Sakyadhita International Conference on Women

Bangkok, Thailand

June 12-18, 2011

The 12th Sakyadhita Conference is about to start. If you’re near Bangkok, or if you can travel, be there! It will be a wonderful week of learning an connecting with Buddhist women from all around the globe.

Anyone who still clings to the view that ‘Thais don’t support bhikkhunis’, prepare to have your mind seriously blown….

17 thoughts on “Sakyadhita International Conference on Women

  1. Dear Bhante Sujato,

    May I add that if some of the Thai monks still believe that Bhikkhuni ordinations are not acceptable by the general Thai public, they may find that they are also mistaken.

    Yesterday I was lucky to have a chance to speak to a man – may I emphasise that it was a ‘man’, who was assigned to photogragh Ven Lekshe for a newspaper article. After the short, informal shooting, we had a chance to talk and he was very supportive and glad to know that there will be lots of Bhikkhunis in flesh and blood coming to our country!

    Of course, he was not the only one who totally agree with Bhikkhu Bodhi’s suggestion to look into and interpret the Vinaya ‘with compassion and goodwill’ for the sake of at least all human beings!



  2. The conference abstracts are posted on the site. It is great to see the nuns’ and lay presenters’ applying Dhamma beyond the cushion – “compassionate action” as they call it – Dhamma and economics, ecology, addiction and trauma counseling – and lots of refreshing exploration of the complex layers of identity assoiated with “being Buddhist” that women have to unearth and challenge – “Women’s Leadership and the Buddhist Condept of Non-Self”, “Mr. Dharma, Mrs. Samsara” and “Lipstick Buddhists and Dharma Divas” – the abstracts are brief and so worth checking out!

    Click to access Abstracts2011Bangkok.pdf


  3. Bhante

    Judging from the brochure, this conference is giving impression that it is very Mahayana and also promoting Thailand. Religion should not be abused for commercial and political motives. From what I know, Buddha’s teachings to monks/nuns with little dust and those tamable only are towards dispassion and renunciation.

    • Dear Perez,
      The conference is being hosted by a Thai Theravada Mae Chee. I am not sure how you came to the conclusions in your post but I would like to underline that you are always welcome to get involved in these things to contribute what you feel to be important in Sangha building. Sangha building involves your hands and my hands. One of the great lights in the Bhikkhuni revival for example has been the reconciling and bridging of perceived “differences” between “sects”. If anything the 4th prong in the Fourfold Sangha does exactly the opposite of promoting commercial or political motives- it promotes ecumenism within the 500 million strong Sangha we call Buddhism. If you read the abstracts you will also see that women in the Fourfold Assembly are also working to transform commercialism and politics to better integrate sila, samadhi and panna.

  4. Dear Perez,

    After working for this conference for a few weeks, I would say that the conference might not be able to include all Buddhist women since we still have to work out language obstacles, but I would say that it’s inspiring to see nuns from several traditions present at and/or working for the conference.

    For instance, Venerable Adhimutta from the Theravada tradition has been assisting Venerable Lekshe from the Tibetan tradition. At the conference, Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo of the Tibetan tradition sitting next to Theravada Bhikkhuni Dhammananda. Then, in the interpretation booths, Samaneri Nisara from the Theravada tradition was working in the Thai-language booth, while in the next booth, we saw Vietnamese monks were translating English into Vietnamese.

    It’s true that there seems to be more Mahayana nuns than Theravada nuns because female aspirants in Theravada countries are still struggling to get full ordination. That is something that we, both men and women – monastics and laypeople alike, should be working on.

    To conclude, it’s simply beautiful to see earnest Buddhist practitioners from various traditions and countries doing their best to contribute to a good cause.

    Yours in the dhamma,


    • Indeed, Dheerayupa,
      The reason nuns are coming together is to try and help each other – especially those communities where the nuns are impoverished and do not receive moral or material support due to a bias in favour of male ordination. The Bhikkhunis in East Asia have been receiving full material and moral support by Emperors, Princes, statesmen, Dharma Masters and society since the time of their establishment by the Bhikkhunis sent there from Sri Lanka some 1600 years ago.
      This is precisely why they need to help their sisters in the Southeast Asian traditions in Sangha building.
      Anyone who wants to see a change and shift of this nature is invited to support their local Theravada nun or aspirant.

  5. The conference here is starting to gain it’s own momentum now, there’s a certain point in these gatherings that everything becomes magical, just having so many amazing people gathered in one place, sharing deeply from their own experiences, there is deep synergy and transformation for many. Those like myself attending the conference and helping behind the scenes before and after get very little sleep and are busy, yet there is a joy and energy that lifts us up and carries us along.

    And also for those like myself who come from traditions where nuns are struggling and undersupported, this is an opportunity to experience at a very deep level and to internalise the sheer strength and power of the bhikkhuni sangha, there is a deep internal re-shaping, re-modeling and re-wiring that takes comes about seeing and being with all these strong, eloquent, brilliant monastic and lay women, and just from being in such a strong, beautiful and diverse atmosphere.

    Also, very special for me this time has been meeting and listening to Ven. Myeong Seong Sunim who is my teacher Ayya Tathaaloka’s teacher. Hearing about the training at Un Mun Sa, getting to know some of my bhikkhuni sisters from there.

  6. Yesterday after work, I went to the Sakyadhita conference and had a chance to attend Ven Lekshe’s workshop on Meditation on the Four Immeasurables (Brahmaviharas).

    Unexpectedly, the meditation managed to quickly calm down my mind, which had been on edge from several negative things that had been happening since the evening before.

    May all beings be happy and well…

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