Recognition of Sri Lankan Bhikkunis and Provision of State Services
Posted on October 2nd, 2016

Mahinda Gunasekera Tambrook Drive , Toronto, Canada

Hon. Wijayadasa Rajapaksha, MP
Minister of Justice and the Buddha Sasana
135 Srimath Anagarika Dharmapala Mawatha
Colombo 7, Sri Lanka

Copy: Hon. H.R. Sarathi Dushmantha, MP
Deputy Minister of Buddha Sasana
Copy to: Mr. Wasantha Ekanayake,
Secretary, Ministry of Buddha Sasana

Honourable Minister,

Recognition of Sri Lankan Bhikkunis and Provision of State Services

I was deeply constrained to learn that Sri Lankan Bhikkunis who recently attended a Buddhist International Conference which called for the Binara Poya to be declared ‘UN International Women’s Day’ had undergone numerous difficulties in having a National Identity Card (NIC) issued, as a result of which they faced a lot of hassle in furthering their education or availing of other state privileges available to ordained members of the sangha. A NIC should be available to all citizens on provision of relevant documentation especially to ordained members of the sangha, as it is freely issued to all lay persons.

The order of Bhikkunis in Sri Lanka has been growing and in fact foreigners interested in following the Buddhist spiritual path too are visiting Sri Lanka to ordain and practice under the guidance of knowledgeable teachers. Just as much as the Bhikku Sangha declined in Sri Lanka during various periods of our history, and our having to seek Upasampada through the good offices of the established orders in Myanmar and Thailand, and provide similar assistance to rekindle the Bhikku Sangha in those countries when they faced similar situations, the Bhikkuni Sangha in Sri Lanka too declined and was completely lost to our nation over a 1,000 years back due to invasions from Southern India and other destabilizing factors. However, the Bhikkuni Order that was established in China by Bhikkunis from Sri Lanka over 1,500 years back has continued unbroken, making it possible for Sri Lankan women interested in practising the Buddhist Path as bhikkunis to seek the assistance of Chinese/Taiwanese Bhikkunis to restore the order in Sri Lanka. As a nation that produced the first female Prime Minister in the world, it is indeed disappointing to learn that women seeking the Buddha’s Path of inner purity are being discriminated against and obstacles are being placed through their non-recognition and step-motherly treatment. We should extend the same level of treatment as extended to the Bhikku Sangha that also declined and had to be renewed from time to time with the help of the Sangha in Myanmar and Thailand to the Bhikkuni Sangha which has been restored in a similar manner after a lapse of time.

I trust that the authorities will look into this matter on an urgant basis and take steps to eliminate the discriminating circumstances prevailing at present.

Yours sincerely,

Mahinda Gunasekera
Tambrook Drive , Toronto, Canada M1W 3L9

Copy to: Dr. Anula Wijesundera and Dr. Hema Goonatilake – Kindly follow up and obtain redress for members of the Bhikkuni Sangha in Sri Lanka.  MG

One Response to “Recognition of Sri Lankan Bhikkunis and Provision of State Services”

  1. AnuD Says:

    Why there is no copy to Maithripala Sirisena ?

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