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.