as i mentioned i was invited to go to a Dhammatalk in a big monastery yesterday evening. To be honest i forgot the name of the monastery but it was big, with new construction in old style. many monks were staying in tents under trees partaking the parivara.
We arrived half an houre before the Dhammatalk started. The abbot, an old, seriouse looking monk, was waiting for us. Actually for ajahn Kasem, who was giving the talk. He has an american passport and has to apply for visas in Thailand and he speaks a good english.
After exchanging the greetings i went to toilet. When i came back i felt that our host was angry somehow. As soon as i was sitting again, he asked me why i wear brown robes.
“Because i live in a forest monastery and get dirty very fast when working and being around. Ajahn Tong allowed me to wear brown.” “you could wear brown while working and change into white afterwards. You look like a monk. People think you are a Bhikkhuni, but there are no Bhikkhunis in this world, they died out thousend years ago.” His voice had a shrill, slightly histeric sound now. But he cought himself quickly. “High monks are disscussing what to do with all the women who want to ordain as Bhikkunis. But there is no solution. Bhikkhunis do not exist anymore.” “In Sri Lanks, in Vietnam, in Japan and Korea they ...” I could not finish the sentence, he interrupted with hatred in his voice. “Naaah! They are not real. Pah! They ...” then he catched himself again. People don't understand why you wear brown. In thai socyety nuns wear white. Then everybody know it's a nun. We have rules and they say monks this color,”he took a part of his robe and lifted it that i can see it better, “nuns wear white. Otherwise we can not control it.”
During his sermon i remaind smiling friendly, watching him with a calm interest into his eyes, letting his words drip like small drops of water into a fire and saying hearing, hearing. Ajahn Kasem watched us both and at a point gaced at me like “say something”.
“There is another reason why i wear white”, i said, “when i was ordained i clearly heard the words 'you are now one how has gone forth', according to the vinaya one how has gone forth should wear brown in any tone. white is the color for laypeople, for hoseholders, hence i can not wear it, i am not a householder anymore. I don't want to make it a big political statement, usually i stay in the forestmonastery with lumpoh and the dog and they don't care of colors, the people who give me almsfood when i go on pindabat support me because what i'm and not because of what i wear.” Before he could say something it was time for Ajahn Kasem 's talk.
I was brought to a sitting place by elder women who talked loud while we were reaching the place, with the effect that everybody, most of all of the 100 monks and all laypeople turned around to watch me taking my seat on the mat on the floor. Somebody whisperd “Bhiksuni”. We then did a chanting and the talk started. I sat in straight meditation position and started to meditate with the determination not to move at all as long as the talk lasts. After some mosquito bites i could go to cessation and did not move until the chanting and bowing at the end of the talk begun. While everybody was leaving the place two monks came and took pictures of me without asking.
When we were about to leave, the woman who sat at my side was speaking with the abbot waiting at our car. When i came she asked if i am a bhikkhuni. He turned his back on me and explained that i'm not in a harsh way while he used the word “yome”. The woman defended me, saying that I was meditating so strong without moving while mosquitoses bite me, she never saw that before. Then she said something i didn't understand. The abbot turned around and said: “You see, they think you are Bhikkuni” but she said you were meditating so strong. “Yes”, I said, “i do practice a lot.” He repeated his argument that Bhikkhunis died out and that it is tradition that nuns wear white. “i understand your arguments” i said, not releaving the words – 'but i don't care about them, it's just wrong view, if you want control, don't be monk, if you want to be monk, stop controlling. Buddha had a fourfold community of Bhikkhus, Bhikkunis, Laymen and Laywomen, a country that denies this fact should not call itself Buddhist country. If there was an arahant, one who understands that there is no such thing like 'man', 'woman', he could just say 'Ehi Bhikkhuni' and the lineage would be reopend. But this poor world is without such a person'.
“Bhikkhuni, Mae Chii, Nun, are just words” was the next i said, “words are not important, what counts is what one has here,” i touched my chest, “in ones heart. I try to keep 310 Bhikkuni roules and even if i break some i'll keep more roules than a monk has.”
I expected he would get angry again, but he did not. He agreed instead, repeating twice “what counts is what one has in ones heart.”
A few month ago i cryed because i cannot become a Bhikkhuni here in Thailand. Funny, it's not important to me anymore.