Overcoming the Challenges for the Re-establishment of the Bhikkhunī Order in Sri Lanka through the Study of Historical Experiences

Panahaduwe Yasassi Thera


The Bhikkhunī Order which was established in Sri Lanka at the early periodof the advent of Mahamahinda Thera gradually developed amidst obstacles andhardships. As a result of socio-religious factors, it declined in certain periods in SriLanka. Although Public concern, awareness and discussion have been created on there-establishment of Order of Nuns in the present context, the lineage has been brokenand there exists no well organized and disciplined Bhikkhuni Order in the world.

A number of methods could be introduced for overcoming the challengesfaced by Bhikkhunis in the process of the re-establishment of their Order. In thehistorical context; seeking admonitions from the Bhikkhus, royal patronage, and earnestrequest by women in organized and exemplary manner, creating social awareness of theimportance of Bhikkhunī Order, dedication of Bhikkhunis and making a continuousdiscussions and arguments could be found. Similarly, they can be adopted in the presentcontext. Furthermore, enthusiasm, determination and perseverance, scholastic insight,discipline and virtue, generosity, modesty and flexibility are the noble qualities thatshould be cultivated in the minds of Bhikkhunis seeking Higher Ordination. Properorganization endowed with the above physical prowess and mental caliber is to beimplemented to make the re-establishment of the Order of Nuns a reality

Therefore, the objective of this paper is to identify the challenges for the reestablishmentof the Order of Bhikkhunis in Sri Lanka introducing some of the factorswhich are conducive to overcoming of them. It is obvious that if these factors would betaken highly into consideration by the versatile Nuns in Sri Lanka under the inspirationof historical experiences revealed in canonical literature and other historical evidences,the Bhikkhunī Order could be re- established in the face of the existing challenges.

Key words: Bhikkhunī order, Re- establishment, Challenges, Overcome, Historicalexperiences

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