Is a Dharmaguptaka Bhikkhuni ordination ceremony available in English translation?

Asking for a friend (really!). They are conducting research for defense against some recent attacks on the legitimacy of Sri Lankan Bhikkhunis resulting in confiscation of lands. I am confused by the various arguments for and against so I won’t pretend to understand more. Thanks in advance!


I’m not aware of a translation of the Dharmaguptaka bhikkhuni ordination procedure per se, but the whole of the Dharmaguptaka Bhikkhuni Vinaya, which includes the ordination procedure, was translated as The Discipline in Four Parts Rules for Nuns according to the Dharmaguptakavinaya (3 Volumes) by Ann Heirmann.

This is an excellent and very detailed scholarly study, and is available at a reasonable price via Motilal.

This is terrible, but sad to say, it is how it goes. The heart of the patriarchy is the ownership of real estate.

When we did the bhikkhuni ordination in WA, the first thing the Wat Pa Pong folks did is try to take the monastery property away. They launched a long campaign, pressuring the Thai government, holding a press conference, even organizing a few of the local supporters in Perth to stand outside the Buddhist Society with a petition. Needless to say, none of it had any chance of succeeding since, well, the BSWA owns the property.

But failing in that, they then went on an international campaign to grab hold of as many monastery properties as possible. Several long-standing monasteries that were formerly run by their local communities were forced under the sway of foreign control, all to keep the bhikkhunis out.

It comes down to power. You can have all the righteousness you like on your side, but if you have nowhere to stay, no-one will listen to you. People listen to the big men on their big seats in their big halls.


Wow, way to embody the Buddhist ideal of non-attachment.

Sadly, I think the people behind this aren’t interested in what the Dharmaguptaka vinaya actually says. But then again, people shouldn’t just role over and let this happen.

Unfortunately, that book isn’t currently available. Maybe it would be best to contact the author directly? The author is a professor at the University of Ghent. I didn’t know that the University of Ghent had a Buddhist Studies program that focuses on Chinese Buddhism and Chinese language, specifically Buddhist Hybrid Chinese. Very interesting!

One of the my long term plans is to translate the vinayas available in Chinese into English, and then make them freely available. I don’t know if I’ll live long enough to see that through, but it needs to be done. I’m not the only person on this forum with this idea, though. So it might happen!


Thanks for this advice! I will contact the author at U. Ghent and let you all know how it goes.

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Well, I’ve ordered this through Amazon from a seller which is apparently Motilal under a pseudonym. We’ll see what happens.


I wonder if Dr. Heirman would be willing to donate her translation to SuttaCentral? Do you think I should ask Bhante @sujato? Or maybe it would carry more weight if you did? Given the subject matter, and that whatever limited printing it had was 20 years ago, it’s not as if she’s going to be losing a bunch of money by putting it into the public domain.

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I found a copy at a used bookstore in the UK. I ordered that, since it will be useful to me in the future, and the author might not have any intention of making the book available for free. Let me know if you don’t get the copy you ordered from Amazon, @greenTara.

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My copy shipped. So I guess they did have a copy after all. In the Amazon review of the book, one person said their copy never shipped, despite showing as available. I found my copy by searching for the ISBN on Google, rather than the title. You might want to try that @greenTara , if Amazon doesn’t deliver your copy.


After some shipping drama, I got the book…kind of. I’ve only received part 3, which is just glossaries and indices. I’m hoping the other two parts were shipped separately, which is possible, especially considering how much I paid! For my purposes, part three is enough, though, since I was mostly interested in vinaya specific Chinese terminology. Here’s one page:

UPDATE: The bookstore got back to me about the other parts. There was some issue with the ISBN for all three parts being the same. So the store thought they had all three parts, but only had the third part. They are going to refund my money, and told me to keep the book. Not the worst ending, I suppose.