The Bhikkhuni Revival According To Orthodox Theravada

The Bhikkhuni Revival According To Orthodox Theravada
Why Pick-shoo-me? Please see http://subhuti.net.tf/venaggacitta.html
Here is a document I requested from Venerable Aggacitta of SBS in Malaysia. He wrote this long before things were starting to cook up back in 2004. I remember reading the original article long ago and felt that it addressed the issue of Theravada Bhikkhuni ordinations very well from a Theravada point of view. It is all according to the texts and covers all of the issues of why the Bhikkhuni Sangha is not accepted by most of the Theravada Communities.

In short, it is too bad the things are the way they are. Rewriting the rules or the ordination process results in a completely new "bhikkhuni" system which deserves a different name. Venerable Aggacitta also warns about the dangers of using the bhikkhuni label. However, a "modern" solution has already been in place for a long time which already does just that under a different name. This is basically the 10 precept nun system with Siladharas or Silashins. Ajahn Sumedho has also created a very nice nun system too, which is perhaps the best of what can be done.

Nuns and monks should not mix mingle together as celibate communities and therefore the issue of equality is moot. They should function as separate sister monasteries and through their own power, the respect and support from the local community should be established. The Bhikkhu Community, out of compassion, should help seed such ventures and they have been doing this all along as well as today.

Pa-Auk has well over 200 nuns who can meditate all they want. Na-uyana has Dhammika Ashram and Ajahn Sumedho has created several facilities that support nuns. I met some of those nuns who have stayed with the approved Theravada Nun ship, chose not to defect or those who have joined the current time-tested nun system. This current and long standing system gives the most freedom for development towards Nibbana. I wish them well and highly respect our nuns for their decisions to stay or join in this way.

Sadhu for Venerable Aggacitta for explaining this issue long ago and for providing a recent updated version for free distribution.

Article by Bhikkhu Subhuti

Bhikkhu Subhuti is an American Buddhist Monk with roots in both Sri Lanka and Myanmar Forest Traditions. He currently resides in Myanmar but his heart sometimes floats back to Kauai, HI where he spent six months in 2015.