It seems that the monks from Wat Nong Pah Pong in Thailand want the Council of Elders as well as the Office of National Buddhism to force the western sangha to stop ordaining woman after monk Ajahn Brahm ordains 10 woman into the monastic order. So much for progress eh?
The great thing about being here in the West is that, I can honestly say, we will not listen. As Buddhism ages, moves across the globe and gains followers, silly old Buddhist “blue laws” like not allowing woman to ordain, will disappear.
It is believed that the first Buddhist nun was Prajapati, the Buddha’s aunt who raised him after his mother passing. She asked the Buddha about ordaining and her interest in doing so, he flat out refused her. Back in those days, during his life as a prince, he was taught that woman were inferior, and that minds couldn’t understand things the way men could. You can’t blame someone for conditioning, and he did eventually change his mind on the subject when he ordained the order of bhikunnis. But, although he started the order, there were still many rules a nun had to follow, more so than monks. There were 250 rules a monk was to follow and 348 for a nun, you can find them by reading the Vinaya-pitaka.
The most lenient of traditions is Tibetan Buddhism which has really broken the mold on ordaining woman in the 1980’s, thanks to the work of Karma Lekshe Tsomo and Tenzin Palmo. We now can learn from such great teachers as Ani Pema Chodron, Thubten Chodron, Robina Courtin and more.
Anyway, kudos to Ajahn Brahm for ordaining the woman he has so far and I wish him the best of luck going forward. It seems he may be in for quite a fight and possible smear campaign on his character as a Buddhist monk. There is no room for this kind of belief of inequality in todays age and he should be commended not ostracized.
Original article from the Bangkok post found here.