Reinstating the Buddha’s Vision of the Four-Fold Sangha

Reinstating the Buddha’s Vision of the Four-Fold Sangha

by Mindy Zlotnick

A PowerPoint presentation, entitled “I Will Not Pass Away….Reinstating the Buddha’s Vision of the Four-Fold Sangha” 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.

See it on YouTube or below.

The presentation runs about 60-75 minutes and is colorful and informative overview of the history of the Buddha’s vision of the four-fold sangha, and how women were an integral part of this vision. Because of political and cultural decisions, a strong female monastic presence disappeared for almost 1000 years.   The revival of the bhikkhuni sangha began about 30 years ago and has spread throughout the world.

I was moved to create this presentation when I originally saw one that had been put together by the Alliance for Bhikkhunis in 2011. I had been meditating in the Theravada tradition for over 25 years at that point, and had not ever heard of this part of the history of this tradition. Below is one of the slides from the presentation.

I have presented for many years to a variety of audiences on a number of topics, mainly around the issues of birth, postpartum and infant development and communication through touch. I was a teacher with San Francisco Unified School District for over 7 years in the Early Start program, teaching parents with babies with hearing loss. I am comfortable in front of groups large and small and excited to use my speaking skills to bring this history and story of the bhikkhuni lineage to a larger audience.

My practice has been a combination of service and sitting practice for almost 30 years. For an in-depth look at how my life was transformed by generosity please see here: For the last 5 years I have been traveling in the USA, practicing and serving in different venues in a variety of ways. I was on staff at the Insight Meditation Society as Retreat Support for 18 months.   I served as a cook in the Virginia Ashram of Yogaville for almost 8 months and spent a summer at the Rowe Camp and Conference Center in MA in the kitchen. Last winter I cooked for the nuns at Aloka Vihara Forest Monastery during their winter retreat. My time serving was intermingled with a number of long term retreats. I am poised to enter into another 3 month retreat in October until the end of this year.

This presentation is the result of an aspiration that arose a few years ago. Thank you in advance for bringing it to fruition!


Mindy Zlotnick