2ND TWO-DAY GLOBAL CONFERENCE
ON
BUDDHISM AND WOMEN’S LIBERATION
(30th-31st JANUARY, 2019)

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 2ND TWO-DAY GLOBAL CONFERENCE
ON
BUDDHISM AND WOMEN’S LIBERATION
(30th-31st JANUARY, 2019)

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Dear Dhamma Friends and Scholars,
Almost 2600 years ago, Siddhartha Gautama got enlightenment under the Bodhi-tree (Banyan-tree) and became the Buddha at Buddhagaya. From the day of his enlightenment to the day of his Mahāparinirvāṇa (great demise) the Buddha had travelled major part of Jambudīpa (India) and preached his sermons to one and all without any discrimination of gender, class, caste and vicinity. The very statement of the Buddha: “caratha, bhikkhave, cārikaṃ bahujanahitāya, bahujana¬sukhāya, lokānukampāya, atthāya, hitāya, sukhāya, devamanussānaṃ…” “monks, should go on tours for the welfares of the many folk, for the happiness of the many folk out of compassion for the world, for the welfare, the blessing, the happiness of devas and men”, reflects the characteristic of his teachings for all human beings.
The Buddha had established his dhamma on four pillars, such as Bhikkhu Saṅgha, Bhikkhuni Saṅgha, Upāsaka and Upāsika. Dhamma will weaken if any of these columns will be weak. That’s why in his very initial days Buddha has established a Bhikkhuni Order led by his mother, the Great Mahāpajāpati Gotami. Just as arahant-s Sāriputta and Moggallāna were made the two chief disciples in the Order of Bhikkhus, even so the arahant nuns Khemā and Uppalavannā were made the two chief female disciples in the Order of Bhikkhunis and known as “foremost of the Bhikkhunis”. In the Buddha’s time there were distinguished exponents (nuns) of the dhamma like the nuns Dhammadinnā and Bhaddā Kāpilāni etc. All those women followed the Buddha’s path can equally attained what Buddhism considered the highest goal, arahanthood, as men did. Spiritual potential of women is the most basic and also the most distinctive Buddhist attitude regarding the status of women throughout Buddhist literature.
In spite of all the good sayings uttered by the Buddha and other spiritual leaders of the Globe, even today we have seen discrimination to the women and sees unending pain in their part. Surprisingly this is happening in the modern scientific age where women have reached to space but they are not allowed to enter into the temple made by the human being. In all works of life women are giving their contribution- to a new born baby to a great personality. However, they are not getting the equal position in the spiritual path to lead a holy life. Spiritual liberation has anything to do with gender? We could not understand it and if yes, we cannot justify it. Spiritual liberation means peace, happiness, insight wisdom etc. Just as a man can achieve it, so can a woman get it too? When we talk about women liberation, our connotation is not only with worldly liberation but also in the activities of women in everyday life action that takes place in the world and their contribution to it. Our sense of Women's liberation means worldly-liberation, physical-liberation, social-liberation, spiritual-liberation, economic-liberation, and the all types of liberation a man does have. The motive of this seminar is to bring out various aspects of women liberation so that we can reduce the discrimination of men and women to a lesser extent.
Friends, we are happy to carry the sense of responsibility as a global and peaceful organization and to forward the message of the Buddha further in the scientific age of human society. Keeping the social messages of the Buddha and its role for gender equality in mind, the Maha Bodhi Society of India has decided to organize the 2nd Global Conference on BUDDHISM AND WOMEN’S LIBERATION from 30th to 31st January, 2019 at MBSI Buddhagaya Centre to discuss and deliberate upon diverse roles played by Women. Topics pertaining to Women’s Liberation in other religious doctrines and practices are also welcome. This conference will also pay our heartiest tribute to the great Bhikkhuni personalities, who took much pain and hardship to initiate and propagate the Dhamma to this stage.

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Our DISTINGUISHED SPEAKERS
 
Key Note Speeker 
Most Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi
Chuang Yen Monastery
2020 Route 301
Carmel NY 10512
U.S.A.
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Emergence of Theravada Bhikkhunis in Contemporary Asia
Ven. Bhikkhuni Dhammananda 
(Asso. Prof. Dr Chatsumarn Kabilsingh)

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Abstract
This paper studies the revival of bhikkhuni saṅgha in Asia during the past 3 decades. For a better appreciation of the importance of the revival, the paper covers also the previous attempts to revive the bhikkhuni saṅgha both in Sri Lanka and Thailand but to no avail. The paper gives a clear picture of the historical revival of the successful ordination in 1998. Then the ordination spreads to neighbouring countries i.e. Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, etc. The bhikkhunis in these countries become now stronghold to spread the bhikkhuni lineage and also to help strengthen Buddhism in their respective countries.

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Development of Dhamma and Vinaya in Mahayana Buddhism in exploration of the significance of Theravada Bhikkhunis Lineage in modern society
Bhikkhu Vūpasama 随佛比丘
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Abstract
The Bodhisattva belief in Sectarian Buddhism contributed to the rise of Mahayana Buddhism. Mahayana Buddhism absorbed the ideology of Ekabyohārika, and developed its own Paññā Sutta. With this theory, those who claimed themselves as Mahayana, blamed those who practiced Four Noble Truths to be Hinayana.
In the early stage, Mahayana Buddhism compiled their own Sutta, but no Vinaya corresponding to their doctrine and utilized the original Buddha’s Vinaya to develop and organize the Sangha. In the 4th century, Mahayana Buddhism formulated the Bodhisattva Sila, which not only denounced the Four Noble Truths and Vinaya as Hinayana, but also forbidden disciples to listen and learn them . Since then, Mahayana Buddhism deve¬loped into a new sect against original traditional Buddh¬ism.
Whereas, Theravada Buddhism maintained the inheritance of the Four Noble Truths and the Vinaya, preserving the teachings of Buddha. In our modern society that values gender equality, the reinvigoration of the Bhikkhuni in Theravada Buddhism not only continues the Bhikkhuni Lineage of traditional Buddhism, but also maintains the balanced development of Monk and Nun Sangha, further substantiating Theravada Buddhism in modern society and its development around the world.

 

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The Quest for Nirvāṇa amongst Royal and Noble Women according to Ikṣvāku Inscriptions
Dr. Alice Collett
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Abstract: 

The Ikṣvākus, often known as the Andhra Ikṣvākus, ruled a region of South Indian during the third and fourth centuries of the Common Era. The major city of the Ikṣvākus, ancient Vijayapurī, is now submerged under the Nāgārjunasagar dam. However, archaeological evidence of the Ikṣvākus remains, and this includes some donor inscriptions made by female laity, many of whom were royal women. One interesting feature of these donor inscriptions is what they tell us about female religiosity amongst the Ikṣvākus. The donor inscriptions both contain the very usual aspiration that the donation made will bring merit to others, but also the rarer ambition that a consequence of making the donations will be the attainment of nirvāṇa by the female donor. As well as this, the inscriptions also reveal to us that the royal line the women were part of heavily patronized Brahmanism. This is further confirmed by the documented material remains of Vijayapurī. In this paper, I will assess this expressed aspiration to attain nirvāṇa amongst these royal and noble women in this somewhat Brahmanical context, and attempt to understand what Buddhist nirvāṇa meant for them. In so doing, by comparative analysis, I conclude with an observation about aspirations to attain nirvāṇa in the epigraphical record more broadly.
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Aṭṭhagarudhammā: Were they really part of the Buddhavacana?
Prof. K. T. S. Sarao 

 
Abstract:
While evaluating ancient Indian Buddhist attitude toward women, it needs to be kept in mind that most of our understanding is based on the functioning of the Saṃgha and its members. The Saṃgha had very little or no control over the functioning of the society at large. The society could influence the decisions of the Buddhist Saṃgha in many ways as the latter had to depend upon it for various kinds of support. Androcentric-patriarchy, as it functioned in ancient India, regarded men as normal and women as an exception to the normal. Inequality was the fundamental basis of androcentric-patriarchy in ancient India under which men literally ruled over women, prescribing the rules and parameters by and within which women were reckoned to conduct themselves. Ascetical misogyny of Indian society was even more negative and aggressively hostile in its expression toward women and the feminine. In this paper, an attempt has been made to suggest that androcentric-patriarchal pressures on the Buddhist Saṃgha during the post-Mahāparinibbāna period led to repeated editing of the Vinaya and the Sutta Piṭaka in which one can find a multiplicity of opinions expressed regarding women. It is further suggested that personally the Buddha treated women at par with men within the saṃgha. It appears that the anti-women statements, including the aṭṭhagarudhammā, appear to be an interpolation into the original Buddhavacana by the monastic elite whose attitude toward women was shaped, at least partly, by the various historical developments.

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Women Liberation and the Social Order
Prof. Sanghasen Singh

 
Abstract: 
The women’s liberation depends upon the nature and structure of the society. This truth is applicable in case of all societies including those which are under direct impact of religions orders, be that Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, Lingayatism, etc. or any other on this earth and under the Sun. In order to arrive at this truth one has to go into the past history of all societies.
The status of woman got a setback when the matriarchal societies were replaced with patriarchal societies. In fact according to some anthropologists, there were times when matriarchal and patriarchal societies existed side by side. In India, the remnants of matriarchal societies are still traceable in certain tribal societies.
Buddhism originated in a patriarchal society and it continues to exist, by and large, in the social order not considerably changed. Primarily because of this fact, the discrimination against women is traceable even in primitive Buddhism. Initially the doors of the order were not open to them. But later it was opened with strict conditions. It appears, it was a damage control exercise. Nobody could imagine during those days that a woman would become founder and propounder of any religious order or hold any managerial post in such order.
Even two thousand and six hundred years after the Buddha’s times, the society in Madhya Desa (present day eastern Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar) has not moved considerably towards women’s liberation. As a matter of fact, one may put forth certain questions pertaining to the women’s liberation in order to test whether the matter has made some progress. Some of the questions may be framed as under:
Can a woman become a Buddha?
Can a woman attain the status of an Avaivartika (Non revertable) Bodhisattva?
Can a woman attain Arahantahood?
Can a woman become Dhamma-senapati (Commander of the Dhamnna-army) etc.?
The point that needs our attention, is that such questions are being explored and debated by scholars alone. In fact, the difference lies in the fact that during earlier times such questions on the part of the womenfolk were out of their bounds which are being raised frequently here and there today. One may consider it to be a great advancement indeed.

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The Heart Sutra and a Female Guanyin.
“心经”与女性观音
Prof. Charles Willemen
 
Abstract: 

One of the most famous texts in the world, the Heart Sutra, still raises questions. Two of the questions I have: 
1. Why is a prajñāpāramitā,boreboluomiduo般若波罗蜜多 text, about the perfection of wisdom, addressed to Avalokiteśvara? 
2. How can one explain the grammatical case ending in °e in the mantra,
shenzhou 神咒?
Some observations: Texts belonging to the literature about the perfection of wisdom are addressed to Mañjuśrī, Wenshu Shili文殊师利. They are the literature of the Mahāsāṅghika school, Dazhong bu大众部. They belong to Mahāyāna, Da Cheng大乘. All Mahāsāṅghika schools have this kind of literature. The oldest text today is the Daoxing bore jing道行般若经, Aṣṭsāhasrikāprajñāpāramitā, translated to Chinese by Loujia Chen娄迦谶, Lokakṣema or Laukākṣina, in 179 AD. The original Indian text was written in the language of Gandhāra, Jiantuoluo犍陀罗, India's northwestern cultural area, known as Jibin 罽宾at the time. The Indian text most likely comes from the eastern part of Jibin, from Gandhāra proper. This text, dating from the first century BC, offers a Mahāsāṅghika practice of yoga,yuqie瑜伽,yogācāra,daoxing道行. Luoyang 洛 阳was already familiar with the Sthaviravāda,Shangzuo bu上座部 practice of yoga. A Shigao 安世高(Ashkani)had already introduced that earlier.Let me point out that as late as Kumārajīva's, Jiumo Luoshi's鸠摩罗什 Jingang bore jing金刚般若经, Vajracchedikā, in 402 AD, the term used was pāramī, not pāramitā. A very fine translation for pāramī is du度,” to cross over.” Furthermore, prajñā,wisdom,translated as bore,is only used for Mahāsāṅghika emptiness-wisdom.Sthaviravāda prajñā,investigating all factors or dharmas, is translated as zhihui智慧 or hui慧.In the time of Loujia Chen the pronunciation must have been banre,a phonetic rendering of the Gāndhārī sounds. Later, from about 400 AD,the basic Indian language changed to Sanskrit.Bore became the pronunciation for the same Chinese characters,but now offering a phonetic rendering of the Sanskrit pra(jñā).Knowing that this kind of literature is typical for Mahāsāṅghikas,who have Mañjuśrī as the special bodhisattva for wisdom,why is the Heart Sutra addressed to Avalokiteśvara,who originated in the Bactrian,Daxia大夏 area,in the western part of Jibin, among Sarvāstivāda,You bu 有部,groups?The only possible explanation is that this text  is of a late date,when Ekayāna,Weiyi Cheng惟一乘,a Unique Vehicle, was common. Mahāsāṅghikas, adopting a Sthaviravāda idea in their practice, called the result Ekayāna,although they actually meant Mahāyāna.Avalokiteśvara,well known from the Lotus Sutra,originally was a male hero in Sarvāstivāda circles in Bactria,but he is prominenty present in the Ekayāna Lotus Sutra. Avalokiteśvara became female in southern China during the period of the South-North division,Nan-Bei Chao南北朝,preceding unification during Sui- Tang隋唐,589 AD.This development is typically Chinese.It goes together with the change from Amitābha,Amituo阿弥陀,”Immeasurable Light,” to Amitāyus,Wuliangshou无量寿,”Immeasurable Life.”Taken together these two developments can be explained as a contribution of Daoism,Daojiao道教 to Buddhism in South China.Xi Wangmu西王母,the “Royal Mother of the West,”was a Daoist goddess of immortality. 
The second question, about the grammar of the mantra, is directly linked to this
first problem of a female Avalokiteśvara.Xuanzang had obtained the whole Chinese text from a sick person in Sichuan,ca.618-622 AD, before he travelled to
India.He returned to China in 645 AD. At that time, the seventh century, Avalokiteśvara was completely female in China. The sick person needed her compassion,and her mantra.Gate is a female vocative case,”You who have gone,”and can address a female Avalokiteśvara.In China the term Guanyin, looking like a monastic name, was first used by Zhu Daosheng竺道 生, a disciple of Kumārajīva in Chang'an长安,in the early fifth century. The term is older than the Tang dynasty,618 AD. Leaving out shi 世 in Guanshi Yin观世 音(“Sounds/Voices of the Observed World”), a term used by Kumārajīva is not a result of a taboo. The name of Li Shimin李世民 comes much later. So, gate addresses a female Guanyin. Her compassion rescues a sick person, rescues us from the waves of the sea of saṃsāra, but it also saved Xuanzang on his journey across the shifting sands of Central Asia. By the way, the term Guan Zizai观自在 for Avalokiteśvara begins with Xuanzang. He is famous for his inclination to “correct.”
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Machig – A Psychic Gender Transition from India to Tibet
Dr. Andrea Loseries

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Abstract: 
This paper deals with the life story of a woman called Machig ( Ma gcig), ‘Only mother’, a native from a place called Lap in Central Tibet. Therefore her surname was Labdrőn (lap sgron, ‘Light of lap’). She was a renowned Tibetan Tantrik practitioner, teacher and Yoginī who originated several Tibetan lineages of the most profound and skilful Vajrayāna practice called Chőd (gCod, literally the ‘cutting’ or ‘severance’ of ego fixation, performed with a stunning array of songs, music, dance and prayers while engaging in graphic visualizations of cutting up one’s body to offer to demons on charnel and cremation grounds. This ritual is very popular and practised among all Tibetan schools, including the non-Buddhist Bon tradition, up to this day especially among women, nuns and lay alike. Her hagiography is well known among Tibetans and whenever the Cycle of Chőd practice is taught, the students are first introduced to the extraordinary life of Machig Labdrőn. It is notable that Machig was in her later years not a nun, but the mother of three children, two sons and a daughter, to whom she passed on as legacy her system of Chőd, which became one of the eight great chariots of the practice lineages in Tibet. Machig herself was recognized as a Dākiņī, an emanation of Tārā and the Great Mother, Prajňāpāramitā.
In Tibetan literature exists a large number of texts and commentaries, dealing with her teachings and life, and also the oral tradition is rich with it. Here I am referring mainly to a version that is included in a text popularly known as Ma gcig rnam bshad in Tibetan, compiled by Namkhai Gyaltsen (b. 1370), one of her descendants two hundred years later. There it is stated that in her previous life she has taken birth as the son of King Srisura Arya of Kapila in India, called Pitabhadra Siddha (1034-1054) who later in life became a great Tantrik practitioner. According to this text this Siddha, at the age of twenty, following a precise instruction of Tārā and remaining in a state of Samādhi performed a psychic transition of his consciousness to the Tibetan region of Lapchi, where it entered the womb of his mother, to take rebirth in the female body of Machig. The meditative process of the transference of consciousness by severing it from the physical body became the scenario visualized and vividly experienced in Machig’s practice of Chőd.

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Saga of a few So-called ‘Notorious’ Women from the Jātakas
Prof. Mau Das Gupta

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Abstract: 
The bas-reliefs at the relic shrines of Sāncī, Amarāvatī and Bhārhut prove that the birth legends or Jātakas were widely known in the 3rd century B.C. and were then considered as part of the sacred religion. In the vast body of the Jātaka literature women have been frequently disgraced and depicted as basically mean, cruel, deceitful, dishonest and treacherous creatures. One can hardly find a fair comment on womenfolk in the Jātaka literature. According to the Buddhist tradition, the main principle working behind this defamation of women was to create apathy for the fair sex in the hearts of the monks lest they fall prey to the attraction of worldly pleasure. To serve this purpose, the women in the Jātaka stories are in general depicted as unfaithful, selfish and voluptuous species with no sense of gratitude or humanity. Even a hundred and twenty-year-old woman is not free from these vices. The Asātamanta Jātaka and the Mudulakkhaṇa Jātaka give horrifying description of treacherous women. The story of Diktalā in the Ummagga Jātaka is a similar anecdote where ungrateful Diktalā deceives her husband Kālagola. Frailty of women has been the main topic of the stories related in the Kunāla Jātaka. The story of Pañcapāpā tells the account of an ugly poor girl who gets the king as her husband and yet betrays him for her paramours. Saccatapavī, Kuraṅgavī and Kanhā, the princess, are other such girls who have been mentioned in the Jātakas to demean the womenfolk in general. Estimated with a critical approach of Gender Studies, these stories, in most cases however, would reveal the exploitation of women by their male counterparts and not vicé versa.   
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Concept of Buddhist Emancipation and Women – A Study with Special Reference to the Yaśodharā
Prof. Aiswarya Biswas
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Abstract: 
It is but natural that men have the tendency to judge the past through the lens of present ‘standard of morality and living’. It must be remembered when Gautama, the historical Buddha, set in the ‘wheel of Law’ (technically called Dharmacakra Pravartana) He curved the way of liberation in very simple manner; He only declared that ‘emancipation of suffering’ is ‘Emancipation’ or ultimate goal of human being i.e. the ‘Nirvāṇa’, because the world is founded on suffering (Dukkhe loko patiṭṭhito). But he did succeed in creating a minor stir against Brāhmaṇical dogmas and superstitions. He condemned the caste structure dominated by Brāhmaṇa, excessive ritualism and animal sacrifice. He denied the existence of God-head and emphasized emancipation by individual efforts (attadīpo bhavo). The basic doctrine of Buddhism that is salvation by one’s own effort, presupposes the equality of all beings, male and female. Buddha saw the spiritual potential of both male and female and founded after considerable hesitation the Order of women, one of the earliest organizations of Nun. Several women from different walks of life joined that Order and enjoyed supreme bliss of ‘Nirvāṇa’. It is clear, therefore, that women enjoyed much social freedom and recognition of her personal identity in Buddha’s life.
After His demise, His followers were divided into various groups owing to different interpretations of the Teacher’s sayings (Satthusāsana). Within the two hundred years of His passing away two major divisions became prominent and others took shelter under their shade. These two groups were the Theravādins and the Mahāsaṅghikas. Later on Mahāsaṅghikas were known as Mahāyānists or better, Bodhisattvayānists.
The Theravādins believed that ‘Arhat-hood’ is the ultimate goal of the life and one individual is able to achieve this position by the practice of Śīlacaryā. No worshipper or house-holder is able to achieve this position. Only a monk is fit for that. Again it is to be noted that the Theravādins did not make any discriminstion between men and women in respect of achieving the ‘Arhat-hood’.
On The otherhand, Bodhisattvayānists declared that ultimate destination of human being is to achieve ‘Buddhahood’ by practice of ‘Pāramitācaryā’. Each and everyone is a ‘Bodhisattva’ i.e. the ‘Potential Buddha’.
However, the Theravādins also accepted ‘Pāramitācaryā’ as a part of ‘Bodhisattvacaryā’ but they did not allow it for everyone. Because they did not accept the notion that each and everyone is a ‘Potential Buddha’ or ‘Bodhisattva’. In the Theravāda Literature there are stories of so many Arhat Therīs but in the Bodhisattvayāna, we have no reference of ‘Nārī Bodhisattva’ of human origin. Bodhisattvayānists were conscious about this short coming; therefore imagination of goddess Tārā sprang up amongst them. She is accepted as one and only ‘Nārī Bodhisattva’ in the entire Buddhist pantheon.
Thus Buddhist concept of emancipation is evolutionary in the sense of its historical journey from the very outset of its origin. The general liberation or emancipation of monks and nuns from sufferings is designated as ‘Nirvāṇa’ by Theravādins and emancipation of Bodhisattva is ‘Bodhi’ or ‘Enlightenment’. These ‘Bodhisattvahood’ and ‘Bodhi’ are variously presented by different sects. But Women were debarred from it.
Yaśodharā, consort of Bodhisattva Siddhartha followed the way of ‘Bodhisattvahood’ but that has not been recognized by the Buddhist. Why? This very paper is an attempt to pin point the ‘Bodhisattvacaryā’ of Yaśodharā with a few textual citations from different literary sources.
Key Words : Buddha, Bodhisattva, Nārī Bodhisattva, Vaivartika and Avaivartika, Apadāna, Nirvāṇa, Vajrayāna, Thera, Therī, Arhat.

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Samaneri Ordination in Thailand: Case Study of Songdhammakalyani Monastery
Dhammaparipunna Sikkhamana 

 
Abstract: 
Women’s spiritual liberation in Thailand has been revolutionizing since 1928. Almost over a century, women have been striving for spiritual liberation. A great attempt has transformed into concrete actions when Ven. Dhammananda (previously known as Assoc.Prof.Dr.Chatsumarn Kabilsingh) took her samaneri and bhikkhuni ordinations in Threvada Buddhism from Sri Lanka in 2001 and 2003, respectively. Her samaneri ordination was the very first step of a major breakthrough in unlocking the door to spiritual liberation of Thai women. Furthermore, she has paved the way for other women to be ordained as samaneris and bhikkhunis instead of observing 8 precepts in white robes as maejis (considered as Upasika in the fourfold Buddhist communities). This paper presents background to women’s striving for ordination in Thailand and its failure and success; women’s ordination blockade; steps towards being a bhikkhuni: samaneri, sikkhamana, and bhikkhuni; difference between maeji and samaneri, samaneri and sikkhamana; and case study of samaneri ordination and training at Songdhammakalyani monastery (SDK). Importance of sikkhamana declaration, why there is no sikkhamana in Sri Lanka while SDK is reviving sikkhamanas, and why SDK is establishing and strengthening its bhikkhuni sangha are discussed.
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The Women’s Social Liberation: with special reference to the Puṇṇātherīgāthā
Gyanaditya Shakya

 
Abstract: 
The holy teachings of Gautam Buddha have been complied in the form of Pāli Tipiṭaka literature. The Therīgāthā is a very popular text of Pāli Tipiṭaka literature. The Therīgāthā (Psalms of the Sisters) is the ninth text of the Khuddaka-Nikāya (Smaller Collection). It is a historical document of the women’s liberation. Having studied it, the efforts and the achievements of women can be known and understood properly. This text describes the spiritual progress, development and prosperity of the women. Because of their right efforts, the Buddhist nuns achieved the liberation (nibbāna) in their life - it is the special characteristic of Buddhism and Pāli Tipiṭaka literature. The sixteenth section (nipāta) of the Therigāthā describes about the Puṇṇātherigāthā. In this text, Puṇṇā expresses the feelings and utterances of her family and ordained life in the form of poetry. The voice of social liberation is found in her utterances, which are very relevant to the modern society.
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The current dilemma and development of modern Chinese (including Taiwan) Theravada Bhikkhunis
道一比丘尼 Bhikkhunī Tissarā 
 
Abstract: 
The main stream of Chinese culture emphasizes and praises the welfare of groups(commonweal), and depreciate
Individualism. Theravada Buddhism emphasizes the loathing of the five skandhas. Thus under the influence of Chinese culture, it will be not easily accepted by Chinese. Whereas, Mahayana Buddhism ideal of deliberating mankind is simultaneous with Chinese culture, thus have rooted and prospered in China for almost two thousand years.
上座部佛教發展於中國的主要困難,是如何跨越「厭離五陰」與「普世就贖」的文化差異,妥善處理來自大乘學派的挑戰,更需要針對中國社會施予有利的幫助。
The major obstacle for Theravada Buddhism in China is to overcome the cultural difference between the loathing of the five skandhas and the Chinese culture(collectivism); thereby appropriately deal with the challenges from Mahayana Buddhism. Therefore, Theravada Buddhism should help improve Chinese society in a more specific and appropriate way .
中國上座部佛教僧團的發展,既需要斯里蘭卡、緬甸、泰國的上座部佛教僧團給予支持,更需要已經習慣大乘僧團的中國社會予以接納。在此之下,中國上座部比丘尼的存在與發展,是處理大乘學派的挑戰,並傳教中國社會的重要助力之一。
The development of Chinese Theravada Buddhism requires the support from Theravada Buddhism of Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand, as well as the acceptance from the Chinese society which have accepted and is accustomed to Mahayana Buddhism. The development of Chinese Theravada Bhikkhuni Sangha is one of most importance for the preaching Theravada Buddhism in China,having been faced with challenges from Mahayana Buddhism.
中道僧團是由華人組成的佛教僧團,是自1994年起,即發展於中國(包括臺灣)、馬來西亞、美國等地之華人社會,也是守持上座部比丘戒、比丘尼戒的上座部佛教僧團。中道僧團的目標,是將四聖諦、僧律發展於華人社會,經由華人社會的支持與傳承,促進上座部佛教的發展與壯大。
Sambodhi Saṅgha, established since 1994, consists of Chinese Buddhist monks and nuns from Chinese Society from China (including Taiwan), Malaysia and United States, following Theravada vinaya of Bhikkhus and Bhikkhunis. The goal of Sambodhi Saṅghais to promote Theravada Buddhism by advocating Four Nobel Truths and Theravada Vinaya in Chinese society.

20
 Female Donors at Sārnāth : Issues of Gender and Endowments
Prof. Anand Singh
 
Several facets of the role of the female both lay and nun in early Buddhism especially in Sarnath will be subject matter of this paper. The study of female roles should not neglect the broader context of gender relations within the Buddhist community. In Sarnath such structure is clearly visible in epigraphic records and literature. Asoka’s edicts are both the earliest lithic records of India and the earliest extant information on Buddhism. Asoka’s famous edict on samghabheda at Sarnath refers to both monks and nuns. A large number of donations made by females are found in Sarnath in early Christian era up to early medieval age. These records show different pattern of donations, categories of donors and other issues. Some of these issues reveal fascinating aspects of early Buddhism.
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Feminine Participation in the Donors World: A Glimpse from the Inscribed Records of the Pala-Sena Period
Dr. Noor Bano Sattar
 
The social world of ancient India was almost certainly patriarchal, and the early medieval society of Bengal (West Bengal and Bangladesh) and Bihar was no exception to it. Notwithstanding the patriarchal nature of the early medieval society, the role of women as donors of images (Buddhist and Brahmanical) for acquiring punya in this world and thereafter has been the subject matter of fairly large numbers of inscribed records of the Pala-Sena Period (c.8th century13thcentury CE.). Buddhism was the dominant religion of the period concerned as a fairly large numbers of Buddhist sculptures have been discovered from the spatial region of Bihar, West Bengal and Bangladesh. The analytical study of inscriptional evidences on Buddhist images, revealing the names and identity of female donors has been discussed by me in my earlier works.
The pre-Pala and Pala rulers were mainly devout worshippers of Tathagata Buddha and called themselves paramasaugata. But the epigraphic content found on quite a good number of Brahmanical images reveal the names and identity of female donors viz; queen-consort and even ordinary women who performed the religious act of deyadharmma (‘meritorious gift’ / ‘pious gift’) of Brahmanical gods and goddess out of their veneration. This paper thus tries to explore the role, position and status of female donors and to analyze the nature of liberation enjoyed by them in the given socio-economic, spiritual and political space.

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Women liberation for ‘bhikkhuni sangha’ in Bangladesh: A survey
Dr. Saswati Mutsuddy

 
Whether women are liberated to admit bhikkhuni sangha particularly in sub continental countries like India and Bangladesh? Though, Buddha gave permission women to admit into the Bhikkhuni sangha (there are various controversies). But, still there are lots of obstacles from different parts of society for women. Specially, these problems have been faced in Theravada Buddhism. As Bangladesh is one of them, bhikkhuni sangha is still struggling to establish their existence in that country. In the globalisation era, it is found that western countries and even South East Asian countries have their full fledged bhikkhuni sanghas who have accomplished various curriculums for the upliftment of women and society. But, the Bengalis are still fighting to establish their sangha. Though, it has seen that no obstructions have come from other religions in the society of Bangladesh. Few of those women have received their ordinations. Samaneri Gautami is one of them who dedicated her life for the society. In 2013 she took her ordination and she received higher ordination in 2016.
The paper would like to focus on the history of Bangladesh Bhikkhuni sangha; to survey the present condition of bhikkhunis in their country and also in Theravada countries.

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 Short report on excavation at Lalpahari, Lakhisarai, Bihar
Dr. Anil Kumar
 
Lakhisarai, a town in making and a district head quarter in the state of Bihar is situated 125 km. east of Patna on the N.H. 80, (Mokamah-Sahebgung). The place is well connected by railways also. It is situated at the confluence of three important rivers i.e. Ganga, Haruhar and Kiul, and three ancient cultural zones of Anga, Magadh, and Mithila. Patches of Gondwana formation, Laterite, Vindhyan, Archaean Lavas and basic igneous Intrusive rocks are also found in the study area.
Previous work: The antiquarian remains of Lakhisarai region have drawn attention of British administrators like, Buchanan, A. Cunningham, Beglar and Waddell in 19th century. A. Cunningham identified lo-in-ni-lo mentioned by Xuanxang at Rajaouna. Mention of Krimila Visya occurs in other inscriptions also. In one inscription it is mentioned that in the Dharmapala’s state at Krimila Visya Madhu Srenika(A merchants guild) in honour of Dharmapala has founded a Devadhmmayam In this inscription, Krimila is mentioned as Adhisthana which meant that Krmila Adhisthana, an early medieval religious-cum-administrative centre of eastern India. Another inscription from Valgudar gives us very important information about the date of the Pala ruler Madanapala, in which we learn that during the 18th regnal year of his rule a Narayana image was installed by two Paramvaisnava Bhatta brothers Sri Sukim Bhatta and his brother Sri Abhi-Bhatta with his father, in the Saka era 1083. Hence, from this inscription we can conclude that Madanapala has ascended the Pala throne in ad 1143 and ruled at least for 18 years that would be 1161 C.E. Mention of Krmila as a nagara is also found from the contemporary Brahmanical and Buddhist texts.
In the latter half of the twentieth century again this area has been explored by R.D. Banerjee, Frederick M. Asher. Asher after analysing the sculptures and stone pillars lying around the region and few sculptures preserved in various museums concluded that this area was an “urban centre of the early medieval period”. The ancient connectivity of this place is also mentioned by Claudine Bautze-Picron, another eminent art historian, “The extension of connectivity spreads northwards up to Simraongarh in Mithila a place located on the road descending from Nepal to Bihar and which was visited in the early part of the 13th c. by Dharṃasvamin on his way to Bodh Gaya. Claudine Bautze-Picron concluded after analyzing the sculptures from this place that “the iconographic types of this site can also be seen in other places or seem to be exclusively found in the region of Lakhisarai.
Jaynagar, one of the most important sites for Krimila region, is situated in front of modern district headquarter of Lakhisarai, is part of the municipal area of this modern town Lakhisarai, (ward no. 33). of the modern town Lakhisarai. The place is situated between two hillocks, Lalpahari and Kalipahari. A. Cunningham reported existence of a market in Jainagar. Lal pahari was also extensively explored by A. Cunningham, where he has mentioned that on the top of this hill a Buddhist Vihara existed. On the top of the Lal pahari, in the year 2015, local inhabitants exposed ancient structural remains including a bastion on the south-east corner of the structure in a chance digging. The site of Lalpahari falls under the geographical jurisdiction of Krimila Adhishthana which is mentioned in the various Buddhist sources, the most famous being Anguttara Nikaya.
The objectives of excavation at Lali Pahari (Jainagar) are to investigate the archaeological evidences on Lal Pahari and the surrounding areas as despite having significant archaeological remains in this forgotten Adhisthana, no site has been thoroughly excavated before. Before this excavation, a site near Chowki village (Ashokdham) was excavated by Sri Hari Manji of A.S.I. in the year 1987. No attempt was made by the both of excavators to ascertain the extent of the ancient habitation and the antiquity of the site, neither have they attempted to establish a scientific understanding of history nor have they compiled scientific record of the available archaeological recourses. After realizing the above mentioned aims and objectives, horizontal excavation method has been adopted for better understanding from the retrieved materials from the site.
Taking into account the importance of the site, MoU between Bihar Virasat Samiti, Patna and Visva Bharati University, Santiniketan was signed in 2017 for archaeological works at Lakhisarai. After getting permission from Archaeological Survey of India, New Delhi, for excavation at Lal Pahari, Jaynagar, ward number 33, Lakhisarai, (Licence was issued for excavation and exploration of the area jointly in the name of Dr. Bijoy Kumar Choudhary, Executive Director, Bihar Virast Vikas Samiti and Dr. Anil Kumar, Associate Professor and Head of the Department of AIHC&Archaeology, Visva Bharati University, Santiniketan as Director and Co-Director for excavation and exploration) excavation at the site started in the month of November 2017.
The site is a structural site which is constructed basically of bricks and lime plastered floor. During the course of excavation in the south eastern corner and in the north eastern corner bastions attached with the main structure has been exposed. Pottery is the most abundant item amongst the remains. Complete vessels were rare that were recovered during the excavation. The embankment at Lal Pahari is a strongly-built small rectangular monastery made of ashlars fine masonry and burnt bricks, with stone blocks used in laying down the foundation. The monastery is secured perhaps from all the four corners by 3 circular bastions in each corner. On the north eastern side between two bastions there is a sculptural Gaja-vyala style Pranali (Gargyole). So far total 10 cells have been excavated in which most of the cells have lime plastered floor out of which 3 cells are interconnected with door frames. The architectural features of this monastic institution indicate us that this structure was constructed with excessive protective measures (3 bastions in each corner, interconnected cells and all the cells having doors). The location of this monastery further indicates that this was located on the Western side of the Chaliya Parvat (over which Stupa is identified and excavated by A. Cunningham).

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The Garudhammas Rules and Bhikkhuni Samgha: An Observation from Buddhist Perspective
Dr. Arvind Singh
 
Today, when the role of Women in Society is an issue of worldwide interest it is opportune that we should pause to look at it from a Buddhist perspective. Despite the fact that the Buddha elevated the status of women, he was practical in his observations and advice given from time to time in that he realized the social and physiological differences that existed between men and women. These were depicted in the Anguttara Nikaya and Samyutta Nikaya. Although in certain sections of the Tripiṭaka some caustic comments were made on the wiles and behavior of women, the Buddha, in the Samyutta Nikāya, did bring forth many redeeming features: under certain circumstances, women are considered more discerning and wise than men and women are also considered capable of attaining perfection or sainthood after treading the noble Eightfold path.
There is a belief among scholars that the Buddha seem to be an anti-women as he tirelessly taught women as a trap of evil, a temptation, a target for lust, a hindrance or an obstacle for men on the path to their ultimate liberation. Not only that, he showed his unwillingness to accept women into his order initially and laid down the eight strict rules for them before establishing the nun’s order with the foretelling his Dhrama’s span would be cut by half. This Bhikkhuṇi Saṃgha was formed five years after the establishment of Bhikkhu Saṃgha. Especially, he declared that women could not attain the Buddhahood as men could. In this proposed paper I will through light on Why the Buddha was not intended to permit women’s entry into samgha at first stance? Why the Buddha enacted Garudhammas (the Eight Rules) enacted before giving permission to women’s entry into Samgha. The proposed paper will mainly try to explain the Intention and aim of the Buddha behind enactment of the Garudhammas. Finally I will try to put forth my view regarding depiction of women with references from Buddhist literature to justify my own opinion.

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Reestablishment of Bhikkhuni order and obligation with spiritual growth
Dr. Wimal Hewamanage

 
Abstract: 
This research paper is examined to find whether or not the Bhikkhuni Order can be re-established based on the dhamma and vinaya with reference to modern social context as well. Since this is a literature based research primary and secondary sources including ‘Bhikkhunī khandhaka’ in the Cullavaggapāḷi are utilized. Present discussion on the subject was raised in 1990s with the Bhikkhuni ordination, completed at Saranath in India under the leadership of Korean Bhikkhunis and Sri Lankan monks. At present, it seems that two groups who are agreeable and disagreeable attempt to prove their own view regarding re-establishment of Bhikkhuni Order by way of emotional rather than rational. Though the ideologists fundamentally agreed for the re-establishment of Bhikkhuni Order a variety of causes can be identified among them. Their consent is based on dhamma and vinaya or women rights. Some of them oppose focusing on dhamma and vinaya while some of them oppose focusing on male dominance. One who consents plays more attention on women rights but does not discuss about religious traditions which are connected to other religions. One who dis-consents tries his best to neglect only considering eight special rules (garudhamma). Thus, this research paper discusses the potential of re-establishment of Bhikkhuni Order and the necessity of spiritual progress. It reveals how spirituality supports for the development of Buddhasāsana through spiritual progress of the new organization.
Keywords: Bhikkhuni Order, spiritual progress, Bhikkhunī khandhaka, Bhikkhuni Order re-establishment.

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