In this Issue:
- A Sakyadhita event in Perth – finally a chance to get together.
- A ground-breaking ordination in Bhutan
- Wat Buddha Dhamma – its historic role supporting women in Buddhism
- Ayya Vayama - a life dedicated to Buddhism
- Diary date : the next Sakyadhita International Conference in Korea : June 23-29 2023
- Details of other Sakyadhita events.
President, Sakyadhita Australia
From the President
It’s exciting that after years of lockdown Sakyadhita members and friends in Perth will be holding a get-together soon. How wonderful that they can meet in person, as Sakyadhita continues in our aims to build community, reduce gender inequity and awaken women to their potential.
The Summer solstice in Bhutan was the setting for a remarkable event – 144 nuns were given full ordination in a Tibetan lineage for the first time. Ven Thubten Chokyi writes on its significance .
The nuns of Sri Lanka have been particularly hard hit by the ongoing economic crisis. They rely on Dana from surrounding villages but the villagers have barely enough to feed themselves. Sakyadhita Sri Lanka is helping these nuns and Sakyadhita Austarlia is currently running a fundraiser to support them. Thank so much to all those who donated; we really appreciate your kindness and are currently transferring funds to Sri Lanka - this is going direct to nunneries around the country. .
Exciting news: the next Sakyadhita International Conference will be held in Seoul, Korea in June 2023. This will be the first time for an ‘in person’ conference since the Blue Mountains in 2019. The theme is one for these difficult times : ‘Living in a Precarious World: Impermanence, Resilience, Awakening".
At the end of June Sakyadhita Australia held our Annual General Meeting. The Executive presented reports, we heard that our financial position is good and an energetic Committee has been returned. We are looking forward to growing Sakyadhita Australia in the year ahead.
Next we held a Webinar with Karma Lekshe Tsomo who gave an update on the position of nuns and Bhikkhunis around the world. Then came another excellent Webinar : ‘Focusing the Mind’ with international author and teacher Shaila Catherine .
Are you a budding writer? Then don’t miss our next exciting event - a full day Mindful Writing and Meditation workshop on Zoom with Sharon Thrupp - see details below. This is free to members.
In this Newsletter we look back at the early years of Wat Buddha Dhamma – the 70s and 80s - when many women sat their first meditation retreats and went on to become teachers. One of the key teachers was Phra Khantipalo – we’ve included a piece he wrote on ‘Women and Awakening’ . There’s lots more for your reading pleasure – enjoy.
President, Sakyadhita Australia
‘Beyond Distraction’ A Webinar with
Shaila Catherine: Sunday 31 July 2022
This was a very informative and practical Webinar on strategies to deal with distracting thoughts and focus the mind during meditation.
Shaila is an international teacher and author, and talk was based on her most recent book - “Beyond Distraction: Five Practical Ways to Focus the Mind’
Some of her advice: ‘In this approach we turn out attention to look at the thoughts that come up in meditation– and say ‘what’s happening here?’ We need to discern whether a thought is helpful or hurtful. Why do some thoughts keep repeating and distracting us? We heard that we need a variety of tools when working with thoughts such as setting boundaries eg - if there is hatred in your mind say ‘I will not indulge that’
Shaila Catherine began practicing meditation in 1980, studying with masters in India, Thailand, and Nepal. She has taught meditation internationally since 1996 and is the founder of Insight Meditation South Bay.
You can find this Webinar here : https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpSsA3CHOtemTGfYLAs9WGA
And the full transcript here : https://www.sakyadhitaoz.org/podcasts-and-recordings
More information :
Sakyadhita Australia Perth event
To all our Perth friends – hope to see you at this special event - invite your friends – it’s a chance to get together with like-minded friends and grow the community.
GROUND BREAKING ORDINATION IN BHUTAN
By Ven Thubten Chokyi
Image : Emma Slade ( Gelongma Pema Deki ) and Ven Tenzin Palmo.
Tuesday 21 June is a day we will commemorate for many years to come. On this historic day this year, for the first time, 144 women were bestowed full ordination vows as gelongmas [bhikshunis] in the Mulasarvastivada lineage of Tibetan Buddhism.
The ordination ceremony was held at Tamthangkha Monastery near Paro, Bhutan and officiated by the 70th HH Je Khenpo, Trulku Jigme Chodrak, the highest authority in the country.
The newly ordained gelongmas mostly came from Bhutan and surrounding countries, including nuns from Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo’s Dongyu Gatsal Ling Nunnery.
Emma Slade who was a guest presenter for Sakyadhita Australia last year, was overjoyed to join them saying: “I never believed it would be possible to become a gelongma in the Himalayas...From my heart I bow down to you all and promise to follow the 364 vows as perfectly as I can.” Emma is the first westerner to hold gelongma vows in the Mulasarvastivada lineage.
On this most auspicious day of the summer solstice, during the ordination ceremony which actually took place over three days, it is said that rainbows encircled the sun. In the Tibetan tradition, rainbows are seen as blessings or signs of success. It was indeed a most memorable occasion in establishing the full ordination lineage for women in the Tibetan tradition, a move that Sakyadhita Internationally, along with many other organisations has been strongly advocating for many decades.
This date is marked in the Tibetan calendar as the 23rd of the Tibetan fourth month, Year of the Water Tiger 2149. The Sutra chapter of the Bodhisattva’s Hair: Pacifying the Date of Cutting the Hair marks the 23rd of the Tibetan month as a day when ‘Good things will come, things will be positive’.
On the first day, His Majesty the 4th [former] king, Jigme Singye Wangchuk along with his wife, the Queen Mother and other members of the royal family, visited the ordination site and the king gave an encouraging and inspirational address to the nuns.
Speaking at the conclusion of the ordination ceremony Je Khenpo said:
“A new order of the Sangha community of Bhikshunis has come into existence as a superb field of accumulating merit for all sentient beings. It is an historic moment and a progressive step we have taken in line with changing times.
This is also a way of fulfilling the noble wishes of His Majesty King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk and Her Majesty Queen Mother Gyalyum Tshering Yangdon Wangchuk who out of immense kindness and care for all sentient beings in general and for women in particular, established institutions for nuns, encouraged women to take novice vows of ordination.”
Je Khenpo who bears the responsibility of preserving and promoting the doctrinal and practice traditions of the precious Buddha’s teachings in Bhutan, went to great lengths to check the ordination was valid in accordance with the Vinaya and many authoritative commentaries on the Vinaya stating that Bhikshuni vows can come from a purely male Bhikshu Sangha and thus female Bhikshuni ordination can be given by male Bhikkshus if there are no Bhikshunis. He had also sighted letters from His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the supreme heads of the four great Tibetan Buddhist lineages unanimously supporting the reintroduction of the Bhikshuni Sangha with the Tibetan tradition.
After the ceremony, Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo posted online:
”The nuns are fully capable of studying and undertaking they Vinaya or Monastic code, performing the monastic rituals and leading an exemplary life. In this way, the Fourfold Sangha of monastics and laity will be completed as was the Buddha’s intention.”
As Jetsunma noted:
“In 12 years time when these nuns become senior as bhikshunis, the nuns themselves will be empowered to perform full ordination, in a twofold ordaining Sangha of both nuns and monks, opening the way for future generations of women.”
Je Khenpo described the event as aimed at “serving sentient beings through the Buddhadharma, engendering religious freedom and helping human rights.”
“Whenever I look at images of Buddha Shakyamuni these days, every one of them appears to be radiantly smiling at me, which I think is an early indication that what I am doing is not wrong. I have a strong conviction that they would announce: ‘This is excellent!’ and never say ‘This is not right.’”
SAKYADHITA AUSTRALIA : MINDFUL WRITING WORKSHOP
Sunday 25 September 9.30am-3pm
Via ZOOM (Free for Sakydahita Members) or for those who would like to make a donation to our Sakyadhita Nuns Appeal in Sri Lanka.
Image : Sharon Thrupp
This online Mindful Writing Workshop seeks to assist writers (or those willing to explore the possibility) with the skills necessary to find and share their voice with the world -- share a personal story, keep a private journal, improve your writing skills, or simply increase your level of joy and satisfaction in your life.
Through the day, we discover that writing can be a transformative tool for self-discovery, meaningful connection to others and an overall sense of wellness. We will use simple mindfulness techniques such as breathing, relaxation, meditation, focusing on sensory exercises and emotions to enhance one's powers of creativity and expression.
Learn about the 4 Noble Truths of Mindful Writers and engage in writing exercises to find your voice, share your story or write as healing or pleasure.
Whether your goals are writing a memoir, blogging, social media posting, personal essay or journal writing, this workshop is for everyone.
There will be time to write and share with other participants throughout the day as well as a break for lunch. Please bring a book and pen to write in or laptop depending on your preference.
Please register at email@example.com.
Further details, including the Zoom link will be sent on registration
The 2023 Sakyadhita International Conference, Seoul, Korea. June 23-30 2023: "Living in a Precarious World: Impermanence, Resilience, Awakening".
"We live in a precarious world. The COVID-19 pandemic continues with seemingly endless mutations, forcing us to live with ever more uncertainty. Sexism, racism, nationalism, dictatorships, and war continue to threaten lives throughout the world. The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, issued on April 4, 2022, warns that the next few years are critical for limiting global warming or our planet and all life will face catastrophic climate events. These traumatic events have affected us all physically, mentally, and emotionally. Life is indeed fragile and security illusive.
Facing such manifold displays of impermanence in the world, how do Buddhist women cultivate resilience and seek awakening for themselves and others? What Buddhist teachings and practices help us face these vicissitudes of life and equip us with the ability to survive and thrive? What Buddhist teachings and practices empower us to seek awakening while living in this precarious world? What does it mean to be awake today?
More details here : https://postimg.cc/RN2T5phv
Jenifer Hetherington 2022
When irritation simmers
spattering hot oil through the mind–
knives wielded chopping carrots
pots and lids clatter
in tympanic catastrophe–
when despair overflows
from the sink
I think of Gotami
quiet, perched on a stool,
tea towel in hand,
painstaking, fastidious, drying
interstices of tongs, scissors,
polishing every spoon, fork, knife
to a soft sheen.
I bring to mind her teacup– fine porcelain
painted with purple and gold pansies–
cradling it in my hands to place on the shelf
for the sangha’s cups and my heart brims,
tender again as it meets each moment.
Jenny writes : I first stayed at beautiful Dhammasara in 2019. Venerable Gotami was sweeping leaves when I came back to my room after breakfast clean up. We talked, of her life before she was ordained, and her family. I spoke of my hope to make the dhamma more central to my life and the conflict I experienced with my role as a caregiver and (joy-filled) grandmother. This meant little available time for retreats. Her words will stay with me forever. She spoke of the awareness abounding in the life of a householder, when all that needs to be done is approached with mindfulness and an open heart. I will always thank her for this.
Women in Buddhism and the role of Wat Buddha Dhamma
John McIntyre, author: Dhamma Pioneers
Dhamma Pioneers, a recently published history of Wat Buddha Dhamma, has much to say about the participation of women in the emergence of western Buddhism and will hold much of interest to members of Sakyadhita.
Nominally a Thai monastery, ‘the Wat’ was envisaged by its founders, Phra Khantipalo and Ayya Khema, as ‘a place for westerners to learn Dhamma and meditation’. It was a cultural experiment that combined different elements—monastic tradition in the person of Khantipalo and his ideal of the Thai forest monastery and the distinctly ‘modern’ element promoted by Ayya Khema of a meditation centre offering intensive vipassana retreats for lay practitioners. A third element was the development of an alternative spiritual community, the Wat as a collective and communal project.
This cultural experiment was ambitious and unorthodox and it remained to be seen how its disparate functions could be made to harmonise. The Wat’s communal character seemed to offer women a good deal more than traditional Asian Buddhism and from the outset women were attracted to the Wat and played a key role in its evolution. Khantipalo’s leading students included Ilse Ledermann (Ayya Khema), Debbie Caine (Chi Kwang Sunim) and Cynthia Rees (Thubden Paldron) and Robyn Pashley (Ayya Vayama). Of course there were many more ordained and lay women who played a significant part at different stages of the Wat’s evolution.
Ayya Khema’s time at the Wat established her career as an outstanding teacher and pioneering organiser and she was an early force in establishing Sakyadhita. Dhamma Pioneers regards her as the Wat’s co-founder, not just Phra Khantipalo’s leading student and the property’s donor. She had different ideas about the Wat and at key moments she was to contest Phra Khantipalo’s leadership and direction.
As a cultural experiment the Wat tried to create opportunities for women’s participation in an emerging western Buddhism and Ayya Khema certainly worked for this. It was quickly recognised that traditional Thai monasticism limited women to minor roles as lay helpers. Some who had travelled to Thailand with expectations about access to training returned ill and disappointed, according to Chi Kwang Sunim whose own ordination in a Korean tradition afforded independence and a rigorous training to nuns. Khantipalo himself became openly critical of the limitations of the Theravada (expounded in a Buddhist Studies Review article of 1990) and he believed it had to change to accommodate the aspirations of women. This belief was to lead to fateful changes at the Wat.
A key development was the ordination of three nuns in April 1984. It was obvious that the Wat as a Thai forest monastery was no more than a fading ideal. Though some young men ordained as novices before going to Thailand, few returned to settle at the Wat and without this support Khantipalo became somewhat disconnected from his monastic roots. The idea of ordaining three women—who became Ayya Susanna, Ayya Candima and Ayya Santa—as novices offered a new direction. For some it was a revival of the full bhikkhuni ordination of ancestral tradition, though in reality it was not.
The novice ordination of women was regarded at the time as challenging the male exclusivity of the Thai monkhood and the innovation was not well received in the Sydney Thai temples since it set up problems with male novices.
The presence of nuns became disruptive to communal life when a close relationship developed between the nun Susanna and Phra Khantipalo who was moving in a new direction, encouraged by Susanna to explore the path of Dzogchen with Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche. In early 1991 the pages of the Bodhi Leaf newsletter were giving full expression to a feminist challenge to Theravadan monasticism and an orientation to Tibetan tradition.
This amounted to a major crisis of authority and it brought Ayya Khema back from Europe to intervene and restore stability. She now stamped her own authority on the future of the Wat through a new constitution that reaffirmed the Theravadan heritage, created a more participatory structure through a form of Wat membership and established the authority of the management committee. Khantipalo’s switch to Dzogchen was rejected by a majority of followers, few of whom shared his progressive vision for a non-sectarian Buddhist centre. Sadly, few wanted him to continue as a lay teacher and he disrobed and departed the Wat.
A retreat with Ayya Khema – 1996. Image : Trevor Slaven
The effect of these changes was to make retreats the centre of Wat life. Ayya Khema quickly promoted several women as lay teachers in the 1992 retreat schedule that also featured senior forest monks. Women occupied teaching roles either as nuns or lay teachers. These changes marked the end of the old regime and Khantipalo’s unique authority as scholar, teacher and spiritual leader. There would be no obvious successor with comparable authority. A later development was the appointment, supported by Ayya Khema, of Anja Tactor as the Wat’s first resident lay teacher.
Later women’s participation in ordained life was again brought into focus when the Wat invited nuns from different traditions to take up residence in the hermitage, to support monastic life and in turn to support the spiritual practice of the small resident community. Nuns in residence included Ayya Thanasanti and Myong Gyong. Successful for a few years, the hermitage proved difficult to sustain when the Wat encountered problems of viability. Amid deepening conflict over the Wat’s secular direction, there were attempts to find a workable model that would maintain monastic authority, at the expense of lay influences; the cultural experiment was drawing to a close.
The idea of making over the Wat as a hermitage for nuns was advanced as a ‘monastic solution’ and Chi Kwang Sunim was invited to develop a proposal to make the Wat a multi-tradition nunnery but this failed for lack of the trust and goodwill needed to realise its ambitious vision.
The failure of the nunnery proposal had an important effect in paving the way for a complete handover to monks in the Thai forest tradition in 2008, an outcome that was received with ambivalence by those who had participated in the Wat’s evolution over a period of thirty years, an experiment that had sought to accommodate the needs of western women alongside traditional monasticism rather than opposing it. The Wat had adopted a template that was limited and orthodox.
The history of Wat Buddha Dhamma recounted in Dhamma Pioneers draws on documentary evidence and interviews and memoirs to create a richly detailed narrative. The book provides an important account of a pioneering Buddhist organisation developing and evolving as it helps to shape the emergence of Buddhism in the west. The book concludes with an assessment of the significance of the Wat that has many implications for understanding the contemporary challenges faced by Buddhist women.
Dhamma Pioneers is 300 pages with 25 pages of plates, $39 plus postage. The book is independently published and can be ordered from the author, John McIntyre. Contact John at firstname.lastname@example.org. Further information can be found at jamc.com.au, including a synopsis of the history and several essays on Phra Khantipalo.
Women and Awakening : by Phra Khantipalo
Here is a piece written by one of the key teachers at Wat Buddha Dhamma, Phra Khantipalo This is an edited version of an article that originally appeared in the Wat Buddha Dhamma newsletter ‘Bodhi Leaf’ in 1991. Reprinted with permission.
Buddha means ‘one who has awakened’, one who has an awakened mind. Such a mind does not discriminate, does not make the dualistic assumptions which govern society. The Buddha's awakened mind did not therefore agree with the caste system. He pointed out to the Brahmins that they had arranged everything according to their own system, placing themselves at the apex and then putting under them the warrior caste, the merchants and the workers; anybody who did not fit into this system was an outcast. The Buddha asked what right had they to do this.
Of course, they organised women to be inferior to men in their society. The ‘Awakened Mind’ does not agree with this kind of thinking. It is biased neither towards male nor toward female. Even if one becomes a proficient meditator and attains the jhanas, a deep concentration, those beings equivalent to that state of mind (the Brahmadevas), have no sexual characteristics. So already a person who experiences that sort of concentration has passed beyond the dichotomy of male and female. What then shall we say of an Awakened One who is far beyond the ordinary experience of the jhanas? From this we can understand that the Buddha did not agree with this method of ranking people as inferior and superior. In fact, he was asked about this matter by many Brahmins; he always referred to people not by class, caste or sex but rather by their actions.
This means that it depends on what actions they do - how they speak, what kind of mental states they enjoy. A noble person is one who has pure states of mind, whose speech and actions are marked by purity, compassion, and wisdom. An outcaste, on the other hand, is a person who does evil with mind, speech, and body
The Buddha did not discriminate in a worldly way. Still if we consider an awakened mind living within a certain culture such a mind is forced to make some compromise. Why is this? The awakened mind is sure to be shocking to many people. How can we illustrate this? The Buddha and his monks and eventually nuns were all supported by ordinary people. If social disruption was to be avoided there was a limitation on what could be done. The Buddha was not a revolutionary in the worldly sense but rather effected a quiet change. This he did not by trying to alter the norms of society, although he disagreed with the Brahmans. The new society he tried to create was represented by the monastic sangha which was to be free from all those discriminations of class, caste and sex.
Eventually, after he had established many men as monks, it happened, of course, that women wanted to be ordained as nuns, as bhikkhunis. The report we have says that, at first, he refused women the chance to be bhikkhunis. Clearly, we do not know what was in his mind, but I imagine he wanted to test them, to see how sincere they were. Those women were Sakyans, mostly from the aristocratic class who had led rather sheltered lives. When they asked to become nuns, they had to be prepared to lead a very hard life, because in those days there were no comfortable monasteries or nunneries available. Monks and nuns led wandering lives for nine months of the year, gathering alms from all sorts of people, living on scraps sometimes. It must have been very difficult for men and more so for these women.
The group of Sakyan women who had asked to become Bhikkhunis followed the Buddha and arrived eventually at Vaishali, their feet swollen and covered in dust. They stood outside the monastic park in their yellow robes, with their heads shaven, sobbing and weeping. Venerable Ananda saw this and went to inform the Buddha.
The Buddha was obviously convinced of their sincerity as they had walked all that way, a considerable number of miles. At this point he allowed them to be ordained as Bhikkhunis. The account we have says that he had told their leader, Mahajapati Gotami, that she could be a nun if she accepted the Eight Serious Conditions. Due to the formulation of these Conditions we may conclude that they are a later insertion by someone who was biased against the ordination of women
The first of these Conditions specifies that a nun, even if she has been ordained for a hundred years, has to bow down at the feet of a newly-ordained monk. This I do not believe to be the Buddha's words. It hardly sounds like the words of awakened and unbiased wisdom.
That order of Bhikkhunis flourished under the direction of Mahapajapati Gotami. From the earliest times this Sangha of Bhikkhunis has had many great teachers, as we know from the Verses of the Awakened Nuns (Therigatha). It has survived through the ages especially in China, Korea, Vietnam and perhaps in Japan.
We should really understand that ordination as a Bhikkhuni (or as a Bhikkhu) is not the most important part of the Buddha's teachings. It may be valuable for some people for certain parts of their lives, but after all, most essential is the experience of the awakened mind. Finding this mind may be easier for some people as monks or nuns - but one needs to know whether they are suited to this life.
The Buddha emphasised that awakening could be attained regardless of whether one has ordination. Contrary views may have grown up in later centuries but according to the Buddha there were many accomplished lay people in his day. We know about many lay people who had attained the Deathless, the Undying state. They had the capacity to attain this amidst their family affairs, business and livelihood. In the case of women too, while some may profit from becoming nuns this is not the main point. For them the most important Dhamma is the awakened state. This does not depend on such things as special robes and haircuts.
“Nirvana is a possibility in this lifetime..”
From : ‘Women under the Bo Tree’ ( a book about female renunciation in Sri Lanka) by Tessa Barthomomeusz. The book includes this interview with Ayya Vayama while she was still living in Sri Lanka.
At the time of my interview Ayya Vayama was 36 years old. Formerly an Anglican who taught Sunday school in Sydney for eight years, she holds a Bachelors degree in sociology from a leading Australian university.
In 1977 she went to Sri Lanka on a chartered tour and while there bought some books about Buddhism. She became so intrigued by Buddhism that she investigated whether or not she could actively pursue Buddhist studies in Australia.
While in lay life, in 1982, Ayya Vayama discovered that Wat Buddha Dhamma, near Sydney, conducted weekend meditation retreats of which she availed herself frequently. Her first teacher was the famous Bhikku Khantipalo, who is renowned in Sri Lanka and America.
Ayya Vayama’s initial introduction to meditation was very satisfactory. On her second retreat, having been convinced that Buddhism “spoke to her needs and her own situation” she took refuge in the five precepts. Things then began to rapidly change in her life. In 1983 the young Australian woman met Ayya Khema who was teaching meditation at Wat Buddha Dhamma. In July of 1984, having decided that the renunciant lifestyle suited her needs she travelled again to Sri Lanka.
Unlike the initial trip in 1977, which was purely for pleasure, her 1984 sojourn changed her life. From July until November the young Australian kept the eight precepts - a commitment which very ardent lay Buddhists make for extended periods of time.
Having kept the eight precepts for five months she returned to Australia to explain to her family friends and former boyfriend that she had made a commitment to Buddhism. She remained in Australia until March 1985.
Ayya Vayama explain to me why she renounced her lay identity: “constant loss kept showing me that there is nothing to hang onto; that everything is impermanent. In a period of only four years my father died, my relationship with my boyfriend ended, my mother died and then my grandfather. It was a personal period of dukkha. I inquired whether one can have this knowledge of the true nature of reality without renouncing. Ayya Vayama answered that it is possible to know that life is marked by dukkha without becoming a monk or a nun but by becoming a nun the framework for serious practice is provided. Only as a nun could I have been able to direct my mind toward one pointedness. The rules which I keep give support to my daily activities - there is now no need to consider whether or not I should do this or that the rules determine my choices. By becoming a nun I am also identified publicly now shame and dread enter into whether or not I practise properly .
Ayya Vayama was ordained at Parapaduwa, Ayya Khema’s island refuge for Buddhist female renunciants and other women who desire the solitude of a remote island for meditation. She was the third of Ayya Khema’s pupils to be initiated. Three and a half years after donning the ochre robe she returned to Australia for a brief visit.
On return she lived in Ambalangoda with a Sinhala lay nun. She held small meditation classes twice each week for the neighbourhood laity and gave six religious talk each month. She meditates for at least four hours each day. Moreover she believes that Nirvana is a possibility in this lifetime to that end she has dedicated her life to Buddhism.
Ayya Vayama went on to establish the Dhammasara Nuns’ Monastry in Western Australia and to take higher Bhikkhuni ordination. She struggled with ill health and sadly passed away peacefully last year. We pay our respects to an inspiring practitioner and wonderful teacher You can read more about Ayya Vayama here
If you missed any of our recent Webinars you can catch up with the videos on our Youtube channel, and you can read the transcripts here
Recent webinars :
Walking in Sunshine We were joined by Ayya Suvira the author of “Walking in Sunshine:
‘A Biography of Ranjani de Silva, the Woman Behind the Bhikkuni Revival who shared the inspiring story of Ranjani and that first nuns ordination. You can read Ayya Suvira’s book here
Bhikkhunis and Nuns - The current situation and the future? We were joined by
Ven Karma Lekshe Tsomo who told us about the situation in various countries.
She had recently attended a global conference on Bhikkhunis and nuns held in Seoul, Korea.
Aims and Objectives
To create a network of communication and support for Buddhist nuns and lay women in Australia, regardless of cultural and language background.
To function as a noticeboard to promote all Buddhist activity, with particular attention to female participation.
To promote harmony and dialogue among the Buddhist traditions.
To work for gender equity in Buddhist education, training, institutional structures, and ordination.
To foster compassionate social action for the benefit of humanity.
To promote awareness of the Sakyadhita conferences and to support attendance at the conferences.
To act as advocates for the protection of the natural environment and the protection of the planet from global warming.
To build relationships with faith traditions in the wider community.