Bhikkhunis is not Aj Brahm's project.

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

Post by binocular » Thu Mar 29, 2018 9:06 pm

Zom wrote:
Wed Mar 28, 2018 2:59 pm
Mae chis are considered lay people, even by monks and themselves. They are no different from you taking on more precepts.
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.
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Re: Bhikkhunis is not Aj Brahm's project.

Post by Bhikkhu_Jayasara » Thu Mar 29, 2018 9:42 pm

I'll chime in here for a few points.

The first is that no governing body of monks can come together and say " you are no longer a monk anymore", that is not how the vinaya works. There are very rare and few cases I remember from my ongoing studies of the vinaya where a monk can be "defrocked", and I think this was only in relation to irrefutable proof of a parijika(although it is well known that even if you don't admit to an offense, if you commit a parijika you are automatically considered no longer a monk, no longer in communion, but if there is no real proof and the Bhikkhu does not admit to it, technically he cannot be "defrocked", he is an automatic non-monk, still living as a monk for all intensive purposes) , even then I may be wrong.

So you can't downgrade(take away a senior monastics ability to ordain) or defrock a monk for ordaining Bhikkhunis. This is the great thing about how the Buddha set up the Vinaya, as opposed to say, the catholic church, there is no central governing body with almighty authority, although in Buddhist countries like Thailand, Sri Lanka etc, there has unfortunately become a intermixing of monasticism and politics, this is not how the Buddha left the sangha however. He had great foresight and wisdom in that regard.

Secondly, here at Bhavana Society in 1989 in our first ordination group, Bhante G ordained a Samaneri, and for near 20 years we had 3-5+ Bhikkhunis ordained and living here, giving Bhante G much flak and troubles from his fellow asian monastics, but it was a boon for the westerners, especially the western women. it is certainly true that Bhikkhuni ordinations did not begin with Ajahn Brahm, but he has been a good support for it's continued revival and I think more senior monastics are needed to stick their neck out in support of the revival of the four fold assembly.
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Re: Bhikkhunis is not Aj Brahm's project.

Post by mikenz66 » Thu Mar 29, 2018 10:24 pm

Thank you for chiming in, Bhante. It is good to get perspectives from different places. I was only vaguely aware of the Bhikkhuni's at Bhante G's monestary.

It's very difficult to disentangle where this idea that "Ajahn Brahm claims he started Bhikkhuni ordination" comes from. I don't see AB claiming that in the interview linked in the OP. He seems to be simply responding to specific questions.

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Re: Bhikkhunis is not Aj Brahm's project.

Post by mikenz66 » Thu Mar 29, 2018 10:27 pm

By the way, there is a nice series of talks here about Bhikkhuni Ordination:
I Will Not Pass Away….Reinstating the Buddha's Vision of Gender Equity: A history of Bhikkhunis from the time of the Buddha - Ayya Anandabodhi and Mindy Zlotnick

The Buddha said he would not pass away until there was a well-established community (sangha) of male and female monastics and male and female lay followers.

This course offered a colorful and informative overview of the history of the Buddha’s vision of the four-fold sangha, and especially how women were an integral part of this vision. Because of political and cultural decisions, a strong female monastic presence, i.e., one part of the four-fold sangha, disappeared for almost 1000 years in the Theravada tradition. The revival of the Theravada bhikkhuni sangha began about 30 years ago and has spread throughout the world. After an overview of this history Ayya Anandabodhi and Mindy Zlotnick will talk about the movement of modern nuns, including how the nuns at the Aloka Vihara Forest Monastery are a local example of a group of pioneering women who are helping to revive the lineage.
https://www.audiodharma.org/series/7/talk/8223/
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Re: Bhikkhunis is not Aj Brahm's project.

Post by pilgrim » 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".

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Re: Bhikkhunis is not Aj Brahm's project.

Post by Coëmgenu » Fri Mar 30, 2018 5:09 am

Zom wrote:
Tue Mar 27, 2018 11:06 am
I just say how mahayanists view these texts: they are inferior (that is - not really worthy for practice), given to shravakas, who have less wisdom, less compassion, and egoistically seek only personal liberation unlike more wise and more compassionate bodhisattvas, whose path is formulated in Mahayanic scriptures, given by the Buddha (only) to exceptional students 8-) Now, how vajrayanists view them: they are not only inferior, but lead only to temporary liberation (dead end) known as arhatship. Those who pracise this way attain arhatship and dwell in a dream-like state untill a compassionate bodhisattva comes, free him, and exhort to enter the path of bodhisattva.
How is how Mahāyānists "view" these texts relevant here at all?

You also seem to think that Mahāyāna monastics to not observe vinaya & prātimokṣa.

I think you need to refamiliarize yourself with the subject material. Even the heretic pudgalavādins didn't have the nerve to pretend that vinaya-observers simply weren't that because of differing views vis-a-vis dhamma.
世尊在靈山會上拈華示眾眾皆默然唯迦葉破顏微笑世尊云
The Lord dwelt at the Vulture Peak with the assembly and plucked a flower as a teaching. The myriad totality were silent, save for Kāśyapa, whose face cracked in a faint smile. The Lord spoke.
吾有正法眼藏涅槃妙心實相無相微妙法門不立文字教外別傳付囑摩訶迦葉。
I have the treasure of the true dharma eye, I have nirvāṇa as wondrous citta, I know signless dharmatā, the subtle dharma-gate, which is not standing on written word, which is external to scriptures, which is a special dispensation, which is entrusted to Mahākāśyapa.

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Re: Bhikkhunis is not Aj Brahm's project.

Post by Coëmgenu » Fri Mar 30, 2018 5:30 am

According to the dharmaguptaka vinaya, the vinaya, one recension among many, originally set out by the Buddha, there are four causes for immidiate expulsion from the saṃgha: sexual intercourse, theft, murder, and vainglorious prelest.

If a nun has not been disrobed, she has not been disrobed. Its quite simple and rather astounding then people can't get this through their head. Certainly, a nun with a dharmaguptaka ordination is not, strictly speaking, a "Theravāda" nun. Are Buddhist practitioners who base themselves on Pāli EBT-studies and reject Abhidharma & Mahāṭṭhakathā also not, once again "strictly speaking", "Theravāda" lay & monastic practitioners?

Also something people may not know: there is no "Mahāyāna" vinaya to speak of at all. Bodhisattvaśīla is not prātimokṣa. Mahāyāna bodhisattva practitioners who observe monasticism do so with strict obeisance to a śrāvaka vinaya. There is no bodhisattva vinaya.
世尊在靈山會上拈華示眾眾皆默然唯迦葉破顏微笑世尊云
The Lord dwelt at the Vulture Peak with the assembly and plucked a flower as a teaching. The myriad totality were silent, save for Kāśyapa, whose face cracked in a faint smile. The Lord spoke.
吾有正法眼藏涅槃妙心實相無相微妙法門不立文字教外別傳付囑摩訶迦葉。
I have the treasure of the true dharma eye, I have nirvāṇa as wondrous citta, I know signless dharmatā, the subtle dharma-gate, which is not standing on written word, which is external to scriptures, which is a special dispensation, which is entrusted to Mahākāśyapa.

नस्वातोनापिपरतोनद्वाभ्यांनाप्यहेतुतः

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Re: Bhikkhunis is not Aj Brahm's project.

Post by Coëmgenu » Fri Mar 30, 2018 6:12 am

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.
世尊在靈山會上拈華示眾眾皆默然唯迦葉破顏微笑世尊云
The Lord dwelt at the Vulture Peak with the assembly and plucked a flower as a teaching. The myriad totality were silent, save for Kāśyapa, whose face cracked in a faint smile. The Lord spoke.
吾有正法眼藏涅槃妙心實相無相微妙法門不立文字教外別傳付囑摩訶迦葉。
I have the treasure of the true dharma eye, I have nirvāṇa as wondrous citta, I know signless dharmatā, the subtle dharma-gate, which is not standing on written word, which is external to scriptures, which is a special dispensation, which is entrusted to Mahākāśyapa.

नस्वातोनापिपरतोनद्वाभ्यांनाप्यहेतुतः

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Re: Bhikkhunis is not Aj Brahm's project.

Post by pilgrim » Fri Mar 30, 2018 7:22 am

mikenz66 wrote:
Thu Mar 29, 2018 10:24 pm

It's very difficult to disentangle where this idea that "Ajahn Brahm claims he started Bhikkhuni ordination" comes from. I don't see AB claiming that in the interview linked in the OP. He seems to be simply responding to specific questions.

:heart:
Mike
To be fair, he never claimed that and I am sure he will clarify it if that is raised. I suppose how this came about is that Aj Brahm is perhaps one of the most well known Buddhist monks in the English speaking world, and esp in the Theravada circles, so his opinion matters. Add the drama by the WPN sangha and he has become sort of a poster-boy for the bhikkhuni movement.

Clearly his advocacy for the bhikkhunis is important. The point in my OP is that commentators have to bear in mind that he did not start the modern bhikkhuni lineage and the publicity and role credited to him by both the supporters and the critiques of the bhikkhuni lineage is way out of proportion to his role in it.

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Re: Bhikkhunis is not Aj Brahm's project.

Post by binocular » Fri Mar 30, 2018 12:21 pm

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".
Being a monastic is a privilege, not a right. It's because of one's merit that one may be able to ordain. Without that merit, one cannot ordain.

Some modern supporters of full ordination for women, however, are trying to present it as a right, not a privilege.


Take, for example, a young Buddhist man of 22 years old who becomes a tetraplegic due to injuries from a vehicular collision; he requires expensive medical care and he cannot work to earn a living, so someone else needs to support him. This man cannot ordain as a monk. We say he doesn't have the merit to become a monk.
How is the situation any different for anyone else who cannot ordain?

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Re: Bhikkhunis is not Aj Brahm's project.

Post by Mr Man » Fri Mar 30, 2018 1:10 pm

binocular wrote:
Fri Mar 30, 2018 12:21 pm
Being a monastic is a privilege, not a right. It's because of one's merit that one may be able to ordain. Without that merit, one cannot ordain.

Some modern supporters of full ordination for women, however, are trying to present it as a right, not a privilege.
I wouldn't see being a bhikku/bhikkuni as either a right or a privilege. I wouldn't frame it in those terms. More an opportunity.

I'm not sure if modern supporters of full ordination for women are trying to present it as a right. I perceive it as more trying to create an opportunity.

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Re: Bhikkhunis is not Aj Brahm's project.

Post by binocular » Fri Mar 30, 2018 1:15 pm

Mr Man wrote:
Fri Mar 30, 2018 1:10 pm
I wouldn't see being a bhikku/bhikkuni as either a right or a privilege. I wouldn't frame it in those terms. More an opportunity.

I'm not sure if modern supporters of full ordination for women are trying to present it as a right. I perceive it as more trying to create an opportunity.
It's not clear whether anyone except the Buddha himself can create such opportunities.

Sure, people can build monasteries, they can ordain men, women, homosexuals, the disabled etc. But can they say in good faith that they can give another person the opportunity for enlightenment?

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Re: Bhikkhunis is not Aj Brahm's project.

Post by Coëmgenu » Fri Mar 30, 2018 2:47 pm

binocular wrote:
Fri Mar 30, 2018 1:15 pm
Mr Man wrote:
Fri Mar 30, 2018 1:10 pm
I wouldn't see being a bhikku/bhikkuni as either a right or a privilege. I wouldn't frame it in those terms. More an opportunity.

I'm not sure if modern supporters of full ordination for women are trying to present it as a right. I perceive it as more trying to create an opportunity.
It's not clear whether anyone except the Buddha himself can create such opportunities.

Sure, people can build monasteries, they can ordain men, women, homosexuals, the disabled etc. But can they say in good faith that they can give another person the opportunity for enlightenment?
Just let people practice and stop inserting yourself in front of them. If you think their dhamma practice & cultivation is counterfeit, these śrāvaka nuns, just feel good about yourself for having sharp perception and not deciding to be one, I guess. :shrug:
世尊在靈山會上拈華示眾眾皆默然唯迦葉破顏微笑世尊云
The Lord dwelt at the Vulture Peak with the assembly and plucked a flower as a teaching. The myriad totality were silent, save for Kāśyapa, whose face cracked in a faint smile. The Lord spoke.
吾有正法眼藏涅槃妙心實相無相微妙法門不立文字教外別傳付囑摩訶迦葉。
I have the treasure of the true dharma eye, I have nirvāṇa as wondrous citta, I know signless dharmatā, the subtle dharma-gate, which is not standing on written word, which is external to scriptures, which is a special dispensation, which is entrusted to Mahākāśyapa.

नस्वातोनापिपरतोनद्वाभ्यांनाप्यहेतुतः

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Re: Bhikkhunis is not Aj Brahm's project.

Post by DNS » Fri Mar 30, 2018 3:24 pm

In the early days of the bhikkhuni debate I was quite active in supporting full bhikkhuni ordination and I still am but see less of a need to do so now since there are already so many and regular ordinations going on around the world.

The last I heard there are some 1,000 to 2,000 fully ordained bhikkhunis now, so I see this as mostly moot now. They are already here to stay. Some will accept them as full bhikkhunis, some will not. Either way, they are here for the long haul.

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Re: Bhikkhunis is not Aj Brahm's project.

Post by DNS » Fri Mar 30, 2018 3:36 pm

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".
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.

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