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October 2016 full moon – Reinstating the Buddha’s Vision of Gender Equity

Friends of mine from IMS recently sent me information about this presentation on a little-known aspect of Buddhist history, the recent revival of full monastic ordination for women.

“This presentation was developed by Friends of Aloka Vihara co-founder Mindy Zlotnick. It outlines the history of bhikkhunis (fully ordained Buddhist nuns) from the time of the Buddha until present day and the nuns of Aloka Vihara Forest Monastery are highlighted prominently as an example of a group of pioneering women who are helping to revive the bhikkhuni lineage.

Mindy was moved to create the presentation when she originally saw a similar presentation by the Alliance for Bhikkhunis in 2011. She had been meditating in the Theravada tradition for over 25 years at that point, and was surprised that she had never heard this part of the history of the tradition.

The presentation runs one hour and provides an overview of the history of the Buddha’s vision of the four-fold sangha and how women were an integral part of this vision. Because of political and cultural decisions, a strong female monastic presence disappeared for almost 1000 years. The revival of the Bhikkhuni Sangha began about 30 years ago and has now spread throughout the world.”

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August 2015 full moon – International Bhikkhuni Day

This month, in honour of International Bhikkhuni Day on 12 September, instead of writing my own reflections I’d like to share part of an article by two bhikkunis (fully-ordained nuns), Ayya Santacitta and Ayya Santussika, who are also climate-change activists.

I’ve had the good fortune to meet Ayya Santacitta a few times, both when I was on staff at IMS and more recently in San Francisco at Alokha Vihara, the monastery she helped establish with Ayya Anandabodhi.  The monastery has since moved to a more rural area near Placerville, California, and friends of mine are helping to organise support for the sisters and their monastery with a special ceremony on International Bhikkhuni Day. Continue reading “August 2015 full moon – International Bhikkhuni Day”