Bhikkhuni Sasanaya (Order)

Poster's name (Optional): 

Sri Lankan Monks openly declare that there is no Bhikkhuni order/sasana in Sri Lanka. However, I know it exists in the West, Burma & Thailand.
They say that in order to establish Bhikkhuni sasana, we have to wait for another Samma Sambuddha to arrive in the world or to find four upasanna Bhikkhus who have undergone gender 'viparyasa' (I do not understand this term) in order to re-establish that.
I have never heard this before. I totally disagree with that statement. Gauthama Buddha is not a person who acts in a frivolous manner, to make such immature statements, being the wisest of this 'kalpa' among all worldly beings.
To my understanding the foremost and essential requirements to become a Bhikkhu or a Bhikkhuni are:
1. a follower of Buddha's teachings
2. become ordained in Buddha's sasana and don a robe, shave the head and leave completely the lay life
3. become free of all worldly attachments
4. Study, learn and follow Dhamma to understand Buddha's teachings and practice them
5. maintain self discipline in the mind, words and action
6. one who tread the path while constantly purifying, developing and cultivating the mind, with the sole aim or objective of becoming free from samsara by attaining Nibbana
One does not have to get permission to become a Bhikkhu or Bhikkhuni as Buddha sasana belongs to Gauthama Buddha.
The purpose of becoming a Bhikkhu or a Bhikkhuni is to attain Nibbana and for that one has to follow and practice Dhamma. For that no one needs to get permission.
It is not a paper qualification issued by an institution.
A learned senior monk or nun can issue such a recognition to a novice who had undergone training in Buddha's sasana, guided and after testing the knowledge in Dhamma studied from Thripitaka and other texts and the display of discipline.
Anyone should be able to get trained under a learned Bhikkhu or Bhikkhuni or a Dhamma Teacher to fulfill these requirements to gain the status of Bhikkhu/Bhikkhuni and qualify in all required areas satisfactorily, such as Vinaya, Suthra, Abhidhamma, before attaining Upasampada.
Gender Viparyasa - I have not heard this word before.
I am aware that Buddhas and all Arahants (Buddha himself is an Arahant) lose their gender identity once reaching the Arahanthood. It is easy to understand as Mind controls (as one of its functions) all biological activities, secretion of hormones that power or stimulate activities in the body. It is only a certain part of the mind that does it which becomes totally inactivate or functionless in the process of development, cultivation and purification.
All I understand by this is that when someone has developed and cultivated his/her mind, achieved purity and Pragna (wisdom) becomes free of Raga, Dwesha Moha (Greed, Hatred , Delusion) and will not be recognised as an ordinary male or a female which means the person is completely absent of the 'Lust'. (Such people could even be found among the lay people as well.) In that case it will be like finding a needle in a haystack to look for such a person among the clergy, although I am not saying that such noble Bhikkhus or Bhikkhunis are completely non-existent.
It is Buddha's Sasana, and no one has the authority to decide that females hcannot become a Bhikkhuni in Buddha's sasana.
In that case, no one has the right to become a Bhikkhu either. Unfortunately Bhikkhu status by and large is limited to the robe and the shaven head today. Lay people usually, by nature, do not speak their minds, against the unacceptable behaviours, attitudes, lack of discipline and knowledge of Dhamma of Bhikkhus, as it is the 'culture' which also is nourished by Buddhism, that prevents it.
Also, I have heard that an identity card is not issued by the Sri Lankan Government, to Bhikkhunis showing their Bhikkhuni status.
I have come across several studies with critical analysis, conducted by researchers of universities overseas, on the refusal to recognise the status of Bhikkhuni or Bhikkhunihood in Sri Lanka in the Theravada Tradition.
I shall be grateful for anyone who could provide me with a justifiable and logical explanation as to why the disciplined and learned bhikkhunis living in Sri Lanka do not receive their due recognition, by either the Sri Lankan Government or the so called Theravada Bhikkhus in Sri Lanka.
I have been asked this question by the Buddhists overseas who had come to know this discrimination.
I cannot accept the fact that any of those two parties has the power or the authority to deny that.
it's high time that this issue is resolved.
Theruwan Saranai!

Dear Ms. Balasuriya,

'viparyasa' means change or transformation. So what is meant there is the need for gender transformation from male to female.

The problem doesn't arise due to discrimination or bhikkhu status but due to the impossibility to follow the bhikkhuni ordaining process as detailed by Lord Buddha. At the beginning, Lord Buddha had given permission for bhikkhu sangha to ordain bhikkhunis. Subsequently Lord Buddha had made the process to have two steps where a bhikkhuni needs to be ordained first by bhikkhuni sangha and then by bhikkhu sangha. What I have heard is that there had been a time in the past where the number of ordained bhikkhunis had come down to zero thereby making the bhikkhuni ordaining process an impossibility to carry out.

If you are familiar with the Pali Canon, the details can be found in the Bhikkhuni Khandhaka of Culla Vagga of Vinaya Pitaka. If you are familiar with Sinhala, read the section from page 513: .


Dear Mr. Wickramanayake
Thank you very much for your reply.
I have no wish to pursue this matter any further.
Thank you for sending me the link to Bhikkhuni Khandhaka Culla Vagga of Vinaya Pitaka.
I do not have a keyboard for Sinhala and that's why I communicate in English.
However, I am pleased to learn that Bhikkhuni order is established in several other countries as well as in Mahayana. That does not mean that I approve of any of these Vada or Yanas. I have to come to that understanding that Buddha's teaching is for us to understand and practice but certainly not to be bound by meaningless traditions and cultural norms.
Once again thank you for your kind response.
Theruwan Saranai!

සටහන: මෙම සාකච්ඡාවන්ට ප්‍රතිවචන (reply) ලබාදීමේ හැකියාව අවසාන සටහන ප්‍රකාශිත දිනයෙන් සති හතරක් ඉක්ම ගිය පසු ඉබේම අක්‍රීය වේ. එම අක්‍රීය කිරීමට පසුව එවන් සාකච්ඡාවකට ප්‍රතිවචන ලිවීමට ඔබ කැමති නම් ප්‍රතිවචන ලබාදීමේ හැකියාව සක්‍රීය කිරීම පිණිස අදාල සාකච්ඡාව කුමක්ද යන්න සඳහන් කර යන තැනින් අපට පණිවිඩයක් යොමු කරන්න.