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The ordination of bhikkhunīs: from Trojan horse to St. Bernard dog


#21

Well, if one can listen to very robust and vigorous counter argumentation to one’s position and still hold that same position, then obviously it’s going to be far stronger and more solid (compared to circumstances where one blocks one’s ears to dissenting voices). And few things in this world are without their risks or shadow sides. Even if we think something on balance is going to be positive, IMO it’s still worth listening to some cautionary voices also.

The old role of Devil’s Advocate in the Catholic church comes to mind here. If some seemingly holy person was considered for sainthood, then a person would first be appointed to dig up all the dirt and try to find unsavoury aspects of the person in question and relentlessly make the case for why the person shouldn’t be declared a saint. Any positive decision would then obviously be a lot stronger (and sometimes it might turn out the original idea was not actually a good one at all).

There have been some good posts (on both sides). However, IMO there has been rather too much personalization in several of them. I think Ven. Analayo’s and Ajahn Bramali’s counter arguments to the recent Ajahn Thanissaro document are rather strong ones. That’s the core question. Analayo is actually taking rather a relatively conservative approach in working within the framework of the garudhammas. The argument is primarily a legalistic Vinaya one.

Most legal arguments are not black and white. Two sides put forward their most convincing arguments. Often the expected legal judgment of the court cannot be predicted in advance. Experts may hazard a guess as to the probability of success (70%:30%) or whatever. However, it ultimately will depend on the particular random of selection of judges on the day (and their particular individual varying philosophies or idiosyncrasies) to give a concrete decision, which often may as easily go one way or the other. The whole validity of single ordination question is a bit like that except that there won’t be any court to give final certainty (we no longer have the Buddha to ask).

I suppose there are three possibilities here on the pure legal question: single ordination is valid according to the Vinaya; single ordinary is invalid according to the Vinaya; or the validity is simply uncertain. Part of the problem with this argument is that this doesn’t appear to be clear-cut. In purely legal terms, the third option seems most likely to me. Then one has to rely on other non-legal types of arguments, which are a bit more subjective.

Even if validity is uncertain, different people will take different approaches. Some will think: this is good, it’s not explicitly ruled out, so why not just go ahead with this? Others more conservative in inclination will think: just because it’s not explicitly ruled out doesn’t mean it’s ruled in and do the benefits really outweigh the risks? Of course, many will not even agree that the question is uncertain. I find myself siding with the first (Analayo/Brahmali camp) rather than the second more conservative camp in this argument. Still, I think are some concerns worth listening to on the other side also. I also feel rather like @Metaphor that I’m a bit all too new to this (and maybe I’m being way too presumptuous in even commenting at all).


#22

Thank you! Thank you for speaking from the heart. It is obvious that you feel strongly about this. Thank you for your important contribution and the alternative perspective to what is no doubt the majority view here on D&D.

I agree with so much of what you say. I do not wish to create unnecessary conflict and division with more conservative elements of the Buddhist community. It is indeed important to hear each other out and to understand where everyone is coming from and to appreciate their concerns. The last thing I want is a polarisation akin to the political polarisation now found in a number of Western countries. And you are right, one needs to be careful not to be swept up by that toxic current and then imposing it thoughtlessly on one’s own spiritual community, where harmony and mutual understanding is so important. So thank you once again for reminding me and others of these dangers.

I think the ideal way to pursue the ordination of bhikkhunīs is for individual monasteries to act according to what they think is right. This, of course, is largely in line with how the early Sangha was governed. The structure was decentralised and no monastery had authority over any other.

This system has a certian self-preservation built into it. If one monastery goes astray, for instance by no longer adhering to the pātimokkha rules, it is likely to get less support from the lay Buddhists. In this way there is a natural selection, and those who practice well will tend to be the long-term survivors. Instead of hierarchies that tend to corruption, you have a self-selecting system.

I think this is the ideal way to undertake the ordination of bhikkhunīs. Each monastery decides what to do and then those who get it right will be supported. You live with a mutual tolerance of differences and allow things to work themselves out. No-one can predict the outcome beforehand. This might be difficult to achieve, but it is, I think, something we should strive towards.

It is interesting what you say about Buddhism in the West being seen as a development that bodes well for the future of Buddhism. Maybe it does. But it is important to remember that especially the monastic Sangha is still very weak in the West. An educated guess suggests that there are perhaps 200 Western monastics worldwide. This is a very small number. There is a movement in the West that thinks the monastic Sangha is irrelevant and that Buddhism can flourish without it. To me this is delusion, and it goes to show the barriers we still have to overcome. That Buddhism will be properly established in the West is not a foregone conclusion.

This is an important context for the question of bhikkhunī ordination. When Buddhism goes to new lands it has to adapt to the new circumstances, as it has done throughout Buddhist history. To maximise the chances of Buddhism surviving and thriving in the West, the full ordination of women is of paramount importance. Equity in the Sangha will make Buddhism far more attractive. And we need the monastic teachers.

So yes, we are trying to stand back and get that overview. But in doing so we arrive at a very different conclusion from more conservative monastics, such as Ajahn Ṭhānissaro. As I see it, the ordination of bhikkhunīs is at the heart of the very survival of Buddhism. Yes, gender equity is important, but far more important is the big picture. We can at least agree on that, even if we may disagree on the details of how to get there.

I do not wish to antagonise anyone, and certainly not my Dhamma brothers and sisters in any country or culture. I am not so silly as to think that I have had an important role in the revival of bhikkhunī ordination in Theravada. I have tried to do a tiny little bit, but that is all it is. The real pioneers were the farsighted monks from Sri Lanka who spearheaded this movement together with the brave women who were willing to face ostracism for going against the prevailing norms. These people deserve enormous credit for their hard and pioneering work. As for myself, I may never even have thought about the possibility of bhikkhunī ordination if it had not been for them. I am a hanger on, not a leader.

Thank you once again for pointing out the need for balance. It is possible my OP was too polemical. But when I say that female monastics seem to take their training more seriously than their male counterparts, I do not think I am being sexist. I am merely pointing out that the Sangha - like all ancient institutions - tends to atrophy and decline over time. This is just nature, as you too point out. Sometimes a shake-up is required. New people tend to bring a fresh vigour, and it is only natural that they will have a higher standard, at least for a while. This is not sexist, but merely pointing the way such things work.

But you are right. I need to listen better. In fact I am already trying. I get it that it is a vinaya issue. And I respect people who take a stance on vinaya. At the same time I disagree that the vinaya blocks the ordinations of bhikkhunīs. And because I believe most of us are acting in good faith, it is worthwhile having this discussion. This is why I am taking part. Polemics aside, this is what the OP, and especially the papers it refers to, is about.

I really do appreciate your presence here on D&D. You are a good kalyānamitta. We need more people like you. May we continue to discuss controversial topics. And may we do so in a spirit of growth and understanding. Disagreement and harmony: to my mind these are not mutually exclusive.


#23

There have continuously been Mahayana nuns for over two thousand years. I don’t see what the fuss is all about.


#24

Venerable @brahmali; the gain is only mine, that my words did no aggravate you or alienate you from me. And your words stand as a living witness of the benevolence and forbearance which find occasion to exist still in this troublesome world, among those who follow in the Buddha’s Path and who are called his sons, and which is beautifully inspiring for everyone to see.

Anumodana :anjal:


#25

You want to take literally part (“quicker disappearance”) but ignore other parts (500 years, 1000 years) because to take it all literally would mean there is no authentic bhikkhu sangha. Considering the argumentation and ungenerous response which Ajahn Ṭhānissaro represents so well, I am almost persuaded. Fortunately, there are Ajahns and bhikkhus, both articulate and quietly observing, who are neither deeply argumentative and ungenerous. And thus I hope the true Dhamma remains, and can flourish, which I believe was the authentic final intention of the Buddha. It consumed the last energies of his existence. I do not think its effect has yet faded.

You are maligning the reputations of many who have committed to the Renunciate life. Some are women, some are men. This is foolish imo, I suggest you rethink this.

The established working systems have scandals in the news every month. These established systems have established (edit: recently, within the last 100 years, perhaps) high councils which appear to wish to set standards beyond their local sanghas. They also support military juntas in some areas. I understand this is contrary to what is allowed in the vinaya. As a lay woman, this concerns me as perhaps more likely to lead to the inevitable, yes inevitable, fading of Dhamma from this world.

Your “fact” is judgemeal opinion. That is a fact. It seems perhaps unkind, ungenerous, frightened, belligerent, hysterical. Neither manly nor feminine imo - congrats on that, it is imo not bad practice, not a pointless renunciation at all (edit: to avoid identifing with one’s current gender). As a fellow Buddhist, I think such should be recognized and encouraged. Of course, one’s own practice can take many forms, and it is one’s own inate responsibility to choose.

Also not a fact.

And also inaccurate (edit: or at least, incomplete as an accessment). The entire Forest tradition at least initially was a Reformist movement. Did it not make true Dhamma more visible and accessible? I think it did. I don’t think it destroyed institutions or persons or systems; on the contrary, all of those flourish, with improved practice during this Dispensation.

Fairness will never happen (I think). It is a mental fabrication, and imo not a harmless one. And it is not a goal achievable by either ordaining or not ordaining either women or men. The goal of the bhikkhuni revival, as I understand it, is for human lives to practice the Holy Life, as it seems to be the most effective practice leading to liberation from samsara. Should 50-51% of human lives in every generation be denied this? It is difficult to believe such would be the actual intention of the Buddha, who spent 45 years to teach sometimes difficult disciples the Dhamma and the practice.

Life does not stop. Rebirth does not stop, until one achieves liberation. Suck it up, buttercup. :slight_smile: That’s an actual aspect of reality. Clinging to gender privileges will not change that. It will in fact reduce each one’s chances for liberation even during those rare human lifetimes…

Perhaps you are male in this life. (I did not look to see if that info is in your profile. No offense intended.) But unless you achieve liberation in this life (I hope you do), this will not always be so.

Would one not hope to practice in the most effective ways in any human life? For the benefit of one’s own life and many…

Everything which begins, ends. But while there is life, there are possibilities. (edit: Some are excellent and beneficial), because this was established and taught and allowed by the Buddha. :slight_smile: This should lead to equanimity. What doesn’t likely is not a good practice.

It is time I think to renounce non -generosity, discouragement of aspirations to practice, misrepresentation of motivations, efforts, effects. Time to practice what the Buddha gave us, and to encourage each other, as the Buddha taught us.

May all be happy, peaceful, ultimately freed from suffering.

Edit: this post was edited mostly for punctuation including spaces, as it might be some read this via translation tools, but also slightly by addition of some words for clarity.


#26

When the Buddha was around, one knew where to go and who to listen to.

Now, with the proliferation of Dhamma echoes, one is faced with enormous possibilities (often conflicting) within a limited lifetime that will not grow to embrace all those possibilities. We must choose carefully and use what time we have remaining with great care.

Indeed, here at SuttaCentral, I have learned that the Pali Canon is itself an incomplete echo. But it is one that has served me better than the Rinzai Zen canon alone. And perhaps the most significant thing that I have learned here is to seek, know and practice the teaching that is

realizable in this very life, immediately effective, inviting inspection, relevant, so that sensible people can know them for themselves.

:pray:


#27

@karl_lew Yes, it is fadING, but not imo fadeD; my point is, imo, the Dispensation has not ended. As to how long it will last… I do not think anyone living knows. (Perhaps this is obvious, but imo, the 1,000 year “prediction” was either inserted or hyperbole; if not, there are no authentic disciples, ordained or not, in this world.)


#28

Thank you Ajahn @brahmali for clarifying the role of narrative in Vinaya interpretation so clearly!

I’m also glad that Bhikkhu Analayo (finally? I don’t recall him pointing this out earlier) brought up Ajahn Sao and Ajahn Mun in his reply and somehow managed to do so without lowering himself to an ad hominim. Indeed, the Dhamma and Vinaya are our teachers now, not (necessarily) our officiators. Sadhu to you both on your clear-headed replies.

This said, I think part of Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s argument in Trojan Horse is important and has been left unaddressed: namely the issue of methodology and ideology. As was stated above so well:

Nor, indeed, is the definition of “proper.” Secular Buddhists no doubt believe that they are “proper” to their standard. But, for more orthodox Theravadins, “proper” means “in accordance with the Pali Canon” not “in accordance with your culture’s values.”

And this, I think, is Ajahn Thanissaro’s frustration, and the reason he is calling the issue a Trojan Horse. He feels (understandably, though perhaps innacurately) that the pro-Bhikkhuni scholars have been working backwards from a forgone conclusion. Having decided for political and cultural reasons that Bhikkhuni ordinations are valid, those Vinaya scholars will twist and distort the Vinaya any way they can to make it say what they want it to. And this is a problem, because then it’s cultural and poltical factors that are guiding the Sangha and not the Vinaya. In short, he’s claiming that this style of scholarship is dangerous.

This is a serious and impersonal claim and is worth responding to.

There are two basic ways to reply to this, depending on whether or not you would break the Vinaya in order to ordain Bhikkhunis.

If you would stick to the Vinaya no matter what, one could respond by saying that legal issues are always best thought through combatively: with two sides debating and attempting to twist the law in their own favor and seeing which way(s) the law bends. If you genuinely feel this is the correct way for legal issues in the Sangha to be thought through, then a letter thanking Ajahn Geoff for playing the Devil’s Advocate would be in order.

It can’t be a fun job to argue against something so obviously good as the validity of the Bhikkhuni ordinations, but it helps the Sangha stay true to the Vinaya to have someone willing to put up a good fight for the Devil. “Thank you Ajahn Geoff for doing this unpopular but necessary bit of role play.” (See how this gives him a way of saving face?)

The other extreme is to openly espouse the view that the Dhamma is superior to the Vinaya. “The Vinaya rarely contradicts the Dhamma, but when it does, always choose the Dhamma.” Personally, I thought that a beautiful and inspiring teaching. There are times when we really can trust our conscience more than words.

In this case, the response to Thanissaro Bhikkhu is to apologize for arguing on “bad faith”. “However, the ethical clarity of acknowledging the validity and dignity of those women who have already ordained, far outweighs the Vinaya even if the Vinaya were explicit in forbidding it (which, of course, it is not).”

These two approaches, of course, can coexist. Perhaps there is some degree of clarity for which you would concede that the Vinaya should outweigh your moral impulse. And perhaps there is a degree of ambiguity for which Thanissaro Bhikkhu could be willing to agree that the Vinaya isn’t clear on the matter (and thus it should be left to each community to interpret, as he is willing to concede in BMC on many such points). Then the discussion can turn to the question of where that line is. How do we (in general, in a principled way) trade off moral and textual clarity when they conflict?

There are several ways in which one could respond constructively to the essence of “Trojan Horse”. Ajahn Geoff brings up a good point that our methods of Vinaya scholarship have been unclear and problematic, and the Sangha would be healthier for us addressing that, and not simply dismissing it as an ad hominim.

What do you think?


#29

Indeed, those are two possible approaches to ordaining bhikkhunīs. But there is also a third approach, which involves ordaining bhikkhunīs in the existing Dharmaguptaka tradition, the one found in East Asia, and then the bhikkhunīs choosing to “convert” to Theravada. This conversion could involve a further ordination, a so-called dalhī-kamma (a “strengthening procedure”). Whether this latter method would work depends on whether the ordination procedure on the Dharmaguptaka side was considered valid by the Theravadins. At the very least the procedure would have to be done according to the standards of the Dharmaguptaka vinaya.

It was this third approach that was used in 1998 when a large number of bhikkhunī were ordained at Bodh Gaya. The Theravada bhikkhunīs-to-be were first ordained through a dual ordination by bhikṣus and bhikṣuṇis from Taiwan. They were then given a second ordination by Theravada bhikkhus. This procedure had the advantage of in effect combining two of the above approaches. If the dual ordination was considered valid, then the latter ordination by bhikkhus only was merely a strengthening to induce the bhikkhunīs into the Theravada tradition. If the dual ordination was considered invalid, then the latter could be considered an ordination in its own right.

To me, either of these two approaches is fine. For most Theravada monastics, however, the dual ordination in the Dharmaguptaka tradition would be problematic. This is so because the requirements for a legal ordination are not exactly the same in the two traditions. The differences revolve around such arcane topics as how a sīmā, a monastery boundary, is established, and how the ordination legal procedure is phrased and in which language. For my part, as long as the Dharmaguptaka monastics follow their own legal requirements, then I would consider the ordination valid. But I am afraid this is likely to be a minority view within Theravada.

Still, both the above approaches are preferable to disregarding the vinaya altogether. Only if it is decided once and for all that the Theravada vinaya does not allow for the ordination of bhikkhunīs would we even have to consider whether disregarding the vinaya is acceptable. I have my doubts. It is likely that those bhikkhunīs would become pariahs and would never be accepted by Theravada Buddhism. In effect we would not have been able to introduce bhikkhunīs to Theravada at all, but rather created a new school of Buddhism. Not only that but the monks who performed such an ordination might find themselves excluded from the rest of Theravada. I fear such an approach would cause too much trouble and division. It would be much better, I think, for women to ordain as Dharmaguptaka bhikkhunīs and then practice as Theravadins. They might never become fully accepted by the Theravadin establishment, but at least we would avoid a serious split in the Sangha.

So it seems to me that it is worthwhile to continue to make the argument that bhikkhunīs can be ordained within Theravada as the vinaya stands. I believe the argument is quite strong and I doubt there will be any way of finally refuting it. If it ever were refuted - and I really can’t see this happen - then we would have to consider our options once again. But let’s cross that bridge when we get to it. In the meantime the Theravada bhikkhunīs are thriving. As far as I can see, there is no turning back. The whole debate is becoming more and more academic.


#30

I completely agree. We’ve basically won. What I’m talking about is how to be a gracious victor.

There is a rift in the Sangha now, with Thanissaro Bhikkhu painted as the bad guy. Despite his stubbornness, I don’t believe Ajahn Geoff is doing this because he’s a misogynist. I believe that he’s genuinely scared of the liberalization of the Vinaya.

Reaching out to him in a friendly way that acknowledges his fear as valid (even if incorrect in this instance) and gives him a way of saving face could go far in healing that rift in the Western Sangha.

The Bhikkhunis will be fine either way, it’s Thanissaro I’m worried about.


#31

Yes, I agree. It’s good to reach out to people and bridge our divisions. I suspect, however, that Ajahn Ṭhānissaro’s main worry is not so much the liberalisation of the vinaya, but rather the detrimental effect the ordination of bhikkhunīs will have on the survival of the Dhamma. In other words, even if there were no vinaya issue, I believe he would still be opposed to it. He thinks the ordination of bhikkhunīs will hasten the decline of Buddhism regardless. That’s how I read The Trojan Horse.

So quite aside from the vinaya issue, I think there is a fundamental disagreement of what will be for the benefit of Buddhism. I don’t think Ajahn Ṭhānissaro is interested in face saving. It seems to me, rather, that he regards himself as a protector of Buddhism, and as such compromise is not really on the agenda. So while I agree that reaching out is always good, I do not think it will have much effect on our respective positions.

Let’s see what happens. Venerable Anālayo has already tried to reach out to Ajahn Ṭhānissaro through his two open letters. His first letter was especially conciliatory, but judging from The Trojan Horse Ajahn Ṭhānissaro is not willing to respond in kind. But new openings may appear. I will certainly keep it in mind. We should always try to strive for harmony.


#32

That’s not how I read his argument. I thought it was a slippery slope argument. He thinks authentic Buddhism is defined and preserved by its strict, conservative legalism and disciplinary code, and that if people give themselves permission to depart from the strict letter of the code, even in the places where the code seems iffy and pointless, that will open a crack in the defenses through which all kinds of other innovations will come flooding in.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe he thinks the problem is women themselves, and women will somehow swamp and destroy Buddhist monasticism. But since they didn’t destroy it for the first 1500 years, I don’t know why he would think this time is different. I think he is more motivated by the idea of rigor for its own sake, along with a conviction that males cannot properly train females.

Theravada Buddhism seems to some extent to define itself by its disciplinary conservatism. The story of the Buddha giving the sangha permission to eliminate the minor rules, followed by the sangha’s voluntary decision to adhere to all of the rules, is recited as a kind of Theravada foundation myth, as a tradition of the authentic Elders who voluntarily chose to err on the side of absolute rigor.


#33

The legal argument is just too ambiguous. It’s hard for me to avoid the conclusion that there are deeper issues at stake. I believe these issues are amply on display in Ajahn Ṭhānissaro’s various papers on the topic. Let me just quote one of his statements:

One of the central issues I raised in OBU was that, given the demise of the Theravāda Bhikkhunī Saṅgha, there is no one to train new bhikkhunīs. For the full details of my position, see the discussion there. In a nutshell, the argument is this: Because the purpose of ordination is to provide training from a qualified teacher, and because there are no qualified bhikkhunī teachers, this problem renders meaningless any attempt to revive bhikkhunī ordination. And not only meaningless: It’s also uncompassionate, placing senior bhikkhunīs in a role they are not qualified to fill, placing junior bhikkhunīs in a position where they are absorbing the examples set by unqualified teachers, and subjecting the world to teachers who create a false impression of how a true bhikkhunī should embody the Dhamma and Vinaya in word and deed.

Here it is the consequences of ordaining the bhikkhunīs that he is concerned about. These consequences - lack of training, etc. - would be the same whether one regards the ordination as valid or not.


#34

I’ve been thinking a lot about this. I believe someone here made the point that Ajahn Ṭhānissaro’s kind of fundamentalism is what has helped keep the texts mostly intact for over 2,500 years. For the continued preservation of the Buddha’s teachings, it’s essential that no changes—or additional changes—be made to the texts. With that said, we can’t lose sight of logic or compassion. It just doesn’t make sense to deny women the opportunity to ordain. If someone wants to practice or ordain, we should find a way for them to do so, and support them.


#35

A thought - totally oblique to this debate:

Regarding the decline of the dispensation.
.

Soon there will be no more rhinoceros’ on earth :rhinoceros: :expressionless:
.

All that can be done is for all beings to practice as completely and diligently as possible… don’t turn anyone away, from the opportunity to do so…

Gratitude and Respect to those who strive to give the females of the species this opportunity

:anjal::anjal::anjal:


#36

I don’t think it’s oblique. It’s obviously a sign of looming apocalypse by fire, water, and wind.

:upside_down_face:


#37

:expressionless: icon is supposed to be “expressionless” !

:rofl:


#38

Dear Dhamma Friends,

As mentioned by Ajahn Brahmali, the Bhikkhunis are here to stay. What is remaining is to make sure that the arguments about the rights & wrongs of the decision to ordain Bhikkhunis do not lead to the unhappiness of the people involved, both for & against. Let the Past be Past! Stay in the present moment & support the Bhikkhunis!!

If we use somewhat similar questions that the Lord Buddha asked the Kālāmas, in the Kesamutti Sutta (AN3:65) & use that Blueprint, we could ask ourselves the following questions:

  • When women are practising as Bhikkunis wouldn’t that help create more conducive conditions for them to tread the Path to Nibbana?
  • When the female monastics practise the Dhamma well, within a more conducive environment, wouldn’t that help them reduce their greed, hatred & delusion?
  • When there are more fully ordained monastics, both male & female, practising in the right way, practising the True Dhamma happily, wouldn’t that be for the welfare & benefit of the whole world?

To my way of thinking, a true practitioner of the True Dhamma would almost invariably answer all three questions in the positive/ affirmative manner.

May all beings be happy, well & peaceful! May the year 2019 be a happy year to all beings!

With Metta to all beings,

Upasako


#39

No, if you read the sutta, you’ll see “disappearance of pure Dhamma”, and pure Dhamma does not exist anymore.

This malingning is what exaclty, stating their support for feminism and social justice? To describe someone as a feminist = malign someone?

I wasn’t talking about Buddhism, as it it little touched yet, I was talking in a broader context.

Seems to you, it seems. :slight_smile:

Again, I am not talking strictly about Buddhism, and about the past, and about reformists in general. I am talking about SJWs, current time, other scopes and examples.

It is declared so, but often crosses into the political sphere, where it becomes another SJW movement.

So you can’t practice the most effective way without an orange robe? Interesting.

Yes; equanimity is not equality.

Again, I myself don’t see any issue in women’s ordination, there’s none, actually. After all there is a legit branch, for those who require legislation over common sense. Where I do see the issue is when, together with the quest to ordain women in Theravada, the “unfairness” of Vinaya is brought up, because suddenly it appears that when ordination is allowed, still there are barriers for the real practice (like bowing down to a male monk)… There will always be what to fight for (in terms of change). Preserving the texts alone is not enough, they’re dead as being just texts. There should be practice and practitioners, and the very first stage of the practice is morality and discipline.

Here’s a nice speech by Alan Watts about do-gooders which is pretty relevant.


#40

From a contemporary lay perspective, the bowing down to a male monk easily strikes one as absurd. Should a robed monk walk about with genitals displayed so that bowing down might be more easily determined and accomplished in a large community with unfamiliar monastics? Indeed, I am going blind, so should I first reach out to ascertain gender if I were a blind bhikkunni? A quick firm squeeze :woozy_face: would certainly elicit the proper feedback to bow.

Or how about the offense of shaving armpits? What on earth is the difference between a shaved head and a shaved armpit? They both breed bacteria and shaving eliminates that concern. And if we’re concerned about “not killing the hair flora and fauna”, then let the scalp hair grow. This one is quite puzzling as well.

Although I find many good rules in the Vinaya, I simply cannot fathom other rules. Therefore I look forward to studying the forthcoming translations and origin studies of the Vinaya. I am certain that wisdom will emerge from that study.