International Congress on Buddhist Women's Role in the Sangha

The International Congress on Buddhist Women's Role in the Sangha: Bhikshuni Vinaya and Ordination Lineages, took place on July 18-20, 2007, was an historic event. [ [http://www.congress-on-buddhist-women.org/index.php?id=2 Program in details] ] It was a meeting of internationally recognized Buddhist scholars specializing in monastic discipline and history, as well as practioners. It was expected to be the final discussion of a decades-long dialogue about re-establishing full bhikshuni ordination in Buddhist traditions. Papers and research based on Buddhist texts and contemporary practice traditions in China, Korea, Taiwan, Tibet, and South Asia were presented [ [http://www.congress-on-buddhist-women.org/index.php?id=29 further material and references by the Committee of Western Buddhist Nuns] ] . The fourteenth Dalai Lama attended the final day of the conference and conclusions. His letter of support is available to the public (see references below). cite web
url=http://www.congress-on-buddhist-women.org/index.php?id=28
title=Letter of H.H., the Dalai Lama:"Press release 09/06/2006"
accessdate=2006-09-17
author=
date=2006-09-06
work=congress-on-buddhist-women.org
http://www.congress-on-buddhist-women.org/index.php?id=24]

Discussions, amongst both scholars and practitioners, at the first Congress were planned primarily about the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Other Bhikkshuni lineages which could be restored were also expected to be on the agenda. The Congress was be held at University of Hamburg, Germany, July 18-20, 2007, hosted by the University of Hamberg's Asia-Africa Institute.

After statements from the many bhikkus and bhikkshunis present, the Dalai Lama announced that, while he supported the case, he needed to discuss the matter with senior lamas representing the different schools of Tibetan Buddhism to gain a consensus view. He added that from 2008 (or if possible 2007) nuns were to practice three monastic ceremonies, posadha, vassa and pavarana, as preparation for the establishment of a Bhikkhuni Sangha in the near future. These, he declared, should be held in Tibetan and follow the dharmaguptaka vinaya. A full statement was issued by the Dalai Lama detailing this. [ [http://www.congress-on-buddhist-women.org/index.php?id=142 Statement of His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Bhikshuni Ordination in the Tibetan Tradition] ]

Bhikshuni and Yogini Tenzin Palmo -a member of the Committee of Western Bhikshunis- belonging to Drukpa Lineage of the Kagyu school in her statement elaborated that inspite of full Bhikshuni ordination monks had not to be afraid because according to vinaya they were going to keep their higher position. [ [http://www.congress-on-buddhist-women.org/index.php?id=42 Abstract: A brief overview of the situation for nuns in the Tibetan Tradition] ] .

The eight Garudhammas/Gurudharmas of the Bhikshuni Vinaya

The basic difference between Bhikshuni Vinaya and Bhikshu Vinaya (= discipline) are the eight rules of respect. According to scripture and legend they have come from Buddha Shakyamuni himself. Buddha: Ananda, if Mahapajapati Gotami accepts eight vows of respect, that will be her full ordination (upasampada). "(1) A bhikkhuni who has been fully ordained even for more than a century must bow down, rise up from her seat, salute with hands palm-to-palm over her heart, and perform the duties of respect to a bhikkhu even if he has been fully ordained only a day. This rule is to be honored, respected, revered, venerated, never to be transgressed as long as she lives." "(2)A bhikkhuni must not spend the rains in a residence where there is no bhikkhu... "(3) Every half-month a bhikkhuni should request two things from the Bhikkhu Sangha: she should ask for the date of the uposatha day and come for an exhortation... "(4) At the end of the Rains-residence, a bhikkhuni should invite (criticism both from) the Bhikkhu Sangha and the Bhikkhuni Sangha on any of three grounds: what they have seen, what they have heard, what they have suspected... "(5) A bhikkhuni who has broken any of the vows of respect must undergo penance for half a month under both Sanghas... "(6) Only after a probationer has trained in the six precepts for two years should she request ordination from both Sanghas... "(7) A bhikkhu must not in any way be insulted or reviled by a bhikkhuni... "(8) From this day forward, the admonition of a bhikkhu by a bhikkhuni is forbidden, but the admonition of a bhikkhuni by a bhikkhu is not forbidden. This rule, too, is to be honored, respected, revered, venerated, never to be transgressed as long as she lives. Buddha: "If Mahapajapati Gotami accepts these eight vows of respect, that will be her full ordination." [ [http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/bmc2/ch23.html Buddhist Monastic Code II, Chapter 23, Bhikkhunis] Thanissaro Bhikkhu (For free distribution).] .

References

ee also

*Bhikkhuni
*Current issues in Buddhism
*Ordination of women in Buddhism
*Sangha

External links

* [http://nationmultimedia.com/2007/07/22/national/national_30041877.php Bhikkhuni says she is glum on future of ordination]
* [http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/archives/approaching_buddhism/world_today/summary_report_2007_international_c/part_1.html A Summary Report of the 2007 International Congress on the Women's Role in the Sangha: Bhikshuni Vinaya and Ordination Lineages] The Berzin Archives (2007-08-00)"Buddhist order of interbeing - established in 1964"
* [http://www.mindfulnessbell.org/order_interbeing.htm Order of Interbeing Beginnings (Sister Chân Không, Excerpt from her book "Learning True Love")] "Buddhist Dharma on women"
* [http://www.geocities.com/zennun12_8/chanwomen.html WOMEN IN ZEN BUDDHISM: Chinese Bhiksunis in the Ch'an Tradition] by Heng-Ching Shih (Advisor of Committee of Western Bhikshunis)


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