Students of the Way!
It is time to end the masquerade!
Bhiksunis must respect Bhiksus1. This is
Sakyamuni Buddha's law, and whoever tries to change it is not a
person, nor even an animal, but a demon king. No Bhiksuni can claim,
"I am the boss, I am the biggest, I am the best."
As the first American woman to receive and hold
the orthodox transmission of the complete three hundred and
forty-eight Bhiksuni precepts, it is my responsibility to protect
the Buddhadharma from those who would distort it for their own
The Buddha's laws apply to every country in
every age, because men are fundamentally the same in that they all
possess the Buddha-nature. It was to lead men to enlighten to the
Buddha-nature that Sakyamuni Buddha compassionately laid out the
rules of training:
"So long, O Bhikkhus, as you appoint no new
rules, and abolish not the existing ones, but proceed in accordance
with the code of training laid down, so long will the Sangha be
expected to prosper, not to decline."
So you see, those who tamper with the Vinaya
are shameless, ignorant, and deluded with respect to the
Buddhadharma. In what they think and what they do they are perverted
and upside-down, for to attempt a study of Dharma, while ignoring
even the most basic moral rules, is like cooking sand, wishing to
make rice. Although a thousand kalpas pass, in the end there is no
I now want to teach and transform those
misguided ones that they may give up their deviant ways and return
to the correct Dharma:
"Then the Gotamid, Pajapati the Great2, her feet
swollen, her limbs covered with dust, with tearful face, and crying,
stood outside the porch of the gateway. The venerable Ananda
'Why are you, Gotami, standing...crying?'
'It is because, honored Ananda, the Lord does
not allow the going forth of women from home into homelessness...'"
Moved to pity, the venerable Ananda requested
of the Buddha three times that Pajapati be admitted into the Sangha.
Finally the Buddha said: "If, Ananda, the Gotamid, Pajapati the
Great, accepts eight important rules, that may be ordination for
her..." These eight rules, also called "Eight Dharmas of
Veneration" and "Eight
Precepts of Reverence", were set forth in
order that all might cut off craving and cast out love. They are, as
EIGHT DECLARATIONS OF REVERENCE
- A Bhiksuni ordained for a hundred years must
rise, salute, and pay homage to a Bhiksu ordained that very day.
- A Bhiksuni must never scold or slander a Bhiksu.
- A Bhiksuni must never speak of the faults of
a Bhiksu, while a Bhiksu may speak of the faults of a Bhiksuni.
- Having studied the moral code, a probationer
must seek to receive transmission of the great (complete) precepts,
from the assembly of Bhiksus.
- Having broken an important rule, a Bhiksuni
must undergo manatta (discipline) for half a month before both
- Every half month a Bhiksuni must request
from the order of Bhiksus a Bhiksu to act as precept instructor.
- A Bhiksuni may not pass the summer retreat
in the same dwelling with Bhiksus.
- After the summer, a Bhiksuni must request
from the Order of Bhiksus a Bhiksu to act as her confessor.
Previously, the Buddha had said that the proper
Dharma would pass out of this world 1,000 years after his entry into
Nirvana. Now, having received women into the Order, he told Ananda
that it would last only 500 years, unless these Eight Dharmas of
Reverence were strictly followed, in which case the Dharma would
remain the full 1,000 years.
When the venerable Ananda related this to
Pajapati, this was her reply:
"Even, honored Ananda, as a woman or a man when
young, of tender years, and fond of ornaments, having washed
(himself and his) head, having obtained a garland of lotus
flowers...should place it on top of his head, even so do I, honored
Ananda, accept these eight important rules, never to be transgressed
during my lifetime."
You who claim to be what you are not: do not go
mad; do not go insane; and most importantly, do not continue to lead
others into the mire of your own confusion! You say you teach
Dharma? What Dharma do you teach? What precepts have you taken? What
Sutras can you explain word-by-word, line-by-line? Sutras, sastras,
Vinaya -- the legacy of our original teacher Sakyamuni Buddha -- have
you penetrated it?
Students of the Way, it has even reached my
ears that these thieves among the virtuous now promote the idea that
Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and Arhats occasionally conduct themselves in
an "unorthodox" manner. What does this kind effacement actually
mean? I fear it is nothing more than an attempt to cover their own
"indiscretions" and bridge the yawning gap between the wisdom giving
principles set forth by the Buddha and their embarrassing failure to
practice said principles.
The basic intelligence of Western people is not
in contention, but we must all use wisdom and principle in our
speech -- not just confusedly speak whatever we please, not watering
down the Buddhadharma to suit the baby food tastes of some. This is
no game we are playing; it is a matter of life and death.
Only one who has received an orthodox
transmission of the complete precepts (250 for men, 348 for women)
is entitled to call himself a Bhiksu or a Bhiksuni.
You all have wisdom. Do not mistake falsehood
for truth, and allow demon kings to poke out your eyes. Do not be a
blind man -- fooled, cheated, and robbed. Do not listen to demon
kings! Open your eyes! There is still time to return to the proper
way and realize the sweet taste of true cultivation and attainment.
It is not my intention to quarrel with anyone.
I am just speaking a little true Dharma for all of you to hear.
May you quickly wake up. Living beings with
good roots, do not remain asleep!
1."Seven Conditions for the Welfare of Bhikkhus", "AN, Book of the Sevens", Sutta 21. Translated by Ven.
Nanamola Thera in The Patimokkha. Social Science Association Press
of Thailand, Bangkok, 1966, p.92.
2.Pajapati the Great was Sakyamuni Buddha's
aunt and foster mother.