Gotami Vihara celebrated International Bhikkhuni Day on a quiet but meaningful way with about forty people attending on 23 Sept, 2012. The Day was to honour prominent bhikkhunis in their unique achievements and contribution in preserving and propagating the Dhamma and upholding the Fourfold Assembly. The Day was also to remember and recognise those who went through great odds and sacrifice for the right to become a bhikkhuni.
The Opening Ceremony of Gotami Vihara, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, was graced by the presence of Venerable Saranankara and another Venerable from Sentul, Venerable Siridhamma, Venerable Santini, Venerable Dhammananda, Venerable Dr. Lieu Phap, Venerable Bhikkhuni Nhu The, Venerable Bhikkhuni Nhu Lien, Venerable Bodhicitta Theri, Venerable Sonam Wangmo, Venerable Karma Tashi Choedron, Sister Sumangala, Sayalay Paramacari and Maechi Kai Ping, Sister Ai Lin and Upasika Phuong Anh from Vietnam. About a hundred devotees, some from out of town came to rejoice with us.
Focus on revival of bhikkhuni order at academic session of Buddhist conference [reproduced from here]
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.
A short talk given by Bhante Anandajoti on International Bhikkhuni Day, September 29th, 2012, to introduce some of the issues around the ordination of women in the Theravada tradition. The talk covers such topics as the Buddha’s original intention inorganising the Dispensation, the teachings given by Bhikkhunis, the missions and their results, passing the lineage to China and more.
Ven Bhikkhuni Bodhicitta, who is spending the Rains Retreat at Vivekavana Solitude Grove will be giving a talk on the subject of “The Path to Heaven and Beyond” at the Vivekavana Buddhist Society on September 29th in conjunction with International Bhikkhuni Day 2012.
Gotami Vihara has great pleasure in inviting you to celebrate with us the International Bhikkhuni Day. As it falls on September 29 which is Moon Cake Festival, we have decided to hold it on 23 September instead.
Let us honour past and present bhikkhunis who went through great odds and sacrifice for the
right to become one. It is also to recognise the important role and contribution the bhikkhunis
play in preserving and propagating the Dhamma and upholding the Fourfold Assembly.
The Theravada Bhikkhuni Ordination was conducted at the Vietnamese Mahaprajapati Nunnery in Vaishali, Bihar, India on July 29th, 2012.
Nine candidates from India, Thailand, and Vietnam were fully ordained with Ven. Bhikkhuni Saddhasumana from Sri Lanka as preceptor and fourteen bhikkhunis from various countries to witness the ceremony.