Sunday, December 6, 2009

Eight kinds of Ordination and Atthagarudhamma

There are 8 kinds of ordination procedure (of Buddhist Monastic order)

1. ‘Ehi Bhikkhu Upasampada’ ‘Come, O monks….’

This was the first kind of ordination. After listening to the discourse, any matured person who was convinced of the Dhamma, could be ordained by the Buddha in this manner. Buddha stretched his right palm and say Ehi Bhikkhu and the man would be accepted into the order. He would put on his robe and shaved his head. This ordination became higher ordination at the same time. Today the tradition is different as both ordination and higher ordination are on 2 occasions. (Pabbajja is ordination, i.e. entrance to the order. Upasampada is higher ordination.)

History says the fivefold disciples (Pancavaggiya) of the Buddha were the first who received the EHI BHIKKHU UPASAMPADA. Ultimately, such kind of ordination can be carried out only by the Buddha.

2. (Ti)Sarana-gamana Upasampada

Initially, only Buddha could ordain monks. This became time and energy consuming. The Buddha then said to his monks “O monks, I advise you to give ordination and higher ordination wherever you are. Today, I’m going to share with you the ordination process. From today onwards, you will be able to ordain others.”

Ordination process introduced by the Buddha: - where the monks take refuge in the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha.

Buddha saranam gacchami- I go for refuge to the Buddha (Teacher)
Dhamma saranam acchami- I go for refuge to the Dhamma (the Teaching)
Sangham saranam gacchani- I go for refuge to the Sangha (the Taught)

3. Natti-Catuttha-kamma Upasampada

Sariputta ordained a very old Brahmin, Radha. Some Sangha members objected. Radha, he turned light and emaciated on being refused ordination. The request was then put forward to the Sangha. There is no need to depend on a single individual for ordination.

The Buddha enjoined the monks to confer higher ordination by the motion followed by three announcements. It is a procedure whereby the Sangha gathers to hear the motion that so-and-so requests acceptance into the Sangha, and then listens in silence to three announcements. If there is no objections as indicated by silence, the person is accepted as a monk under a preceptor.

This is the standard procedure for conferring higher ordination in all Theravada countries today.

4. Ovadapatiggahana (Acceptance of advice)

The acceptance of 3 sermons given to Mahakassapa by the Buddha was sufficient for him to be admitted into the order.

* One should develop a keen sense of shame and fear of wrong doing towards all monks in the Sangha
* One should listen attentively, examine and reflect and then absorb wholesome teachings
* One should always train in Mindfulness.

5. Panhabyakarana (Answering questions)

Answering questions set by the Buddha to Boy, Sopaka was sufficient for him to be admitted into the order.

What is one? All beings are sustained by food
What are the two? Name and form
What are the three? The three sensations
What are the four? The four Noble truths
…………five? Clinging to the 5 aggregates
……… six? Six sense bases
………seven? Seven factors of enlightenment
……… eight? Eightfold Noble Path
………..nine? Nine abodes of beings
…………ten? Ten qualities of arahant

Sopaka was born of low caste parents. His father died when he was a baby and his mother remarried. His stepfather disliked him very much and one day became angry when Sopaka quarreled with his own son. He dragged Sopaka off to the cemetery and tied him to a dead body. Sopaka was saved by the the Buddha who preached to him and he realized first stage of Sainthood. His mother searching for Sopaka was in despair and she sought the Buddha’s help. He advised her that there was no purpose in looking for children and relatives without seeking for path of deliverance. She realized first stage of Sainthood while Sopaks realized Arahantship. He was seven years old only.

6. Atthagarudhamma (Acceptance of eight strict rules)

Mahapajapati Gotami was eventually accepted into the order by agreeing to accept the eight strict rules in accordance to Bhikkhuni Khandhaka of the Cullavagga Pali.

7. Dutena (Through an emissary)

With reference to a former courtesan, Addhakasi; the Buddha empowered the monks to confer Higher Ordination through an emissary.

8. Atthavacika (Pronouncement of eight times)

Motion and announcement are pronounced eight times before both monk and nun communities.

Previously, ordination and higher ordination were conferred at the same time. However there were a group of monks who misbehaved, they reiterated that they did not request for higher ordination. Hence, upasampada was made on a separate occasion to be witnessed by a group of monks and the samanera or novice has to request from the Sangha thrice for higher ordination.
Present days, one who wants become fully ordained monk, has to ordain as a SAMANERA first. That kind of ordination called SAMANERA PABBAJJAM.
According to Theravada tradition, even if you have a close look at above mentioned procedures, only ATTHAGARU DHAMMA (Acceptence of eight strict rules) is only procedure for the Bhikkhuni ordination.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Mother, You Don't have to Fight to be a Woman!

Mother, You Don’t Have to Fight to Be a Woman!

By- Praggananda Sraman


I want to tell my mother that she doesn’t have to fight to be a woman, and tell my father that he doesn't have to prove he's a man. Sisters of the Buddhist society, you don’t have to fight for recognition or leadership. You already have it!

In this short writing I won't try to be academic or scholarly, with tons of citations and references. Instead, I'd like to just talk about my experiences and the opinions I’ve arrived at as a result of my life as a Buddhist and as a Buddhist Bhikkhu, something I have been for a considerable period. According to the Kālāma Sutta preached by the Buddha, you don’t have to believe what others say unless it accords with your own understanding.

General Beliefs

All myths say the earth was created for man and woman equally. Some say men are from Mars and Women are from Venus. Science also believes that among the living and conscious beings in this world cycle, human beings are extraordinary and amazing. The Buddha also said that to be born a human is extremely rare and hard.

Contemporary Issues

The world hears so much about Rights, Women's Rights, Children's Rights, Labour Rights, Religious Rights, so many rights. No one talks about Men's Rights, though. There is a reason for that. There is a Universal Declaration, that ‘Man and Woman are Equal', yet women still have to fight to be on an equal footing with men. This is why there is much talk of Women's Rights; men already have theirs.

In fact, this is a very big contemporary western issue. It's very much a materialist topic. Sorry if I'm wrong, but it seems that women -- in the west at least -- only want to be equal to men with regard to money and power, the underlying essence of a civilization obsessed with material pursuits. It's very defensive! But believe it or not, they are not pioneers, however. Even in Shakespear's time women were prohibited from acting in plays. But the Buddha gave official authority for women to lead society centuries before him, around 2550 BCE. World’s first woman Prime Minister, Srimabho BandarNayeke of Sri Lanka, is an Asian.

Research works say women are more religious and spiritual than men. I myself have done research work on this issue, and female participation is always higher than male participation in any Buddhist religious celebration or festival (75%-80%).

Philosophical Aspect

In the Vedic Upanisad, it is said that the goal of life is union with Brahma, a divine being, who is sexless (or occasionally male or female), in sense of non-duality or non-discrimination.

Being principally a spiritually and extraordinarily creative being, a (hu) man’s course is to develop towards a state of perfection. Through the rebirth process, returning to the earth for many lives, sometime as a man and sometime as a woman, one experiences the bodies of both sexes, depending on their Kamma (karma) and desires. The incidences of sex, as with all other incidences, is governed by the Law of Cause and Effect, and progressively, as the individual comes to understand the working of this law, he is able, with its help, to direct his own life.

Consequently, in their spiritual essence, man and woman are the same. Their differences are the result of their different evolution as individuals, emphasized or lessened by the sex of the body used in any particular life. As man and woman, different but complementary, neither being inferior to the other, they are co-operators. In society, man and woman each contribute characteristic qualities to the integral whole, and the well-being of society depends upon the recognition of this and of their different needs, natures and contributions.

Hence consciousness is sexless. Spiritually, man evolves through the bodies of either sex, being both masculine and feminine, and retaining within himself the essence of experience both as a man and as a woman. The spiritual and perfected man is a true androgyne, neither one sex nor the other in essence, although the body may be male or female. So when the individual has experienced many lives the male and female sides of his nature tend to come together. Some more highly developed human beings are already beginning to foreshadow in their mental make-up that higher and balanced hermaphroditism of perfect humanity.

Therefore we see that although the wearing of a female body enjoins certain definite functions on the physical plane, and although the nature of physical body modifies to some extent the emotion and the mind, the spiritual individual may be deeply concerned with activities in which the characteristic of the opposite sex are dominant. Therefore it is unjust to limit either man or woman to a certain set of activities merely on account of the sex of the body.

I have studied Science quite a bit. It is often said that the differences between the sexes are merely caused by biology and environment, but while this is superficially true, it is ultimately a difference in Kamma. Not any chemical imbalance, it is because of Kamma (Karma) imbalance.

Psychological Aspects

The psychophysical is composed of 28 kinds of matter (Rūpa), among them there are 2 kinds of matter called matter of sex, Bhāvarūpa, the male sex (Purisabhāva rūpa), and the female sex (Itthibhāva rūpa). These particles of matter are dispersed all over the body. Just like branches, leaves, and fruits of the tree grow according to the seed and the soil. So the physique, organs, behaviour and characteristics in the male and female are dependent upon the matter of female sex and the matter of male sex respectively.

The physique or organs, voice, touch, and scent of a female, the taste of food prepared by a female, the contact of a female body, are, it seems, the most desirable things in the world for a man. The converse is also true for a female.

We perceive these things as desirable objects, rather than just mind and matter (Nāma-rūpa), and this is the root cause of the sexual problem, and it is suffering (Dukkha).

What the Historical Records Say!

Records say the Buddha was not the first person who established a Bhikkhuni (Nun) community. A contemporary heretical teacher, Nigghanta Nāthaputta, who was also known as Jīna (the leader of Jainism), had a nun community. But there were many criticisms among the society about that nun community. The Buddha was cautious and didn’t want to have any criticism among his community. He wanted Sāsana to keep pure and long live. That’s why he rejected 3 times Mahāpajāpati’s request. But Ānanda pushed him to allow the Bhikkuni community. It actually doesn’t mean that the Buddha didn’t want to; he was observing the society and the response to the nun community, and the future consequences. He said many times ‘I’m not one-sided. I’m an analyser.’ To keep balance between Bhikkhu and Bukkhuni he set up 8 strict rules (Attagarudhamma) as a condition that a Bhikkhuni has to follow. But I’m afraid to say that the Sangha could reform the pure Bhikkhuni community but couldn’t change the 8 strict rules. Impossible! The root problem is here.

The monk communities in ancient India and in its subcontinent many times disappeared and reappeared. Everybody blames the word ‘ANICCA’, poor ANICCA! but this Anicca or impermanence is not alone to be blamed. Corruption is one of them; the hard teaching of attaining Nibbāna is another one. There was also lack of patronage, and then there were foreign invasions.

Myanmar (Burma) borrowed pure monks from Sri Lanka and dispelled the corrupted ones. Sri Lanka did the same. Thailand reformed the Sańgha many times by taking pure monks from LankaDīpa and Lankan did the same. It terrifies me to think what happened to the Bhikkhuni(s) in those times!

Present Bhikkhuni communities either Theravāda or Mahāyāna were derived from Sri Lanka since the Northerners (Chinese) were interested in Buddhism and borrowed Bhikkhunis from Sri Lanka to form a new community there. And Bhikkhuni Sanghamitta, the daughter of Emperor Asoka who was purely ordained (after 300 years of The Buddha’s demise), was sent to Lankadīpa to reform the Bhikkhuni Sāsana there. So, present Buddhist Nun community is a replica of this.

What we could do!

According to orthodox Buddhist leaders that pure and acceptable Bhikkhuni Sāsana doesn't exist anymore in this world. True or false, I say either-neither. Some might challenge the orthodoxy, citing the statements of the Buddha where He gave authority to the Sańgha (More than 4/5> 8 or more monks) to change and reform the rules accord to what suits the Sāsana, for the good of many, for the good of the Sāsana, for social needs to be met. If society needs it, what is our problem then?

I’m sorry to say that present days nuns are not interested in Attagarudhamma. (Probably Women's Rights is what modern women are keen on). A few days ago I met a nun in Australia, she is from the USA. She is a Sri Lankan, and she said the Atthagarudhamma is not appointed by the Buddha. The monks who wrote the Piţakas were all men. It is so pathetic. It terrified me. We should do something before the corruption gets worse. Please, just take it as an example.

It is not just ‘TRUE’

That women can’t attain Arahanthood (Enlightenment) or any higher state is just not a true statement. Please, read the original texts- commentary- sub-commentary to Therigāthā, Mahāparinibbāna Sutta. One thing for certain is that every Buddha-to-be (Bodhisatta) determines or wishes that, in his or her final life, takes the human form of a male. That's about it.

Women are doing better

According to my experience, the women in the Buddhist societies are doing better. The nuns in Myanmar are very religious; in Thailand they are very devoted; in Tibetan, they are also very active. Women are the biggest supporter of the Buddhist communities. Women's organizations are so active, resourceful, and well organized. They are caring; they care like a mother cares for her child, the mother-nature!


Humanity is being destroyed. The environmental crisis, global economical crisis, social instability, terrorism, everything because of human greed, anger, and delusion. But we are Buddhists; we know how to live in a way that not only is better for ourselves individually, but for society and the world as a whole. So say, ‘YES, WE CAN’.

The Buddha’s teachings still exist and teach us how to develop peace, prosperity, and spirituality, with love, compassion, sympathy, non-discrimination, and wisdom. Man or woman, we’re the ONE, living like milk-water.

Sangha also means Unity. Men-women, monk-nun, we live in the society like milk-water. So sisters, you don’t have to seek outside yourselves for leadership; you are already the best leaders.

May the Sāsana live long!

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Friday, November 6, 2009

Black Sunday is Darkening the Sasana

Dear Friends in Dhamma

Many things going on! I'm just observing the situation. Just worried about the innocent Buddhists, how are they dealing with the trauma!

Please, know and learn what is Attha Garudhamma, addopted by the Buddha-

Attha graudhamma is a Pure Buddhist Pali word. Attha+garu+dhamma, meanings eight-grave-rule(s).

according to the History of Buddhism, Atthagarudhamma was laid down by the the Buddha Himself.

What are they-

1. A nun who has been ordained (even) for a century must greet respectfully, rise up from her seat, salute with joined palms, do proper homage to a monk ordained but that day.

2. A nun must not spend the rains in a residence where is no monk (resides).

3. Every half month a nun should desire two things from the order of monk, (1) asking for the day of Uposatha (1) and coming for the observation (teaching, e,g).

4. After the rains a num "must" invite before both Orders respect of 3 matters, i. what was seen, ii. what was heard. iii. what was suspected.

5. A nun, offending against an important rule, must udergo Manatta or the discipline for half a month.

6. When, as a probitioner, she has trained in six rules for two years, she is worthy of seek for ordination.

7. A monk must not be abused or reviled in a way by a nun.

8. From to-day now-on the admonition of monks by nuns is forbidden, admonision of nuns by monks is not forbidden.

I hope to share you some more information about it, please, leave your comments. Thanks to all of you. Please, just stay calm.

If you want to have a Copy of my latest article with the title " MOTHER, YOU DON'T HAVE TO FIGHT TO BE A WOMAN', please e-mail to

Thank you!

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Moments at Dhammaloka

Dear friends in Dhamma, all Upasakas-Upasikas, Please help yourself, you are welcome to download the pictures

Saturday, September 26, 2009