The story of wise Bhikkhunis in California

During our recent visit to a nuns’ monastery in California, we met some inspiring nuns and heard inspiring stories .

We’ve heard of how a skilful bhikkhuni has been conducting herself in such a wise and humble way that now all monks but one in the Californian area have accepted the Bhikkhuni Sangha as their fellow monastics and treated them with respect.

When we visited a monks’ monastery in northern California, we frankly asked the abbot: “Do you support bhikkhunis?” :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:. Not one bit offended by this blunt question, he kindly and calmly responded: “Yes, we do, and the nuns come here from time to time.”

We’re well aware that bhikkhunis still have a long way to go to be generally accepted as equals to bhikkhus. BUT change is happening in a positive way by those skilful and wise pioneer bhikkhunis.

We don’t have much knowledge about the dhamma but we do have faith in the “cause and effect.” If we keep on putting in skilful efforts, it will be a cause for a wholesome consequence.

Like that wise nun we met in California. Despite all the difficulties she has had to endure, she has been keeping a beautiful heart and diligently following what the Buddha taught: maintaining skilful and wholesome conduct all the time. It takes time to win a defiled heart, but she has won with much grace.

The bhikkhuni wisely said: “A bhikkhu or bhikkhuni should conduct themselves in such a way that it will create or increase confidence in the lay people, not the opposite.”

Her words remind me of the teaching of a very wise monk:

“Monks, you’re not entitled to respect and support. You must earn it.”


Thank you for sharing your experience. Nuns, both during the time of the Buddha and during our modern age, are reputed to be of a resilient species! :grin: Those who make it need to do much more than average monks! That is why stories of bhikkhunis are always inspiring!

Our current-aeon world seems to see more of patriarchal societies than those that women rule. Sadly, that is our reality. Nonetheless, not only do we see inspiring women who succeed against all odds but we have also seen compassionate activists whose aim is to make the world a better place for all.

Our Buddha was a true human rights activist who treated all humans with equal kindness and gave everyone, despite their social class or gender, equal opportunities to advance on their spiritual journey.

When it comes to ‘fight for rights’, I, for no apparent reason, think of what my favourite poet said:

“The quality of mercy is not strained.

It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven

Upon the place beneath. It is twice blessed:

It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.”

Mercy or kindness or generosity cannot be demanded. It must be freely given. And then, it will bless both the giver and the recipient.

How can such generosity happen?

When one is inspired. When one is motivated in a positive way. The bhikkhunis that you met are inspiring. They have conducted themselves so skilfully well that they have earned real respect and sustainable support.

Sadhu! :bowing_woman: