Relative ranking of the homeless ones

There’s many homeless ones in the current scene of the Buddha’s community of disciples.

There’s the 5 in the sutta/vinaya. Bhikkhu, Bhikkhuni, sikkhamāna, sāmaṇera, sāmaṇerī.

Then add in the Mahāyāna lineage for good measure. We got 10 so far.

Then the more unofficial ones: Sayalay for ladies in Myanmar, Mae chee for ladies in Thailand, and postulants/anagārika (white robes, bowl, 10 or 8 precepts) for those who doesn’t believe in sāmaṇera for adults.

If they all come to visit your monastery and you’re the most senior monk there, how would you arrange for seniority for taking the buffet food which is enough food only for one line?

My initial proposal as in the link is as follows:

Theravada Bhikkhu,
Mahāyāna Bhikkhu,
Theravada Bhikkhuni,
Mahāyāna Bhikkhuni,
Theravada Sikkhamāna,
Mahāyāna Sikkhamāna,
Theravada Sāmaṇera,
Mahāyāna Sāmaṇera,
Theravada Sāmaṇerī,
Mahāyāna Sāmaṇerī,
Male postulants/anagārika,
Sayalay/Mae Chee.

This is the cause for most of the fighting at Pa-auk: Who gets food first.

Mahayana bhikshunis: “We are a real existing linage”
Sayalays: “We are Theravada and bhikkhunis are made up”
“Modern Bhikkhunis”: We are ordained in pali and sayalay is made up. Mahayana is not pali.

It is a big problem. For now, the “Modern Bhikkhunis” are forced to wear sayalay robes and get their food in that order that they have. I cannot remember what Mahayana does, but I think they go first.

Do you really think that the modern day bhikkhunis are Theravada?
Because Theravada means “classical theravada”, it would not count.

I think they should be referred to as “Modern Bhikkhunis” to represent their linage (whatever that means too).
I think we need to normalize terms… Mahayana bhikkhuni is not correct. They are mahayana bhikshunis.

1 Like

Well, those who practise in the Theravada tradition anyway, widely speaking.

I am not familiar with the methods they use to revive Theravada Bhikkhuni. I know of the one involving Fo Guang Shan, Mahāyāna Bhikshunis in Sri lanka on 1990s+.

Are there any of them which is purely by Bhikkhus only?

You and like many others are confused about what Theravāda is.
Theravāda is classical Theravāda. It includes all of the mula, commentaries, subcommentaries and ehem… also abhidhamma (which for some reason I need to mention separately because you don’t understand the term Theravāda and you also hang out in wrong groups).

“They” are more closely aligned with suttavadins and mahayana, but it is also just a “modern pick and choose” what you want to follow modern sect.

Ven Aggacitta wrote an article called “Why you pick shoo me?” which denied the existence of “modern day bhikkhunis” as a legal linage.
a more descriptive article would be called
“Why Pick-choose-me rules?”

They seem to change the focus on garudhamma and food, but there is much more than that.

I hope you are aware that they break sanghadisesa on a daily basis when “they” sleep alone or they travel alone. They might even disregard some of the overly strict pārājika rules.

Ask a nun about this online. See what she says. She will tell you to buzz off but it will come out as “I only tell my teacher”. When you see a “modern day bhikkhuni” in person… try to see what happens when you ask her in person. I’d like to know what is done then.

Please note that I’m supportive a “created” linage that has more than 10 rules. I think bhikkhuni2.0 can be made… I’m all supportive of that as long as the name is clear that it is not original bhikkhuni until mahasangha votes on this.

1 Like

Well, I usually say doctrine wise it’s EBT, but vinaya lineage wise, we are Theravada, but I cannot say it for the Bhikkhunis as I am not well versed at a legal way to revive them that will satisfy the vinaya experts.

What’s your proposed legal way of reviving the Bhikkhunis?

I also do think that since they had gone through all these trouble of reviving, it really is more imperative that they observe the precepts even better as being appreciative of the chance to live the Bhikkhuni lifestyle.

I see Bhikkhuni Sumangala in Malaysia at least seems very vinaya conscious. I cannot say for other Bhukkhuni and I don’t dare to meddle with their issue in Sutta central, least I be labeled an anti-feminist, just because I cast doubt.

Before you say someone is serious about vinaya… learn about sanghadisesa for bhikkhunis. In particular, travel alone and sleeping alone. “Not alone” means another full bhikkhuni.

I don’t have a plan for reviving. My plan is to make bhikkhuni2.0 and call it that, or some other name. Remove the rules that are over-bearing and leave the rest.

1 Like

ah thanks for the article, I have read it now. I understand my preceptor’s position now. Indeed, now that I reflect on it, many Bhikkhuni rules are really restrictive for current women.

The legal way of spontaneous sex change is of course undisputed. A Dhammapada story even gave the how. I am not keen on it.

I thought not being alone means can just get a lay female to always travel with her, it must be another Bhikkhuni?

Ok, you answered.

They already did it right? In the article I see there’s one with 120 rules.

yes… you mean amaravati. Yes… they did and the whole bhikkhuni movement destroyed what they had there. It is pretty depressing for those nuns now… those one or two who remained.

1 Like

Why would it be affected by the Bhikkhuni issue?

Competition for people?

Say like the OP list I made above, Bhikkhuni would rank much higher than any modern created alternatives, so people are chasing after the rank despite the more humbling rules?

Yes, there was a rush on ordination where seniority of nuns would be honored for the order they ordained as " Modern-bhikkhunis". But those who stayed as 120 precepts would always be lower after that.

It was a “do or die” situation. Some had remorse and disrobed on the “modern-bhikkhuni” side as well as the 120 rule nun side a split in harmony was created. It destroyed the base what had been built up over years and since disrobing is common, the base became very small. It still has not really recovered.

Ajahn Sumedho gave ovada against this whole thing and the purpose to ordain. I forget the details.

It is best to ask a monk in England about this.

This is one of several reasons why I don’t like "modern - bhikkhuni ".

  • Lack of respect for sanghadisesa rules is the biggest reason.
  • Lack of respect to the garudhamma
  • Lack of respect for the elder’s judgements until a decision could be done at a sangha council meeting.

“Lack of respect” is one theme.


Also, I think if the rules were forced to be followed (required), then there would be less “modern-bhikkhuni” who ordained. In fact, this is mentioned in Ajahn Sujato’s bhikkhuni vinaya book.

He has a whole section that tries to disqualify these (heavy) rules from validity. If you really read carefully, he does not do a good job, nor does he directly say it is not valid. If he did, this would be a very serious thing and he probably knows it too. That is my guess why he wrote the way he did. He implies it is invalid and lets the bhikkhunis make their own decision.

Remember that a bhikkhuni cannot sleep alone without another bhikkhuni.
Remember that a bhikkhuni cannot travel alone without another bhikkhuni

You can skim through the 25 pages of this chapter here:

1 Like