Posts Tagged ‘Theravada’

“This book has the power to change how you see yourself and the world. Andrew Olendzki has declassified the radical psychological insights of the Buddha and made them accessible to us all in a series of short, deftly-illuminating essays. It’s a remarkable read for anyone interested in the human condition.”—Christopher K. Germer, author of The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion

Both broad and deep, this eye-opening book is one of the best overviews available of the radical psychological teachings that underlie the Buddhist approach to living a life of freedom and peace. Sophisticated without being daunting, brilliantly clear without becoming simplistic, Andrew Olendzki’s writing is filled with rich phrases, remarkable images, and the fruits of decades of careful thought. Grounded in deep scholarship, psychological sophistication, and many years of teaching and personal practice, this much-anticipated collection of essays will appeal to anyone looking to gain a richer understanding of Buddhism’s experiential tools for exploring the inner world.

Unlimiting Mind is a rare treat. Highly recommended. Andrew Olendzki brings a unique and often brilliant perspective to core Buddhist teachings. He enlarges our understanding of basic principles and raises occasionally unsettling questions about familiar assumptions. An excellent introduction to Buddhism as well as an enlightening jolt to experienced practitioners.” —Joseph Goldstein, author of A Heart Full of Peace

Andrew Olendzki, Ph.D., was trained in Buddhist Studies at Lancaster University in England, as well as at Harvard and theUniversity of Sri Lanka. The former executive director of the Insight Meditation Society, he is currently the executive director of the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies in Barre, MA. He is editor of the Insight Journal.

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A guest post by Wisdom editor David Kittelstrom.

The first Theravada bhikkhuni (nun) ordination in Australia, and the first in the Thai Forest Tradition anywhere in the world, was performed in Bodhinyana Monastery in Western Australia on October 22nd. Four nuns from the nearby Dhammasara Nuns Monastery took ordination: Vayama, Nirodha, Seri, and Hassapañña. The second half of the ordination ceremony was performed by  Ajahn Brahm—the abbot of Bodhinyana—along with other monks from the monastery.

Many feel reestablishing the full ordination of nuns, which was first established by the Buddha himself  is vital for ensuring the respect and vitality of the Buddhist Sangha in the modern world and accords with the essential message of the Buddha. As with monks, well-trained and observant nuns are a wonderful field of merit, wonderful exemplars, and a wonderful source of teachings for all who seek to live life according to the Dharma, and seeds of peace for the world as a whole.

While the Chinese tradition has preserved female ordination, the lineage died out in the Tibetan and Theravada traditions. In recent years, women within these traditions have been taking full ordination nonetheless, but the practice has not yet been endorsed by a consensus of senior lineage holders, the resistance coming primarily from older monks in Asia. The Dalai Lama has been vocal in his support and an important international conference to advance the issue was held in Hamburg, Germany in 2007. Proceedings from this conference will appear soon in Wisdom’s forthcoming book Dignity and Discipline: Reviving Full Ordination for Buddhist Nuns.

The  ordination drew a severe reaction from conservative lineage holders in Thailand. The monks of the Ajahn Chah tradition headed at Wat Pa Pong complained that they had not been consulted and called Ajahn Brahm to a meeting in Northeast Thailand this past Sunday, November 1st, where they voted to expel him from the Wat Pa Pong community.

Ajahn Sujato, another central figure in the ceremony, has been posting regular updates on his blog as events unfold. Ajahn Brahm’s comments from the time of the ordination can be heard here. There is also apparently a group on Facebook with lively discussion of the event and its ramifications.

Karma Lekshe Tsomo, a Buddhist nun and a professor of Religious Studies at the University of San Diego, says in Dignity and Discipline, “Just as countries who refuse women the right to vote are considered backward today, Buddhists will certainly go down on the wrong side of history if they deny fundamental rights and freedoms to women…Recognizing full ordination for women is not only a matter of social justice, it is also simply a matter of common sense.”

Dignity and Discipline goes into these issues in great detail. I would highly suggest reading it when it comes out. The analyses of scripture presented in that book would indicate that the means exist to pursue bhikkhuni ordination in keeping with the Vinaya,  but that what is missing is the will to do so.

For photo’s from the event click here.

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