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Archive for October, 2010

Last year’s bhikkhuni ordination in Australia prompted an unprecedented outpouring of support for the Theravada bhikkhuni movement. It was certainly a tipping point. The center of discussion in the wider community has begun to shift from questions about ordination to questions about how to support and nurture the growing community of nuns. This was the first year that the “Theravada Buddhist women’s monastic community has gathered together to observe the vassatime retreat.” Tomorrow will mark their first Kathina ceremony at the Aranya Bodhi Hermitage.

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Recently, a friend of mine received her ordination at Dharma Vijaya Buddhist Vihara in Los Angeles. She has been a very inspirational figure in terms of her commitment to the Dharma and the community. I attended for most of the ceremony, but had to leave before the final photo shoots to make it home before my early bedtime. Fortunately, she sent me a link to a piece on the ceremony written up by Dr. Stephen Long for the Asian Tribune.

I have had mixed feelings about recent bhikkhuni ordinations. My concerns are less about the ordinations themselves, but of the polarized politics that surround them. I was a bit anxious about attending, but I’m glad I did. At the ceremony this past weekend, I realized that the young children in the audience will grow up in a Buddhist community that includes both monks and nuns, oblivious to the controversy that can at times rip through my generation. Two or three generations down the road, who knows? All the anxieties of my generation (mine included) may be relegated to a footnote in a history text. I wish these newly ordained bhikkhunis all the best blessings and support.

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