Please Stop!


True, though we are not often contacted by 8/10 precept nuns :thinking:. Haha, an Alliance of Alliances would be great! Or we could create a Facebook for Nuns: Nunbook. :sunglasses: But really, though, it would be great to find ways of connecting nuns to one another.


@brenna, wasn’t there a directory project at AfB 2 or 3 years ago? I remember briefly volunteering to collate a few existing lists as a baseline. Or is @mat asking for something even more comprehensive?


Yes, we have a directory of bhikkhuni monasteries which includes viharas where there are only one or two nuns. :slight_smile: Which reminds me that I need to work on my map:thinking:.


I am not sure of the rules etc and cannot offer much more than food, lodging and some transport as I am caring for my parents and am not working anymore but I am more than willing to offer that to any Nun’s that may need accommodation, although I am not sure if a Nun is allowed to stay in the house of a male layperson. Having said that if there are any Nuns who need somewhere to stay in Cairns, Far North Qld, let me know, I’ll be happy to help out.


This is a site I was playing around with a couple of months ago but never found a use for it. This takes you to the registration page to show how the membership process would work since it would be a members only site.
If anyone is uncomfortable providing an email (I won’t save them or use them for any purpose), I will set up a fake account and send you the info.

This is just a test site on the server I’m using, so there certainly may be some glitches. If anyone is interested, I could set things up or copy the site to someone else’s server. I know @Brenna was just joking but I had it sitting around so I thought I would offer it. If it’s a silly idea, that’s ok too :grinning:


Fantastic nunbook site - easy- have just registered :slight_smile:

I suppose you need to actually nut out a ‘purpose/statetment’ about who it’s for etc etc before it can be disseminated as a registration tool


Yes, it’s just the basic framework right now. Once on the site, you can click on “Activities” at the top of the page to get the equivalent of a facebook “home” page. You can also send and accept friend requests to see other users messages.

After that you will see your “friends” on the right side along with who is online among your friends.


Thanks! I sent you a “friend request” via the Sample Nun account so you can see how it works.


I’m afraid in order to “stop” it should first be established whether a revived Bhikkhuni order in Theravada and Vajrayana (where the lineages broke) is a legitimate organization. Without this being unequivocally proven, there’s no reason whatsoever for critics to stop, and they actually do have a point, and compassion has little to do with it. Because you know, if the organization is “illegitimate”, then it is no different, technically, from any self-proclaimed sect. Please get me right, I’m not against women ordination in these traditions per se (why would I be?), but in the end there are only two possibilities: either it is legitimate (in the scope of respective traditions), or not. In the first case, even if traditional sanghas frown upon revived bhikkhuni sangha, it’s basically their problem, and if presented with facts, they eventually will have to accept it. In the second case, it’s the problem of those wanting to be ordained. The “problem” of these or those here is not only in mundane point of view, but also considering kammic effects.
This issue, of course, is separate from individuals themselves adhering to Dhamma to this or that degree. Even a layperson can get serious fruits of the Path. And a bhikkhuni, that lives by Dhamma, “legitimate” or not, is a great gift to the world. The same is any man or woman who does not have a robe, but lives by Dhamma, actually.

Thank you for joining the conversation. For this life, the proof is done, the legitamacy is there. Please, keep hold of your questions as long as they serve you, for study, for meditation, for equanimity, for perhaps souls are at stake, and compassion requires your study.

May all beings achieve liberation.

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That’s one of the very few things about the bhikkhuni order that frustrate me: so many Dhamma talks given by nuns and online discussions they participate in revolve around the legitimacy of bhikkhuni ordination that it kind of defeats the purpose of becoming a nun in the first place. It is certainly not their fault that they have to talk so much about them being legitimate Buddhist monastics, as you pointed out in your comment, but at the same time, the preponderance of these discussions and gender issues in general when it comes to Buddhist nuns is a double-edged sword.

I as a layman don’t feel like I am progressing spiritually from reading or taking part in bhikkhuni ordination discussions for the umpteenth time, and I think this is also true for the nuns themselves. Because, you know, it is hard to make spiritual progress or give spiritual advice without accommodation, food, or means to obtain food, or if some people believe you to be a fraud nun. This goes against the tacit agreement existing between the Sangha and layfolk: the former enjoys material support by the latter, and the latter enjoys spiritual support by the former. For the nuns to break this vicious circles of not being able to give us adequate spiritual advice and thus not getting even basic material support from us, laypeople should just give them a hand. We should ignore the stupid bickering over whether or not bhikkhuni ordination is legitimate and just offer them our help, no matter how little it may be.

This is why I think Ayya’s essay is important. We are all tired of this ‘illegitimate-or-not’ malarkey, we all want the real thing. The nuns want some basic material support that would guarantee they could stay nuns, recognition or non-recognition by other communities be damned. The laypeople want spiritual guidance and advice that doesn’t revolve around legitimizing the figure of the spiritual guide herself, recognition or non-recognition by other communities be damned. So let’s just stop.


Thank you for your thought provoking message. :slight_smile:

As Thailand is a mature country, one i find lovely, full of Dhamma practice, i am going to offer it as an example for some things. Please know these are for the purpose of benefiting both of us, and harm to none.

The Thai Sangha has claimed authority without taking responsibility for all Theravada Forest - y Buddhists. This is not a critism, it is seeing it like it is. How could any smaller group effectively teach and counsel and all, for everyone?

What bothers me more is those who do not take, or support those tesponsible taking, responsibility for the assaults in 1928 in Thailand. Nor to my knowledge has timely response to condemn arson in the last year or so, been offered. That might still be timely, and might still be in the works; i do not know and i hope those best suited have it in their care.

Yes. Or if people misrepresent the Buddha, it is hard to make progress. Thus, are the best monastics very careful, humble, avoiding group think or any foolishness.

I suspect many raised in Buddhist countries are bewildered by some Western reactions to what appear to be well intentioned actions. I have seen and experienced bewilderment and pain in reaction to the range of Buddhist monastic activities in Asia; some are difficult, some are impossible for this life to understand. Monastics urging nationalism. Monastics breaking vows yet still presenting as monks. Monastics excusing violence or suggesting 1 that human beings are not human beings and 2 advocating violent, unrelenting conflict with human beings as if this could help Buddhists or Buddhism, as if this does not damage themselves and every living being in this world.

I rely on the Dhamma, on the Buddha, on the Sangha which is Noble, not in that order, as i would hope every Buddhist does.

I suggest - if a topic is difficult for us lay, we should avoid it, rather than take sides. But of course this is difficult to do… like many practices.

With respect, metta for us both, thank you again for this conversation. Reading your email again. :slight_smile:

edit. I thought i was replying to email. But i can live with it, knowing others might be… surprised? Metta all around.

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This is very true. True legitimacy IMO will not come in the near future. Let’s say that, in the unlikely event, all those monks who oppose Bhikkhuni ordination, one day accept it, then it will go on record as something very monumental. But it will still be recalled say in 1000 years as something which was done arbitrarily by the monk community and as something not directly done by the Buddha. My point is that this restoring the lineage idea, however well it is done, will be less than normal.
Fortunately though, the Dhamma is still available in its pristine purity. What one needs to do is practice it wholeheartedly. After all layman, laywoman, monk and nun are all conventions. Out of all those robed and ordained monks who oppose Bhikkhuni ordination, how many follow the Dhamma in its true form let alone achieving any stage such as Satapanna.?. The answer is hardly any. In fact the mere reason why they oppose such recognition is their own lack of Dhamma knowledge. The Buddha has never said that if lineage gets broken sometime in the future then no women can practice his teaching as a Bhikkhuni from that point onward.
I think as the Buddha himself said that ignorance is the cause of Dukkha, this is also a drama the so called ordained monks exhibit out of ignorance. Therefore, everyone in spite of their gender should endeavor to practice Dhamma without getting bogged down in finding perfection in things which are only superficial.
Having said that, I wholeheartedly support a revival of Bhikkhuni ordination and pray that all obstacles in that path be cleared in the nearest possible future.
With Metta


Would we have the same discussion the other way round? If for some weird historical reason the male lineage was cut in one sect, relying only on bhikkhunis, and then bhikkhus wanted to re-establish themselves - would people really ask if that would be ‘legitimate’?


Dear Venerable

As a lay Buddhist I felt deeply about the situation you reveal in this piece. As a Western Buddhist, and like so many others at this otherwise exciting time for Buddhism’s growth in the West, I have thought about the role of women generally in 21st-century Buddhism and wondered about the role (or is it plight?) of nuns. Even the terms “role” and “place” seem limiting insofar as it cannot be a situation where the role and place of lay and ordained women is determined by a male-dominated Sangha alone. As a suggestion (and my apologies if such measures have already been undertaken) perhaps there needs to be a series of Councils convened by a combination of lay and ordained Buddhists of equal gender, across the traditions, with sufficient power to recommend changes. I know from experience across more than 20 years involvement with a number of Buddhist organisations in Australia that cultural issues also play a part which can confound newcomers at first and I am sufficiently aware of sensibilities to know that those issues need to be approached with compassion and loving-kindness, but change must take place. I applaud your heartfelt comments Venerable and I am gladdened to feel that I am part, as a layperson, of a Dhamma that is dynamic enough to allow its own growth.


Oh I am sure they would. People love this stuff, arguing and proving points. :slight_smile: Besides, matriarchy is by no means more benign than patriarchy.

Ironically enough, the whole story of West trying to enforce its “undoubtedly correct way of doing things” onto other parts of the worlds and cultures seems to be a repeat of what happened in the past, where the West was performing the same thing, but with the Cross and trade ships (today it’s gender/equality/democracy questions and economic models). It just can’t get without making the whole world work its way, can it? :wink:


Sorry, I don’t think they would in Asia. Anyway, it’s hypothetical and a matter of opinion.

Haha, yes, “the West knows the Best”. But by no means it’s that simple. The actual social revolution in India happened before the Buddha - even if some Buddhist scholars think that the Buddha was the big social reformer. In the Upanisads we already have a very different position of women (and the ksatriya) in spirituality, being teachers themselves, pursuing the union with atman/brahman on equal footing as men.

Also the Niganthas/Jains (slightly older than Buddhism) have a more distinct tradition of women, both lay and monastic. Additionally we have reports of 3rd century BC Greek historians who report that in some areas girls and women were equally spiritually educated as men.

Lastly the comparative textual work of B. Analayo shows how there was more gender equality in older layers of the texts.

So yes, the Western discourse has a strong emphasis on topics like gender equality and democracy. But it is able to connect to social aspects of spiritual revolutions of the Indian past that were later covered again by social conservatist movements.

The question is justified - is the Sangha a spiritual institution or a social one? As much as I wished it was a spiritual one, it’s (in total) very much a social institution with a social purpose. Which is a shame for those individuals looking for the ideal environment to dedicate themselves totally to spiritual development.


The agreement was with a 4 fold sangha. Thank for for provoking some clarity with this lay life.

Why when there is talk of gender, is it often thought to be talk by about for women?
Men having gender privileges cling to maleness as if their reality depends on it, and perhaps it does.

But this is not what Buddha Dhamma Sangha teaches.

In squelching the 4 fold sangha, men chain themselves to their own detriment. Not only do they block each other, mislead each other, misteach each other, they try to put unceasing obstruction in the path of many. But these obstacles which rise will cease.

So. I guess I must leave you to your selves.

Metta. Looking forward to liberation.

edit: here is a bank of qualifiers. Take “some” or “” sometimes" as it is, or as you see it; after all, what could happen if you are wrong? :slight_smile: Lay, resolving own practice, as each does.


Dharmacorps, I very much agree.

I think that stronger support in monastic development and Dhamma care for women renunciates and, particularly for those on the still emerging Bhikkhuni Sangha path, would keep more good practitioners in robes. Ardent practice is a personal thing that is what brings us to the goal, but as unenlightened monastics that ardent practice needs to be given wise guidance, mirrors to reflect the practice and, day-to-day care. Yes, we make of ourselves an island. But to not drown on the way, we need care to come from the community. The support must be both from within the monastic Sangha and within the wider Buddhist community.

In this particular reply, except for the noting of the need for requisites, I am highlighting what could be developed within the Sangha, amongst the Bhikkhunis for their Sangha care and growth. I state it here to own that there is internal work amongst the monastics to be done. I think we are aware of this and various monasteries and alliances and, yes, even Facebook groups, are having some discussion on this. I don’t think the Sangha is complacent with what has been achieved, just tired. It is aware that more can be done. Finding the balance and inter-relationship of surviving as a monastic or monastery on the basic requisite level, nurturing one’s spiritual growth and the growth of those directly in front of one, and developing the social, physical and technical infrastructure to grow the monastic container, is not an easy practice. It will take time.


  1. a primary teacher and at least one strong mentor other than the teacher,
  2. an established community where the container of monastic life isn’t shaky in its support structure both for requisites and monastic development, and
  3. monastic peers who are learning and practicing at roughly the same stage of ordination and with similar monastic disciplines,

are three things I think would help us not lose so many good monastics with hearts directed to liberation and service.

I, personally, am very grateful to have senior monastics over ten years as Bhikkhunis within my residential community and also those very kindly willing to mentor my monastic development through email and Voice-Over-IP. I wouldn’t have made it to Bhikkhuni ordination without that care. I very much missed not having direct monastic siblings who were in the same environment and who could be friends in the journey, but found blessing in touching paths with visiting monastics, brief conversations at wider Sangha events and occasional Facebook chats or emails with other Samaneris.

I also am benefiting from the progress with the creation of a places for monastic training and development. Building this structure of care as part of the monastic container is what we are in the early days of doing for Bhikkhunis and those who aspire to become Bhikkhunis. And yes, I also realize not all Bhihhkus get this container and think it is part of their disrobal rate as well.

The Buddha equated leaving the robes with death in several places in the Vinaya. (For clarity - I mean the death of the monastic life form, not of the person.) All beings subsist on nutriment and nourishing monastics matters, or like a small child, they will fail to thrive and will die.

It is good to have this forum and I hope here and in the, hopefully, growing means for monastics to communicate and support one another, we will see over time, not only the development of the support system, but also the enlightened results.


This sounds like a wonderful start and I for one would be willing to help. I was part of the lay side of an effort many years ago to help integrate nuns into a monastic order, and – despite the best intentions – it ended up a muddle after years of butting (bald) heads and the nuns went elsewhere to support themselves. Is Plum Village a co-ed success because of Thay or because of the longer run of nuns in Mahayana? The ongoing strictures of traditional Theravadan views seem endlessly complicating.