Bhikkhuni petition

It’s been mentioned a few times in the comments, but i thought i should make a proper post for it: the bhikkhuni petition. It’s been lovingly hand-crafted by a group of bhikkhuni supporters around the world, and is a sincere, heart-felt plea for gender equity in the Sangha. As i write, there are 832 signatures – wow! Please do your bit and add your name.


41 thoughts on “Bhikkhuni petition

  1. I offer metta to the Australian complete sangha from the Tibetan tradition. I don’t know if this is found in the Pali texts, but in the Tibetan we say that a country (or a land) is not a central Buddhist land if it does not have the fourfold community of Bhikshunis, Bhikshus, Lay men, and Lay women. I feel happy to send my metta to a the central land of Australia!

    Having been a fan of various forest monastic teachings among the westerners, I would like to ask if you think there are any of the 20 branch monasteries that have or are considering supporting you and Ajahn Brahm? I don’t ask you to name them unless they publicly do so… but if there is any beacon of hope/optimism–no matter how small–behind the scenes, please, let us know.

    On a side note:
    I found the petition. But I had to go through a bunch of your previous posts and comments to find it. Could you please edit this current post with a link!

    Though it’s not always good to give in to people’s laziness, in this case it will help prevent people from giving up on finding it and signing it.

    Good luck with it all.

    Yours in the Dhamma,

    PS – if ever I can get time, money, and visa… I would love to come visit your monastery one of these days. It’s been a long time since I’ve spent time in the forest tradition. The last time I was 18 years old (9 years ago). I was an exchange student in Thailand and went through temporary ordination as a novice at Wat Suan Mokh. There has been a heartfelt love for the forest tradition ever since.

  2. Dear Bikkunis,

    No joke, the gate of Bikkunis is open to all!

    The whole issue is not about the ordination of Bikkunis or the Vinaya, but the principles of the Bikkunis & Ajarns in the secretive manner the ordination of Bikkunis was held.


    The motive:
    The Bodhiyana Monastry & Ajarn B is alleged to start their own lineage – the Bodhiyana lineage with Ajahn B as the Abbot in place of Ajarn Chah. Cool…. Western lineage IS BORN.

    All Bikkunis aspirants who want to be ordained now can go to Ajarn B for official ordination in Bodhiyana (now openly, no need secretly) – the official monastery for Bikkunis ordination regardless of your original lineage or traditions (transcended all forms), the first in history.Applications open to all preceptors.

    Pondering…..Who is the new “Buddha” (thought only our Lord Buddha could ordain Bikkunis during his aeon as only Buddha is enlightened to know who is fit to be ordained). Do we have a new Buddha? Wow, we are so lucky.

  3. Dear bhante,

    I support the revival of bhikkhuni ordination in the Theravada tradition.

    I would like to add my name, Where is the petition?

  4. Dear Bikkunis/Bikkus,

    Can any Bikku/Bikkuni answer to this (we are ignorant lay disciples)?

    1. After Buddha’s enlightenment, how come all his disciples were male/male
    arahats/Bikkus and not women?

    2. Why didn’t Buddha include women in his Sangha except preaching Dhamma to
    laywomen (with one exception case where Ananda pleaded and Buddha agreed
    perhaps of that particular women’s ripen paramis)?

    3. Why all the Suttas addressed ” O Monks ” only and not “O Monks & O Nuns”?

    4. Although Buddha mentioned the 4-fold Sangha, the overall scenarios must be
    carefully studied before the mass bikkuni ordination.

    5. By nature, women are more emotional and biologically different from men (how
    can women be equal with men?). Women by nature have menstruation and has
    built-in womb for procreation that men do not have.

    6. Women need the protection of men for safety reasons and in vulnerable
    conditions. Hence, women can be a hindrance in men spiritual progress eg. if
    Bikkunis are allowed same condition as men to practise in the forest or cave or
    cemetary alone.

    7. The Buddha did mentioned in the Suttas that ny nature (in this sensual samsara
    we share) men is attracted to women and vice-versa, even the voice of a women
    could melt a man’s heart eg look at some of the Bikkunis’s voice, so sweet
    demure nice to listen & can even melt a woman’s heart what more a man’s heart
    (lust arose).

    8. Why women cannot be a Sammasambuddha? All 28 Buddhas were men. Why?

    9. The East Sangha based on intuition/wisdom/silence intelligence(“you know” kind
    of thing) whereas some not all, the West Sangha mostly based on theory/books
    /reasoning/research/experiments. (How to proof heaven & hell?).

    10.East ideology vs West ideology.

    We hope the Sangha will carefully study the impact and adverse effect of mass bikkuni ordination (theravada tradition) as it could lead to the destruction or deterioration of Dhamma in the future(preservation vs destruction).

    If this mass bikkuni ordination is successful, Ajarn B will go down in Buddhist history as the SuperHero(Supermonk) in Bukkuni Ordination in the Thai Theravada/theravada traditions and the First Monk to start a Western Theravada lineage in the West and lastly, the First Monk to cause global disharmony within the Sangha.

    For the sake of the Dhamma.

  5. Dear and Venerable Bhante Sujato,

    One more vote!

    It is very good that all these things are happening like this, for in the end, after the tree is shaken, as we say back in Brazil, you can truly see who is a monkey and who was just playing to climb the tree!

    From one side, it saddens me a lot to see that in the end, worry for the continuity of the money and material support from misinformed and superstitious lay disciples is what is behind this movement of the ‘Walters’.

    But from another perspective, I think it is very important that all this is happening, specially for the ultimate practical and direct outcome: fully ordained nuns will increase in number and exist under a more legitimate environment, and this is very positive for the expansion of Dhamma in many ways.

    Why I say this? I am from a country and a sub-continent where Theravada Buddhism is virtually inexistent. It is restrited to groups of lay disciples who study and struggle to practice under guidance of visiting monks, at a very high cost and so far very badly coordinated manner (actually you see groups competing instead of cooperating in their retreats schedules, crazy!).

    After more than 40 years trying to settle a resident Sangha without success, it was quite well proved that bhikkhus, specially those with little practical experience and spiritual attainements find in a Latin American society and environment too many obstacles to keeping their missions and energy in the spreading of Dhamma there.

    Among many factors, I would highlight the cultural problem regarding women and bhikkhus. The point is that in Brazil, most of the young women nowadays have never learned how to respect and behave in front of a catholic priest, and much less likely will know how to behave towards a monk! I have heard something similar happens in Europe, specially where, just like in Brazil you dont have a strong resident asian community which gives the example of etiquette and behavior towards monastics.

    Going back to my point, I see much more chances of success if this Dhamma spreading is done by bhikkhunis instead of bhikkhus! Why?

    Firstly, a bhikkhuni has much less chances to be inapropriately approached by a latin american male lay disciple than a bhikkhu would have to be wrongly inappropriately approached by a latin american female lay disciple.

    Secondly, a bhikkhuni inspires much more kindness then a bhikkhu (sorry, it is not personal!), and when approaching important teachings such as loving-kindness and compassion have on their side the maternity simbol associated with women and not men.

    Thirdly, although there are no ultimate differentiation between genders when we come to attaining the Fruition of the Path, there are clear differences between the mindset of men and women, and this difference, in my view, put women in advantage to men in the circumstances of a Buddhist missionary work.

    Well, this is my point, and I recognise I might be wrong on them.

    With all my respect and best wishes of health, peace of mind and comfort,

    Kind regards,

    Gabriel Laera
    Bangkok, Thailand.

  6. Enlightenment is not gender specific. So how can the opponents of bhikkhuni ordination justify their position that to live a holy life as a fully ordained monastic is gender specific?

  7. I might add that for those who may agree with the petition, but feel unable (for whatever reason) to publicly put their name out there–you _can_ sign anonymously! (Though naturally your name carries more weight.)

    • Can’t the petition be kept open a while longer? I think some are just finding out about it! All the best.

  8. A number of Theravadan, Tibetan, and Zen monastics have signed the petition so far:

    Ayya Mahacitta, Anagarika Amatanandi, Bhante Sujato, Bhikkhu Khaisear, Sasanka Thilakasiri, Vira Nani, Sister Uppalavanna, Sister Mudita, Ajahn Thanasanti, Sister Dharmapali, Ven. Susila, Aloka Bhikkhu, Kalyanavaca, Karma Tsegyal, Ani Drolkar Tsekyi, Bhiksuni Trime Lhamo, Ven. Konchog Shenphen, Thich Chan Phap Son, Joan Halifax Roshi, Bhikkhu Dhammiko, Ven. Jetsun Khusola, Thubten Rinchen Palzang, Ani Sangye Hatchion, Dhammavaro Bhikkhu, Ani Thupten Tselha, Annagarika Annie Keating, Ani Seltong Dronma, Sister Thitamedha, Bhikkhuni Dhammananda, Ven. Karma Konchok Lhadron, Sister Kovida….. And no doubt some have had to sign anonymously due to the complexity of their situation.

    • Dear Brenda,
      Apologies have to do a bit of correction here.

      i have returned to laylife and no longer an Anagarika since early February09.

      AUM Shanti.

  9. Here are some of US lay teachers who have signed the petition so far — almost enough that those who have not are becoming conspicuous by their absence: Thanissara, Kittisaro, Pascal Auclair, Anna Douglas, Evan Kavanagh, Sharda Rogell, Michael Liebenson Grady, Bob Thurman, Joan Halifax Roshi, Mary Grace Orr, Myoshin Kelley, James Baraz, Joanna Macy, Eugene Cash, Stephen Batchelor, Sylvia Boorstein, Diana Winston, Gina Sharpe, Bob Stahl, Joanne Broatch, Larry Yang, Andrea Fella, Eric Kolvig, Rodney Smith, Bernie Glassman, Tara Brach, Anushka Fernandopulle….. And again a number of anonymous signers due to their complex loyalties and relationships within the forest tradition.

  10. Most respectable Ven Sirs & all in the Dhamma,

    The whole problem here is……(with due respect from our lay perceptions)

    1. Lack of respect for each other’s tradition and culture;
    2. Emergence of women’s lip.
    3. Generation gap;
    4. Enthusiasm in changing the world and “disturb” Nature.
    5. Fast-track mentality (i.e do not accept that change is gradual eg. formation of
    rock is gradual)- impatience
    6. Ego centred & superiority complex (“I/We” still exists).
    7. Lack of wisdom.
    8. Anicca(every moment is changing, so why the need to change, when conditions are
    right, change is inevitable).
    9. Too much reasoning based on text.
    10.High IQ No EQ.
    11.No harmony (cannot see eye to eye with one another).

    Lord Buddha: “Tranquility is the highest BLISS”(Dhp)

  11. Hi Bikkunis,

    If the Bikkunis ordination leads to so much disharmony in the Sangha and the community and controversy, it is worth it? It is definitely not auspicious!

    Normally, an ordination of Bikku or Bikkunis is a noble and auspicious occassion to be rejoice by all.

    It is noted (information gathered from the blogs)that:

    1.The Odination was performed in a manner solely to fulfil the wish of the Vinaya but against the wishes of the larger community and Sangha.

    2.It is observed that the Ordination was performed in the night with only the internal Sangha present to avoid publicity since they were aware of its sensitivity being in the Thai theravada tradition.

    It is advisable to have ordination done in the morning so that all members of the Sangha and lay Buddhist could attend and rejoice. It this case, it looks like a hurry one and a mass ordination with 4 ordained at the same time (is this for the benefit of the Bikkunis or for other reasons only known by those involved).

    3. Although the Vinaya strictly mentioned “Bikkunis”, the conditions and situationsand conventions must be right for it to ripen. Perhaps, it is taken out of context and perhaps Buddha was enlightened to see that one day there would be Bikkunis but did not say when this would happen. Perhaps the conditions are not right yet as we have to also consider the generation gap. Why not wait for the elder generation to expire before forcing it down their throats. When the conditions ripen, existence would be natural without any resistence.

    4. If a mango tree is left to grow gradually and naturally depending on its condition prevailing, the mango one day would ripen. But if we want to expedite for the fruits by adding all kinds of fertilizer to speed up its growth, then the fruits would be “diseased” by that process.

    Advice to Bikkunis: Go gradually, don’t be so ambitious and impatient. When the condition is right and condusive and harmonious, your aspiration will ripen (elders philosophy).

    Make all happy not sad. Do not prolong the “fight” as it would lead to “divorce”.
    “To forgive is divine to err is human” Please stop this unhealthy bloggings.Leave this differences to the Sangha to solve. If we intervene, matter would get worse and we are digging our own graves.

    Peace in Samsara.

  12. OMG! what is all these debatings over one item in the Vinaya.
    All are trying to outdo one another.

    It is crazy.

    Why are we “fighting” just to fulfil the wishes of the Vinaya
    but go against the wishes of the rest of the Sangha & community?

    The Vinaya no doubt said Buddha’s 4 fold but Buddha did not say
    when this would ripen. The timing is definitely not right now and
    conditions not condusive for it to ripen yet, so why should we
    accelerate it by injecting unnecessary prescriptions, as there is
    now a generation gap and differences within the Sangha. Perhaps it
    is wiser to let the elder generation expire first rather than forcing
    it into their throats now.They would get “choked” (just joking).

    Like a fruit tree, when it is time to ripen it would ripen naturally
    without being told.So, all Bikkunis should not rush into getting ordained
    in view of the prevailing conditions. When the time and conditions are ripen,
    your aspiration would ripen naturally just like the fruit tree.

    All must be happy. It must occur naturally and gradually and not by force.

    Looks like the Forest monks would reach Nibbana first as without peace and
    tranquility, there would be no Nibbana. Conditions must be right.

    Please correct me if wrong, pls check suttas if Buddha mentioned on when the
    conditions are right for Bikkunis to prevail (i don’t think Buddha wanted to
    see this happen this way i.e by force or resistance, it had to be harmonious,
    so now is not the right time,so be patient).

  13. Ignorant Beings,
    If we follow your line of reasoning, why is it that men are the ones filling the prisons around the world, the ones inventing and producing arms and earning livelihood on weapons, leading us into trillion dollar wars, the soldiers who kill, the ones who commit rape, the ones who commit genocide, the ones who developed the science of economics to be exclusionary and destructive to animals, the environment and drive billions into poverty.
    And, the ones who wrote the history books. Including many of the writings we call Vinaya.
    This beckons one of the unspoken beliefs that has arisen out of this line of reasoning: that there is a hierarchy of female to male in rebirth. If it were indeed that way – then men who saw into their past lives would see how they struggled as women, how they were given the chance and then “migrated” to their higher birth as a man and would give others the same chance. But it is not so, is it? This is a false line of reasoning.
    Take a look and we see that the Buddha’s lesson on conceit holds true – not better not less not same. All beings without exception – a resounding call to non-discrimination.
    Please look at the Therigata – the voices of the female arahant Bhikkhunis in the Buddha’s time. Please look at the scholarship. We Buddhists have been clinging to blind faith – just like other faiths – shame on us. The Buddha said investigate! The Bible has several creation stories- all different versions and all based in mythology. We are only slightly different!
    Please all those opposed to women and Bhikkhuni ordination look more deeply into the kamma of discouraging aspiring Dhamma students – of turning them away from Dhamma- are you willing to accept the consequences? One glimpse in this lifetime- gone again. How many more lifetimes until we see it again.
    Are you prepared to accept the consequences of that?

    • Oh!!! I am so sad!!

      How could someone lie about something that is so important?!

      Thank you Thanissara for exposing this. Better to know the truth.

    • Kanchana, you beat me to it, good spotting there. Unfortunately I couldn’t find my own signature even though I did sign it.

      Impersonating signatures could be done by someone to purposely bring discredit to the Petition too, not necessarily to bring impetus to the cause. Both foolish anyway.

      Even more disheartend when I saw Ajahn Khemadhammo’s comment on his blog:
      “My advice is to drop all this nonsense and get back to practising Dhamma.”

      How can helping to re-establish Bhikkhuni Sasana be Adhamma? In fact, I am yet to see a solid answer by WPP monks as to why they oppose Bhikkhuni ordination. All they have is ‘this is going against tradition’. I don’t think Ajahns Mun or Chah would be proud of the adopted by the WPP hierarchy.

      More importantly it makes one to really question onself, do I really want to support a religion that is afraid of going down a particular route ‘cos that involves going against the tradition? even though the other route/s make more sense and is beneficial for all? Oh well…organised religions suck! Always turns to custard somewhere down the track.

  14. I used to always go to Ajahn Khema’s website and follow the good work that he was doing in the UK prisons! I was heartbroken to learn of his letter being on ‘dhammalight’ but ‘am now feeling joyous!! Yeah!!! This is great!!!

  15. Dear Bikkunis, with highest respect,

    In our opinion, since both the Bikkus and the Bikkunis have transcended gender, there should be no problem being in one Sangha (One big happy family), instead of splitting into 2 Sangha i.e. Bikku Sangha and Bikkunis Sangha (more differences and controversies in the future).

    We welcome Bikkunis (ordained or not ordained) into the Buddhist Community to contribute to the welfare of beings & propagate the Buddha-Dhamma to the world.

    We appreciate both the sacrifices and struggle of the Sangha (Bikkus & Bikkunis, male & females novices & preceptors) for the benefit of all! Metta.

  16. @Peace in Samsara…’Why are we “fighting” just to fulfil the wishes of the Vinaya
    but go against the wishes of the rest of the Sangha & community? ‘

    I hope Bhikkuni Sobhana will forgive me for quoting her here (this is from the Women and the Forest Sangha on Facebook) on why we should stick to the Vinaya:

    ‘The continuity of monastic practice empowers Buddhism. The schools of Buddhsim have reconnected with their roots in the early texts many times. This is the basis for reviving harmony within the sangha.’

  17. Hi all,

    This is a Sangha internal problem.

    It should be sorted out internally
    and not publicly by lobbying for
    public support for the cause or

    Public have no full account of the
    Vinayas. There would always be two
    school of thoughts.

    Leave this issue to the Sangha Council
    & World Abbot Council.

    Peace to all.

    • Hi Sorry,

      Yes it may be have been an internal problem but the Sangha had not solved it! They have failed dismally hence the problem!!!

  18. Hi,

    With due respect for others’ opinion on this issue, i find that this issue is more about HUMAN RIGHTS & EQUALITY OF GENDER.

    Religion and its commandments should not be altered and modified to suit the changes and demands of the fast moving world. All rules and teachings should be constant while others are variable, to maintain its originality and purity.

    Humans rights and politics should not take precedent in religion.If we keep changing, then we are contaminating its purity and will loose its authenticity & harmony compromised. It defeats the purpose of religion if there is no harmony and goodwill.

    The world should fit into religion and not religion trying to fit into the world, like an oaktree remains an oaktree unperturbed by the changing of weather & conditions. Harmony to all.

    • Hi Harmony,

      In case you are not aware, it was the Buddha himself who started Bhikkhuni ordination 2500 years ago! So Bhikkhuni ordination is not a new thing as you imply and is a not brain-child of Human Rights, Gender Equality, Ultra Feminist groups. This current effort is to *re-establish* Bhikkhuni ordination for the benefit of our mothers and sisters. Has nothing to do with bending religion to fit the world.

    • No problem with the 4-fold Sangha but to me, the Bikkunis should take a feminine role and should not be more superior or equal to the Bikkus. What is wrong being feminine. What must women try to behave and take the role of men?

    • Hi Hello,

      I don’t think it is about taking the role of men. It is about being able take up the middle path as set up by the Buddha and having the right practicing condition.

    • The Buddha created a Fourfold sangha .Unfortunately for political reasons or other reasons, it has been degenerated into a Threefold sangha. What we are trying to do is to re-establish the missing part of the the original Fourfold sangha as established by the Buddha. At the same time, Bhikkhuni ordination happens to be in harmony with Human rights & Equality of Gender as well. Whether we look at Bhikkhuni ordination from a religious stand point or gender equality, it is the proper thing to have.

      Personally, I rather have a Fourfold sangha as established by the Buddha, then to have a Threefold sangha that is everywhere today.

    • Sorry, don’t mean to agitate you guys, but there are other vinayas to complement this part of the vinaya and to consider as well. Log to for a better understanding of other vinayas.No monk to argue here but all info gathered from sites available to make our own judgement and understanding. The best experts are the monks like Bikku Bodhi & Bikku Thanissaro who are vinaya experts. Pls. consult them. Sadhu.

    • Dear harmony,

      Don’t worry , we are just sharing various view points to help each other see the things that we might fail to see by ourselves. This enables us to see the full picture . Many have read the website.

      Both Ajahn Brahm and Ajahn Sujato have done extensive research on bhikkhuni vinaya and are also very
      well versed in the vinaya .

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