List of English Speaking Theravadan/Early Buddhist monasteries for men that support Bhikkhuni Ordination

Interested in ordaining in the mid- to long-term future (I’m a cis-guy) and would idealy like to go forth in a place that supports Bhikkhuni ordination, unfortunately afaik ruling out much of the Ajahn Chah/Sumedho lineage which defines so much of the Theravada world in the west.

Exceptions I’m already familiar with:

  • Bodhinyana Monastery
  • Bhavana Society
  • Empty Cloud Monastery

But I’m sure I’m missing some…


Define “support” There are monasteries in the Ajahn Chah lineage that can’t hold Bhikkhuni ordinations themselves but who still provide material support to Bhikkhunīs (sometimes on the downlow)

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Very glad to learn that! Thanks! Could you share some of those monasteries either here or in a dm? Fine if not, I know you mentioned it being on the DL

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While I was at Tisarana, for example, we helped Sati Saraniya set up for their Katina. Even brought over some of our excess donations. That made me smile :grin:


There is a nun living at Birken Monastery in Canada. Ajahn Sona, the abbot there, is in the Thai Forest tradition.

I don’t know any details about ordaining there.

I believe the nun is a maechee/8 precept nun, not a bhikkhuni


Ah. Thanks for the correction.

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Why would that be a criterion to select the place of ordination?

One can be the new generation of wave within a monastery which doesn’t support to switch to support if one day one becomes the abbot. Well, got to be careful not to cause schism.

Anyway, there’s no practical impact on the day to day living of a monk whether the monastery supports or not support Bhikkhuni ordination. It’s not even a topic which comes out often in daily living. Compared to having vegan option in a monastery, cause one eats almost everyday.

Most important is actually the harmony of the Sangha.

Most monasteries might not have an official policy on that issue.

And one needs to define support as well indeed.

Some monasteries wouldn’t dare to ordain Bhikkuni (there’s already Bhikkuni nunneries around the world anyway), but can gladly have temporary samaneri ordination there. Some prefer not even have anything to do with females to enable the young monks in training to not be distracted, but can give good advice on how to get a legit Bhikkhuni ordination which address any complaint by anyone because the ordination takes into account all the vinaya requirements.

It certainly not my prime criterion but one of a myriad of things I would consider when choosing where do ordain. It’s not like I’m planning on going forth next week or anything.

I also asked just out of curiosity to learn about more monasteries where the abbots have been open advocates of bhikkhuni ordination.


I think a lot of people are silent advocates but might not advertise it very openly, considering the possible backlash from the official Thai monasteries who are super opposed to it. Or not have considered the issue. Until there’s more Bhikkunis who can travel around and make more impact on many more monasteries, then people might be forced to consider the issue. Anyway, don’t worry, I would predict growth in support for female monastic ordination, if nothing else it’s due to the power of the internet. Generation Y, Z and after are the internet tribe and feminism is a strong common culture.

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As a bhikkhuni, I am very happy you would like to ordain in a bhikkhuni supporting group.

Ordaining into an explicitly pro-bhikkhuni group is hands down the best thing (from my perspective) that potential monks can do to support us. Anything else is basically just consenting to the status quo.

The status quo for Theravada bhikkhunis is an international embarrassment. Many women in Theravada countries now face incredible barriers just to practice their religion as bhikkhunis. Some of these barriers involve access to ID cards, risk of imprisonment or vigilante violence, lack of recognition, access to tax exemptions etc. This is how Theravada Buddhists are currently treating the bhikkhuni sangha. Meanwhile, 3000-5000 Theravada bhikkhunis are surviving all of this through grassroots support to do great things as meditators, scholars and community leaders on only a fraction of the support they should have.

Sometimes due to external constraints, monks may be in systems where they just have to accept the way things are, especially as a junior monk. It’s not their fault. But if you have the choice, I always ask future monks to please consider making a pro-bhikkhuni choice from the outset. Your seniors will live a long time, certain groups in Asia are running hard lines on this issue, you may not be able to help nuns easily in anti-bhikkhuni or pro status quo traditions.

The fact that monks might support on the down low is better than open hostility. Most monks will be happy to give some requisites and kind words. But nobody can live on a pack of tea and good wishes. We need open support for dedicated institutions and structures which support our practice with dignity.

The local bhikkhunis will normally have encyclopedic knowledge of who supports and who doesn’t (and whose actual track record on women doesn’t live up to their public reputation). This is how we survive. You could also just ask the local nuns who they would recommend.

There are many more monks who support bhikkhunis in the West than the ones listed. I would recommend narrowing the field down by country. We have been getting a few “where to ordain” type questions recently, but without knowing your nationality, the scope is too broad.

Support for bhikkhunis as well as spoken English levels are typically higher (but not universal) in Sri Lankan communities in the West than the equivalent Thai or Burmese communities (but there are also Thai and Burmese monks who support). Dharma Vijaya in Los Angeles also comes to mind, where Bhante Piyananda is a long term supporter of bhikkhunis.

Some of the local monk groups may support bhikkhunis, but have unclear records on other issues, or local rather than international reputations. In any case, the large vinaya-based international places with a track record of training candidates are likely to offer the most predictable system. I would also be concerned about getting myself the highest quality monastic education possible under the circumstances. But yes if you can find a bhikkhuni supporting place with good vinaya, please consider it.


Thank you for your detailed answer! I’m unfortunately a ways from ordaining due to some health issues, but when I’m hopefully closer to actually going forth and picking a place, I will definitely on your suggestion reach out to bhikkhunis in the area I’m thinking about to hear their suggestions.


Thank you, Ayya @Suvira. Bows.

@1hullofaguy, I’m solidly in the lay camp now (husband & parent), but if I were considering ordination now (I was a short-term bhikkhu in Burma 20 years ago), I would definitely have this as one of my choice points, partly because I resonate most with the Forest Saṅgha—I live near Abhayagiri, and mostly study in that lineage—and have been very disappointed with the official position of that lineage on the issue.

I know that Bhante Gunaratana has supported Bhikkhunī ordination, so Bhāvanā Society might be one to add to your list.


Love what you said. :smiley:

It’s nice that they are kind and generous, but the pessimistic side of me asks: is it a small ‘act’ of kindness or a real intention to support?

Anyway, apart from Bodhinyana, Newbury Monastery near Melbourne, Victoria, under Buddhist Society of Victoria, has both nuns and monks (some permanent residents and some on rotations from Bodhinyana Monastery).


In Pure Buddhism, there is no discrimination. Buddha is the One, who introduced the concept ‘Democracy’ to the world and discarded all sorts of discriminations, rites, rituals, traditions and unrealistic cultural norms. Although, it is called Theravada, but it is not the True-to-Type Thervada that exists in many parts of the world unfortunately today.
Before the extinction of Human beings on Earth, their moral degradation has to be started at some point and that is what is happening now.
I have a Great Respect to the Three Monasteries mentioned in your article.
However, in Sri Lanka which is a predominantly a Theravada Buddhist country, there are plenty of Monasteries, Bhikkhus and Bhikkhunis who support Bhikkhuni ordination and the Sri Lankan Bhikkhunis are very strong.
Unfortunately, there are some monasteries which follow a specific Thai Buddhist Culture/school, who are still ignorant and fail to see the True Dhamma because they learn from books and follow certain unrealistic traditions adopted by certain hypothetical branches, but who do not realise Dhamma through analysis, investigation and understanding.
Therefore, anyone who is interested in becoming ordained is very welcome at any of those Monasteries in Sri Lanka, where one could find highly learned, intelligent, wise and intellectual monks who understand very well the Dhamma and Buddha’s message to the World.

Thank you Bhikkhuni Suvira for explaining the real situation.
I totally agree with you.
May you be always blessed, protected and guided by the Noble Triple Gem!
Sadhu Sadhu Sadhu!
With Mettha!