Nuns and Rape: some links and a message
A Facebook ’cause’ page has now been set up. You don’t need to be on Facebook to access it. Thanks to Matt Frazer for this.
Some new articles:
Several sources have claimed that bus drivers have gone on strike due to this. It is unclear whether their strike is to demand the release of the drivers accused of the rape, or the release of the impounded bus.
Here are some links for people to contact. Thanks, Ayya Adhi.
”Nepal Gov. Offices to CC (Carbon Copy) in your e-mail:”Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation
Ministry of Information & Communication
Ministry of Law and Justice
Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare
You can also contact Avaaz and ask them to take up the issue.
Also, some writing from Ayya Tathaaloka (from the Alliance For Bhikkhunis Face Book Page) re. this issue:
Sometimes cultural traditions may differ, even gravely, from what the Buddha taught.
Many of the Buddha’s great disciples had been married before they entered monastic life, including the Buddha himself, and his foster-mother Mahapajapati Gotami, credited with founding the Bhikkhuni Sangha. According to Buddhist canonical texts, one of the Buddha’s two foremost women monastic disciples, Khema Theri, a great teacher and leader of the Sangha, was also married before she entered into Buddhist monastic life. There are numerous other examples in the Buddhist texts.
Of course, if a monastic commits an intentional and grave sexual misconduct, they are no longer a monastic. However, Vinaya offers many protections for both women and men from both false accusation of sexual impropriety and from there being circumstances that might provoke others to behave improperly towards a male or female member of the monastic community. Due to no fault of their own lust, if the monastic is raped, they are considered blameless. In both Bhikkhu and Bhikkhuni Parajika One, the Vinaya mentions several instances of this happening — to both men and women — and affirms that the monastics are blameless. This is affirmed in the Mulasarvastivada, Dharmaguptaka and Pali-text Vinayas.
In the case of a woman, even if a child is born, the bhikkhuni is not to laicized (unless it is her wish to disrobe), but rather the monastic community is to provide her with a bhikkhuni companion to support her and help her raise the child, *without* her having to leave monastic life. Then, as a great exception, even with child, she may live the monastic life.
The Buddha was very kind, compassionate and understanding, meanwhile upholding and exemplifying an excellent discipline. But these days many people, even those who are ordained Buddhist monastics, do not know this discipline well. And in places where there is no longer a Bhikkhuni Sangha, the sparse 8 or 10-precept nuns’ discipline can sometimes provide meager protection and guidance for such renunciate women.
I pray that knowledge and right practice of the Buddha’s teaching of both Dhamma and Vinaya may rise and increase once again in our Buddhist monastic communities, along with all of the fruits and benefits that come together.
With compassion and metta