Are both Bhikkhus anad Bhikkhunis allowed to stay in the same Monasteries? Are men allowed to visit Bhikkhuni monasteries to learn Dhamma?
Warm greetings Luis,
Bhikkhus and Bhikkhunis, and other males and female and, by extension, other genders, may stay in the same monastery given the right housing is available. Generally this is considered to be “under a different roof,” which might be construed as a different wing of the same building or might be a separate building. Other interpretations are also possible and may vary from monastery to monastery. It may be that some monasteries may even consider the ceiling of different rooms sufficient. How the rules are held is determined by each monastery, so it is good to ask about their policies and practices.
I am still studying this rule so can’t give details on the Pali and commentaries yet, only the current ways of holding it.
I don’t know of any Bhikkhuni monasteries where this is not allowed, at least as a day visit or to attend particular teaching events. Many bhikkhuni monasteries don’t have overnight accommodations for men due to limited resources or space; although some, just as the bhikkhu monasteries might do, may not wish to take on navigating the full set of Vinaya regulations that come with providing sleeping accommodations for what is perceived as the ‘opposite gender’, i.e. males in a bhikkhuni monastery and females in a bhikkhu monastery.
With kind care,
Practices would vary according to country, lineage and leader’s discretion. Among those open to the idea, practical concerns make it unlikely.
Keep in mind the relative poverty of female monastics, at least in Theravada Buddhism. We still have precious few group residences, which never seem to offer enough rooms to meet the housing needs of female monastics and trainees. (I’ve seen women living on the land in tents hoping for construction of more tiny cottages.) Separate housing for male visitors should be considered only after urgent needs are met to allow women a foothold in the holy life.
An extremely important point! At the same time it might be good for the OP to clarify if they meant an overnight visit or a day visit; just as Ven. Niyyanika points towards, men would almost certainly be very welcome to visit most Bhikkhuni monasteries to learn Dhamma in at least the latter case.
I meant for a day visit. I was curious because I found a website for a Bhikkhuni Monastery. I would like to stop by and pay a visit. Sad to hear about the situation of some Bhikkhunis in Thailand. If I was better off financially I would be more then happy to donate even for a small kuti. Maybe that’s something I can work on.
Thanks for the replies.
How much would it cost to build a tiny cottage in Thailand?
Hi @Lookingforpeace, thanks for your question, my apology that I didn’t respond in a timely way. (I didn’t think of an answer at 1st then forgot.)
There’s one group doing fundraising to support Theravada bhikkhunis (and bhikkhuni candidates) in various countries, Alliance for Bhikkhunis. Plz see their website for housing projects they currently support, or contact them to discuss the idea of going through them to build a kuti in Thailand.
Alliance for Bhikkhunis is awesome, the only support group I know that’s not focused only on one community. They’ve helped me survive this long in robes through timely support such as medical care costs or plane tickets to commune with distant bhikkhunis and to access retreats.
To my knowledge, there is officially no recognised Theravada bhikkhuni in any Theravada monasteries (??)
Nope! Your knowledge is incorrect! If you were to do a quick internet search, you will easily find that there are bhikkhunis in many Theravada monasteries all around the world, including Thailand, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, and in most western countries too. But maybe you already knew that and so you added those two parenthetical question marks. However, rest assured, contrary to what some people might say, and even though some countries refuse to accept them, these bhikkhunis have been ordained legitimately and authentically, and they come from long-lived lineages.
@Lookingforpeace, I’ve been very fortunate to learn dhamma from wonderful female practitioners and have always been made to feel welcome in female monasteries, as a lay person and as a bhikkhu. They are quite often well supported by men, but it’s great if more men (and women) can show their support to the bhikkhuni Sangha by visiting, paying respects and offerimg requisites, and of course, listening to the dhamma from them.
@thomaslaw Did you read the Wikipedia article in full?
In 1996, through the efforts of Sakyadhita International Association of Buddhist Women, the Theravada bhikkhuni order was revived when 11 Sri Lankan women received full ordination in Sarnath, India, in a procedure held by Dodangoda Revata Mahāthera and the late Mapalagama Vipulasāra Mahāthera of the Maha Bodhi Society in India with assistance from monks and nuns of the Jogye Orderof Korean Seon.
The first Theravada bhikkhuni ordination in Australiawas held in Perth, 22 October 2009, at Bodhinyana Monastery. Four nuns from Dhammasara Nun’s Monastery, Ajahn Vayama, Nirodha, Seri and Hasapanna, were ordained as bhikkhunis in full accordance with the Pali vinaya…](Bhikkhunī - Wikipedia)
The wiki article goes on to talk about valid ordinations in Indonesia and America. So… I’m not sure if you’re just trolling or genuinely confused about the existence of Bhikkhunis?
I’ve visited Nirotharam bhikkhuni monastery in Thailand, http://www.nirotharam.com/ which is very well supported by the lay people and monks from the surrounding area. I’ve also been to Dhammasara monastery in Perth, and Santi monastery near Sydney. I’ve met Bhikkhunis who live in Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and many other countries. So I’m pretty sure they are not imaginary. Although some people and Buddhist bodies may not accept their ordination, there are many people, religious bodies and countries that do. I recommend you do some research a little bit deeper than just 1 wiki article, though, to get a fuller picture.
I hope that you will soon have the opportunity to visit a bhikkhuni monastery yourself and to hear the dhamma from them.
Here’s a map of Bhikkhuni monasteries I Made a Bhikkhuni Monastery Map for all men to visit!
Best wishes for a journey of discovery!
May I ask, what for you would count as “official recognition” in this connection? And on what grounds would it count?
“Official recognition” refers to the whole Theravada sangha, not an individual temple/group; e.g. Thai Theravada sangha.
That`s funny. In Thailand the seniority, and to some extent the bhikkhu status a Mahanikaya ordained monk is usually not recognised as such by Dhammayutt monks.
Hence, it is not unusual to see long term bhikkhus re-ordaning under a Dhammayut preceptor before joining for good a Dhammayut monastery or hermitage.
I heard heard anecdotal accounts that a similar situation is found in Sri Lanka.
Your idea of official recognition would therefore render void/null virtually every single bhikkhu ordination across Thailand, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia.
Or we could accept that everyone’s ordination is valid!
I think that is the best we lay people can do.
To answer your question
there are numerous topics on bhikkhuni ordination on this very forum. The search function is the little button at the top of your screen. To get you started:
Thanks for the information, Nadine.
The discussion about the validity is one thing; the official recognition by the Theravada Sangha is another issue.
Seems that sanghas of bhikkhu s and bhikkhuni s have recognized… Are formal acts conducted in accordance with Vinaya not The Issue (and resolved)?
@thomaslaw (adding tag cuz reply did not seem to link)
However. we seem to be moving away from Original Post.
Agreed. Maybe @thomaslaw would be interested in opening a new thread to explore the topic?
I am still waiting for his views on how to reconcile his definition of official recognition for bhikkhuni ordination with the existing cross-sects disagreements on what makes a bhikkhu ordination valid.
I was recently told for example that even within the sects in Thailand one is not deemed a real bhikkhu by the local Thai Sangha representatives unless he has got at least one of the nak-tham certificates.
And, given that most of the non-thai forest monks cannot read and speak thai well enough to even study the curricula to take the tests leading to these certificates their very bhikkhu status is usually not on very solid ground (i.e. they may not be able to obtain an official bhikkhu id).