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Buddhadharma : Winter 2010
buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly winter 2 0 10 36 As I listened to nuns and monks from all over the world, united as they chanted Pali in both women’s and men’s voices, I felt as though a centuries-old wound was heal- ing. Under the redwoods of former logging land, gradually restoring itself, four women were being fully ordained as bhikkhunis (nuns) in the Theravada tradition. Full ordination was for centuries unavailable to Theravadin women. On this last Sunday in August, these vows were bestowed by a dual ordination—the first in North America—that included an assem- bly of fully ordained Theravada nuns. Nearly two hundred people gathered for the ceremony at Aranya Bodhi forest refuge in Sonoma County, Califor- nia, coming from as far as New Zealand and Canada. Ayya Tathaaloka, the abbess of Aranya Bodhi, was the preceptor for the ceremony and Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, the abbot of Bhavana Society, was the presiding elder. To begin the communal meal, Ayya Tathaaloka invited Bhante Gunaratana to accept the meal on behalf of the monas- tics. He responded by asking that one of the women accept the meal, and Ayya Sobhana was chosen. This was a lovely, unexpected gesture because the monastic order places seniors ahead of juniors and men ahead of women. Afterward the monks and nuns assembled for the proces- sion into the meditation hall, while Ayya Tathaaloka spoke Another Step Forward Last August four women became fully ordained nuns in the theravada tradition at a ceremony in california. amy J. boyer reports on this North American first. phototopcarudhamma (Front, L-R): Ven. Suvijannā, Ajahn Thanasanti, Ven. Phalañani, Ven. Adhimutta (Center, L-R): Ayya Satimā, Ayya Sobhanā, Ayya Tathaalokā Therī, Ayya Sudhammā, Ayya Gunasārī, Ven. Madhikā, Ajahn Anandabodhī, Ajahn Santacittā. (Back, L-R): Ven. Wimalaratana, Ven. Puññananda, Ven. Paññasara Mahāthero, Ven. Amarabuddhi Mahāthero, Ven. Shantarakshita Mahāthero, Bhante Henepola Gunaratana Mahāthero, Ajahn Passano Mahāthero, Ajahn Yatiko Thero, Ven. Varoñano Amy J. Boyer is a writer and editor living in Winters, California. ALLphotoscarudhamma