An Anomaly in Buddhist Practice
Posted on December 31st, 2018

R Chandrasoma

On opening the Newspapers one is often regaled with the sight of a Political Big-Wig humbly worshipping a Buddhist priest in an ornate Temple with friends and onlookers in attendance.

Nobody questions the worth of this sacerdotal performance by our elected leaders – but why is it that a female of like religious standing is not worshipped in the same regal fashion? Indeed, the point at issue is  the subordination or studied neglect of the sisterhood of Bhikkunis – females who aspire to Buddhahood.  In the desire and ardency with which our sisters and daughters in Sri Lanka  seek the state of supreme enlightment, they are certainly not inferior to the males.

Indeed, it is clear to all dispassionate observers that the greater part of our religious ardency and strength lies with our womenfolk,
What, then, is the problem – if the word ‘problem’ is is appropriate in this connection?  It is a social problem connected with the asymmetry of institutional strength – the male dominance of society.

We have no great temples managed and run by Bhikkunis because of male opposition – not religious opposition but the more primeval force of male chauvinism. The belief that this a ‘doctrinal’ issue is a red-herring – it is more a power struggle with male chauvinist of all brands fighting off a threat to their dominance.

We must call upon the Buddhist Women of Sri Lanka to establish Great Temples of Learning and Worship – not in a spirit of spiteful animosity but to redress an unbecoming  asymmetry.

We hope that the day is not far off when Bhikkunis of Sri Lanka will be the true guardians of this country  – with Political Big-Wigs beholden to them in much the same way that a coteri of Bhikkus (males) dominated politics in the recent past.

5 Responses to “An Anomaly in Buddhist Practice”

  1. Dilrook Says:

    I agree.

    Damsarani is a good initiative to bring a novel perspective. There is real potential in this regard and for Bikkunis to take on more for the Sasana and the nation.


  2. Randeniyage Says:

    If “Political Big-Wig humbly worshipping a Buddhist priest” is the issue, it has nothing to do with womenfolk but to for them to ACT that they are TRUE Buddhist when actually they are not.
    Coming back to the topic “Anomaly” is obviously because “The Big Monk” is made that way ( Pope like) by the king as he was “King’s Monk” those days. I beleive this practice was created by non-Buddhist Sinhala kings ( Indian installed).
    Bikkhuni Sasana was gone long time ago and no one was interested to re-establish it according to vinya rules until recently when someone got it started using Mahayana Bikkhunis.
    Buddha has specifically said that greatest merit is gained by being associated with “great monks” ( that is “great” by practice, not by tradition), ideally a fully enlightened Arahant.
    All those regularly seen on TV and Youtube are not Arahants but pretenders, self proclaimed Arahants.

  3. Dilrook Says:

    I find her sermons full of substance and she imparts Buddhist teachings clearly without politics, mixing with own opinions and biases.

    Buddhist nuns must be given protection appropriate in a corrupted society and more responsibilities. Barriers to this even stated by Buddha must be disregarded.

  4. Christie Says:

    “Barriers to this even stated by Buddha must be disregarded.”.

    If you take Buddhism as it is I do not see men and women are different except their bodily functions.

  5. Charles Says:

    The Buddhists Nuns and Dasasil Mathas lead a quiet and more pious lives than their male counterparts. They do not get involved in politics. They do not live in luxury as our Mahanayakes with lot of people in attendance and bent more towards politics and other worldly activities.

    There are lot of Dasa sil Mathas who are meditators and teach meditation. Venerable Late Amatha Gavesi thero, who was a instructer of meditation at Kanduboda, later started two Meditation Centres one in Kurunegala and the other at Pallekelle. He believed that Buddhism will be protected and propagated by the Dasa Sil Mathas than by the Bikkhus. He trained a number of Dasasil Mathas for teaching of Meditation at Pallekelle. After the death of Venerable Amatha Gavesi the Pallekelle Devanapethis Samatha Vipassana Meditation is run entirely by the Dasasil Mathas under the able management of the Centre by Chandra Loku Manian Vahanse.
    They live simple lives and devote their entire time in the teaching of meditation. The Centre has 15 day Meditation Retreats, and large numbers from all over Sri Lanka attend these retreats including many people from abroad. They are highly respected and every one visiting the centre kneels respectfully before these Dasasil Mathas addressed to as Manian Vahanse. They are unsung Buddhist disciples in the service of the Buddhists.

    Please see the following blog:

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