Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Ordinatiion of Theravada Nuns (CA)

, founding teacher, Spirit Rock Meditation Center (Huffington Post)

It is 6:15 pm on Aug. 29, 2010. The place is a secluded mountaintop hermitage overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Sonoma County, California.

Four women, all long-time dedicated Buddhist practitioners, were declared fully ordained as nuns (bhikkhunis) in the Thai Theravada tradition.

It was the first such ordination ever in the Western hemisphere. And it was epochal because their preceptors were nuns within the same tradition.

Although the Buddha ordained both monks and nuns, the order of nuns disappeared a thousand years later when there were no longer enough nuns available to ordain new nuns. Keeping strictly with tradition (and in keeping with patriarchal pressures) the rule that nuns needed to be ordained by nuns brought the order of nuns to an end.

Women were able to join a community and practice but only at an inferior status. The pressure brought by women with a burning desire practice and have roles and recognition comparable to men has enabled some women, trained in the Theravada Thai tradition, to be ordained by nuns with Sri Lankan ordination.

The nuns ordained in 2009 join the now small group of recognized Theravada Buddhist nuns in the Thai Forest tradition that can now continue to grow. More

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