This is an interesting report and reflection on the dana last year to nearly 3,000 nuns in Sri Lanka. The report itself is in pdf format, click on the link to read it. It was originally printed as part of the Journal of Buddhist Ethics, Volume 18, 2011.
Hsuan Chuang University
This paper uses as an example an alms-offering ceremony that took place on October 5, 2010 to illustrate cross-tradition exchanges between Asian Buddhists of different geographic locations. This ceremony had been intended to give alms to all of the bhikkhunīs in Sri Lanka and was thus itself noteworthy. However, the attention of this paper is on the two main players behind this ceremony. One is a Sri Lankan monk who has been a long term Theravāda missionary in Mahāyāna Taiwan, and the other is a Taiwanese nunnery which has not limited its works to Taiwan. This paper wishes to shed light on cross-tradition exchanges among Asian Buddhists.
A Cross-Tradition Exchange Between Taiwan and Sri Lanka PDF
Pirit Chanting before the Dana
This two-hour long film is set during the murderous communist (JVP) uprising in the south of Sri Lanka in the 80s.
Main Plot: The communist groups have splintered and an insurgent assassinates a former comrade but is seriously injured in the process.
The assailant manages to escape to the grounds of a nearby wilderness nunnery, where he is discovered by the nun Uppalavanna.
Acting out of compassion she helps him by giving food and medicine and doesn’t report him to the authorities.
Eventually he is discovered though and the villagers blame the nuns for Uppalavana’s actions, and she has to leave the nunnery.
There is also a sub-plot, in which a high-caste young woman falls in love with a low-caste drummer and elopes with him.
Her Mother fades away and dies, and when the daughter returns with her lover he is killed by her Father. He ends up in prison, and she ordains.
The film is mainly focused on the nunnery and the relationships between the head nun, a newly ordained novice and Uppalavanna.
We are not told what to think about any of the actions in the film but are left to decide for ourselves about the actions and their outcome.
Be warned the film has the credits section at the beginning of the film, running for 3 mins 50 secs. You can jump to that section if you like.
Some Stills from the Film
Here is an interview I conducted with Sayalay Visuddhi shortly after I came to Vivakavana where I am staying presently. Sayalay in now in Hatyai, southern Thailand.