Although historically marginalized, Buddhist nuns are taking their place in modern Buddhism. Like the monks, Buddhist nuns live by an ancient system of monastic law, the Vinaya. This work investigates various areas of uncertainty and controversy in how the Vinaya is to be understood and applied today.
It’s time. We need a new paradigm. For 2500 years Buddhism has been constantly changing, adapting, evolving; yet the myths of the schools insist that the Dhamma remains the same.
While discussion on women’s role in the Sangha proceeds, those who most need to take part in the discussion – the monks – are conspicuously absent. The issue is not so much a dialogue as a call to the darkness, for a sympathetic hearing that is just not there.
Paper presented at the discussion panel with HH Dalai Lama on the final day of the First International Congress on Buddhist Women’s Role in the Sangha.
In preparation for the 2007 Congress on Buddhist Women’s Role in the Sangha, the Committee of Western Bhikkhunis asked for a historical presentation from a Theravāda point of view. I prepared the following to show that, while bhikkhunis are absent from the mainstream Theravādin institutions, they are very much present in the texts and history.
Through careful attention to the earliest Buddhist teachings, preserved in scriptures in Pali, Chinese, Tibetan, and Sanskrit, we can not only come closer to the Buddha’s original message, but can discern the teachings shared among all Buddhist traditions.