Celebrating the recent bhikkhuni ordination

by Jacqueline Kramer, Vice president of Alliance for Bhikkhunis, The Buddhist Channel Nov 25, 2009

By now many of us have heard a number of arguments related to the issue of the bhikkhuni ordination in Perth. Was Ajahn Brahm out of line? Was this an act of civil disobedience? Should he have followed a different procedure than the one he followed?

The answers to these questions will unfold as time goes on. To make the current discussion be about how the ordinations happened misses a historic opportunity to support this delicate blossoming of the four- fold sangha. Is the birthing awkward? Uncomfortable? Unorthodox?

Perhaps. But to focus on this point misses the underlying, deeper and more interesting issue. Given how fragile the bhikkhuni order is at this time it would be more enlightened and kinder to celebrate and support these brave women than to spend time arguing about how their ordination came about.

What is left? The ordinations have happened. Although they did not adhere to Thai law and procedure they were in alignment with the Dhamma-Vinaya. The Alliance for Bhikkhunis is in agreement with the position and argument made by the German society of Buddhistisches WAldkloster e. V. http://www.theravadablog.de/2009/11/19/statement-of-the-society-buddhistisches-waldkloster-e-v/   If the laws of any Buddhist organization are in conflict with the Dhamma-Vinaya it is our responsibility to reestablish the true dhamma.

Where do we go from here? Rather than discredit and blame a respectable teacher who has done much good for Buddhism, whether he acted wisely or not, we can choose to celebrate the women who courageously stepped into the light of spiritual leadership.

The Buddha said, “I will not take final Nibbana till I have monks and nuns and laymen-followers and lay-women-followers who are accomplished, trained, skilled, learned, knowers of the Dharma, correctly trained and walking the path of the Dhamma.”

Given this directive from the Buddha it would be wise to support his wish that there be both bhikkhus and bhikkhunnis in all parts of the world.