Feb Full Moon Gift of "Three Discourses Concerning Mahapajapati" on Dharma Records
Warm greetings, all dear friends,
As the moon waxes full here, we remember the great foremother of our Bhikkhuni Sangha, Mahāpajāpatī Gotamī - this full moon being the time of the lunar anniversary of not only her final Nibbana, but that of many of her bhikkhuni companions as well.
In these past couple of months, i had the nice opportunity to participate with Ven Bhikkhu Anandajoti on a translation project - translating the "Three Suttas Concerning Mahapajapati Gotami" together with their full commentaries from the Pali language into English. The translation project was revealing in some ways, and gave further weight to ideas that have been emerging from careful scholarship, particularly with regards the eight bhikkhuni garudhammas and the unlikely-hood of their historicity.
Ven Anandajoti, having very carefully done this analysis, lends his Buddhist monastic voice to that of the growing number of scholars of Buddhism who have expressed similar thoughts, saying:
[T]he material itself is rather involved as it concerns the establishment of the Community of [bhikkhuni]s, and the very controversial way this is presented in the first of the discourses, which insists on eight serious rules (garudhamma) that should be agreed to, and the Buddha saying the life of his Dispensation (Sāsana) will be halved by women being accepted into the Sangha. It is quite clear to me, working on the material over the past few months, that neither of these things can be original to the establishment of the Community of nuns, and that both thegarudhammas and the dire warnings are later additions.
The book, Three Discourses Concerning Mahapajapati Gotami, is published as a gift of Dhamma-Dana in the freely-accessible e-format below. It is a fine resource for those casually or more seriously studying the Pali language, as well as for studies of the history of women in Buddhism, touching on one of the more difficult subjects.
The Dharma Records site contains a number of other interesting works by Ven Anandajoti on the early bhikkhunis, a few of which i also share links to here below.