Dear Venerables & Friends,
I received a note from venerable bhikkhuni Kusuma Theri at Ayya Khema Meditation Center in Sri Lanka today. Ven Kusuma is often called “the first Sri Lankan bhikkhuni [in modern times],” as she was a great pioneer in the reemergence of the Theravada Bhikkhuni Sangha in one of it’s ancient homelands, Sri Lanka.
In this note she related to me that on Jan 31st thirty-three (33) women were ordained as bhikkhunis at Gampaha, Sri Lanka.
Bhikkhus (in saffron-brown) and bhikkhunis (in saffron-orange) entering the monastic life in the Buddhist SanghaPhoto courtesy of the Daily Mirror, Sri Lanka, 1 Feb 2015
A link to an article from The Mirror shows photos of the ordination of these thirty three women as bhikkhunis and six men as bhikkhus. There is video included with the article and more photos, with touching scenes of men and women bowing to their family members and hugging them, receiving all their blessings and forgiveness, as they then turn to take the step to fully enter into the monastic order.
The article relates that it is not since the venerable arahant Sanghamitta Theri’s providing ordination for several hundred women in Sri Lanka in the 3rd century BCE, that so many women are known to have ordained together on the island.
33 new bhikkhunis at left with Ven Kusuma Theri in the forefront at right and Bhikkhuni Sangha behind her
Photo courtesy of the Daily Mirror, Sri Lanka, 1 Feb 2015