Wednesday, November 18, 2009

after some meditation

Some meditation in the solitude of my room was needed to see more cleary about the Bhikkhuni-ordination-question.
What happened so far:
I found a very nice Lady in Sri Lanka who wants to promote my aspiration for Bhikkhuni ordination but, said she I need letters of support to convince the elders to give me full ordination and accept my mae chii hood as the required samaneri time of 2 years. Which in exceptions can be done.
So far, so good. I cryed some tears of joy about this mail and started asking monks to give me letters. The first request already was torn down by some arguments I really understand and I was invited to come to america and help to set up a meditation center there. That was the first reason why I ordained and why I came to Thailand. So why not go to America to do it there?
I cried again, when my request for a letter was denied and needed to meditate and find equanimity.
It might be a bad moment to ask Thai monks to help me with Bhikkhuni ordination, so I stopped asking for letters for now and will wait for another moment. Patience … the waves after the happenings in the Thai sangha about full ordination of women have to calm down.
Many thoughts arouse. Yes, the keeping 8 precepts is a wonderful practice for laypeople. They are trainingrules and if one ever breaks one, it doesn’t matter so much. Just try to do it better next time. No commitments, no punishments, no other then self control. This would be really IT, if people would take it more serious and would really try to keep them. But actually nobody does and nobody expects that one does. I talked with Ajahn about eating in the evening of nuns (in general, not accusing anyone) he said “well, for them it’s ok, for us” – and I was very grateful that he seemed to include me in this – “it is not”. Some try to smash mosquitoes while giving precepts even. (I saw monks and nuns doing it)
I’m in a good mood to just disrobe and go somewhere to set up a small meditation center on my own, creating a new form of Buddhist followers, the Buddhamaggikapugalla (don’t know if this would be the correct pali word for people who follow the Buddhas path), people who honestly keep the rules which make sense to keep in modern life, for men and women same rules and same treatment in case of breaking – compassionate rebuking after confession.
I will leave Thailand for now, soon. But remain in robes … Hope to be able to go to Sri Lanka and spend some time with Bhikkhunis there. Then, if I will get a visa, I’ll set off for America and check if it’s true what I was told: there is not much of a difference between monks and nuns in treatment and support and that people willing to keep rules are needed there to give people who are open to Buddhism some faith.
Departure needs some preparation and it may take some time .


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Bhikkhuni Sudhamma said...

Dear Dhamma Sister,

I feel deeply moved to read your journal. Thank you. You are correct in your perceptions. I have kept all the different levels of Theravada precepts: I kept 8 Precepts at home for 6 months; later, I kept 8 Precepts in a monastery for 14 months, and then took 10 Precepts (as a novice); I kept 10 Precepts for nearly 4 years before ordaining as a Theravada bhikkhuni (311 precepts) in Sri Lanka. Now I have seven Vassa as a Theravada bhikkhuni.

Each precept, when practised well, may reveal deep spiritual meaning (for example, the precept against killing implies not only not-killing but developing a lifestyle of gentleness towards living beings). Keeping 311 precepts well is not easy... but the 311 are easier than keeping 10 Precepts! Why? Because with 311 precepts one gains more inner and outer support for renunciation.

Furthermore, keeping 10 Precepts is easier than only 8 Precepts! Why? Because an 8 Preceptor must be both a lay person and a renunciate. And yet she lacks sufficient resources for a good lay life; and she has so little support for the renunciate life that it is frustrating and nearly impossible. As you already intuited, keeping only 8 Precepts is the most difficult practice. I humbly appreciate all the Thai mae chee who make sincere effort with this most difficult form of practice. They are very strong.

As a bhikkhuni, I receive all the necessary support, every day. This morning, like every morning, a lay devotee came to the gate of my Vihara, and offered to me enough food for today. I feel grateful to the Buddha for giving us the bhikkhuni livelihood.

Usually I see male bhikkhus only when they invite me to their temples to give Dhamma talks. They treat me with amazing kindness. They say they are very GLAD that bhikkhunis are helping to spread the Dhamma in the USA. Most of the bhikkhus I have met in the USA speak the same way.

It is true that as a bhikkhuni in the USA, gender makes NO DIFFERENCE in my daily life. I give Dhamma talks, lead the devotees in chanting, teach meditation, give counseling, teach the children, tie blessing strings on devotees' wrists (etc.), and teach on invitation at local colleges; and also have time for my own meditation, study, research and writing. (I live peacefully in a 100% Christian neighborhood; some of my Christian neighbors offer food when devotees cannot come.)

In Thailand, the laypeople are also ready to support bhikkhunis. When I visited Thailand a few years ago, I went on almsround early in the mornings with a group of young bhikkhus and samaneras. The Thai lay devotees gave me more food! Later they thanked the master of the monastery for sending a bhikkhuni on alms rounds.

I am sorry that this period of your life is so difficult. Please hold onto your vision of the holy life. It is a noble aspiration. And it is possible.

I invite you to contact me: ayyasudhamma [at]

May the Triple Gem bless and protect you.

Bhikkhuni Sudhamma
Carolina Buddhist Vihara

Anonymous said...

We have traditions and they like all things have suffering. But mostly we have just now. You find where you should be and who with and just do it. No need for attaching to something that gives more suffering. If a cat can walk by itself so too a nun. Why not?
You take care : )

phalanyani said...

Thanks and a blesing to all of you!