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#1 RobertK

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Posted 14 May 2006 - 04:17 AM

http://groups.yahoo....p/message/23596

QUOTE


C: You may be interested in this review of the book 'Innovative Buddhist Women - Swimming against the Stream', (2000), Karma Lekshe Tsomo (Ed), Curzon Press, Richmond, UK. Paperback. Reviewed by Y.K. Yau http://home.iprimus...._Articles/Book% 20review.htm

"In her paper ` Inaccuracies in Buddhist Women's History', Bhikkuni Kusuma turns an age-old misreading of the dual ordination of women in the Buddhist canon on its head. Bhikkuni Kusuma, a Pali scholar who received a Ph.D for her research on Bhikkuni Vinaya (Buddhist Nun monastic discipline) could find no canonical evidence to suggest that a nun's ordination is only valid if it is witnessed by both orders, the order of monks and the order of nuns. The truth is that it will suffice for the order of monks to ordain a nun. Neither could Bhikkuni Kusuma find any evidence to suggest that the lifespan of the Buddha's dispensation will be shortened on account of women's admission to the order. In fact, she found evidence to the contrary in the Commentary of Buddhaghosa, a 5th century Buddhist monk. She also argues that the eight special rules (garudhammas) that Mahapajapati Gotami had accepted on her own behalf to gain admission to the order did not apply to other nuns. This is because the Buddha had ordained his own aunt and stepmother when she was just a laywoman. It was a quirk of history that caused controversy to rage for 10 centuries. If the eight special rules were to apply to other nuns, it would have meant nuns' subservience (not deference), to monks. And that would be very contrary to the Buddha's egalitarianism."

 




__________________
This sutta is in the Anguttara Nikàya. Note that Mahapajapati was given higher ordination directly by the Buddha there and then, and that the sutta also mentions those (other woman) who will be preparing for higher ordination: "A trainee bhikkhuni should spend two rains observing the six precepts and be accomplished for the higher ordination, in the presence of both Communities, bhikkhus and bhikkhunis."

QUOTE
Gotamãvaggo- Gotamisuttaü- To Gotàmi.
"""Ananda, if Mahapajapati Gotami accepts these eight strong rules, that will be her higher ordination: ßA bhikkhuni with one hundred rains should worship, attend willingly, revere with clasped hands and exchange friendly greetings with a bhikkhu who has just attained higher ordination. This rule should be honoured, revered, esteemed and should not be thrown out until life lasts. A bhikkhuni should not observe the rains in a monastery where there are no bhikkhus. This rule should be honoured, revered, esteemed and should not be thrown out until life lasts. Every fortnight the bhikkhuni should approach the Community of bhikkhus to beg for two things. To know the day of recital of the full moon observances for confession and for advice. This rule should be honoured, revered, esteemed and should not be thrown out until life lasts. A bhikkhuni should emerge from the rains observances, by seeing or hearing or clearing suspicions in the presence of both Communities, bhikkhus and bhikkhunis. This rule should be honoured, revered, esteemed and should not be thrown out until life lasts. A bhikkhuni guilty of transgressing the strong rules should atone it, in the presence of both Communities, bhikkhus and bhikkhunis. This rule should be honoured, revered, esteemed and should not be thrown out until life lasts. A trainee bhikkhuni should spend two rains observing the six precepts and be accomplished for the higher ordination, in the presence of both Communities, bhikkhus and bhikkhunis. This rule should be honoured, revered, esteemed and should not be thrown out until life lasts. A bhikkhuni should not abuse a bhikkhu for any reason. This rule should be honoured, revered, esteemed and should not be thrown out until life lasts. From today the words of the bhikkhunis are obstructed to the bhikkhus. The words of the bhikkhus are not obstructed to the bhikkhunis This rule should be honoured, revered, esteemed and should not be thrown out until life lasts. Ananda, if Mahapajapati Gotami accepts these eight strong rules, that will be her higher ordination:" Venerable Ananda, learning these eight strong rules in the presence of The Blessed One approached Mahapajapati Gotami and said: ßGotami, if you accept these eight strong rules, that will be your higher ordination: ßA bhikkhuni with one hundred rains should worship, attend willingly, revere with clasped hands and exchange friendly greetings with a bhikkhu who has just attained higher ordination. This rule should be honoured, revered, esteemed and should not be thrown out until life lasts. A bhikkhuni should not observe the rains in a monastery where there are no bhikkhus. This rule should be honoured, revered, esteemed and should not be thrown out until life lasts. Every fortnight the bhikkhuni should approach the Community of bhikkhus to beg for two things. To know the day of recital of the full moon observances for confession and for advice. This rule should be honoured, revered, esteemed and should not be thrown out until life lasts. A bhikkhuni should emerge from the rains observances, by seeing or hearing or clearing suspicions in the presence of both Communities, bhikkhus and bhikkhunis. This rule should be honoured, revered, esteemed and should not be thrown out until life lasts. A bhikkhuni guilty of transgressing the strong rules should atone it, in the presence of both Communities, bhikkhus and bhikkhunis. This rule should be honoured, revered, esteemed and should not be thrown out until life lasts. A trainee bhikkhuni should spend two rains observing the six precepts and be accomplished for the higher ordination, in the presence of both Communities, bhikkhus and bhikkhunis. This rule should be honoured, revered, esteemed and should not be thrown out until life lasts. A bhikkhuni should not abuse a bhikkhu for any reason. This rule should be honoured, revered, esteemed and should not be thrown out until life lasts. From today the words of the bhikkhunis are obstructed to the bhikkhus. The words of the bhikkhus are not obstructed to the bhikkhunis This rule should be honoured, revered, esteemed and should not be thrown out until life lasts. Gotami if you accept these eight strong rules, that same will be your higher ordination:"ß Venerable sir, Ananda, just as a young man, woman, or child who has washed his head was to receive a garland of flowers of blue lotuses, jasmines or a very attractive garland of flowers would accept it, with both hands and would place it on his head. In that same manner I accept the eight strong rules, not to throw out until life lasts. Then venerable Ananda approached The Blessed One, worshipped, sat on a side and said: Venerable sir, Mahapajapati Gotami has accepted the eight strong rules, not to throw out until life lasts." ßAnanda, if women did not obtain the going forth from the household as homeless, in the dispensation of the Thus Gone One, the dispensation would have lasted longer a thousand years Ananda, as women have obtined the going forth from the household to become homeless, it will not last long, the good Teaching will last only five hundred years Ananda, just as families which have more women and few men are attacked by robbers and cheaters in the same manner in a dispensation in which there is the going forth for women, the holy life does not last long Ananda, just as in an accomplished rice field, there falls an illness named white seeds and it does not last long. In the same manner in a dispensation in which there is the going forth for women, the holy life does not last long. Ananda, just as in an accomplished cane field, there comes an illness named turning red and it does not last long. In the same manner in a dispensation in which there is the going forth for women, the holy life does not last long. Ananda, just as a man was to build an embankment as a future protection for a huge reservoir, so that water would not reach over the boundary these eight strong rules are declared to the bhikkhunis not to be thrown out until life lasts, as future protection.""
___http://www.metta.lk/...aka/4Anguttara-
Nikaya/Anguttara5/8-atthakanipata/006-gotamivaggo-e.htm

robertK_______
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#2 RobertK

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Posted 14 May 2006 - 04:20 AM

http://www.metta.lk/.../modern/thaniss
aro/bmc2/ch23.html
""But, Ananda, if women had not obtained the Going-forth from the home life into homelessness in the Tathagata's doctrine and discipline, the holy life would have lasted long, the true Dhamma would have lasted 1,000 years. But now that they have gotten to go forth...this holy life will not last long, the true Dhamma will last 500 years. Just as a clan in which there are many women and few men is easily plundered by robbers and bandits, in the same way, in whatever doctrine and discipline women get to go forth, the holy life does not last long..""

The commentary explains that the sasana will last longer because the Buddha laid down the eight grave rules for Bhikkhuni, and because of the reciting of the Tipitaka at the first council.

#3 RobertK

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Posted 14 May 2006 - 04:34 AM

An old post from melvin on triplegem

--- In Triplegem@y..., "melvintaik" <melvintaik@y...> wrote:

Dear Friends,

In Myanmar (Burma), the Buddhist nuns are called 'Thila-shins' or 'Sila-shins' or 'precept-women' in simple meaning. They shave their heads and wear pink coloured robes with a sash over their left shoulder. They go for a kind of alms-round, collecting food, uncooked rice and money but not with monk's alms-bowls. They keep eight or ten precepts daily, i.e they practise noble celibacy just like the Bhikkhus. These Thilashins learn the scriptures and practise Meditation and lead a purified life. Myanmars are well-known for being content with what they have, and the majority of Myanmar Thilashins are quite happy with the status quo. So the question of Bhikkhuni Revival has never been an issue in Myanmar.

The author of the posting on Bhikkhuni in Myanmar mentioned the Human Rights. The Article 18 of the Unighted Nations Universal Human Rights Declaration reads:

"Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance."

It does not advocate change of the actual religious texts. Look at the world around us today. There are three major religions; Christianity, Islam and Hinduism, representing 3 billion people in total. Are women treated equally in all aspects of their religious life in these religions? The answer is a clear 'No.' Buddhism is followed by 400 millions and is believed to be the best as far as women are concerned. A woman can become an Arahant in this life and also can become a Buddha in the last existence as a man.

The Universal Human Rights Declaration does not interfere with the actual Teachings and Rules of any specific spiritual beliefs. The Teachings should not be altered by followers to suit the circumstances. If we do, we destroy that religion. If we change the Buddha's Teachings, the 'new' concepts are ours, not the Buddha's, and a new religion is created and we have to give it a new name. To continue to call it Buddhism will be an irresponsible act and is misrepresentation or cheating. The Kammic consequences are serious.

We have to study the Vinaya rules regarding the ordination of women. Nowadays people around the world have taken a very strong interest i Buddhism and the majority of these people are believed to be women. So this issue may be very important to the members of this list as well.

Many Buddhists agree or disagree whether there can be an Bhikkhuni Order today. The Buddhist rules indicate that the ordination of men and women requires the presence of both ordained monks (Bhikkhu) and female monks (Bhikkhuni), respectively; the latter needs Bhikkhus in addition. The Bhikkhuni order died out in India and Sri Lanka in the 11th century. Thailand and Tibet did not have an order of Bhikkhunis. But in some East Asian countries especially Korea, the Bhikkhuni Order seems to have survived. For Myanmar, the historical records are not clear. No Bhikkhuni names are in Myanmar Buddhist Archives. Emperor Asoka sent the monks Sona and Uttara to Suvannabhumi, believed to be 'Thaton' in Lower Myanmar by Myanmar Historians (around 250 BC). It was recorded somewhere that 3500 noble men and 1500 women entered the Buddhist order. The opponents of this theory pointed out that there was no evidence of Bhikkhunis among the members of the Samgha brought to 'Pagan' from Thaton in 11th century AD by King Anawratha. Perhaps the Bhikkhuni Order had died out already. So we agreed that there were no Bhikkhunis in Myanmar for many centuries.

It is true that the Buddha had approved the Order of Bhikkhunis. But he didn't want to make a Bhikkhuni Sangha because he knew that it wouldn't last, and he was right. He had no absolute power to prevent women becoming Bhikkhunis. That is down to the Kamma of individuals. He made it clear of his reservations. He even cautioned that the length of Sasana would shorten due to emergence of Bhikkhunis. The Vinaya rules indicate that the Bhikkhuni Order can't be revived nowadays. (True Theravadadins are not interested in other Buddhist Traditions) The Buddha must have foreseen this. If we try revive it, we may be unintentionally ignoring his prophecy. If the Vinaya rules regarding Bhikkhunis were made by the Buddha, we as Buddhists have to follow the Rules. And there are special precepts for the Bhikkhunis to keep. First, special rules, garu-dhamma, specified by the Buddha:

(1) A bhikkhuni, even if she enjoys a seniority of a hundred years in the Order, must pay respect to a bhikkhu though he may have been a bhikkhu only for a day.

(2) A bhikkhuni must not keep her rains-residence in a place where there are no bhikkhus.

(3) Every fortnight a bhikkhuni must do two things: To ask the bhikkhu Samgha the day of uposatha, and to approach the bhikkhu Samgha for instruction and admonition.

(4) When the rains-residence period is over, a bhikkhuni must attend the pavarana ceremony conducted at both the assemblies of bhikkhus and bhikkhunis, in each of which she must invite criticism on what has been seen, what has been heard or what has been suspected of her.

(5) A bhikkhuni who has committed a Samghadisesa offence must undergo penance for a half-month, pakkha manatta, in each assembly of bhikkhus and bhikkhunis.

(6) Admission to the Order must be sought, from both assemblies, by a woman novice only after two year's probationary training as a candidate.

(7) A bhikkhuni should not revile a bhikkhu in any way, not even obliquely.

(8) A bhikkhuni must abide by instructions given her by bhikkhus, but must not give instructions or advice to bhikkhus.

For the 311 rules for Bhikkhunis, please refer to Vinaya Texts.

Women can still get fully enlightened or become ariyas as lay Buddhist Practitioners. Those who are contemplating Ordination should study the following issues from the point of view of pure Theravadain Tradition.

1. The main objects of becoming an ordained Bhikkhuni?

(i) For personal progress: Do you need to be a Bhikkhuni to progress or get enlightened?

(ii) For Dhammaduta work: Do you need to be a Bhikkhuni to propagate the Teachings? I knew of Myanmar Thilashins on Dhammaduta missions.

2. Belief in the current Vinaya Rules(re: Bhikkhuni Ordination) Those who do not believe in such rules must be able to identify the alternative rules in the Pali Canon?

3. Special Garu-Dhamma and more Precepts to follow than the monks. A Bhikkhuni observes 311 Rules of discipline. Are would-be Bhikkhunis prepared for the consequences of not being able to keep the precepts? There was a saying that more monks go to hell than the laity. We read stories of some Bhikkhus committing crimes. What about the new Bhikkhunis? Will they be in the headlines and cause more damage to Buddha Sasana?

In conclusion,

(1) Human Rights Declaration has nothing to do with Doctrinal Issues.

(2) Bhikkhuni Samgha can't be revived and sustained nowadays from Theravadin point of view.

(3) Myanmar Sayadaws and Myanmar Laity seem to be in complete agreement regarding Bhikkhuni Revival. Myanmar Lay persons are very well educated in Buddhist Teachings and play an important role in the continued prosperity of the Buddha Sasana. It is not just the Sayadaws who stand firm against the new proposals. Myanmar Bhikkhus as well as the majority of laity whether male or female, may not recognize the authenticity of ordination ceremonies for Bhikkhunis in Myanmar or elsewhere.

(4) The Ruling Sangha Bodies in Sri Lanka and Thailand do not endorse the Bhikkhuni Ordination ceremonies taking place in their countries.

Best wishes,

Melvin

#4 RobertK

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Posted 14 May 2006 - 04:37 AM

an old letter from R. Eddison (now venerable Dhammanando).


<robedd@i...> wrote:

Jinavamsa wrote:

J: Now, here is my question: when the first three bhikkhunis were ordinated originally, this could not have been through there being 3 earlier bhikkhunis to make up a quorum for such a sanghakamma, a community action. How was that accomplished? My guess is that it was through the Buddha and/or community performing with them an ordination ceremony. ("Come and see" or some other wording being used at the time, depending on what the situation/timing was, I would again guess.)

R: Yes, that seems to have been the case. There are actually several of the eight 'weighty principles' (garudhamma) that would have been impossible to implement immediately upon the ordination of Mahapajapati and the Sakyan ladies. The Vinaya Pitaka's narrative depicts a gradual implementation of these when suitable occasions arose.

J: What in vinaya is prohibiting such an ordination from occurring once again, until there are 3 Theravada bhikkhunis who could them ordinate other women into the Theravada bhikkhuni sangha?

R: Essentially it is by analogy with other Vinaya rules and procedures. Most of these evolved in stages. The modified form of a rule at each stage entirely superceded the previous form, and the form a rule had assumed by the time of the Buddha's parinibbana is taken as definitive.

Examples:

When the third parajika rule was originally laid down it only prohibited a bhikkhu from deliberately killing a human being. As the rule evolved its scope was extended to cover other killing-related actions, e.g. ordering someone to kill someone else, persuading someone to commit suicide, and counselling a woman to have an abortion. As each amendment to the rule was added, the earlier and laxer form of the rule was abandoned.

When the practice of meeting to recite the patimokkha on uposatha days was established, the former practice of meeting in silence was abandoned. Likewise, when the rule requiring dual ordination was implemented, the practice of ordination being granted by the bhikkhusangha alone was abandoned.

The only cases where the later form of a rule or procedure did not entirely supplant the earlier one are those in which the Buddha was exercising his own prerogative. For example, the Buddha established a procedure whereby a man who had formerly been a follower of some other teacher was required to undergo a period of probation before he could be accepted as a bhikkhu. Yet on some occasions the Buddha would make exceptions for particular individuals, giving them ordination at once just as he had done in the early days of his ministry.

It is noteworthy that there is no mention of bhikkhus in the Buddha's day making exceptions in such cases, or even thinking themselves qualified to do so.

So, if modern bhikkhus were to suggest that they could discard the definitive form of the rules about ordination and revert to an earlier phase in the rules' evolution, then they would be...

1) claiming a prerogative that even the Buddha's own disciples did not presume to claim for themselves.

2) setting a precedent that could conceivably be applied to other Vinaya rules.

As an example of the latter, one might imagine a liberal modernist bhikkhu with pro-abortion views proposing that the third parajika rule should be observed in its earlier form, where only killing with one's own hands was prohibited. This would allow him to preach his views and to counsel abortion (which at present he may not and would be disrobed if he did).

J: I assume there must be something about that. What could it be, and what is it status held to be?

R: Its status is very weighty. The Theravadin sangha tends to exercise great caution in establishing precedents and does so only when they can be clearly supported by the Vinaya.

In two and a half millenia I don't think there is even one single case of a Theravadin Vinaya master proposing that bhikkhus should revert to observing a Vinaya rule in its primitive rather than its definitive state.* I think it would be an extraordinary precedent if bhikkhus did so today.

Best wishes,

Robert

* There are, however, well-documented cases of Chinese Vinaya masters doing so during the Sung Dynasty, precisely in order to justify the ordination of bhikshunis by the bhikkhusangha alone. One modern Taiwanese Vinaya master has argued that the Chinese bhikshuni lineage became irreparably broken as a result of this policy.
--- End forwarded message ---

#5 RobertK

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Posted 17 May 2006 - 01:34 PM

In Pali@yahoogroups.com, "rjkjp1" <rjkjp1@y...> wrote:
--- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, "Bhante Sujato.." <suj..@g...> wrote:

==============

Robert:. You cannot say that someone who ordains as a Tibetan Monk or a Dhamagupta is a Bhikkhu by Theravada standards.

>===========================

 
QUOTE
Bhante Sujato..: Why not? That is, in fact, exactly what i do say.

I have been recently forming an Australian Sangha Association, and in my work for this i have had the pleasure of meeting many monastics from all traditions. They all agree on the fundamental meaning of Sangha - a community of celibate Buddhist monastics ordained in an authentic lineage. Not one has suggested that monastics from other traditions should not be regarded as properly ordained. I am aware that this is the view, sadly, that prevails in some theravadin countries, but that clearly is changing.

 


==================================

RobertThe only reason it could be changing is because a few well-meaning, but (IMHO) misguided souls are actively ignoring millenia of tradition. There is no example anywhere in the scriptures, of monks from outside sects being considered as Theravada and invited to participate in sanghakamma. Have you considered the dangers in this and how it was because of the strict conservatism of Theravada that the Dhamma has been preserved until now.

=====================================

 
QUOTE
Sujato *As far as i can see, the term 'Theravada' does not occur in the Pali Culavagga account of the Second Council, although the bhikkhus from Pava are referred to as 'theras'. But the proceedings of that Council took place entirely on the basis of what was Dhamma and Vinaya, not on the basis of who pledges allegiance to a certain sectarian grouping.

I mentioned in an earlier message that many other schools, such as the Sarvastivadins, might just as well claim the 'orthodox' bhikkhus as their forbears

================

In any case, the chief issue was handling money. Since we see today that the vast majority of bhikkhus, whether Theravadins or otherwise, use money, in violation of the precepts and of the findings of the second council, in what sense can they be regarded as the 'keepers of the flame'? Surely we should, rather, encourage and support any bhikkhus or bhikkhunis who has the courage to keep the rules and renounce money, regardless of what tradition they hail from..

 



==================

Robert: Surely it is outrageous that some Theravada Bhikkhus now handle money, but this is a different matter. As far as I know none of these bhikkus are suggesting the vinaya be changed to suit their behaviour.

I now quote from the Katthavathuppakarana-Atthakatha (by Buddhoghosa) (p3 of Points of contoversy, PTS) I only put in the most relevant sections.

It talks about after the second council (about 100 years after Buddha parinibbana)

"Ten thousand of the of the Vajjiputtaka bhikkhus[after spliting from the good monks] seeking adherents among themselves, formed a school called the Mahasanghika [these then split several times] Thus from the school of the Mahasanghikas, in the second century only two schools seceded from the Theravada[note that the rightful monks are called Theravada by Buddhaghosa]-Mahimsinsasakas and Vajjiputtakas... [it lists more that split later]..Thus from the Theravada arose these eleven secding bodies making 12 in all. And these 12 together the six schools of the Mahasanghikas constitute the 18 schools which arose in the second century. Of the eighteen, 17 are to be understood as schismatics, the Theravadan only being non- schismatic."""

The commentary continues and cites the Dipavamsa The Bhikkhus [of the schismatic sects] "settled a doctrine contrary [to the true faith] Altering the original redaction, they made another. they transposed suttas which belonged in one collection to another place;they destroyed the true meaning and the faith in the vinyaa and in the five collections. Those bhikkus who understood neither what had been taught in long expositons...settled a false meaning in connection with spourious speeches of the Buddha. These bhikkhus destroyed a great deal of meaning under the colour of the letter. Rejecting the other texts- that is to say the Pavara, the six sections of the Abhidhamma, the Patisambhidhida, the niddessa and some portions of the Jataka they composed new ones. They changed their appearance, ..forsaking what was original..."

There is more along the same lines. Thus we see how fragile the Dhamma is - and open to abuse by foolish monks changing and rejecting sections of the Tipitaka at their whim. It is only because of the steadfastness of the Theravada that we have the Dhamma preserved until today.

Robertk



#6 RobertK

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Posted 17 May 2006 - 01:37 PM

This is an old post from Venerable Dhammanando (hope he doesn't mind me reposting so many of his letters
In Pali@yahoogroups.com, Dhammanando Bhikkhu <dhammanando@c...> wrote:

Bhante,

Thank you for your response.
"

 
QUOTE
"That's an important point: the 'victors' are not necessarily the majority, but those on the side of Dhamma-Vinaya. Leaving aside qualms about how this event has been used to justify sectarianism."

 



It might also be a good idea to leave aside this rather loaded word "sectarian," or at least restrict it to the sort of mental attitude conveyed by the words, "My sect is right because it's my sect." The word ceases to be of much value if one simply applies it to anyone who uncompromisingly adheres to what he believes to be sound doctrine and practice, or to a tradition that he believes embodies this.

The Buddha instituted procedures for varying degrees of ostracism and banishment to be applied to monks who were holders of wrong view or indulgers in various sorts of wrong conduct. Although the aim of these was to apply pressure to these monks to mend their ways, inevitably there would be situations where the banished monks were convinced that they were in the right and rather than seeking to be reconciled would instead turn the tables and banish their banishers. Assuming that the original act of banishment was well-founded according to Dhamma and Vinaya, the scrupulous monks' refusal to associate with the banished monks was simply the sangha taking the necessary steps to preserve its integrity. That it might appear to some as "sectarian" or "bigotted" or "sanctimonious" is just too bad.
 

QUOTE
"...it really is an excellent example for us on how to solve disputes in the Sangha, alas, one that is all too rarely followed."

 

 

 

Yes.

 
QUOTE
"Do you mean that the Vajjiputtakas' ten theses are notexplicitly stated in the Mahasa`nghika *paatimokkha*? If so, then this would not be surprising, for most of the ten have to do with how the training rules are interpreted, not with how they are stated, and not all of them even pertain to Paatimokkha rules.

"This is clearly not the case with the money rules, which are
stated quite clearly and explicitly in the Vinaya (and
Sutta)."

 



I did not mean to suggest otherwise. I was drawing a distinction between the Paatimokkha training rules and the Vinaya as a whole. My point was that from bare statements like...

"yo pana bhikkhu vikaale khaadaniiya.m vaa ...."

and...

"yo pana bhikkhu jaataruuparajata.m ugga.nheyya vaa ...."

one cannot draw any particular conclusion about what time is "wrong" for eating, or how wide is the scope of "gold and silver". The solution to these questions needs to be sought elsewhere in the texts. Therefore the fact that the Mahaasanghika version of the Paatimokkha may phrase the relevant rules the same way as the Pali offers no evidence as to what view they took on the ten Vajjiputtaka theses.

For example, a Mahaasanghika might have phrased NP 18 the same as in the Pali, but then glossed "goldand silver" as "large quantities of bullion to be used in land transactions or for the purchase of elephants" (or whatever).

So what I was asking Stephen was whether he was drawing his conclusion merely from the Mahaasanghikas' Paatimokkha or from their Vinaya exegeses.


 
QUOTE
"As per my previous message, contra Stephen, the Mahasanghika Vinaya maintains an identical attitude to the Theravada over money. How far this reflects actual practice is of course a different matter.

"So far, no-one has tried to answer my question: since there are monks and nuns of all schools today who handle money; and other monks and nuns of all schools who do not handle money, should we not regard the ones who do not handle money as the true heirs of the ancient Theriyas, regardless of which school they belong to?"

 



No, not on that account alone.

Proper Vinaya observance is a necessary but not a sufficient condition to make a monk a true heir of the ancient theras.

According to one Chinese pilgrim the monasteries of one of the Puggalavaadin schools (I think it was the Sammitiyas) had the strictest Vinaya observance in the whole of India. Should we on that account consider the Puggalavaadins to have been the "true heirs of the ancient Theriyas" ?

I trust that you will answer no and agree that a monk's view is also of some relevance here. So, there is Vinaya, and there is right view. A third condition, I would suggest, is a Theravaadin upasampadaa, but this is a view based upon the Pali Atthakathaas, so I suppose there is little likelihood of our agreeing on this point.

_________________________

In another post you wrote:

 
QUOTE
"In the rule against using money, (Pali Nissagiya Pacittiya 18) Pachow pg 104 for Mahasanghika Vinaya does not note any relevant difference. He merely notes the Chinese translation 'sheng she shih she' for 'jaataruuparajata'. He also adds 'or has attachment for it', which presumably stands for the Pali 'saadiyeyya'. In other words, apart from translation issues, the rule seems to be identical."

 

 

I have not read the Mahaasanghika recension of the Paatimokkha in any original language, so I'm dependent on Charles Prebish's translation of it (together with the Muulasarvaastivaada version) in his _Buddhist Monastic Discipline_. If his translation is accurate, then it seems to me that its differences from the Pali version are more substantial than you and Dr. Pachow suggest. Overall the impression I get is that the Muulasarvaastivaadins weren't much different to us in their Vinaya, but the Mahaasanghikas come across as a downright sleazy bunch. They remind me of the pigs in Orwell's _Animal Farm_, who kept altering the rules to make life more comfortable for themselves ("No animal shall sleep in a bed ... with sheets."). At first sight their rules don't seem much different to ours, but examine each one closely with alawyer's attention to detail and you will often find that some tiny addition, or subtraction, or just the alteration of a single wordhas changed the training rule entirely, either to make it easier to observe or in some cases almost impossible to transgress.

Let's take a look at three of the examples in your post...

 
QUOTE
"The other rules involving money are NP 19 (trading precious things) and NP 20 (buying and selling), and in both of thes the other schools, including Mahasanghika, add no variations of interest."

 



No variations of interest!? Good gracious, in Prebish's translation of NP 20 the Mahaasanghikas have inserted a loophole as wide as the Mersey Tunnel:

"Whatever monk should undertake activity in various sorts of sales *in gold and silver*, that is a ni.hsargika-paacattika."

The Pali says nothing about gold and silver. If the Mahaasanghika version means using gold and silver as the means of exchange, then it would permit activities like bartering that are prohibited in the Pali. If it means only that a bhikkhu may not sell gold and silver, then it would permit almost everything that is prohibited in the Pali ! If the latter is the case, then just by the insertion of one compound word the Mahaasanghikas have whittled down the obligation to almost nothing.

 
QUOTE
"Nor is NP 10, about how to appoint a kappiya for receiving funds, significantly different."

 



I disagree. In this case too the Mahaasanghikas' phrasing completely undermines the rule. In all recensions of the Vinaya the last part of NP 10 begins in essentially the same way, with the monk asking the sangha steward for a robe up to three times and if that fails then hinting by standing in silence up to six times. The Pali version then continues:

tato ce uttari.m vaayamamaano ta.m ciivara.m
abhinipphaadeyya, nissaggiya.m paacittiya.m

...then, [having stood silently up to six times],
if upon exerting himself further that robe is
obtained [by the monk], it entails expiation with
forfeiture.

So in this version (and in that of the Muulasarvaastivaada) the monk, having stood silently up to six times, is prohibited from making *any further effort* to obtain the robe. But the Mahaasanghika version only prohibits him from *asking* further. There is nothing to stop him from exerting himself by other means, such as the various forms of hinting. The Mahaasanghika monk can carry on pestering the sangha steward till the end of the kalpa and he still won't have broken any rule.
 

QUOTE
"Finally Pacittiya 84, the ratanapaacittiya (about picking up valuable items) is also substantially identical, except the Mula- sarv, evidently by mistake, adds an exception for when in the house of a householder (whereas the exception should be when in a monastery only)."

 



The Mahaasanghika version seems to have a much more serious flaw: it leaves out the word "nikkhipitabba" from the final clause. So, it would appear that if a lady were to mislay her diamond tiara in a Mahaasanghika monastery, a resident monk might pick it up and give it to his mother as a Christmas present without breaking any rule. He is only obliged to pick up the tiara, not to look after it for the owner as a Theravaadin bhikkhu must.

 
QUOTE
in Dhamma

Bhante Sujato

 




in Vinaya (and no small measure of contrarian cussedness!),

Dhammanando



#7 RobertK

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Posted 17 May 2006 - 01:40 PM

Dear Venerable Sujato...,

I gather from what you said here and to Thomas that you feel the Dhammagupta(sp?) Mahayana sect is close enough to Theravada that only ignorant conservative monks would see a distinction? That any bhikkhuni ordained by a quorum of dhammagupta bhikkhus is thus both a Theravada Bhikkhuni and a Dhammagupta bhikkhuni?

However, the Theravada order has always being conservative, and in fact they considered matters of ordination and schism and all offical acts within the sangha extremely important. Well worthy of focusing attention on. Take the case of the Abhayagiri sect (whose beliefs and practcices would be much closer to Theravada than Dhammagupta: in fact Abhayagirai even considered themselves Theravadan) : The Mahavamsa notes (p267 -268)p264 that a King helped to purify the sasana by suppression of a heresy. He seized bhikkhus dwelling in the Abhayagiri.."who had turned to the Vetulya [they followed some of the mahayana beliefs] doctrine and were like a thorn in the doctrine of the Buddha and he excommunciated them." It then notes that the thera sanghamitta (from south India was embittered against the goo bhikkus of the Mahavihara and bidded his time until the good king died and the next one jetthatissa died. Then his time was ripe when the younger brother of Jetthatissa (mahasena ) came to power That the Thera sanghamitta , who dwelt at the Abhayagiri told the king that the Mahavihara teach a wrong doctrine and so the King made a proclamation telling the population that they could not feed any monk from the Mahavihara. "The good monks thus abandoned it.""

These goood monks (or ignorant conservative monks, depending on your outlook) underwent incredible hardship as they people were forbidden to feed them. BUT they were steadfast in refusing to conduct acts of sangha such as reciting the Patimokkha with the Abhayagiri. Eventually things changed and the good monks were again allowed to be fed. Personally I find this example of the conservatism of the ancient Theravada heroic and inspiring. In fact the ancient monks would stand firm no mater how unpopular their stand was. It takes no courage to say 'I support Bhikkhuni ordination' because at this time woman's equality is a prevalent idea, and those who seek to preserve the ancient ways of the Theravada are seen as ignorant conservatives.

Another case:

At the Second Council the Vajjiputtaka reformists(i.e mahayana prototypes) had the backing of the householders of Vesali. When they walked into the town people would praise them for being so friendly and jolly, and for helping the townspeople. But when venerable Yasa and his fellow conservative monks (Theravada monks) walked into Vesali the townsfolk called them uptight fools and threw cowdung at them. Yet, in my opinion, it was the conservative Theravadans who were the heroes who refused to modify the Vinaya despite public sentiment being firmly against them.

RobertK
--- End forwarded message ---

#8 RobertK

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 02:50 PM

Robert T Eddison <robedd@i...>
wrote:

 
QUOTE
At 16:04 3.8.2003, Joyce wrote:

So, my brothers are suggesting that women should not be ordained because men will rape them?

 



No, I was not suggesting that. I think women desiring to live a brahmacari renunciate life should be offere the chance to ordain as 8 or 10 precept nuns. Happily they are offered this opportunity. I believe these existing ordinations are quite adequate for a woman who is seriously intent on dedicating herself to full-time Dhamma practice. More to the point, in Buddhist Asia those women who have taken these ordinations also believe them to be adequate.

Those who have claimed them to be not adequate (e.g. certain of the contributors to the Sakyadhita Journal) are for the most part not nuns but laywomen who wish to devalue them in order to make bhikkhuni revival appear to be a more live and pressing issue than it really is. In doing so I think they do a great disservice, both to the nuns themselves and to the bhikkhusangha who have provided them with the opportunity to ordain and with ongoing material support.

As to the question of whether they should or should not be permitted bhikkhuni ordination, I think this is a matter for the bhikkhusangha to decide. Or more specifically it is a matter for those in the sangha who are vinayadhaaras -- monks respected for their learning and good judgment in matters of Vinaya. In my own posts on this subject I have not ventured an opinion on whether it is possible or not to revive bhikkhuni ordination. As this is not really a layman's concern I have limited myself to simply outlining the difficulties entailed. Having said that, my personal preference is for it to not be revived at the present time. I believe the campaign for such a revival is being promoted by all the wrong people, for all the wrong reasons, and in quite the wrong manner.

Robert also wrote:

"Mixed sex, and yet celibate. Do I really need to say more?"



 
QUOTE
Joyce: Well, there do seem to be practical solutions, such as nunnerys,

 



Quite so. There are practical solutions such as nunneries. If there is a bhikkhuni revival then there may not be a practical solution such as nunneries. The bhikkhuni Vinaya does not in fact allow bhikkhunis to live apart from bhikkhus. I am not just referring to the eight garudhammas. If you read Ven. Thanissaro's recent translation of the bhikkhuni patimokkha you will see that there are no end of rules requiring regular and ongoing contact between the two sanghas, such that they would need to reside in the same location. So if it is independence that women want, bhikkhuni revival is the last thing they should be pushing for. The existing womens' ordinations give them all the independence they could wish for, since there is no formally defined relationship between, say, a Thai mae chee and the Thai bhikkhusangha. Such relations as exist are fluid and negotiable. This would not be the case if the bhikkhunisangha were revived.

"Ah, but we can revive the bhikkhunisangha but cut out all the special discriminatory rules!" (as Stephen never tires of reminding us).

But why bother? If one is not reviving the bhikkhunisangha as the Buddha constituted it, then one is not in fact reviving the bhikkhunisangha at all. One is creating a new type of order. To ordain as a bhikkhuni but not live according to the bhikkhuni Vinaya is to be a bhikkhuni in name only. But no ordination is necessary for a woman to be a bhikkhuni in name only.

Dr. Chatsumarn, for example, could have saved herself a trip to Sri Lanka by just going to a lawyer's office and getting her surname changed from "Kabilsingh" to "Bhikkhuni".

Robert also wrote:

"The main point is that the Buddhist view of gender is not compatible with the modern feminist dogma which sees gender as merely a social construction (i.e. the view "a woman is not born but made"). "



 
QUOTE
J: I'm not clear what "Buddhist View" this is. Evidently it is not the view of Mahayana. This narrows it down somewhat to Theravada. Perhaps Suan and Robert can explain this in the context of Right View, both mundane and supramundane?

 



In speaking of the "Buddhist view of gender" what I was principally referring to were the gender presuppositions that informed the Buddha's decisions about bhikkhu/bhikkhuni relations in the sangha. These presuppositions can easily be inferred by comparing the bhikkhu and bhikkhuni Vinayas. The Mahayana and Theravada traditions do not differ at all in this matter, at least not in their texts (what happens in practice is another matter).

As far as supramundane right view is concerned, the purisindriya and itthindriya (masculinity and femininity faculties) are considered to be two of the twenty something kinds of derived materiality (upaadaya-ruupa) mentioned by name in the Suttas and treated in detail in the Abhidhamma. I am still separated from most of my library and so cannot go into more detail on these at the moment. If anyone has a copy of the Expositor, perhaps they would care to post the relevant passages.


To apply the four great standards to this issue just look for Suttas containing statements of the form "Men are......." and "Women are.......", where the following predicate is of an unqualifiedly general
character. Wherever this is the case we are justified in speaking of a 'nature'.

That the nature in question is not of an absolute character can be seen from such passages as this:

"What should the woman's nature do to them
Whose hearts are firmly set, who ever move
With growing knowledge onward in the Path?"
(from the verses of Somaa)

Best wishes,

Robert



#9 RobertK

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 11:28 PM

From Venerable Dhammanando
Dear Stephen & members,

I have divided your posts into sections with new thread titles, so that I can reply longwindedly without overtaxing the readers.

The problem with Taoism (natural spontaneity), and early American Beat Zen, was that kicking over the rules and conventions ("Hatred of the bourgeois is the beginning of wisdom" Flaubert -- Yes.)

Yes? How is that?

is that it rapidly leads to merely acting out one's defilements, which is not much of an improvement (though an improvement toward liberation it is). The answer lies in just what the Buddha said, keep the major rules and forget the minor stuff.

You have several times mentioned this matter of the minor rules and the Buddha's supposed advocacy (though it was actually no more than permission) for their abolition. It may be worthwhile to look in detail at the relevant passages and at how they are generally understood in the Theravada tradition.

In the Mahaparinibbana Sutta the Buddha tells the venerable Ananda:

QUOTE
"If it so wish, the sangha after my passing may remove the lesser and minor rules of training."


Or so it is commonly translated. But this translation misses something important.

The phrase translated "after my passing" reads mam'accayena in Pali. Accayena is accayo (elapse, decease) in the instrumental case. A more literal translation would be "with (or upon) my passing", meaning closely following it. In other words, it is not a permission extending indefinitely into the future. It follows that "sangha" here means the monks who were alive when the Buddha was alive. These are the ones whom he was trusting to make the right choice.

And so it is generally held in the Theravada that this permission in effect expired from the time when the arahants of Rajagaha resolved not to take advantage of it. To assert the contrary -- that the permission is still valid even today -- would be to assert the possibility of later generations of bhikkhus knowing better than their saintly predecessors who had learned the Dhamma at the Buddha's feet.

There is something else that should be noted in this passage. The Buddha's permission is immediately preceded by the Subhadda episode, where it is clear that many bhikkhus are present, and is followed by further talk addressed to the bhikkhus. So the Sutta quite pointedly informs us that the permission to abolish the lesser and minor rules was conveyed to Ananda alone. I shall come back to this point in a moment.

Now let's move forward to the Council of Rajagaha, as related in the Cullavagga of the Vinaya Pitaka:

QUOTE
Then the venerable Ananda spoke thus to the monks who were theras: "The Blessed One, honoured sirs, spoke thus to me at the time of the parinibbana: 'If the sangha so wishes, following my passing it may remove the lesser and minor rules of training."

"But did you, reverend Ananda, ask the Blessed One, saying: 'But which, Blessed One, are the lesser and minor rules of training ?'"

"No, honoured sirs, I did not."

Some theras spoke thus: "Except for the rules for the four offences involving defeat, the rest are lesser and minor rules of training."

Some theras spoke thus: "Except for the rules for the four offences involving defeat, and the rules for the thirteen offences entailing a formal meeting of the sangha, the rest are lesser and minor rules of training."

Some theras spoke thus: "Except for the rules for the four offences involving defeat, the rules for the thirteen offences entailing a formal meeting of the sangha, and the rules for the two undetermined offences, the rest are lesser and minor rules of training."

Some theras spoke thus: "Except for the rules for the four offences involving defeat, the rules for the thirteen offences entailing a formal meeting of the sangha, the rules for the two undetermined offences, and the rules for the thirty offences of expiation involving forfeiture, the rest are lesser and minor rules of training."

Some theras spoke thus: "Except for the rules for the four offences involving defeat, the rules for the thirteen offences entailing a formal meeting of the sangha, the rules for the two undetermined offences, the rules for the thirty offences of expiation involving forfeiture, and the rules for the ninety-two offences of expiation, the rest are lesser and minor rules of training."

Some theras spoke thus: "Except for the rules for the four offences involving defeat, the rules for the thirteen offences entailing a formal meeting of the sangha, the rules for the two undetermined offences, the rules for the thirty offences of expiation involving forfeiture, the rules for the ninety-two offences of expiation, and the rules for the four offences that must be confessed, the rest are lesser and minor rules of training."

Then the venerable Mahakassapa informed the sangha, saying: "Your reverences, let the sangha listen to me. There are rules of training for us which involve householders, and householders know concerning us: 'This is certainly allowable for the samanas, sons of the Sakyans, but that is certainly not allowable.' If we were to remove the lesser and minor rules of training, there would be those who would say: 'While the Teacher was amongst them these trained themselves in the rules of training, but since the Teacher has attained final nibbana among them, they do not now train themselves in the rules of training.' "

"I propose this motion: If it seems right to the sangha, the sangha should not lay down what has not been laid down, nor should it remove what has been laid down. It should proceed in conformity with and according to the rules of training that have been laid down."

And a second time, the venerable Mahakassapa informed the sangha, saying: "Your reverences, let the sangha listen to me... And a third time, the venerable Mahakassapa informed the sangha, saying: "Your reverences, let the sangha listen to me...

"I propose this motion: If it seems right to the sangha, the sangha shall not lay down what has not been laid down, nor shall it remove what has been laid down. It shall proceed in conformity with and according to the rules of training that have been laid down."
.....

"If the non-laying down of what has not been laid down, and if the non-removal of what has been laid down, and if the proceeding in conformity with and according to the rules of training that have been laid down are agreeable to the venerable ones, let them remain silent; he to whom they are not agreeable let him speak out.

"The sangha remains silent; therefore it is pleasing to the sangha. Thus do I record this."

Then the monks who were theras spoke thus to the venerable Ananda: "This, reverend Ananda, is an offence of wrong-doing for you, in that you did not ask the Blessed One, saying: 'But which, Blessed One, are the lesser and minor rules of training?' Acknowledge that offence of wrong-doing."

"I, honoured sirs, out of unmindfulness, did not ask the Blessed One, saying: 'But which, Blessed One, are the lesser and minor rules of training ?' I do not see that as an offence of wrong-doing, yet even out of faith in the venerable ones I acknowledge that as an offence of wrong-doing."


__________________

The passages above give rise to several problems:

1) First there's the problem raised by King Milinda:

QUOTE
"Venerable Nagasena, it has been said by the Blessed One: "It is by higher knowledge, bhikkhus, that I teach the Dhamma, not without higher knowledge." On the other hand he said of the regulations of the Vinaya: "When I am gone, Ananda, let the sangha, if it should so wish, abolish the lesser and minor rules of training."

"Were then these lesser and minor rules of training wrongly laid down, or established in ignorance and without due cause, that the Blessed One allowed them to be revoked after his death? If the first statement had been true, the second would have been wrong. If the second statement were really made, then the first was false."


Then a few others:

2) In many places it is taught that the conditions for the future longevity of the sangha include "not abolishing rules that have been established", "not appointing new rules", and "seeing danger in even the slightest fault." Why would the Buddha suddenly change his policy and decide that a whole bunch of rules didn't matter any more?

3) If the Buddha thought it desirable to abolish the lesser and minor rules, why didn't he simply abolish them himself?

4) As noted earlier in this post, the Buddha's permission was conveyed only to one monk. Why not to the sangha as a whole (the Buddha's *invariable* practice when announcing a policy decision that concerned all the sangha)?

5) Why did he inform a monk who was only a stream-entrant and so capable of being unmindful (as Ananda later admitted at the Council), when there were so many arahants he could have told?

6) Why did he inform Ananda when the latter was still grief-stricken at the news of the Buddha's impending decease, and so not with his full wits about him?

7) With his abhinna the Buddha could have known that Ananda was unaware of which rules were lesser and minor. Why did he not remind him to ask?

8) With his Tathagata-power of anagatamsanana the Buddha could have foreseen what would happen at the Council of Rajagaha. Why did he take no steps to let everyone know which rules were lesser and minor and so prevent the dispute that arose?

As I see it, there is only one possible solution to these problems: the Buddha did not in fact intend for the lesser and minor rules to be abolished, and so although he gave permission for this, he also orchestrated things to ensure that the permission would not be acted upon. He conveyed the permission to just one monk because if he had told the whole sangha there was a risk that one of the monks would have had the foresight to ask which rules were lesser and minor. He chose Ananda because he knew this monk was still a fallible stream-entrant and was grief-stricken and so liable to be unmindful. He knew that Ananda didn't know which rules were lesser and minor, and was careful not to remind him. He foresaw what would happen at the Council of Rajagaha and took no steps to prevent it because it was precisely what he intended would happen.

And what was the Buddha's motive for all this? Here is the venerable Nagasena's reply to Milinda's question quoted above:

QUOTE
'In both cases, king, the Blessed One said as you have declared. But in the second case it was to test the bhikkhus that he said it, to try whether, if leave were granted them, they would, after his death, revoke the lesser and minor regulations, or still adhere to them. It runs as if a king of kings were to say to his sons:

"This great country, my children, reaches to the sea on every side. It is a hard thing to maintain it with the forces we have at our disposal. So when I am gone you had better, my children, abandon the outlying districts along the border." Now would the princes, king, on the death of their father, give up those outlying districts, provinces already in their power?'

'Indeed not, sir. Kings are greedy! The princes might, in the lust of power, subjugate an extent of country twice or thrice the size of what they had, but they would never give up what they already possessed.'

'Just so was it, king, that the Tathagata to test the bhikkhus said: "When I am gone, Ananda, let the sangha, if it should so wish, abolish all the lesser and minor rules of training." But the sons of the Buddha, king, in their dedication to the Dhamma, and for emancipation from sorrow, might keep two hundred and fifty training rules, but would never give up any one that had been laid down in ordinary course.'

'Venerable Nagasena, when the Blessed One referred to "lesser and minor rules of training," this people might therein be bewildered, and fall into doubt, and find matter for discussion, and be lost in hesitation, as to which were the lesser, and which the minor rules of training.'

'The lesser errors in conduct, king, are the lesser rules of training, and the lesser errors in speech are the minor rules of training: and these two together make up therefore "the lesser and minor rules of training." The leading Elders too of old, king, were in doubt about this matter, and they were not unanimous on the point at the Council held for the fixing of the text of the scriptures. *And the Blessed One foresaw that this problem would arise.'*


___________________________

Another aspect of this, not mentioned by Nagasena but by the commentators, is that the Buddha's strategem served to enhance the reputation of the five hundred bhikkhus of Rajagaha. For generations afterwards people would say, "Though they had the opportunity to abolish the lesser and minor rules of training, so great was their reverence for the Teacher and the training established by him, they elected to abolish nothing at all but to leave the Vinaya wholly pristine and intact."

And the strategem seems to have worked, for here am I, two and a half millenia later, still praising Mahakassapa and the five hundred arahants of Rajagaha for their fidelity to the Teacher and the training established by him!

Best wishes,

Dhammanando

#10 RobertK

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Posted 15 July 2006 - 04:32 AM

From Ven. Dhammanando:[b]

Hi Little Rosa,

QUOTE
QUOTE(little0rosa @ Jun 29 2006, 08:59 PM)
Maechi are not considered a full member of the sangha, so they are not allowed free transportation on buses as the monks are,



They may not officially be allowed free transportation, but in practice the nuns tell me that they only have to pay on the buses if the ticket collector is a Muslim or a Protestant. Buddhist and Roman Catholic ticket collectors like to acquire merit by not charging the nuns. (Ticket collectors on Thai buses are paid on a commission basis, so it's up to them whom they charge and whom they don't).


QUOTE
QUOTE
Donations are not made as frequently to Maechi, because many Thai people believe that giving to a monk is more meritorious than giving to a nun. Because of this, Maechi lack funds for proper education.



Maechiis do not lack funds for a proper education, for all monastic education is free.

It is true that the popular Thai belief that giving to a monk is more meritorious than giving to a nun means that nuns receive proportionately fewer offerings than monks. Chatsumarn Kabilsingh (now "Bhikkhunī" Dhammānandā) never fails to bring this up whenever she goes on her international Buddhist and feminist conference junkets. The way she spins it is that Thai monks get fat and have all the opportunities, while Thai nuns starve and are educationally deprived. What she conveniently omits to mention is that the sheer magnitude of gifts given to monastics as a whole is so great that nuns do not actually suffer any hardship as a result of these disproportions. So it's not that monks get fat while nuns starve; in fact it's the nuns who get fat while monks get even fatter.


QUOTE
QUOTE
Even in places where the nun's are allowed to have full ordination, they are still not neccesarily given equal access to education,



In the case of the Theravada it is interesting to note that Sri Lanka - the country where militant feminists have had the greatest success in badgering misguided members of the bhikkhusaṅgha into making them into (pseudo-)bhikkhunīs - has by far the worst provisions for the education and training of nuns (of whatever kind); whereas Thailand - where there is at present no earthly chance of bhikkhunīs being even recognized, let alone ordained - now has an equal opportunities policy in monastic education, with nuns being eligible to attend all the same courses as monks. Surely the lesson to be learned here is that women will lose out if they insist on putting all their eggs into the one basket of bhikkhunī revival, thereby neglecting those reforms that can realistically be achieved by working with what is.

"A man full of warm, speculative benevolence may wish his society otherwise constituted than he finds it, but a good patriot and a true politician always considers how he shall make the most of the existing materials of his country. A disposition to preserve and an ability to improve, taken together, would be my standard of a statesman. Everything else is vulgar in the conception, perilous in the execution."
(Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France)

Dhammanando Bhikkhu

#11 RobertK

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Posted 23 July 2006 - 08:04 AM

From Venerable Dhammanando

http://www.lioncity....mp;#entry464820
 

QUOTE
It was Maha Pajapati Gotami, the Buddha's step mother and aunt who received this heritage directly from the Buddha. She was praised by the Buddha for being Rattannu (long standing) to start the bhikkhuni lineage.

 





Dhammānandā has it the wrong way round. Rattaññū ("one who has known [many] nights") is a term for a bhikkhu or bhikkhunī disciple of the Buddha who has been ordained for a long time. Since Mahāpajāpati was the first bhikkhunī, when she had attained to some seniority the Buddha gave her the title "foremost of rattaññū bhikkhunīs", in effect making her the female counterpart to Ven. Aññāta Koṇḍañña. He did not have her start the bhikkhunī sangha because she was rattaññū.

 

Bhikkhus and bhikkhunis lasted up to 11th C.AD. both disappeared after the invasion of Turk Muslims who invaded India during that time. With their shaved heads and bright saffron robes they were outstanding targets, hence none of them survived

 

.
This is an absurd oversimplification of the disappearance of the monastic sanghas from India.
 

 
QUOTE
However, if the Tibetan bhikkhu Sangha do not want to follow the Chinese tradition, they can still perform the single Sangha ordination for the women as allowed by the Buddha in the Vinaya, "O, monks, I allow you to give ordination to bhikkhunis." (Vinaya Pitaka, Cullavagga)

 

 

Dhammānandā does not mention that this allowance was laid down at an earlier stage in the evolution of the rules for ordination, and that it was later superceded.
 

 
QUOTE
This will be validated as there are no bhikkhuni sangha in Tibetan tradition before, and to give ordination to bhikkhunis would not be against the allowance of the Buddha.

 

 

 

Dhammānandā's assumption here is that if it is not possible to carry out the ordination according to the definitive form of the procedure given in the Vinaya, then it is permissible to revert to an earlier form. The Vinaya offers no support for this opinion and indeed the adoption of it would lead to insuperable difficulties, as I pointed out in an earlier post in this thread.
 

 
QUOTE
One is reminded also just before the time of the Buddha's Great Passing away, His allowance was "minor rules may be lifted up if the Sangha so wish." (Mahaparinibbana Sutta, Sutta Pitaka)

 

 

 

This would be irrelevant if we follow the standard Theravadin exegesis of this passage, also covered earlier in this thread.
 

QUOTE
These are the two possible alternatives for the Tibetan Sangha if they want to establish the bhikkhuni sangha as established by the Buddha. It is their responsibility to fulfill what is lacking as an expression of respect to the Buddha.

It is their responsibility to comport themselves to the Vinaya as an expression of their respect to the Buddha who promulgated it. If the Vinaya doesn't let them re-establish the bhikkhunī sangha, then it doesn't let them.
 

 
QUOTE
Considering positive changes in Cambodia, the ordination of women is possible in the future.
The positive changes in Cambodia have no bearing on the question of whether a lawful bhikkhunī ordination is possible.

 



In 433 A.D.(2) a group of Sri Lanka bhikkhunis went to China, headed by the chief bhikkhuni whose name was Devasara. They gave ordination to 300 women at the Southern Forest in Nanking. This formed the nucleus of the following bhikkhuni sangha in China and later on Korea. The record of outstanding Chinese bhikkhunis(2) can be seen in their biography written by a Chinese monk, Bhikshu Pao Chang a scholar who recorded biography of 65 leading Chinese bhikkhunis who lived between 326 A.D.-457 A.D. While the Chinese lineage of bhikkhunis exist up to present, their strong hold is now in Taiwan where bhikkhunis out number bhikkhus. The revival of Buddhism in this country has been mostly the work of bhikkhunis.


Dhammānandā has omitted some details - vital details, for they have a bearing on why the Dharmaguptaka bhikkhunī lineage is considered dubious by vinayadharas in the Theravada tradition (and also, I believe by those in the Mulasarvastivada tradition of Tibet).

The original transmission (or rather, alleged transmission) of the bhikkhunī ordination to China in fact took place in 357 CE. This alleged transmission was carried out by bhikkhus alone and was therefore invalid by Theravadin criteria. It led, however, to a century-long tradition of Chinese bhikkhunī ordinations being given by bhikkhus alone. Moving forward to 433 CE, of the 300 women ordained in this year some had not done the two years' training as a sikkhamāna, while others had already been living as bhikkhunīs beforehand, having received ordination from the bhikkhu sangha alone. Therefore, by Theravadin criteria their ordinations failed on the grounds of "defect in the material to be ordained" (vatthu-vipatti). Those women who had never been sikkhamānas were ineligible to be ordained until they had fulfilled this preliminary training. Those women who had already been one-sidedly ordained were living in communion by theft and were therefore banned for life from receiving a genuine bhikkhunī ordination. Therefore Dharmaguptaka nuns are not bhikkhunīs by Theravadin criteria. Moreover, this judgment is not unique to the Theravada, for even within the Dharmaguptaka tradition the validity of Dharmaguptaka bhikkhunī ordinations has been challenged, notably by the Taiwanese Vinaya master Ven. Dao-hai. Dao-hai has argued that at several points in Chinese history the bhikkhunī paramparā was irreparably broken (see his Discussion of Bhikṣuṇī Ordination and its Lineage in China, Based on Scriptures of Chinese Vinaya and Historical facts, p. 18-19, Dharamsala 1998).

The second batch of bhikkhuni ordination came in 1996 with the Korean bhikkhu sangha organizing it in Sarnath. There were 10 silmatas who received full ordination. However there were some loopholes, like one of the leading candidates did not spend 2 years as a sikkhamana before taking the full ordination, and that the ordination was not given with the proper dual platform ordination.
To carry out formal transactions of the sangha in such an irregular manner is not a "loophole"; it is a violation of Vinaya and a defect that invalidates the ordination.
 

 
QUOTE
That is first by the bhikkhuni sangha and later by the bhikkhu sangha. The event was VDO taped, and names of bhikkhus and bhikkhunis were given. It was clear that on the bhikkhuni side there were only 3 of them, not sufficient as a sangha (minimum five is required.) However, the ordination of bhikkhuni became known to the larger public in Sri Lanka for the first time, accepting or not accepting.

 

 

If the necessary quorum was missing then the ordination failed through "defect in the assembly" (parisā vipatti). This defect would not be rectified by the fact that the event was videotaped, nor by the Sri Lankan public getting to watch it on TV or whatever (why does Dhammānandā even waste the reader's time with such irrelevancies?).

 

QUOTE
The third batch, and most effective happened in 1998 when the educated and liberal senior monks in Sri Lanka helped screen 20 most capable silmatas in the island who were ready and applied for full ordination. They were sent to Bodh Gaya for full ordination with at least 10 most senior monks from Sri Lanka as their teachers and mentors. Among these Maha Theras(4), the names of some of them will be internationally well known, i.e. Ven.G. Gunaratna Maha Thera (based in Virginia), Ven.Somalankara, Ven.Sumangalo Maha Thero (now Maha Nayaka).

 

 

What is "most effective" supposed to mean? The validity or invalidity of ordinations is not something that comes in degrees.
 

 
QUOTE
Fo Guang Shan was the main sponsor and organizer of the event. But they have researched well in advance and tried their best to make their effort most acceptable. They had invited all the major leading Theravada monks to participate as witnessing acharyas.

 

 

That is not so. In fact they invited any Theravada monks whom they thought they might cajole (with sweet words and offers of cash) into going along with it. They even tried to invite me, and I'm certainly not "a major leading Theravada monk". Curiously, there wasn't a single vinayadhara, or even a noted Vinaya scholar, among the monks who finally showed up.

QUOTE

This is the nucleus of the existing Theravada bhikkhuni sangha in Sri lanka now. Since 1998 Ven.Sumangalo Maha Thera has been organizing annually ordination for bhikkhunis at his Syamvamsa chapter in Dambulla. Out of the 20 newly ordained bhikkhunis, 2 most senior and capable bhikkhunis who had at least 42 years standing as silmatas before their upasampada (bhikkhuni ordination) were chosen and appointed by the sangha to become the upajjhaya (preceptor) on the bhikkhuni side.

 


Newly ordained as bhikkhunīs and now instant upajjhayas as well? Even Mahāpajāpati didn't progress that fast.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu



#12 Richard

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Posted 23 July 2006 - 04:41 PM

I am not sure I quite understand why there is such a fuss over this topic. Is it for the Bhikkuni title alone? I'm not saying that there aren't many women who would deserve it, but if the rules prohibit that from happening ...

It certainly can't be for enlightenment. Even we laypeople can reach Nibbana as readily as monastics and nuns, albeit they have much more time and training to focus on the goal.

I know its simplistic, however ... the situation reminds me of being on the soccer team as a teenager. I desperately wanted to be Captain, but could not due to others having seniority. I was angry and confused. Yet I participated as much as anyone. The games won were mine also. As were the games lost. Titles did not matter. The end was the same.

I just feel that this entire argument (not just here but on other venues also) merely distracts from what is real. The here and now. Is it a waste of time to debate rules changes? Not necessarily, as long as expectations and emotions are kept to a minimum. Is it a waste of time to devote one's time to working within the rules as they are? Never. Even in disagreement, shouldn't the rules be followed? Of course.

It almost seems that in obsessing about one tree, we may lose the forest completely. blink.gif Wow ... that was a bad metaphor.

And can I express how wonderful it is to have a place like this to discuss these things rationally and not having it all turn into a vicious contest?

Richard


#13 RobertK

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Posted 24 July 2006 - 01:33 PM

QUOTE
And can I express how wonderful it is to have a place like this to discuss these things rationally and not having it all turn into a vicious contest?

Richard

Thanks Richard!
I guess we will have a few squabbles now and then, but as this forum is promoted mainly to tradtional Theravadans , not so many.
Robert


#14 Bhikkhu Pesala

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Posted 30 August 2006 - 06:52 PM

QUOTE
Those women who had already been one-sidedly ordained were living in communion by theft and were therefore banned for life from receiving a genuine bhikkhunī ordination

I disagree with this statement.

Living in communion by theft means that one does not seek ordination, but just puts on the robes oneself and pretends to be a bhikkhu/bhikkhunī. Those bhikkhus/bhikkhunīs whose ordination is not legally valid, are not genuine bhikkhus/bhikkhunīs according to Vinaya, but they are not living in communion by theft. They are still honest lay followers. The error was not made by them, but by their preceptor, who should have known better. If they can find a legally valid quorum, then they can be ordained legally. Their seniority would begin from the time of their legally valid ordination. However, in the case of Theravāda Bhikkhunīs, it is no longer possible to find a legally valid quorum of bhikkhunīs, as there are nun left.

#15 RobertK

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Posted 25 July 2007 - 06:23 AM

http://www.metta.lk/...aka/4Anguttara-
Nikaya/Anguttara5/8-atthakanipata/006-gotamivaggo-e.htm
A trainee bhikkhuni should spend two rains observing the six
precepts and be accomplished for the higher ordination, in the
presence of both Communities, bhikkhus and bhikkhunis. This rule
should be honoured, revered, esteemed and should not be thrown out
until life lasts.
QUOTE
http://www.metta.lk/...aka/4Anguttara-
Nikaya/Anguttara5/8-atthakanipata/006-gotamivaggo-e.htm
A trainee bhikkhuni should spend two rains observing the six
precepts and be accomplished for the higher ordination, in the
presence of both Communities, bhikkhus and bhikkhunis. This rule
should be honoured, revered, esteemed and should not be thrown out
until life lasts.



#16 RobertK

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Posted 25 July 2007 - 06:29 AM

From Venerable Dhammanando


QUOTE
QUOTE(Anicca @ Jul 6 2006, 10:24 AM)
Maybe the Thai Bhikkhuni movement should just refer to the Bhikkhunis as Dharmaguptaka Bhikkhuni as, as you state, that is what they really are by ordination lineage.



No doubt that would serve to reduce the indignation of its critics; it wouldn't alter the fact that a Hong Kong or Taiwanese Dharmaguptaka ordination would be a greatly inferior choice if it is the Theravāda Dhamma that a Thai woman (or any woman) wishes to study and practise. In effect she would be cutting herself off from the domestic resources of education and meditation instruction that would have been available to her as a mae chii. And in return for what? If she does what a bhikkhunī should do and trains with her preceptor for the minimum of five years then she will just be learning Mahāyānism. On the other hand, if she does what most of these Hong Kong-manufactured instant nuns do, which is to get ordained and then fly back home, what will she have learned? Nothing.

[

My sympathies, therefore, lie with reformist monks like Phra Prayut Payutto and not with [snip] the bhikkhunī revivalists. Over the past two decades the reformists' quiet and patient efforts to open up the monastic schools to mae chiis and promote state-funding for them have benefited thousands. By contrast, the Thai bhikkhunī revivalists have done very little at all [snip].


QUOTE
QUOTE
Like the 'Mahāyāna' Bhikkhuni, who are also of the Dharmaguptaka lineage, they can be considered to be following the Theravāda Philosophical teachings. We must distinguish between lineage and philosophical system, there is a difference.



There is no "must" about it. It would be more accurate to say that Mahāyāna vinayadharas are inclined to make the distinction you refer to, while Theravādin ones are not. The distinction is perfectly logical in a Mahāyāna context, for the Indian Mahāyāna was not a single nikāya but a movement that spanned several nikāyas. But the Theravāda wasn't and so for our vinayadharas there is no easy separation of a bhikkhu's Vinaya lineage from the doctrinal tenets that he espouses; the two things are seen as ineluctably bound up with each other. There have over the years been attempts to foist the Mahāyānins' view upon us, (starting with Sangharakshita in the 1940's and now most recently Sujāto and his pals), but among the mainstream of the Theravāda sangha there are very few takers. Among our best Vinaya scholars there are no takers at all.


QUOTE
QUOTE
"There are actually no Mahāyāna Bhikkhu or Bhikkhuni, all ordain according to a non-Mahāyāna vinaya, either Dharmaguptaka or Mulasarvastivada."



Again this is Mahāyānin thinking. From the Mahāvihāra point of view there are actually just two Vinaya lineages: Theravādin and all the rest. The non-Theravādin Vinaya lineages are just collectively classed as "schismatical" (bhinnavādin). For Vinaya purposes it doesn't matter to a Theravādin whether a non-Theravādin bhikkhu got his ordination from the Dharmaguptakas or the Mūlasarvāstivādins, for one schismatical lineage is as bad as another. If distinctions need to be made then our commentators and chroniclers distinguish them solely on the basis of the doctrinal tenets they espouse. And so from the Theravādin point of view there are Mahāyāna bhikkhus.

QUOTE

QUOTE
If the 8 and 10 precept ordinations have gained general acceptance, do you think the Dharmaguptaka Bhikkhuni's will gradually gain acceptance in Thailand also?



I suppose they will if there are any. But to judge from present trends that does seem a rather big if. I mean it only costs peanuts to fly from Thailand to Hong Kong or Taiwan, but I haven't noticed any mad stampede of Thai women flying out to those countries to become bhikkhunīs. To date I believe there have been just two in fifty years.


QUOTE
QUOTE
And, one question, do you know if the 'Dharmaguptaka Theravada' Bhikkhuni chant their pattimokha in Pali, or in Chinese? If Pali, is this a translation of the Chinese, or are they chanitng the Theravada version?



In those Chinese monasteries where the monks actually bother to observe the Uposatha, they will listen to the Dharmaguptaka prātimokṣa recited in Chinese.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu

#17 RobertK

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 08:03 AM

Something I saw from thanissaro
November 13, 2009


Dear Venerable,





You sent me a copy of the transaction statements used at the recent bhikkhunī ordination ceremony in Australia and asked for my opinion as to their validity. After looking them over and rereading the relevant passages in the Canon and commentaries, I would like to focus on one aspect of the statements: the use of a form in which two candidates are mentioned in a single proclamation. This is a detailed technical point, and the discussion will have to be long, so please bear with me.





First, to establish context: A striking feature of the Canon’s rules for the bhikkhunīs, when compared with its rules for the bhikkhus, is how sketchy they are. Many procedures are mentioned without a detailed explanation of how they should be done; the Vibhaṅgas, or explanations of the Bhikkhunī Pāṭimokkha rules, omit many discussions that would be par for the course in the Vibhaṅgas for the Bhikkhu Pāṭimokkha rules; the Pāṭimokkha rules that the bhikkhunīs have in common with the bhikkhus are not listed in the Canon; and the narratives surrounding the stage-by- stage development of specific procedures contain large gaps. Thus the traditional approach in filling in these blanks has been to apply the Great Standards (mahāpadesa) given in Mahāvagga VI:




“Bhikkhus, whatever I have not objected to, saying, ‘This is not allowable,’ if it conforms with what is not allowable, if it goes against what is allowable, that is not allowable for you.

“Whatever I have not objected to, saying, ‘This is not allowable,’ if it conforms with what is allowable, if it goes against what is not allowable, that is allowable for you.

“And whatever I have not permitted, saying, ‘This is allowable,’ if it conforms with what is not allowable, if it goes against what is allowable, that is not allowable for you.

“And whatever I have not permitted, saying, ‘This is allowable,’ if it conforms with what is allowable, if it goes against what is not allowable, that is allowable for you.”—Mv.VI.40.1





To apply these standards in this area means that if the bhikkhunīs are required or allowed to follow a certain procedure that is not explained in their rules, the procedure can be adapted from a corresponding procedure in the bhikkhus’ rules. In some cases, very little adaptation is required. For example, bhikkhunīs are allowed to impose disciplinary transactions on any of their misbehaving members, but nowhere are the transactions or their requirements described as applied to bhikkhunīs. The traditional solution to this problem has been to take the relevant procedures from the bhikkhus’ rules and simply change the genders in the transaction statements.




Other adaptations, however, are more complex. The fifth garudhamma, for example, requires that a bhikkhunī who has broken any of the eight garudhammas must observe a half-month penance in both the Bhikkhunī Saṅgha and the Bhikkhu Saṅgha. Only one fragment of this procedure is recorded in the bhikkhunī rules: at Cv.X.25.3, treating a problem that would come up in a bhikkhunī’s penance but not a bhikkhu’s. The Commentary’s solution—in its comments on Cullavagga III (pp. 271ff. in volume three of the Thai edition)—is to adapt the procedures from a bhikkhu’s penance for a saṅghādisesa offense. This involves adding steps dealing with the particular problems that would come up for all concerned given that the bhikkhunī has to observe her penance in two Saṅghas instead of just one, and subtracting regulations rendered inoperable by the fact that a bhikkhunī’s penance, unlike a bhikkhu’s, is always for half a month, regardless of whether she conceals the offense.




So it’s a standard feature, when discussing the bhikkhunī rules, to make heavy use of the Great Standards. This is not an ideal situation, for there are times when it is hard to find an exact correspondence between a rule for the bhikkhunīs and the nearest similar rule for bhikkhus. But it’s the situation we’re in.





Now for the specific considerations surrounding the transaction statements in question:





1) In some cases, a Community can perform a Community transaction with two or three people as the objects.





2) Mv.I.74.3 places a special condition on applying this principle to the Acceptance (full ordination) of bhikkhus: “I allow a single proclamation to be made for two or three if they have the same preceptor, but not if they have different preceptors.”





3) There is no corresponding allowance for bhikkhunī ordination.





4) It might be argued on the basis of the Great Standards that an allowance similar to Mv.I.74.3 could be assumed for bhikkhunī ordination. However, there is an important difference between the rules surrounding bhikkhus’ preceptors (upajjhāya) and the bhikkhunīs’ sponsors (pavattanī): Rules 82 and 83 in the Bhikkhunī pācittiyas state:




Bhī Pc 82. Should any bhikkhunī sponsor [Acceptances—act as a preceptor] in consecutive years, it is to be confessed.




Bhī Pc 83. Should any bhikkhunī sponsor [Acceptances—act as a preceptor for] two [candidates] in one year, it is to be confessed.





There are no corresponding rules for bhikkhus. The origin stories for these rules indicate that they were formulated at a time when there weren’t enough residences for bhikkhunīs, but the Vibhaṅgas to the rules do not relax them when residences are plentiful. Thus they are intended to be always in force. And for good reason: They have the practical effect of protecting aspiring bhikkhunīs and the Bhikkhunī Saṅgha as a whole. Unlike bhikkhus, whose dependency on their mentors must last at least five years, a bhikkhunī’s dependence on her sponsor lasts only two. Thus these rules ensure that, in that reduced time period, she has the full attention of her sponsor in receiving her training. Once her dependency is over, the Bhikkhunī Saṅgha will find her easier to live with because she has been thoroughly trained.





5) However, Bhī Pc 82 and Bhī Pc 83 have an important role in shaping the proper Acceptance procedure for bhikkhunīs. Unlike an upajjhāya, who may take on up to three candidates in a single proclamation, a pavattanī may take on only one. Otherwise she would be breaking Bhī Pc 83. Thus the Great Standards cannot be used to extend to bhikkhunīs the allowance given to bhikkhus in Mv.I.74.3. A single transaction statement giving Acceptance to two or three bhikkhunī candidates with a single sponsor would intrinsically involve a pācittiya offense for the sponsor, and—according to the Vibhaṅga to Pc 83—dukkaṭa offenses for all the other bhikkhunīs participating in the transaction. This sort of transaction statement, because it intrinsically entails the breaking of a rule, would thus be totally unauthorized. In the words of Mv.X.3.2, it would be “apart from the Vinaya… apart from the Teacher’s instruction.” As Mv.X.3.2 further states, any transaction of this sort is “not a transaction and should not be carried out.”





6) It bears noting that there are no examples of transaction statements authorized in the Canon where the sheer form of the statement would intrinsically entail the breaking of a rule.





7) Generally, whatever a “transaction that is not a transaction” claimed to accomplish would automatically not count as accomplished. For example, if a bhikkhunī were censured by her fellow bhikkhunīs through such a transaction, she would not actually count as censured and would not have to undergo the penalties attendant on that transaction. Applied to Acceptance, this would mean that the candidates accepted through such a transaction would not count as genuine bhikkhus or bhikkhunīs.





8) However, the Canon does contain one possible instance in which an unauthorized form of a transaction statement might be used for an Acceptance transaction and yet the candidate would count as validly accepted. I say “possible” and “might” because the Canon does not explicitly make this point, and we have to look into the commentarial literature to see if this is actually true. Because this would be the only possible parallel for validating the Acceptance of two or three bhikkhunī candidates using a single transaction statement, it is worth taking a look.

Mahāvagga I, in its discussion of bhikkhu ordination, contains a long list of people who should be not be given the Going-forth and/or Acceptance into the Bhikkhu Saṅgha. Mv.IX.4.11 classifies many of these people into two sorts: those who, even though they are given full Acceptance, do not count as validly accepted; and those who, if given full Acceptance, count as validly accepted even though the bhikkhus who accept them incur dukkaṭas. Not all of the cases mentioned in Mv.I are classified by Mv.IX.4.11, and among those that aren’t classified is the case that most resembles the question at hand—the resemblance lying in the fact that it might entail an unauthorized form of a transaction statement, and yet the candidate would count as accepted. This is the case, mentioned in Mv.I.69.1, of a candidate given Acceptance without a preceptor. (Mv.I.69.2-3 mentions two similar cases—a candidate given Acceptance with the Community or a group as his preceptor; Mv.I.70.1-3 mentions cases in which a candidate without a bowl or robe is given Acceptance. All of these could potentially entail an unauthorized form of a transaction statement, but the commentaries treat them all in the same way that they treat Mv.I.69.1, so for convenience’s sake I will focus attention solely on Mv.I.69.1.)

The Commentary (page 100 in volume three of the Thai edition) classifies a candidate given Acceptance without a preceptor as one who, if given full Acceptance, still counts as validly accepted. It notes, without explanation, that there are some teachers who would not agree with this verdict, but then adds—again, without explanation—that the opinion of those teachers should not be held to. For the sake of the issue at hand, we will assume that the Commentary is correct on this point.

In defining what is meant by “one without a preceptor,” the Commentary states: “Upajjhaṁ agāhāpetva sabbena sabbaṁ upajjhāyavirahitaṁ: One who, without having been made to take on the state of having a preceptor, is entirely and in every way devoid of a preceptor.” This definition raises several questions. First, the meaning of “entirely and in every way devoid of a preceptor” could mean at least two different things here. (a) On the one hand, it might simply have been a way of contrasting this case with the ones following it in Mv.I.69, which deal with preceptors who are invalid for various reasons. With this sense, it might simply mean that the candidate has not taken a preceptor—in the standard procedure preliminary to the Acceptance transaction—but that a preceptor is nevertheless mentioned in the actual transaction statement. Or (cool.gif it might mean not only that the candidate has not taken a preceptor, but also that no preceptor is mentioned in the transaction statement at all—the emphasis on sabbena sabbaṁ would certainly give this impression. Because an Acceptance transaction that does not mention the preceptor would break with the authorized pattern (see Mv.I.28.4-6 and Mv.I.76.9-12), this latter meaning—if it is indeed what the Commentary intended—would grant an exemption from following the authorized form. If this were the case, it would be the only known instance where an unauthorized form did not invalidate a Community transaction. This is why it is of particular interest to our discussion.





9) It turns out, however, that there is another passage in the Commentary that rules out possibility (cool.gif. This is the Commentary to Parivāra XIX.1.3 (pp. 611-612 in volume three of the Thai edition). The passage it is commenting on lists five ways in which a transaction statement is rendered invalid, thus invalidating the transaction as a whole: if it doesn’t touch on the matter, doesn’t touch on the Saṅgha, doesn’t touch on the individual, doesn’t touch on the motion, or if it later sets aside the motion. The Commentary, in explaining the phrase, “doesn’t touch on the individual,” gives as an example a case of an Acceptance transaction where the preceptor is not mentioned: “’Suṇātu me bhante Saṅgho. Ayaṁ Dhammarakkhito āyasmato Buddharakkhitassāti’ vattabbe ‘Suṇātu me bhante Saṅgho. Ayaṁ Dhammarakkhito upasampadāpekkhoti’ vadanto puggalaṁ na parāmasati nāma: He doesn’t touch on the individual means saying ‘May the Saṅgha listen to me, venerable sirs. This Dhammarakkhita is a candidate for Acceptance,’ when ‘May the Saṅgha listen to me, venerable sirs. This Dhammarakkhita is Ven. Buddharakkhita’s [candidate for Acceptance]’ should be said.” A statement of this sort would thus invalidate the transaction.

The author of the Sub-commentary (Sāratthadīpanī), in expanding on the Commentary to Mv.I.69, saw the potential contradiction between the two passages in the Commentary and so resolved it in the following way (pp.195-196 in volume four of the Thai edition).

First he explained the Commentary’s definition of “without a preceptor”— “Upajjhayaṁ aggāhāpetvāti [sic]: Upajjhāyo me bhante hohīti evaṁ upajjhaṁ aggāhāpetvā: ‘Without having been made to take on the state of having a preceptor’ [means] without having been made to take on the state of having a preceptor thus: ‘May you be my preceptor [this is a reference to the familiar preliminary procedure in the Acceptance ceremony].’”

Then he made the following observation: “Kammavācāya pana upajjhākittanaṁ kataṁyevāti daṭṭhabbaṁ. Aññathā puggalaṁ na parāmasatīti. Vutta-kamma-vipatti- sambhavato kammaṁ kuppeya. Teneva upajjhāyaṁ akittetvāti avatvā upajjhaṁ aggāhāpetvā icceva vuttaṁ: It is to be seen that, ‘in the transaction statement, the mentioning of the preceptor is absolutely [i.e., must be] done’ [I have not been able to trace this quotation]. Otherwise, ‘the individual is not touched on’ [this is a quotation from Pv.XIX.1.3]. Because of the condition of the invalidity of the spoken action, the transaction would be overturned. Therefore, without having said, ‘without having mentioned the preceptor’ it was simply said, ‘without having been made to take on the state of having a preceptor.’”

This sort of laconic, convoluted style is typical of the Sub-commentary. What it means is this: The Commentary’s statement, saying that the state of not having a preceptor would not automatically invalidate the transaction, applies only in cases where the Community has skipped the preliminary step of getting the candidate to formally request a preceptor but then proceeds to mention a preceptor in the transaction statements. It would not apply in the case where the transaction statement mentioned no preceptor at all, for that lack would yield an unallowable form of the transaction statement that would automatically invalidate the transaction as a whole.





10) Thus the Parivāra, Commentary, and Sub-commentary all insist on the need to preserve the form of the transaction statement, not granting validity to unauthorized forms in any situation, regardless of other exemptions. In other words, they recognize no exception to the principle stated in Mv.X.3.2, that any transaction “apart from the Vinaya… apart from the Teacher’s instruction is not a transaction.” This point would hold especially in cases where the form intrinsically entailed the breaking of a rule.

Following this standard, a bhikkhunī ordination in which the transaction statements mentioned more than one candidate per statement would not be considered valid, and the candidates would not count as accepted.





11) One possible objection to this argument is that it relies heavily on the Parivāra and commentaries, which are not universally recognized as authoritative. However, if we were to argue strictly from the Sutta Vibhaṅga and the Khandakas—the most authoritative texts in the canonical Vinaya—we would come to the same conclusion:





a) Bhī Pc 83 does not allow a bhikkhunī to act as a sponsor for more than one candidate for ordination in a year. This rule is in force regardless of the number of residences available for bhikkhunīs.

cool.gif There are no examples of transaction statements authorized in the Canon where the sheer form of the statement would intrinsically entail the breaking of a rule

c) Thus the allowance at Mv.I.74.3—allowing a single proclamation to mention two or three candidates for bhikkhu ordination—cannot be extended to bhikkhunīs, for such a statement would intrinsically be “apart from the Vinaya… apart from the Teacher’s instruction.”

d) As Mv.X.3.2 states, any transaction using this sort of statement would be “not a transaction.”

e) There are no cases where the Canon explicitly states that an unauthorized form of a transaction statement might be used for an Acceptance transaction and yet the candidate would count as validly accepted. In other words, there are no exemptions for the ruling at Mv.X.3.2.

f) Thus a bhikkhunī ordination in which the transaction statements mentioned more than one candidate per statement would not be considered valid, and the candidates would not count as bhikkhunīs.





Of course, not everyone takes even the most authoritative Vinaya texts in the Canon as totally authoritative, but there are those who do. Any Community that wanted its transactions to receive universal recognition from other Communities would be well advised to give these points serious consideration and stick strictly to the authorized forms.





12) Another possible objection is that this concern with form is narrow and heartlessly legalistic. We have to remember, though, how the Buddha instituted the Saṅgha. He created no overarching organization to administer or police the survival of his Dhamma and Vinaya. Instead, he established rules, protocols, and other patterns of behavior, entrusting each local Community with the task of governing itself in line with those forms. The act of adhering to the authorized forms for Community transactions is one of the few ways we have of showing to ourselves and others that we are deserving of the Buddha’s trust.

This is why the Canon is so insistent that the forms be followed accurately. Mv.IX.3.4, for instance, defines a non-dhamma transaction as various combinations of motions and proclamations, the two parts of a transaction statement, in which motions are confused with proclamations, or a deficient number of proclamations are made. It then goes on to declare all these transactions as “reversible and unfit to stand.” This pattern holds even though the statements are otherwise allowable. If an otherwise allowable transaction is invalidated simply by confusing motions with proclamations, or by leaving out a proclamation, why would an unallowable form of a transaction statement be fit to stand?

Admittedly, the fact that a group follows the authorized forms when conducting Community transactions may provide only a minimal guarantee of its trustworthiness, but it is at least an outward sign that the members of the Community know something of the Buddha’s teachings, respect what they know, and are behaving in good faith. If a Community were to deviate from the authorized forms, that fact would immediately call their knowledge and motives—their fitness to carry on the Dhamma and Vinaya—into question. This is why the forms are so important for mutual respect, harmony, and trust—all qualities of the heart—in the Community at large.

Concerning the issues of ordaining and training bhikkhunīs, there are many other points that have to be considered, but this was all you requested, so I’ll ask to stop here.





With best wishes,

Thanissaro Bhikkhu

#18 RobertK

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Posted 27 November 2009 - 09:39 AM

http://www.dhammalig...hu_13-11-09.htm
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