Buddhist controversial figures: Thullanandā - a comparative study

The nun Thullanandā is no doubt one of the more controversial figures in the Buddhist Vinaya, responsible for a whopping 28% of all rules that are exclusive to nuns. But in other parts, she is described as learned, wise and an excellent Dhamma teacher.

Reiko Ohnuma from Dartmouth college compares the pali Vinaya with the Mūlasarvāstivāda Vinaya to come to some interesting conclusions about the role of Thullanandā’s character in the EBTs. Her reading suggests that Thullanandā’s status as a “bad nun” is far more complex than merely a collection of random faults and misdeeds. Thullanandā’s character extends beyond herself as an individual and becomes a marker for some of the larger tensions and fault lines characteristic of the early Buddhist community and the role of women therein.

I’m sorry @UpasakaMichael: I’m probably too late for your lunch break this time!


Dear Ayya…Yes, but lunch tomorrow is going to be great!