Gender Discrimination in the Pali Canon In approaching the scriptures of the Pāli canon for guidance and orientation, we need to be aware of the fact that this material is the final product of a prolonged period of oral transmission and thus may not always fully reflect the original.
The Bahudhaatuka-sutta and its Parallels on Women’s Inabilities The present article offers a comparative study of the Bahudhātuka-sutta, based on a translation of one of its parallels found in the Madhyama-āgama preserved in Chinese translation. The study focuses in particular on the dictum that a woman cannot be a Buddha, which is absent from the Madhyama-āgama version.
An Interview with AFB’s Founder, Susan Pembroke In 2007, Susan Pembroke founded the Alliance for Bhikkhunis. Susan shares her experiences of founding the organization as well as her observations on the growth of the bhikkhuni sangha in this in-depth interview with Brenna Artinger.
The Revival of Bhikkhuni Ordination in the Theravada Tradition In this monograph, originally presented at a 2007 conference in Hamburg on “Buddhist Women’s Role in the Sangha,” Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhitakes up the arguments used to oppose reviving the Bhikkhunī Sangha, and closely examines the three main areas of contention – novice ordination, the probationary training, and full ordination – offering a positive approach to each (PDF 1.24mb).
Bhikkhuni-Samyutta Suttas In these suttas, Mara, the personification of doubt and evil, tries in vain to lure bhikkhunis away from their meditation spots in the forest by asking them provocative questions. Without exception, these wise women conquer Mara decisively. Translated by Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi. View as webpage with introduction View PDF Sutta by Soma Sutta by Uppalavanna
Buddhist Discrimination Against Women in Modern Burma
Saccavadi was one the of first two modern Burmese woman to ordain as a bhikkhuni. In this Present exclusive, she offers an inside look at her experience in robes, and at the discrimination ordained women face in Burma.
Going Forth – for Liberation This article by Ajahn Candasiri describes her journey to become a 10-precept Siladhara. Inspired by Ajahn Sumedho’s teachings, she began her monastic training at Chithurst as one of the first four anagārikās.
How American Women are Changing Buddhism American women are taking Buddhism away from its patriarchal past, participating confidently as practitioners, teachers, and leaders. The job is not finished, says Rita M. Gross, one of Buddhism’s leading feminist thinkers, but the role of American Buddhist women is unprecedented and may change Buddhism forever.
Buddhist Women at the Time of the Buddha An exploration of the Therigatha (Verses of the Elder Nuns) from the most prominent German writer on Theravada Buddhism, chronicler of the history of Buddhim in Germany, and leading translator of the Pali Canon.
A Garland for the Bhikkhunis of Perth The author ponders how might it change a culture to have both female and male expressions of enlightenment, equal in respect and power, as physical embodiements of the Dhamma.
A 2600 Year Journey, A History of the Bhikkhuni Order
This article is co-authored with Mindy Zlotnick and was written at the beginning of a year-long commemoration of the 2600 year anniversary of Mahapajapati’s going forth into monastic life. This marked the founding of the Bhikkhuni Sangha, as well as laying the groundwork for all women in robes.
What Buddhism Gave Me
Munissara Bhikkhuni recounts her childhood visits to the Buddhist temple with her Thai mother and the depression of her young adulthood that drew her back to the Dhamma, and eventually to ordination.
Read as a PDF or on the Present website.
A Painful Ambiguity An essay on the construction of bhikkhunis as embodied in the early scriptures. The life of the Buddha is designed as a hero myth, and this frames the the origin story of bhikkhunis in mythic, rather than historical, terms.
Bhikkhuni Vinaya Studies Exploration of issues confronting fully ordained nuns (bhikkhunis) in modern Buddhism. Includes detailed textual analysis based on comparison of the original Vinaya texts (PDF 1.3mb).
Bhikkhunis in Theravada A submission to the ongoing dialogue on bhikkhuni ordination in the three main traditions, prepared for the Tibetan Committee of Western Bhikkhunis (PDF 36kb).
Dark Matter A special investigation look at the slow progress of bhikkhuni ordination.
Now is the Time Paper presented at the discussion panel with HH Dalai Lama on the final day of the First International Congress on Buddhist Women’s Role in the Sangha.
Vutthapana and Upasampada A technical discussion of Vinaya terminology regarding bhikkhuni ordination, suggesting that certain aspects of the bhikkhuni Vinaya texts were preserved in the oral tradition of the bhikkhunis themselves, separate from the main redaction tradition of the bhikkhus.
Who Trains for Two Years? It is often assumed that all women must spend two years training as a sikkhamānā (trainee) before ordaining as a bhikkhuni. This article looks at what this really means.
Now Is the Time Paper presented at the discussion panel with HH Dalai Lama on the final day of the First International Congress on Buddhist Women`s Role in the Sangha.
Part II of The Re-making of the Bhikkhunī Saṅgha in Transcultural Contexts “Coming Into Our Own”
Perspective of a Bhikkhunī Preceptor on Discipline, Agency and Inquiry Amidst the Renascent Theravāda Bhikkhunī Saṅgha/s
Honoring Those Worthy of Honor, Contributions of the Late Ven. Dr. Havanpola Ratanasāra and Other Early Preceptors Reviving the Theravāda Bhikkhunī Sangha through Early Preceptor Reviving the Theravada Bhikkhuniī Sangha through the Groundbreaking Ordinations of Buddhist Women in th 1980s
Women of Wisdom, Women of Power Commemorative reflection by Tathālokā Therī on the lunar anniversary of the Parinibbāna of Mahāpajāpatī Gotamī Therī, founding mother of the bhikkhunī sangha
Lasting Inspiration A look into the guiding and determining mental and emotional states of liberated arahant women in their path of practice and its fulfillment as expressed in the sacred biographies of the Therī Apadāna.
Beyond Ambiguity: Going Beyond Gender Ambiguity in Theravada Forest Tradition In modern times, with open public access via the World Wide Web to the Buddha’s teaching, in ways that may have only had parallel in the Buddha’s lifetime – if ever at all in Buddhist history – the seeming ambiguity of the Buddhist Sutta and Vinaya texts related to gender has become a phenomena of which there is a global awareness. And with the ambiguity, in our modern cultural context, there arises doubt and a substantial amount of suffering, along with waves of attempts at clarification and reconciliation.
Saffron and Green in the Clear Forest Pool The Buddhist monastic community is founded upon, and well endowed with, effective practices of honest self-reflection and introspection, an eye for the inter-relatedness of conditions that lead to either our harm or welfare, and a heart of great and compassionate caring sensitivity for humanity and all living beings.
Dipavamsa Bhikkhuni Highlights Selected exerpts with summeries and comments from The Dipavamsa: An Ancient Buddhist Historical Record, translated by Hermann Oldenberg and compiled by Ayya Tathaaloka Bhikkhuni.
Take It or Leave It and the Ground Between Recent events have charted the discrimination against female renunciates in Ajahn Chah’s Forest Tradition. Thanissara, one of the first women to ordain as a siladhara, examines Awakening and calls for an authentic dialogue for change.
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Speech on Vimeo. Venerable Lekshe Tsomo explores the origins and extraordinary implications of the contemporary Buddhist women’s movement from her perspective as co-creator of Sakyadhita, the most influential global network of Buddhist women, and as convener of bi-annual international conferences on Buddhist women where scholars, practitioners, artists, and activists exchange ideas and inspiration. Here she examines the most recent gathering, on “Buddhism at the Grassroots”, to illustrate the growth of this unprecedented movement.
A PowerPoint presentation, entitled “I Will Not Pass Away….Reinstating the Buddha’s Vision of the Four-Fold Sagha” has been developed about the history of Bhikkhunis from the time of the Buddha until present day, using the Aloka Vihara Forest Monastery nuns as an example of a group of pioneering women who are helping to revive the lineage.The presentation can also be seen on YouTube.
A 2600 Year Journey, A History of the Bhikkhuni Order
This article is co-authored with Donna McCarthy and was written at the beginning of a year-long commemoration of the 2600 year anniversary of Mahapajapati’s going forth into monastic life. This marked the founding of the Bhikkhuni Sangha, as well as laying the groundwork for all women in robes.
On 22 October 2009, several sincerely practicing nuns received full ordination into the Australian Thai Forest Sangha, in Perth. As a result of this historically significant ceremony, four fully ordained Theravadan Bhikkhunis joined the worldwide Bhikkhuni order. May the new Bhikkhunis soon be joined by many more.