A Historical and Textual Study of Bhikkhuni Order in Sri Lanka

Witharandeniye Chandasiri Thera


After arriving Arahat mahinda thera to Sri Lanka with the message ofBuddhism, he himself established the sangha society in Sri Lanka ordaining ministerarittha. After founding sangha society, queen Anula who was the wife of kingdevanampiyatissa, asked to ordain from Arahat Mahinda thera. He rejected it. Becauseof teaching of Buddha, It could not be done by the bikkhus. So Arahat Mahinda askedhis sister named sanghamitta to come and establish the bhikkhuni order in Sri Lanka.She accepted that invitation and came to Sri Lanka with the purpose of foundingbhikkhuni order. Not only arahat mahinda's sister but also 18th groups of castes came toSri Lanka with one of branch of the Bo-tree. This is the brief story, recorded in thehistorical compositions as samantapasadika, mahawansa, Dipawamsa, written in SriLanka.

Though arahat mahinda asked Sangamitta to come to Sri Lanka with the purposeof the ordination of women, Bhikkhus could have ordained the women. Because,according to the vinaya pitaka, Buddha has not prohibited bhikkhus not to ordain thewomen. Furthermore chullawaggapali points out that Bhikkhunies should higher ordainunder the Bhikkhus for the second time. As ordain of women have not prohibited byBuddha, in that permission, Arahat Mahinda thera could have ordained queen Anula andothers. But he did not do it and asked his sister to come to Sri Lanka. So it leads us tothink that arriving of Sanghamitta was not only for the founding the Bhikkhuni order.Arriving Sanghamitta to Sri Lanka had other purposes too. That is what I am going topoint out under this research paper with reference to the historical and textual books.

Key words: Sanghamitta, Arahat mahinda, Buddha, Vinaya

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