Can an Arahant be against bhikkhuni ordination?

But then , is there any way that existence of the Buddha in female form whether aeons before or aeons in the future ?

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errrrm I’m not sure. If you have a different question, you might have to start a new topic.

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I think no one should against female to enter bhikkhunis ordination .
But , surely living in this world by existing conditions , the living proof is that as you said you have seen suffering as a woman .
Isn’t that is a kind of kamma then ? Of course it is unfair , just like being born as a darker skin people constantly being look down upon by fairer skin people .

I don’t use Kamma to judge my condition, only to use it to guide my future actions.
Maybe kamma has something to do with it, maybe not. Either way, what matters is what I do next.


Fair enough , I have many female friends , the way I see it, they are all my brother and sister and uncle and aunt . Unless they turn nasty , otherwise I get along with them quite comfortably .


See a list of non-Buddhist female renunciants in this other thread here.

For a collection of sutta quotes regarding the most restrictive rules and how they were not applied by senior arahant bhikkhunis in the Buddha’s time, see this thread here. It seems the rules didn’t exist, or must have meant something else entirely back then.

There is also the Buddha’s advice to the Sangha shortly before his passing in DN 16.

Desiring to do so, Ānanda, the Community after my passing away, can abolish the minor and subsidiary training rules.

The minor rules weren’t meant to be fixed for his entire dispensation.


Stricter, more difficult, more obstructive: I hadn’t quite noticed this in the original materials, though it certainly comes to the fore over time. My impression was that the additional rules were added because women needed extra protections in a misogynistic culture. It wasn’t about gender identification, it was about individual & communal safety.

Bhikkhuni Vinaya Studies, by Sujato:

In insisting that bhikkhunis can have no place within the Thai Buddhism, the Sangha is placing more emphasis on the modern legal structures derived from Western models, rather than the Buddhist scriptures on which their tradition, and the modern reform of that tradition, is supposed to be based. And while bhikkhuni ordination is sometimes decried as a Western, feminist interpolation in the Asian tradition, the reality is that the four-fold community, including the bhikkhuni Sangha, is the authentic heritage, while the insistence on a male-only Sangha is a modern, Western-derived innovation.

Stodgy Buddhist legalism kinda disgusts me.


This is exactly my speculation. Obviously the Buddha didn’t give the reasons for it shortening the survival of the Dhamma, but he did give specifics about how the Sangha and Dhamma declines and he often gives divisiveness within the Sangha and clinging to opinions as the most common reasons. Both are occurring on some level regarding Bhikkhuni ordination.

The vast majority of the debate about female monastics is a “how to do it” not “if”. I am sure there are misogynistic monks out there but mostly I just hear opinions about how its to be done.

But yes I do think an arahant could be against Bhikkhuni ordination.

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We could always flip this question :stuck_out_tongue:
can an arahant be against Bhikkhu ordination?

Then come up with a list of things like

  • they are more violent
  • they are more prone to anger
  • in the Buddha’s time all leaders were men’s so if all the good men became monks then the country would fall apart
  • men need to provide for their families

To me this seems ridiculous! Of course men don’t need ordination to progress on the spiritual path. :wink: so there is no need for the Bhikkhu sangha


This question involves an Arahants perception. If perception is derived from memory then our cultural background must influence the way we perceive. We remember our sociocultural background - Arahants remember their sociocultural background. If that background includes the practice of ordaining men and not women they may not be involved in the ordination of women.

What is the knowledge and vision that an Arahant has that sets them apart? It is the realisation of complete freedom and the knowledge that with the break-up of the body there will be no more coming to any state of being.

An Arahant does not have to know everything under the sun. They may not know every entry in the Encyclopaedia Britannica. Likewise, they may not know if ordaining women is a good idea!

Even the Buddha did not know everything - he said he had the ability to understand completely anything he turned his attention to! The Buddha didn’t seem to know that slavery was a bad idea? If the Buddha can mispercieve the significance of owning people like farm-yard animals then, what to speak of poor old Arahants and what they know and don’t know about female rights?

Our Buddha’s an Arahants are not like the cosmic Buddha’s of the Mahayana with their celestial entourages.

The mythical Buddha’s are said to be completely omniscient - a bit like Jehovah - not a blade of grass moves without Jehovah knowing about it.

Praise the lord and pass the ammunition! :slightly_smiling_face:

Female rights is about equality ,
An arahant didn’t have the self view , ie, the view of “equality”, superiority or inferiority concept ; therefore ,
If they do against the ordination , what would be the explanation ?! Tradition , culture and society and ???

Dear Apeiron, I don’t know I am not an Arahant but what you are saying makes no sense to me. The Arahant disciples bowed to the Buddha and new that he was a self-awakened one, a wheel turning Buddha, a revealer of the liberating Dhamma, a knower of the worlds. The Buddha had a range of abilities they did not possess and it was through ‘hearing’ his teachings that they received from him the knowledge of the eightfold path that they had completed.

It is true that they were ‘nobodies’ just like the Buddha but they had perception as did the Buddha. The Arahant disciples of the Buddha did not see themselves as being on the same level as the Buddha even though they were equally not-selves - as we are!

The sage, and bhikkhu in seclusion does not have a conception of herself or himself as higher or lower in relation to any other being:

“He should put an entire stop
to the root of objectification-classifications:
‘I am the thinker.’
He should train, always mindful,
to subdue any craving inside him.
Whatever truth he may know,
within or without,
he shouldn’t, because of it,
make himself hardened,
for that isn’t called
unbinding by the good.
He shouldn’t, because of it, think himself
lower, or
Touched by contact in various ways,
he shouldn’t keep theorizing about self.
Stilled right within,
a monk shouldn’t seek peace from another,
from anything else.
For one stilled right within,
there’s nothing embraced,
so how rejected?"

  • Sutta Nipata 4.14

"For one unperturbed
—who knows—
there’s no accumulating.
Abstaining, unaroused,
he everywhere sees
The sage
doesn’t speak of himself
as among those who are higher,
or lower.
At peace, free of stinginess,
he doesn’t embrace, doesn’t
the Blessed One said.

Sutta Nipata 4.15

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Yes, but we are talking about social conventions - the Sangha observed the conventions of the order. They all bowed to the Buddha not the other way round. When we are talking about ordination procedures - who gets ordained and who doesn’t, we are not talking about the realisation of not-self and the equalising effect it has! :slightly_smiling_face:

SN 22.49

“Soṇa, when any ascetics and brahmins, on the basis of form—which is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change—regard themselves thus: ‘I am superior,’ or ‘I am equal,’ or ‘I am inferior,’ what is that due to apart from not seeing things as they really are?

“When any ascetics and brahmins, on the basis of feeling … on the basis of perception … on the basis of volitional formations … on the basis of consciousness—which is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change—regard themselves thus: ‘I am superior,’ or ‘I am equal,’ or ‘I am inferior,’ what is that due to apart from not seeing things as they really are ?

The Arahant regards the Buddha as student and teacher relationship .
do they have higher , lower , equally thinking ?

But we are the one with self view , when the Buddha didn’t allowed those of deformed person to get ordained , do you think that consider being “unfair” ?
Or is it biases ?
Do you think the samanera/i paying respect to bhikkhu/ni respectively , is that they are lower than them ? Do you think that is “ranking” system ?
Or perhaps when you grounded your childrens , they detested saying that you are dictator !

Anyway , forgive me , my knowledge is very little , just my half cent .

I see you are trying to make sense of these things - very good - and so am I. So to answer your question: do I think it has something to do with a ranking system? Answer: yes and no! When we go to a Theravada monastery there is a ranking system built into the conventions established in the monastic community.

At lunch the senior elder sits at the head of the line and according to the number of rains retreats they have completed - that happen annually - individual monastics sit in line from the eldest to the most recent initiate.

Ranking, deference to elders, various conventions are part of the organisation of the monastic Sangha. Who bows to who, who gets ordained and who does not, are all conventions within the Buddha-sassana.

It does not matter if you are an Aryan monastic you will still be ranked - within the order - according to how many rains retreats you have completed.

They would not put an Arahant bhikkuni/bhikku at the head of the line if they had only been in the order for 10 years and there were more senior monastics present. There most definitely is a ranking system in the monastic Sangha.

An Arahant bhikkuni/bhikku will also bow to an unawakened monastic who has seniority and not the other way round.

So, is this unfair ?

No - but treating women as second class whether they are monastics or lay people is not only unfair, it is also unethical. Just like it is unethical to discriminate on the bases of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation etc.

The Buddha’s prohibition regarding the disabled, may well have been a practical consideration. Monastics requesting ordination are required to have a requisite degree of autonomy - an ability to look after themselves.

I don’t buy your argument because it sounds like the attitude adopted in male chauvinism. I do not subscribe to that point of view. :slightly_smiling_face:

Can you elaborate ?

So, I am a chauvinist to you !
You had the impression huh !
On the contrary , FYI I supported a bhikkhuni ordination and many bhikkhunis requisite .
And I have had supported many of the Buddha disciples bhikkhunis bhikkhus whom I considered they followed the right path !