Nun's ordination

General discussion, particularly exploring the Dharma in the modern world.
[N.B. This is the forum that was called ‘Exploring Buddhism’. The new name simply describes it better.]
User avatar
tellyontellyon
Posts: 292
Joined: Tue Dec 24, 2013 11:38 pm

Re: Nun's ordination

Post by tellyontellyon » Sun Mar 29, 2015 11:21 pm

In any case.... how much of a deal is it to the Tibetan schools whether or not they would be considered to have their vows coming from the Dharmaguptaka line or the Mulasarvastivadin line?
Do people here think their status as fully ordained nuns would be respected? From the article I quoted above, the Karmapa seems to be saying that as the vows come mainly from the monks, even in the dual ordination, so they should be considered nuns in the Mulasarvastivadin line.
I'm not a scholar so I'm just going by the article.... and my respect for HHK of course.

I just wonder at how the leading layers of the other Tibetan schools are talking about this, obviously the Karmapa doesn't want discord between the schools. From the same article:
However, a number of great Tibetan masters of the past did fully ordain some of their female disciples. Such masters include no less authoritative a figure than the Eighth Karmapa, Je Mikyö Dorje, one of the greatest vinaya scholars in Tibetan history. In the end, these isolated instances of ordinations did not result in the formation of a bhikshuni order in Tibet. Nowadays, two major options have been considered in Tibetan monastic circles. One is ordination by a bhikshu sangha alone, which would consist of monks from the Tibetan Mūlasarvāstivāda tradition. Another is what is known as “dual sangha ordination,’” in which the sangha of Tibetan bhikshus conferring the ordination would be joined by a bhikshuni sangha from a separate vinaya lineage, the Dharmagupta lineage preserved in Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese Buddhism.

While the Eighth Karmapa Mikyö Dorje and other great masters in Tibet held bhikshuni ordinations using this first option—a bhikshu sangha alone—such a method was not universally accepted among Tibetan Buddhist schools. “Although perhaps in the vinaya we can find sources for ordination by the bhikshu sangha alone, this is something disputed and controversial,” His Holiness said. “I do not want to make more controversy, because nowadays Tibetan Buddhism is all together in exile, and if one lineage acts on its own, for example, if I give the ordination in our school alone, then other schools may be uncomfortable with that, and that is not good. But there are other ways and methods available to do so.”
“Don't you know that a midnight hour comes when everyone has to take off his mask? Do you think life always lets itself be trifled with? Do you think you can sneak off a little before midnight to escape this?”
― Søren Kierkegaard

User avatar
Malcolm
Posts: 25421
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Nun's ordination

Post by Malcolm » Sun Mar 29, 2015 11:39 pm

tellyontellyon wrote:In any case.... how much of a deal is it to the Tibetan schools whether or not they would be considered to have their vows coming from the Dharmaguptaka line or the Mulasarvastivadin line?
It depends on the school.
Do people here think their status as fully ordained nuns would be respected? From the article I quoted above, the Karmapa seems to be saying that as the vows come mainly from the monks, even in the dual ordination, so they should be considered nuns in the Mulasarvastivadin line.
I think their vows will be respected, but I am not really sure they can be considered Mulasarvastivada Bhikṣunis. But, the Karmapa can do as he sees fit.

I think it nevertheless will be considered controversial. But controversy never prevented anyone from doing anything in Tibetan Buddhism.
Atikosha
Tibetan Medicine Blog
Sudarsana Mandala, Tibetan Medicine and Herbs
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


The knowledge imparted through the guru’s instructions that formerly was unknown (avidyā) is vidyā.


—Treasury of the Supreme Vehicle, Longchenpa.

User avatar
tellyontellyon
Posts: 292
Joined: Tue Dec 24, 2013 11:38 pm

Re: Nun's ordination

Post by tellyontellyon » Sun Mar 29, 2015 11:53 pm

I'm no scholar, so I don't understand the importance of whether they will be considered as Mulasarvastivada Bhikṣunis by other schools. What is the significance of this? Why does it matter?

Are we likely to see ordination of nuns in this format taken up by the other schools?
“Don't you know that a midnight hour comes when everyone has to take off his mask? Do you think life always lets itself be trifled with? Do you think you can sneak off a little before midnight to escape this?”
― Søren Kierkegaard

User avatar
Malcolm
Posts: 25421
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Nun's ordination

Post by Malcolm » Mon Mar 30, 2015 12:43 am

tellyontellyon wrote:I'm no scholar, so I don't understand the importance of whether they will be considered as Mulasarvastivada Bhikṣunis by other schools. What is the significance of this? Why does it matter?

Are we likely to see ordination of nuns in this format taken up by the other schools?
As to the first point, as far as I know, these mixed Sangha ordinations are in themselves somewhat controversial to begin with.

As to your second question, I honestly don't know.
Atikosha
Tibetan Medicine Blog
Sudarsana Mandala, Tibetan Medicine and Herbs
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


The knowledge imparted through the guru’s instructions that formerly was unknown (avidyā) is vidyā.


—Treasury of the Supreme Vehicle, Longchenpa.

Bakmoon
Posts: 746
Joined: Wed Sep 17, 2014 12:31 am

Re: Nun's ordination

Post by Bakmoon » Mon Mar 30, 2015 1:09 am

tellyontellyon wrote:In any case.... how much of a deal is it to the Tibetan schools whether or not they would be considered to have their vows coming from the Dharmaguptaka line or the Mulasarvastivadin line?
Do people here think their status as fully ordained nuns would be respected? From the article I quoted above, the Karmapa seems to be saying that as the vows come mainly from the monks, even in the dual ordination, so they should be considered nuns in the Mulasarvastivadin line.
I'm not a scholar so I'm just going by the article.... and my respect for HHK of course.

I just wonder at how the leading layers of the other Tibetan schools are talking about this, obviously the Karmapa doesn't want discord between the schools. From the same article:
However, a number of great Tibetan masters of the past did fully ordain some of their female disciples. Such masters include no less authoritative a figure than the Eighth Karmapa, Je Mikyö Dorje, one of the greatest vinaya scholars in Tibetan history. In the end, these isolated instances of ordinations did not result in the formation of a bhikshuni order in Tibet. Nowadays, two major options have been considered in Tibetan monastic circles. One is ordination by a bhikshu sangha alone, which would consist of monks from the Tibetan Mūlasarvāstivāda tradition. Another is what is known as “dual sangha ordination,’” in which the sangha of Tibetan bhikshus conferring the ordination would be joined by a bhikshuni sangha from a separate vinaya lineage, the Dharmagupta lineage preserved in Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese Buddhism.

While the Eighth Karmapa Mikyö Dorje and other great masters in Tibet held bhikshuni ordinations using this first option—a bhikshu sangha alone—such a method was not universally accepted among Tibetan Buddhist schools. “Although perhaps in the vinaya we can find sources for ordination by the bhikshu sangha alone, this is something disputed and controversial,” His Holiness said. “I do not want to make more controversy, because nowadays Tibetan Buddhism is all together in exile, and if one lineage acts on its own, for example, if I give the ordination in our school alone, then other schools may be uncomfortable with that, and that is not good. But there are other ways and methods available to do so.”
Interesting. Within the Theravada tradition the revival of Bhikkhuni Ordination has been done based on the same grounds mentioned here. Although I think in the case of Theravada nuns there is less of a problem with the dual ordination method because the Theravada school and the Dharmaguptaka school descend from the same original group and never really had a clean break between them.

It's interesting that His Holiness the 8th Karmapa decided to have Monks preform the ordination because that is the same method that the Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi encouraged as a way of reviving the Bhikkhuni Sanga. The basis for it is that in the Theravada Vinaya, when the Buddha established the form of Bhikkhuni ordination in which Bhikkhunis preform the ordination, he never actually rescinded the old form of ordination, whereas with every other time that the Buddha established a new form of ordination, he abolished the previous form, so presumably it would be possible to use the old form, at least if it were necessary.

I wonder if the Mulasarvastivada Vinaya records similar information which was the basis of the 8th Karmapa's decision.

User avatar
DNS
Site Admin
Posts: 2898
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2009 4:23 pm
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Contact:

Re: Nun's ordination

Post by DNS » Fri Nov 17, 2017 5:44 am

I just got my copy of the current issue of Tricycle and in it there is an article that the Tibetan Buddhist tradition has revived the nuns ordination:

https://tricycle.org/magazine/recently-bodhi-tree/

I thought there already were some fully ordained Tibetan Buddhist nuns? Or perhaps this is a more officially accepted event?

jmlee369
Posts: 310
Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2011 1:22 am

Re: Nun's ordination

Post by jmlee369 » Fri Nov 17, 2017 8:43 am

DNS wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 5:44 am
I just got my copy of the current issue of Tricycle and in it there is an article that the Tibetan Buddhist tradition has revived the nuns ordination:

https://tricycle.org/magazine/recently-bodhi-tree/

I thought there already were some fully ordained Tibetan Buddhist nuns? Or perhaps this is a more officially accepted event?
If I remember correctly, those nuns were only conferred the shramanerika precepts in the Dharmagupta lineage as preparation for full ordination. There are individuals bhikshunis (all Western and East Asian as far as I know) who practice in the Tibetan tradition, but this would be the first institutional step towards establishing a bhikshuni sangha of Tibetan women.

crazy-man
Posts: 377
Joined: Wed Aug 26, 2015 2:22 pm

Re: Nun's ordination

Post by crazy-man » Fri Nov 17, 2017 10:36 am

According to a Chinese source preserved among the Dunhuang documents, however, one of the secondary wives of Emperor Tri Songdetsen, Queen Droza Jangdron (‘Bro-bza’ Byang-sgron), and thirty more women did receive bhikshuni ordination at Samye. Their ordination would have been conferred by the Chinese bhikshus who were invited to the translation bureau in Samye in 781 CE. Since the Chinese Tang Emperor Zhong-zong had decreed in 709 CE that only the Dharmagupta ordination lineage be followed in China, the bhikshuni ordination in Tibet must have been from the Dharmagupta lineage. Presumably, the ordination was given by the single sangha method and its lineage did not continue after the defeat of the Chinese faction at the Samye debate (792-794 CE) and its expulsion from Tibet.

The Mulasarvastivada bhikshu ordination lineage from Shantarakshita was almost lost with King Langdarma’s repression of Buddhism at the end of the ninth or beginning of the 10th century CE. Three surviving Mulasarvastivada bhikshus, with the help of two Chinese Dharmagupta bhikshus, revitalized this bhikshu ordination lineage with the ordination of Gongpa-rabsel (dGongs-pa rab-gsal) in Eastern Tibet. No similar procedure involving Dharmagupta bhikshunis, however, was followed for establishing the Mulasarvastivada bhikshuni ordination at that time through a mixed lineage dual sangha.

According to the Guge Chronicles, a Mulasarvastivada nun’s order was also established in Guge at this time, and King Yeshey-wo’s daughter, Lhai-metog (Lha’i me-tog), received ordination in it. However, it is unclear whether this ordination was as a bhikshuni or a shramanerika novice. In either case, it is also unclear whether Mulasarvastivada bhikshunis were invited to Guge to confer the ordination, and there is no evidence that a Mulasarvastivada bhikshuni sangha became firmly established in Western Tibet at this time.

In the centuries that have followed Shakyashribhadra’s visit, at least one attempt was made to establish the Mulasarvastivada bhikshuni ordination in Tibet, but it was unsuccessful. In the early 15th-century CE, the Sakya master Shakya-chogden (Sha-kya mchog-ldan) convened a single sangha Mulasarvastivada bhikshuni ordination specifically for his mother. Another contemporary Sakya master, Gorampa (Go-ram-pa bSod-nams seng-ge), however, strongly criticized the validity of this ordination and, subsequently, it was discontinued.
https://studybuddhism.com/en/advanced-s ... n-in-tibet

User avatar
Dorje Shedrub
Posts: 65
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 11:23 pm
Location: Indiana, USA

Re: Nun's ordination

Post by Dorje Shedrub » Sat Nov 18, 2017 12:52 am

Sravasti Abbey in Washington state has 10 fully ordained nuns in the Dharmagupta vinaya, but they practice in the Gelug lineage.https://sravastiabbey.org/who-we-are/mo ... community/

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 43 guests