Archive | January 2013

The Great Cloud Monastery and Queen Anula

from the Extended Mahāvaṁsa, Chapter XV. The Acceptance of the Great Monastery
ExtMhv 1-37b cf. Mhv. 1-26b

Queen Anula Listens to Dhamma (Mural at Wat Pho)

Queen Anula Listens to Dhamma
(Mural at Wat Pho, Bangkok))

[The story now moves on around thirteen years. In the meantime King Asoka had seen to the reunification of the Saṅgha and the holding of the Third Council in which the teachings had been reconfirmed. Following this the leading monk at the Council had arranged to send missionaries to the border areas. The Arahat Mahinda had been sent to the Island of Laṅkā, where he had converted King Devānampiyatissa and many others. The story picks up as he continues with his teaching mission:]

“The elephant stall is crowded,” said those who had assembled there, and outside the southern gate, in the delightful Joy Grove, in the King’s garden, which was well-covered, cool and grassy, the people reverentially prepared seats for the Elders.

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The Going-Forth of Mahinda and Sanghamitta

from the Extended Mahāvaṁsa, Chapter V. The Third Recital
ExtMhv 491-519 cf. Mhv. 184-211

Going-Forth (Mural at Wat Pho)

Going-Forth
(Mural at Wat Pho, Bangkok)

On that day the Great King, decked out with all adornments, together with his harem and ministers, and surrounded by his army, went to his own monastery, 1 as though splitting the whole earth, 2 and, after worshipping the supreme Community, stood in the midst of the Community.

In that assembly there were eight hundred million monks, and of them one hundred thousand were strivers who had destroyed the pollutants. 3 There were also ninety thousand nuns in that place, and at that time one thousand nuns had destroyed the pollutants.

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Renunciates who will be staying in Gotami Vihara in January/February 2013

We are pleased to announce the following renunciates who will be staying in Gotami Vihara (GV), Puchong, Malaysia  in January/February, 2013.

Maechee Punnisa (M’sian)     25 January – 13 February, 2013
Adhimutta Bhikkhuni (NZ)    4 – 5 February, 2013

Biodata of Maechee Punnisa
Maechee Punnisa is a Malaysian, aged 61 and is ordained as a Theravadin Eight Precept Nun in Wat Boromniwat, a nunnery in Bangkok, Thailand in July, 2012. Before her ordination she was known as Sister Kooi Wah.

Maechee was trained as a Montessori teacher. She has helped in the translation of works from Chinese to English and vice versa and has translated or proof-read some of Venerable Aggacitta’s books. Her other skills are cooking and sewing,

She helped to start the Parents and Children (2-6 yrs) Dhamma Class at Hoeh Beng Buddhist Temple, Jalan Raja Bot, K.L. since 1995. Today, this class is still being run by parents who were trained by Maechee.

Maechee’s travel itinerary:
25-01-2013 Arrive KL from Bangkok Flight No. FD2913 (LCCT) at 1510 hrs
13-02-2013 Leave for Bangkok on Flight No. AK1944 (LCCT) at 1315 hrs

Dhamma Sharing
Maechee will share her experience meditating in forest monasteries in Thailand and other countries. This will be followed by a discussion session.

Details are as follows:
Date: 26 Jan, 2013
Time: 5 pm
Venue: Gotami Vihara

Opportunity to Offer Breakfast and Lunch Dana
Devotees are invited to offer vegetarian breakfast or lunch dana to Venerable Adhimutta Bhikkhuni and Maechee Punnisa during their stay in GV. You can also take them for lunch at the vegetarian shops nearby. Kindly contact our part-time helper/kapiya, Sister Khema Cheah at H/P: 016-6846702 for arrangement.

Opportunity to Stay in GV for Self Practice
We welcome anyone or any aspiring renunciate to stay in GV to get to know the venerables and to do some self practice. Venerable Adhimutta can be contacted at adhimutta_bhikkhuni@gmail.com, and Maechee Punnisa at maecheepunnisa@gmail.com / H/P: 017-682-6243,

Gotami Vihara’s Address:
K37-C, Jalan TK 1/11A, Taman Kinrara, 47180 Puchong, Selangor (former premise of Kinrara Metta Buddhist Society). On main Puchong Road.  Opposite former Army Camp, same row as Giant Supermarket.

Public Transport to GV:
Rapid Bus No. 60, 69 & 70. Stops in front of GV. Can be taken from Kota Raya, KL or at bus stop outside YMCA Brickfields, KL
Metro Bus No.21. Stops in front of GV. Can be taken from Kota Raya, KL.

May you and your family have a wonderful year ahead and may you continue to receive the blessings and guidance of the Triple Gem and be well, peaceful and happy.

Mettacittena,
Barbara Yen
for GV Committee

Monks & nuns reflect on rights of women

Focus on revival of bhikkhuni order at academic session of Buddhist conference [reproduced from here]


International Buddhist Sangha Conference

Speakers at an academic session during the International Buddhist Sangha Conference at Buddha Smriti Park on Sunday. Picture by Nagendra Kumar Singh

The nationwide deliberation on the dignity of women echoed at the international Buddhist Sangha Conference in Patna on Sunday.

At the academic session, the subject of animated discussion was the revival of bhikkhuni ordination. The departure of the Dalai Lama, who had come to Patna on Friday, in the morning did not discourage the monks and scholars attending the conference. They also reflected on equal opportunities for women in every sphere of life, including religious and spiritual practices.

According to the Buddhist traditions, the Buddha at the request of his foster-mother Mahapajapati Gotami created the order of bhikkhunis or fully ordained nun.

Carola Roloff (Bhikkhuni Jampa Tsedroen), a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Hamburg in Germany, said: “The Buddha established equal opportunities for men and women in 500 BC. Religious leaders now have an important role in protecting the dignity of women, who face rampant gender discrimination. The recent gang rape of the 23-year-old paramedical student in New Delhi is disturbing. This is not acceptable.”

She also spoke on the process of ordinance of an aspiring nun. “A trainee is taught the life of brahmcharya (celibacy) by a group of 12 bhikkhunis. She takes the vow of lifetime chastity in front of two sangha members — one male; the other female. The entire process can take up to 12 years.”

Venerable Pannasami, a lecturer at Central University of Tibetan Studies, Sarnath, said: “The Buddha’s teachings are not only for men but also for women. The tradition of bhikkhuni grew after Sanghamitra, the daughter of Mauryan emperor Ashoka established a sangha in Sri Lanka. It prospered in countries like India and Sri Lanka and many others for 1,200 years but slowly disappeared in Thailand and Cambodia. It is time to revive the bhukkhuni tradition.”

The visitors to the conference were also enlivened by the enlightening discussions. Joelle, a Swiss devotee who has been attending the sessions, said: “I have come with my teacher. The large gathering of Buddhist leaders and devotees at the conference is a learning experience for me — a student of Buddhist philosophy.”

She added that Buddhist meditation techniques had attracted her to the religion.

The 84,000 Monasteries

from the Extended Mahāvaṁsa, Chapter V. The Third Recital
ExtMhv 480-490 = Mhv. 173-183

Monastery (Mural at Wat Pho)

Monastery
(Mural at Wat Pho, Bangkok)

All those delightful monasteries he had undertaken to build in all the cities were completed within three years. And through the superintendent Elder Indagutta’s psychic power the one called Asokārāma 1 was also completed. In the various places that had been visited by the Victorious One the Lord of the Earth made delightful Shrines.

From the eighty-four thousand cities on all sides letters were brought on the same day, saying: “The monasteries 2 are finished.”

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Nalin Swaris: The Diginity of Women in the Buddhist Scriptures

Editor’s note: this is an extract from Chapter Three of the book “Buddhism, Human Rights and Social Renewal” by Nalin Swaris, which was published in 2000 by the Asian Human Rights Commission. Reporduced by Permission.


From scattered references in the Buddhist scriptures, one can infer that there was greater respect for the dignity of women in [the] republics [of the Middle Country] than in Brahmanised societies. The Brahmin scriptures encourage men to overpower and rape a woman if she does not freely yield to their sexual demands.

In contrast, an elder of the Licchavi-Vajjian federation complained that despite their displays of piety to the Buddha, young Licchavi men were an uncouth lot in the habit of physically harassing young women (Anguttara Nikāya III.75). This complaint would hardly have been made in a culture regarding women as inferior, as mere objects of lust. In the gaṇasanghas, following a matrifocal practice, a beautiful and gifted woman was chosen to symbolise the oneness of the clan. Called the gaṇika, in later periods this term took on the pejorative connotation of courtesan or whore.

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The Going-Forth of Sanghamitta’s Uncle and Husband

from the Extended Mahāvaṁsa, Chapter V. The Third Recital
ExtMhv 462-479 = Mhv. 154-172

Hunting Scene (Mural at Wat Pho)

Hunting Scene (Mural at Wat Pho)

One day Prince Tissa went hunting and saw deer sporting in the wilderness, and having seen that he thought thus: “Even the deer who live on grass enjoy themselves in the wilderness, will not the monks who live on pleasant food also enjoy themselves?”

He went to his house and informed the King about his thought. To teach him, Asoka gave him sovereignty for seven days, saying: “You can experience sovereignty for seven days, young man, after that I will kill you.” 1

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