11 September 2012 Originally posted on Santi Forest Monastery’s website.

(See photos, below!)

30th September: Sunday Open-House & “International Bhikkhuni Day” at Santi

~ We welcome you to visit the monastery for a Sunday open-house and “International Bhikkhuni Day” all day on 30th September! ~

9:30 AM “History of Bhikkhunis”
(Ayya Dhammananda)
10:15 AM “The Women Who Inspired Us”
(Circle discussion)
11:00 AM Lunch Dana & clean-up
1:00 PM Walk to the cave
1:15 PM Guided Meditation
1:30 PM Sitting / Walking Meditation
2:30 PM Short break, followed by Dhamma talk
3:30 PM End
6:00 PM Tea time

In our Theravada tradition, the sight of bhikkhunis is something relatively new, though the Order of Bhikkhunis can traced back to the Buddha’s time 2600 years ago in India. The tradition of Bhikkhuni Sangha lasted for more than 1000 years in India & Sri Lanka before dying out in war conditions.  Meanwhile, having gained the lineage from Sri Lanka, the bhikkhunis of China, Korea and Vietnam continued the lineage and practice up to this day.
The last decades of the 20th century witnessed a great revival of the Bhikkhuni Order in  Sri Lanka.  Theravada bhikkhunis made inroads in additional countries where the Buddha Dhamma has a foothold…
Santi’s new Samaneri Tapasi of Thailand (3 Sept 2012). 

…including Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Buddhism’s home country of India, and the West: Canada, the United States, Germany, and of course Australia.

Australian Sayalay Santacari’s recent head-shaving preparing to go forth as a novice….

New Samaneri Santacari of Australia (Aranya Bodhi, USA) 2nd Sept 2012

To support and celebrate this global revival, last year the Alliance for Bhikkhunis (AfB) chose the full moon of September to celebrate an annual International Bhikkhuni Day.

Arahant Sanghamitta Theri arrives in Jaffna Port of Sri Lanka bringing the cutting of the Bodhi Tree; image from Kelaniya temple mural, Sri Lanka.

  • This year the AfB asks participants to specially highlight the contributions of Sanghamitta Theri who brought the female order from India to Sri Lanka around 300 BC. See their brochure for this occasion.
  • Why the September full moon? It was under the September full moon that the great Pajapati Gotami – the Buddha’s aunt & foster mother – received ordination, marking the start of the Buddha’s new order of female renunciates or bhikkhunis.
We heartily invite all friends and supporters of Santi Forest Monastery to join our International Bhikkhuni Day on Sunday 30th of September, and learn with us about bhikkhunis and other inspiring female spiritual leaders of the past and present time.
In the morning we will hear each others’ stories of inspiring female teachers in our lives; in the afternoon there will be a guided meditation session in the Big cave – thus speaking together and in silence, laity & nuns will foster our spiritual friendship.
It is especially auspicious this year as Santi goes through its biggest change, with the monastery coming under the care of Bhikkhuni Sangha. You may like to follow AfB’s suggestion of seeking pledges from friends & family towards the hours you spend in meditation or learning about bhikkhunis, perhaps using their suggestions at this site.

We recall the Buddha’s ringing declaration of his intention: “I shall not come to my final passing away, Mara, until my bhikkhus and bhikkhunis, laymen and laywomen, have come to be true disciples — wise, well disciplined, apt and learned, preservers of the Dhamma, living according to the Dhamma, abiding by the appropriate conduct, and having learned the Master’s word, are able to expound it, preach it, proclaim it, establish it, reveal it, explain it in detail, and make it clear; until, when adverse opinions arise, they shall be able to refute them thoroughly and well, and to preach this convincing and liberating Dhamma.”  DN 16

Together, we can make the Buddha’s intention a living tradition every where in the world.       Ven. Gunasari of Burma/USA; Ven. Sudhamma of USA; Ven. Tenzin Palmo of UK; Ven. Tathaaloka of USA; Ven. Dhammananda of Thailand. 2007, Hamburg.
(Photo: Bhikkhuni sisters from Burma, USA, England, and Thailand; photo credit Ms Sopapon Kurz, at the Dalai Lama’s 2007 Hamburg conference on nuns ordination.)
More at this link on International Bhikkhuni Day: talks by bhikkhunis and other free materials to download for the day, including an article about her ordination by Ayya Sudhamma Bhikkhuni.  (Last year’s materials are still available here.)

Santi’s Ayya Pasada Bhikkhuni of Hong Kong (far right if you click photo) & friends enter Vassa in USA (Aranya Bodhi, Aug 2012). 

Alliance for Bhikkhunis is a group of earnest lay supporters based in California who took upon themselves the task of supporting Theravadan bhikkhunis around the world; Ayya Sudhamma and other senior bhikkhunis such as Ayya Tathaaloka know them well and vouch for their sincerity.  Alliance for Bhikkhunis supporters have one special request to make of you for this occasion:

“Please send us stories about the
remarkable women who have and
continue to inspire you. These will
be compiled in our digital Library.
Also consider becoming an AfB

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