Gotami Vihara Society Malaysia News February 2014

Renunciants who will be staying at Gotami Vihara in February and March, 2014

We have the following renunciants coming to stay:

1.  Maechee Punnisa, a Malaysian nun and 4 other Maechees from Thailand (27 Feb – 7 Mar)
One of the Maechees from Thailand, Maechee Dr Chamnien is a lecturer in Pali and Abhidhamma to monks and nuns.

2.  Samaneri Dhammadinna, a scholar nun from Italy (28 Feb – 3 Mar)
She will be attending Ven Aggacitta’s workshop in Nalanda.

3.  Sister Clara Mota, from Portugal (3 Mar – _____ ) She will be staying for about 1 month
She is of the Tibetan tradition but wishes to learn more about the Theravada tradition.

It will be a tight fit for a few days since we only have 2 bedrooms at Gotami Vihara (GV). The Maechees who follow the forest tradition, advise that they are happy to sleep on mats and in the shrine hall.

The renunciants schedules while in Malaysia are as follows:

1. Maechee Punnisa and 4 other Maechees from Thailand (27 Feb – 7 Mar)

  • Maechees’ arrival from Thailand on 27 Feb (transport by Maechee Punnisa’s family)
  • Sri Jayanti Temple – 28 Feb (transport arranged)
  • Malacca – 1-2 March (transport arranged)
  • Wat Chetawan & Nalanda Institute – 3 Mar
  • SBS, Taiping – 4-6 March (taxi to & from train station to Taiping)
  • Returning to Thailand, 7 March (transport by Maechee Punnisa’s family)

2.  Samaneri Dhammadinna (28Feb – 3Mar)

  • Arrival from Taiwan on 28 Feb (transport by Sis Marie)
  • Attending Ven Aggacitta’s workshop in Nalanda – 1-2 Mar (transport by Marie)
  • Departure from KL – 3 Mar (transport by Marie)

3.  Sister Clara Mota (3Mar – ____ )

  • Arrival from India on 3 Mar (transport by Sis Guat Cheng)
  • Sister Clara hopes to visit some local meditation centres
  • As Sister will be here for a month, she is available for sharing with other Buddhist societies.

Volunteers Needed

We are appealing to all our supporters, including those living in Puchong area to meet them and offer whatever help necessary to make their stay a very meaningful and inspiring one. We need volunteers:

  • Transport for internal travels
  • Offer breakfast dana
  • Offer lunch dana on Mondays. We have made arrangement with a nearby vegetarian restaurant for lunch except Monday as the restaurant is closed
  • Take them for walks in nearby Bukit Jalil Park as they will be cooped up in the shop-lot the whole day. Sis Paru suggested this and she will take the lead. Please call GV to arrange with the nuns personally.

Address of Gotami Vihara
K37-C, Jalan TK 1/11A, Taman Kinrara, 47180 Puchong, Selangor (former premise of Kinrara Metta Buddhist Society, on main Puchong road, opp. Old Army Camp, 5 minutes drive from Puchong Pure Life Society, same row as Giant Supermarket, not Hypermarket). Tel: +6010 2580 737

Renunciants Profiles

1.  Maechee Punnisa
In the early 80’s, she started to learn the Buddha’s teachings from a Mahayana Bhikkhuni Venerable Chuan Wen for about ten years. She subsequently practiced meditation under Ven Ji Chen and Vipassana Meditation from Goenkaji. For the last five years, she practiced Mindfulness and Metta Meditation under the guidance of Ayasmā Aggacitta Maha Thera.

She started a Parents & Children Dhamma Class at Kuala Lumpur Hoeh Beng Buddhist Temple in the early 90’s. Some parents who had been trained by her during that time are still carrying on the Dhamma Class.

She was ordained in July, 2012 in Bangkok by Zao Kun Sun Anālayo. She stayed in a Bangkok nunnery and learnt to chant in Pāli and Thai, and attended Pāli classes at Mahachulalongkorn University.

Profiles of the 4 Maechees from Thailand are not available.

2.  Samaneri Dhammadinnā

Introduced by Ven Anandajoti, International Buddhist College, Thailand
“I have a good friend from Italy who last year took sāmanerī ordination in Lanka with the name Ven Dhammadinnā. She currently lives, teaches and does research at Dharma Drum in Taiwan. She is hoping to attend Bhante Aggacitta’s workshops at Nalanda on 1-3 March. Ven Dhammadinnā is a leading scholar in early Buddhist studies and has written and edited numerous works on the subject. It would be worthwhile inviting her to give some talks.”

3.  Sister Clara Pereira Mota

Introduced by Ven Bhikkhuni Adhimutta, Santi Forest Monastery, Sydney
“A lovely 10 precept nun, Sis Clara Pereira Mota from Portugal just contacted me. She is staying in India at the moment and ordained in the Tibetan tradition – however she wants to change across to the Theravada tradition as she finds herself reading the Pali suttas and is most interested in Theravada meditation methods. At the moment she is heading to Sri Lanka to try it. However, she is also interested in trying a meditation place in Malaysia. I told her that there would be support for her in KL.”

Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!


3 thoughts on “Gotami Vihara Society Malaysia News February 2014

  1. It is good to see that you support the only real and accepted Theravada nuns “Maechee” too. Because illegitimate “Bhikkhuni” discriminate against Maechee all the time.

    • Dear friend,

      just a note to add to what the Venerable Ānandajoti has commented.

      From my very limited experience in the robes as a sāmaṇerī (1.5 years) but much longer exposure to the living Theravāda tradition for many years, both East and West, I would like to point out the following (setting aside the notion of legitimacy/illegitimacy and legality/illegality of bhikkhunī ordination etc., a proper discussion of which would be beyond the scope of feasibility in a blog post):

      I have to be honest and say that in fact it is true that some 8-, 10- precepts renunciants as well as sāmaṇerīs and bhikkhunīs as individuals and as groups may discriminate and build up one form of ‘conceit’ or the other. I have seen this myself before and after taking the robes. Interestingly, each does it on the grounds of one type of ideology and perspective or the other (whichever is the frame of reference one is ‘compelled’ to adopt in order to position oneself as an authentic monastic or a ‘more authentic’ one as against others, as it were). Why? Because of the divisiveness inherent to the embracing of any unawakened/unenlightened religious ideology. I think the main issue is the building up of one’s own legitimacy based on a “this only is right, that is wrong, this is best, all else is lesser” mode. But, this also deserves compassion, precisely because of the lack – until very recently – of a clear and legitimate source of individual and social identification as female members of the monastic saṅgha (bhikkhunīs) and novices/trainees (sāmaṇerīs/sikkhamānās).

      So, in my view, the single most important reason for episodes of unwholesomeness (akusala) and conflict, taking stances by reacting to mental input in the form of ideas and values etc., is simply the absence and/or ignorance thereby, and non-acceptance (for whatever religio-historical or other type of reason), of the only valid frame of reference in this context, namely the Dhamma-vinaya.

      In fact, one may argue, from a perspective complimentary (note: not opposed to) the one expressed in your post, that a number of conservative maechees – for instance – who are of long standing as renunciants and for obvious reasons are in a way finding themselves challenged by the re-emergence of the bhikkhunī saṅgha, have absorbed, for survival, certain mainstream rhetorics, also at times may react by claiming that perpsective bhikkhunīs etc. go for higher ordination in order to seek mundane status and recognition, not out of “letting go” of worldly aims and values, and so forth.

      All of this is just a reflection of the “war amongst poor” that can be fostered among members at times of change within ancient institutions. But, the good news is that we Buddhist nuns seem to be doing comparatively well and to be able to respond with mutual support and friendship rather than increased conceits and divisions, overall. This can only be due to small or higher degrees of wisdom and compassion we are, I believe, sincerely trying to cultivate.

      In other words, to bring this to another level of analysis, more general, it may be true that, as with most, to an extent, marginalised and minority groups in communities and societies, those who eventually find themselves in an upgraded position, so to speak, in terms of recognition and ‘power’, may, subconsciously or semi-consciously, tend to react to the previously experienced suffering by re-actualising the same exclusion and power dynamics they were once subject to against those who are now, socially or hierarchically, “under” them.

      This is the irony of human institutions and groups. The saṅgha is no exception. Or think, for example, of reports of black policemen in America being on several occasions more cruel and violent towards other fellow “blacks” compared to notoriously more ‘racist’ white policemen. Or, for example, think of soldiers from disadvantaged backgrounds, taking hierarchy and rank as a much stronger source of their (new) identity and acting accordingly.

      The fact is, though, that for most of the bhikkhunīs I have met so far, Asians and Westerners, the days of experiencing difficulties and discriminations as semi-ordained nuns are still very close, and close to the bone, truly. Difficulties and discriminations continue as bhikkhunīs (in some cases, within traditional contexts which are not prepared to accept the full legality of the reintroduction of bhikkhunī ordination in the Theravāda lineage, they in fact experience pressures and accusations etc. even more than before and are shamed and so forth).

      Therefore, it is very unlikely that women/bhikkhunīs who are themselves still experiencing discrimination, and have taken to heart, at least with the best of intentions, the practice of the Dhamma – namely, seeing conditionality and conditioned phenomena in all things, and trying their best to respond to life circumstances with benevolence, compassion, appreciation and equanimity within the framework of the path and factors of awakening, for liberation – may really willingly intend to mistreat maechees or other renunciants.

      If you have experienced individual episodes of discrimination, I would wholeheartedly suggest to reflect that we all are subject to ignorance and defilements, and pressurised in many ways, logistical and emotional. Compassion born out of an understanding of the causes and conditions that may underline faulty behaviours would go a long way in supporting all of us in doing better next time. I agree with you that self-identity lurks there all the time, and until we break free from it, we are all prone to grab and grasp individual and communal tokens of identity to turn them into something meaningful, a ‘self’, based on ignorance and craving, and let desires, negativity and delusion take over.

      All this said, I can tell you that when one experiences suffering and obstacles, usually either hardens up or else, eventually, softens up, and most nuns I have met have rather softened up, after going through at times difficult experiences of personal development and integration.

      With very much mettā,

      Sāmaṇerī Dhammadinnā

  2. As a matter of policy, from the beginning the Support Network agreed to support all women renunciants and uphold them in their further aspirations.

    In regard to the specific point you make: every Bhikkhuni I ever met fully supports the female 10 preceptors in their aspirations, and only seeks to extend their opportunities.

    But even if what you say were true the power that Bhikkhunis have to discriminate against maechees is virtually non-existent. Especially as compared to the power that male monastics have to enforce their discrimination, and about which you seem to have no complaints.

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