure from a domestic maternal role.

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Re: Bhikkhunis is not Aj Brahm's project.

Post by binocular » Sat Mar 31, 2018 7:55 am

Coëmgenu wrote:
Fri Mar 30, 2018 8:01 pm
IMO, ideally, these nuns would be given quarters and lodging in dharmaguptaka monasteries as resident śrāvaka nuns. That would solve the problem. Unfortunately it seems that is not a common solution as far as I am able to see. It seems that some bodhisattvāḥ are sometimes fine ordaining śrāvakāḥ, but not practicing with them.
How boundlessly, illimitably compassionate of those bodhisattvāḥ!
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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Re: Bhikkhunis is not Aj Brahm's project.

Post by binocular » Sat Mar 31, 2018 8:01 am

pilgrim wrote:
Fri Mar 30, 2018 4:21 am
Zom wrote:
Wed Mar 28, 2018 2:59 pm

Considered - that is the word here. All this "bhikkhuni" theme is about "status", not about living a certain way of life. Mae chis, Thilashin, Siladharas - they all live like true renunciates and have all conditions to do so. However, those, who want "status" won't join them, ofc... This is called feminism, not Buddhism.
This may be true in the West where Buddhists do not care for the difference between a Mae Chi and a Bhikkhuni. In Asia it is a very different picture. With few exceptions, Mae Chis and similar preceptors have no support, do not receive dana, have no monasteries to stay in, no scholarships from govt, minimal donations from the laity and command little respect from laity. In Thailand, they have to pay their own way in public transport and no seats are reserved for them. Nobody asks for their views on anything, much less the Dhamma. Most of the time they get to stay in monasteries only if they "pay" for their stay thru menial work, cleaning, and cooking.

In brief, in countries where Dhamma is available and opportunities are plenty, they have poor conditions for practice and the only thing causing this is their lack of "status".
What you listed and I underlined is all about status. Desiring to be supported by others, wanting to be given a free seat on the bus, wanting people to listen to one etc. -- all this are examples of desiring status.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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Re: Bhikkhunis is not Aj Brahm's project.

Post by Dhammanando » Sat Mar 31, 2018 8:03 pm

pilgrim wrote:
Fri Mar 30, 2018 4:21 am
Nobody asks for their [Thai mae chees'] views on anything, much less the Dhamma.
Well, they might. It would depend — precisely as it does with Thai monks — on what the mae chee has spent her time doing. For example, if she's an old peasant lady of little education who's ordained out of a wish to devote herself to a life of service in order to accumulate merit for the next life, and if she aspires to nothing more than this, then naturally no Thai is going to think of consulting her on matters of Dhamma. But nor would they think of consulting an ignorant village monk (whose motivation will in many cases by very similar to the aforementioned mae chee) on matters of Dhamma.

For a more balanced picture, dealing with an aspect of mae chee-ship seldom addressed in Western texts, see the attached article on the role of mae chees in Thai monastic education.

Steven Collins and Justin McDaniel: Buddhist ‘Nuns’ (mae chi) and the Teaching of Pali in Contemporary Thailand

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Re: Bhikkhunis is not Aj Brahm's project.

Post by mikenz66 » Sat Mar 31, 2018 9:39 pm

Dhammanando wrote:
Sat Mar 31, 2018 8:03 pm
For a more balanced picture, dealing with an aspect of mae chee-ship seldom addressed in Western texts, see the attached article on the role of mae chees in Thai monastic education.
Thank you for that, Bhante. Certainly gives a very different perspective from the usual assumptions about the role and education level of women in Thai Buddhism.

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Re: Bhikkhunis is not Aj Brahm's project.

Post by Zom » Sat Mar 31, 2018 10:46 pm

Ye, thanks for the link. Some quotes from there (these are about/from several different mae chis):

This ability to teach and care for students ‘has nothing to do with gender. It depends on the education and training of the teacher, as well as the quality of their work.’ She did not answer questions regarding bhikkhuni on the questionnaire and found them silly when we asked them in person.

In this regard, she saw no difference between monks and mae chi. She referred to them as ‘two children in the same basket’. They both have the same ability.... She stated that if Thai Buddhism had bhikkhuni, then she might ordain if it led to liberation, but if not, then ‘it didn’t matter...my life as a mae chi has allowed me to study the Dhamma and Vinaya. It has allowed me to practice meditation. I can die satisfied.’


She claimed that the only discrimination she has experienced as a woman at the university was when one monk from a rural area thought it was strange that a mae chi was teaching Pali, and teaching him. He was upset, but most of the city monks told him that this was normal in the city, and that she was the best teacher of syntax. He apologized and took several courses with her.


Bhikkhuni ordination was not one of her goals. She thought it would not change the way women could study and practice openly in Thailand. She was happy and bhikkhuni ordination would not make her happier.

She wrote that the life of a mae chi was a beautiful life that gave her the opportunity to make merit for herself and all women. She was now living in peace and had little stress. This peaceful lifestyle gave her opportunities to study (she had been studying Pali formally for 14 years) and she enjoyed studying with teachers, who, when qualified, ‘spoke beautifully’.

The idea of a mae chi’s life as ‘beautiful,’ with meticulous and inspiring pedagogy, sophisticated learning and meditative expertise as goals and values per se, with intrinsic virtue as well as instrumental value in reducing suffering and leading to nirvana, has not been emphasized enough in the existing literature, which tends too often to concentrate on the issue of bhikkhuni ordination, and more generally to focus on mae chi-s’ hardships (which are often many), and on discrimination in the Thai ecclesia. Our interviews with a small number of the many highly educated mae chi show that, despite inequality and discrimination, there are many opportunities for women to study and teach the two subjects, Pali grammar and Abhidhamma, considered to be the most difficult and therefore the most prestigious to pursue in Thailand.

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