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Validity of 2009 Bkhikkhuni Ordination


  • Validity of 2009 Bkhikkhuni Ordination

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ID:	29226Four women from Dhammasara Nuns' Monastery in Perth Australia were fully ordained as bhikkhunis in the Theravada tradition at Bodhinyana Monastery on October 22, 2009 by the dual ordination proceedure (bhikkhuni upasampada kammavaca) of the Pali texts. They were ordained first by eight members of the Theravada Bhikkhuni Sangha and then directly afterwards their ordination was confirmed by ten members of the Theravada Bhikkhu Sangha, thus fulfilling the qualifications for a dual ordination. The ordination proceedings were prepared and reviewed beforehand for orthodoxy and accuracy by a team of Vinaya scholars, and were audited during the ordination by Ven Ayya Santini Theri. Afterwards, on request, the ordination proceedings were shared with Wat Pah Pong Monastery in Thailand for their review.

    On request of the Administrative Council of Wat Nong Pah Pong, Ajahn Chah's monastery in Thailand, well-known Vinaya scholar and author Thanissaro Bhikkhu reviewed the ordination proceedings and then wrote a letter in which he proposed a potential and tentative inferential theory on Vinaya for consideration of the World Abbots Meeting (WAM) at Wat Pah Pong in December 2009. This letter was concerned with whether the recent full bhikkhuni ordination of four women in Australia could be determined invalid according to the Buddhist Monastic Discipline of the Pali-text Vinaya, the rendition of the Vinaysa learned and practiced by Theravadan Buddhist traditions around the world.

    It is important to understand that the contents of this letter were requested for the sake of discussion and consideration of the WAM and where not meant to be an absolute proclamation, verdict or declaration or any sort. Ajahn Thanissaro was called upon as a consultant. Despite the great respect in which Ven Thanissaro is held for his scholarship, he is not in a position of authority regarding Vinaya within the Wat Pah Pong community and its affiliates, nor within the many Orders and Communities of Theravada Buddhism other than his own. Each of these Communities (Sanghas) and Orders (Nikayas) have their own responsibility and authority to decide internally upon issues of Vinaya. Whether Wat Pah Pong determines the ordinations to be considered valid for their own community or not does not legally effect the ordinations validity within the greater International Buddhist Sangha.

    The collected responses to Ajahn Thanissaro's letter and Wat Pah Pong's concerns on bhikkhuni ordination validity, including the positions of
    • Bhikkhu Bodhi
    • Ajahn Brahm
    • Ajahn Brahmali
    • Ajahn Sujato
    • Ayya Tathaaloka
    • Ayya Sudhamma
    can be found here
    (Partially quoted from Dhammadharini)

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