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The gurudharma on bhiksuni ordination in the Mulasarvastivada tradition.

I. The Gurudharma On Bhiksunl Ordination in Different Vinayas

According to tradition, the gurudharmas, "principles to be respected," were stipulated by the Buddha as a pre-condition for granting his foster mother Mahaprajapati Gautami the higher ordination. The different Vinaya texts report that by accepting these principles to be respected Mahaprajapati Gautami became the first bhiksuni (nun), marking the starting point for the coming into being of an order of bhiksunis.

While the different Vinayas agree in mentioning a set of eight such gurudharmas, the sequence in which these principles are listed varies considerably, as does their actual formulation. (3) The themes broached by these eight principles to be respected concern matters of monastic etiquette, such as stipulating that a bhiksuni should behave respectfully even towards a junior bhiksu (monk), and the carrying out of legal acts. One legal act mentioned in all Vinaya lists of the eight gurudharmas is the procedure for conducting bhiksuni ordination.

As a starting point for subsequent discussion, in what follows the different versions of this gurudharma that appear in the canonical Vinayas are translated from the Chinese, Sanskrit and Pali originals; (4) the Tibetan version is taken up in more detail in the second part of the present paper. The translations below are given in alphabetical order according to the school affiliation of the respective Vinaya. The numbering given in brackets reflects the position of this particular gurudharma within the whole set of eight.

I.1 Translation

Dharmaguptaka Vinaya (no. 4): "A siksamana (probationer) who has trained in the precepts should request the higher ordination from the community of bhiksus." (5)

Lokottaravada-Mahasamghika Vinaya (no. 2): "A girl of eighteen years, having been instructed in the training and having completed this training for two years, should seek the higher ordination from both communities." (6)

Mahasamghika Vinaya (no. 2): "Having trained for two years in the precepts, she receives higher ordination in both communities." (7)

Mahisasaka Vinaya (no. 4): "A siksamana who has trained in the precepts for two years should receive the higher ordination in both communities." (8)

Mulasarvastivada Vinaya (no. 1): "The bhiksunis should seek from the bhiksus the going forth and the higher ordination, the becoming of a bhiksuni ." (9)

Sarvastivada Vinaya (no. 2): "A bhiksunishould request the higher ordination from the community of bhiksus." (10)

Sammitiya Vinaya (1): "A bhiksunishould certainly seek the gaining of the higher ordination from the community of bhiksus." (11)

Theravada Vinaya (no. 6): "A siksamana who has trained for two years in six principles should seek for higher ordination from both communities." (12)

I.2 Comparative study

Comparing the canonical Vinaya versions of the gurudharma stipulation concerning how bhiksuni ordination should be carried out brings to light two significant differences. One of these two differences concerns the period to be observed as a probationer, or siksamana. While the Dharmaguptaka Vinaya version simply speaks of a siksamana who has trained in the precepts, the Mahasamghika, Mahisasaka, and Theravada Vinaya versions note that her probationary period lasts for two years. The Lokottaravada-Mahasamghika Vinaya also indicates that she should be eighteen years old. The Theravada Vinaya provides still further detail, as it mentions that during these two years the siksamana has to observe six rules.

Alongside these variations in the degree to which the details of the probationary training are introduced, perhaps the most prominent difference among these versions is that the formulations of this gurudharma in the Mulasarvastivada, Sarvastivada, and Sammitiya Vinayas do not mention the need to observe a probationary period at all. In order to evaluate the significance of this difference, it is necessary to turn to another rule in those Vinayas that do mention the probationary period (the Dharmaguptaka, Mahisasaka, and Theravada Vinayas), namely the regulation against ordaining a woman who is pregnant. (13) In these three Vinayas, this rule reads as follows:

Dharmaguptaka Vinaya (no. 119): "If a bhiksuni admits a pregnant woman and confers on her the higher ordination, this is a patayantika." (14)

Mahisasaka Vinaya (no. 116): "If a bhiksuni gives the higher ordination to a pregnant woman, this is a patayantika." (15)

Theravada Vinaya (no. 61): "Whatever bhiksuni should ordain a pregnant woman, this is a patayantika." (16)

The above versions are in fairly close agreement on this rule. The narration that precedes this rule reports that the bhiksunis had indeed ordained a pregnant woman. The repercussions that her condition caused among the laity occasioned the laying down of a regulation to prevent this from happening again in the future. Now the problem caused by ordaining a pregnant woman would not have arisen in the first place if it had been established procedure that any female candidate for higher ordination needs to have completed a two year training period as a siksamana. (17) The same three Vinayas explicitly indicate that such training comprises the observing of celibacy, (18) hence it would have been impossible to complete the period successfully and be pregnant, if such training had indeed be in existence right from the time the order of bhiksunis came into existence.

Thus the formulation of the gurudharma concerning bhiksuni ordination in the Dharmaguptaka, Mahisasaka, and Theravada Vinayas results in an internal inconsistency, as it implies that the probationary training was promulgated by the Buddha at the time when the order of bhiksunis began. This makes it safe to conclude that the formulation used in these Vinayas is the result of a later development. By contrast, the Mulasarvastivada, Sarvastivada, and Sammitiya Vinayas, which do not mention the need to observe a probationary period at all, appear to present an earlier formulation of this gurudharma.

Another difference between the Vinaya versions of the gurudharma on bhiksuni ordination concerns the question of who should confer the higher ordination: Should the female candidate request higher ordination from both communities, or just from the community of bhiksus? While the formulation of the gurudharma in the Lokottaravada-Mahasamghika, Mahasamghika, Mahisasaka, and the Theravada Vinayas stipulates ordination by both communities, the gurudharma in the Dharmaguptaka, Mulasarvastivada, Sarvastivada, and Sammitiya Vinayas mentions only ordination given by bhiksus.

Taking into account the narrative context in which the promulgation of the gurudharmas is embedded, it was only after Mahaprajapati Gautami had become a bhiksuni by accepting these eight gurudharmas that an order of bhiksunis came into being. (19) Hence it would be more natural for the Buddha to ask, as a precondition for granting her higher ordination, that the higher ordination of women be conducted in a way that was possible at that time, namely, through a community of bhiksus, instead of requiring the cooperation of a community of bhiksunis, which at the time was yet to come into being. (20)

Thus the reference to ordination by bhiksus in the Dharmaguptaka, Mulasarvastivada, Sarvastivada, and Sammitiya Vinayas appears to reflect an earlier formulation of this particular gurudharma. (21) In contrast, the reference to ordination by both communities--a community of bhiksus and a community of bhiksunis--in the gurudharma in the Lokottaravada-Mahasamghika, Mahasamghika, Mahisasaka, and Theravada Vinayas, seems to be the result of a later change in the formulation, probably influenced by the way the higher ordination of bhiksunis was carried out at the time of the compilation of these Vinayas. (22)

The historicity of the gurudharmas is a rather doubtful matter. (23) Nevertheless, the point in time when the gurudharmas came into being must still be fairly early, since they are found in all Vinayas. When evaluated from the viewpoint of their narrative context, it seems clear that the formulations of the gurudharma concerning bhiksuni ordination found in the Mulasarvastivada, Sarvastivada, and Sammitiya Vinayas reflect an earlier version. This earlier version did not yet stipulate the necessity of training as a siksamana and it prescribed ordination given by bhiksus only, not by both communities.

From a traditional viewpoint, the gurudharmas are of course considered as legally binding as any other canonical Vinaya rule. Thus the indication that ordination given by bhiksus only would be a valid form of higher ordination is of considerable legal significance, since it points to the possibility that an order of bhiksunis could be initiated in the Tibetan Mulasarvastivada tradition in this way. (24) A closer study of this option is the topic of the second part of this paper.

II. Mulasarvastivada Bhiksuni Ordination by Bhiksus

This section of the paper examines the legal significance of the gurudharma concerning bhiksuni ordination in relation to the question of whether such ordination can, in accordance with the Tibetan Mulasarvastivada Vinaya tradition, be conferred by bhiksus only without infringing the rules. (25)

The original promulgation of gurudharma 1

In what follows, the study of the first gurudharma is based on collating 13 different Kangyur editions of the * Bhiksunikarmavacana section in the Vinayaksudrakavastu (Dul ba phran tshegs kyi gzhi) and comparing them with what has been preserved in the respective Sanskrit fragments, ms. c.25(R) of the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford. (26) While the text as a whole is only preserved in Tibetan translation, the gurudharma we are concerned with here is fully preserved in three different places in the Sanskrit manuscript.

The 13 Kangyur editions of the Tibetan *Bhiksunlkarmavacana (* Mahaprajapatigautamivastu and * Bhiksunyupasampadajnapti) in the Vinayaksudrakavastu (27) in which gurudharma 1 is attested are as follows: (28)
L: London Shelkar          ('dul ba), bam po 37-38, na, 21a8-50b7
R: Gyantse Tempangma       ('dul ba), bam po 37-38, na, 19a6-45b1
T: Toyo bunko              ('dul ba), bam po 37-38, na, 20a4-48a5
N: Narthang                ('dul ba), bam po 37-38, da, 326b5-360b2
H: Lhasa                   ('dul ba), bam po 36-37, da, 150b5-182a6
S: Stog                    ('dul ba), bam po 37-38, tha, 146a4-178a5
Z: Shey                    ('dul ba), bam po 37-38, tha, 154b1-188b4
F: Phudrag                 ('dul ba), bam po 31-32, tha, 124a6-149a6
Q: Peking 1737             ('dul ba), bam po 36-37, ne, 97a6-116a2
K: K'ang hsi               ('dul ba), bam po 36-37, phe-be, 378a7-15a8
J: Jang Satham (Lithang)   (dul ba), bam po 36- 37, da, 99a1-118b1
B: Berlin (29)             ('dul ba), bam po 36-37, na-pa, 360b8-12a6
D: Derge                   ('dul ba), bam po 36-37, da, 100a3-120b1

The first occurrence is the original promulgation of the gurudharma by the Buddha:
   kun dga bo dge slong rnams las (30) bud med mams (31) kyis (32) rab
   tu 'byung (33) ba dang bsnyen (34) par rdzogs nas dge slong ma'i
   dngos por 'gyur (35) ba (36) rab tu rtogs par bya'o. (37)

   Ananda, after women have received the going forth and the higher
   ordination from bhiksus, (38) they should well understand that they
   [attained] the status of a bhiksuni. (39)

The Tibetan version differs from the corresponding Sanskrit fragment, (40) which reads:
   Ananda, the going forth, higher ordination and the status of being
   a bhiksunishould be expected by a woman from the bhiksus. (41)

The second occurrence is when the gurudharma is reported by Ananda to Mahaprajapati Gautami:
   kun dga bo dge slong las (42) bud med rnams kyis rab tu 'byung (43)
   ba dang bsnyen (44) par rdzogs te dge slong ma'i dngos por (45) rab
   tu rtogs par bya'o. (46)

   Ananda, receiving the going forth and the higher ordination from
   the bhiksus, women should well understand that they [attain] the
   status of a bhiksuni.

The Sanskrit fragment reads:
   Ananda, the going forth, higher ordination, and the status
   of a bhiksunishould be expected by a woman from the
   bhiksus. (47)

II.2 Gurudharma 1 in the ordination manual

Instructions for the procedure to be adopted in the higher ordination of bhiksuni are given in the Mulasarvastivada Vinaya just after the narrative of Mahaprajapati's going forth. Although the wording is almost the same as before, the legal implications are different due to the placement of the gurudharma at the end of the manual for the bhiksuni ordination rite (dge slong ma bsnyen par rdzogs par nye bar sgrub pa'i cho ga).

The bhiksuni ordination manual starts with the provision for admission, the taking of refuge, and the receiving of the precepts for lay followers (Tib. dge bsnyen ma, Skt. upasika), followed by the going forth (Tib. rab tu byung ba, Skt. pravrajya), the taking of the precepts for novices (Tib. dge tshul ma, Skt. sramanerika), (48) and of the precepts for probationers (Tib. dge slob ma, Skt. siksamana) from bhiksunis, and then culminates in the higher ordination. On the day of the higher ordination, the siksamana, who should have observed her precepts for two years, first receives a formal agreement to become ordained, known as the brahmacaryopasthanasamvrti (tshangs par spyod pa la rim gror bya ba'i sdom pa), (49) from a community of twelve bhiksunis.50 Later on the same day, the higher ordination is given in the presence of a two-fold community of ten bhiksus and twelve bhiksunis. (51)

After ascertaining the time when the higher ordination has been received, the principles or guidelines to be observed are announced by the karmakdraka-bhiksu (las byed pa'i dge slong pha). These principles are:

1. The three supports of life (Tib. gnas gsum, Skt. trayo nisrayah),

2. The eight defeats (Tib. phas pham pa brgyad, Skt. * astau parajika dharmah, see Mvy 8358),

3. The eight principles to be respected (Tib. bla ma'i chos brgyad, Skt. astau gurudharmah) and

4. The four dharmas for a recluse (Tib. dge sbyong gi chos bzhi, Skt. catvarah sramanikaraka dharmah).

The formulation for the first gurudharma in this context is as follows:
   ming 'di zhes bya ba bud med (52) kyis (53) dge slong rnams las rab
   tu byung zhing bsnyen (54) par rdzogs nas dge slong ma'i dngos por
   'gyur bar (55) rab tu rtogs par bya'o (56)

   [You], named so-and-so, after a woman has received the going forth
   and the higher ordination from the bhiksus, she should fully
   understand that she has become a bhiksuni. (57)

The Sanskrit fragment repeats the formulation used earlier, except that it adds the specification "named so-and-so." Thus it reads:
   [You], named so-and-so, the going forth, the higher ordination and
   the state of being a bhiksunishould be expected by a woman from the
   bhiksus. (58)

What is rather significant here is not the slight variation in the formulation of this gurudharma, but the fact that it is part of the manual for bhiksuni ordination (Skt. * bhiksuniyupasampadajnapti) and thus integral part of the bhiksuni ordination rite (Tib. dge slong ma sgrub pa'i cho ga, in short ma chog, Skt. * bhiksuni karmavidhi), which can be expected to have been used in India for centuries, that is, until the time when the Mulasarvastivada bhiksuni order ceased to exist. (59)

From a legal perspective, an ordination received by accepting the eight gurudharmas is considered an ancient rite (sngon chog), (60) whereas the ordination received before both communities became the current rite (da chog), (61) and it is this current rite that should be followed. Yet, the advice to receive the going forth and the higher ordination from bhiksus remained part of the latter rite, i.e., the current rite, and is therefore still valid. A prohibition (dgag pa) that an ordination cannot be performed by bhiksus alone is in fact not recorded in the Mulasarvastivada Vinaya. (62)

To summarize, the indication that bhiksunis should receive ordination from bhiksus is, depending on circumstances, still valid. In legal terms as understood in the living tradition, the first gurudharma would have to be considered either as a permission (gnang ba) or as a prescription (sgrub pa).

Of course, this does not mean that bhiksus can give higher ordination solely by means of asking Buddhist women to accept the eight gurudharmas, that is, just by stating that accepting the eight gurudharmas is their going forth and higher ordination in the same way that, according to the texts, the Buddha did in the case of Mahaprajapati Gautami. (63) In stead, it means that, depending on circumstances, bhiksus today can give the going forth as well as the higher ordination to bhiksunis. The permission to do so has never been withdrawn and thus is still valid. In such a case, even a minor fault (Tib. nyes byas, Skt. duskrta) of the monastic rules is not incurred. (64)

The situation would be different if a qualified community of bhiksunis were present. In such a case, if a community of bhiksus were to give ordination without involving the community of bhiksunis, those who gave the ordination would commit an offense (Tib. ltung ba, Skt. dpatti). (65) But in the absence of bhiksunis, bhiksus are authorized or even have the duty to ordain women, if requested to do so, provided the necessary conditions on the side of the candidate are met. (66)

II.3 The interim steps for higher ordination

Besides the going forth and the higher ordination, several interim steps are required for completing the gradual ordination procedure for women in the Mulasarvastivada tradition. Thus the question arises as to whether, in the absence of a bhiksuni samgha, the additional intermediate stages prescribed for women are required and, if so, whether they can also be given by bhiksus.

For many centuries now, it has been common in the Tibetan tradition for bhiksus, including H.H. the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, to give the upasika precepts, the going forth, and the sramanerika precepts to women by employing the male manual for ordination (pha chog). This means that the same manual is used for giving upasaka (dge bsnyen) precepts, the going forth, and the sramanera (dge tshul) precepts to women as is used in giving these precepts to men.

For the specific intermediate steps, however, the manual for females (ma chog) has to be applied, since the manual for males does not provide formulas for conferring the siksamana precepts and the brahmacaryopasthanasamvrti.

These intermediate steps are necessary in order to arrive at what tradition reckons to be "flawless and perfect bhiksuni vows" (dge slong ma'i sdom pa nyes med phun sum tshogs pa). (67) These steps include the requirement that a female candidate receive the siksamdnd precepts (to be observed for two years), and the brahmacaryopasthanasamvrti, which is to be given on the day of higher ordination. Both are supposed to be conferred by a bhiksuni samgha alone.

As already pointed out by Samdhong Rinpoche during the Hamburg congress in 2007,
   Bhiksus may if necessary leave their summer retreat to
   confer siksamana ordination, which is normally given by
   bhiksunis alone. This allowance implies that bhiksunis are
   not available to give such ordination themselves. Inferring
   from this ... where no bhiksunis are available, the
   brahmacarya and bhiksuni ordination ceremonies may also
   be performed by the bhiksu sangha alone. (68)

The relevant Vinaya passage can be found in the Varsavastu, in the section concerning the rainy season retreat. This passage indicates that a bhiksu can leave his rainy season retreat for up to seven days in the following cases:

1. A sramanerika asks him to come in order to confer on her the training of a siksamana (69)

2. A siksamana who has completed the two years training period asks him to come in order to confer on her the higher ordination. (70)

The allowance that a bhiksu may leave the rainy season retreat in order to give higher ordination to a siksamana can be understood in two ways:

1. He might go to participate in an higher ordination performed together with a bhiksuni community, or

2. He might go to participate in a higher ordination performed by a bhiksu community alone.

That the higher ordination can be given by bhiksus alone is only clear from the first gurudharma.

In at least two major Indian Mulasarvastivada Vinaya commentaries, we find an allowance that not only permits a bhiksu community to give the vow (sdom pa) of full ordination and the vow of a siksamana, but also to give the brahmacaryopasthanasamvrti. The latter is usually given by a bhiksuni community alone on the day of higher ordination. According to Acarya Dharmamitra's Extended Commentary on the Vinayasutra: (71)
   The meaning of "It is also [similar] for the siksamanas regarding
   the brahmacarya upasthana vow and full ordination" is: If a
   siksamana wishes to receive the brahmacarya upasthana vow and also
   full ordination and the siksamana is outside the boundary (sima)
   [of the bhiksus], then to accomplish these two purposes for the
   benefit of the Dharma--to bestow the brahmacarya upasthana vow and
   to give full ordination--bhiksus, even if they have accepted the
   rainy season [restrictions] and are inside the boundary, may leave
   the boundary for up to seven days after having done the requisite
   blessing, stating that they will return within this time. (72)

This is a commentary on the following sentence in Gunaprabha's Vinayasutra: (73)
   It is also [similar] for the siksamanas regarding the
   brahmacaryopasthanasamvrti and the higher ordination.

While these indications are not from the Vinaya itself, but from the commentaries, they carry comparable importance for members of the tradition, who consider the Vinaya commentaries as authoritative. (74)


From what has been discussed above there is clear canonical evidence that, based on the first gurudharma, bhiksus can give all stages of a woman's ordination, starting with the going forth and reaching all the way up to the higher ordination, if circumstances so require. If these steps are performed by Tibetan Mulsarvastivada bhiksus, the bhiksunis would of course automatically become part of the Mulasarvastivada lineage.

AN      Anguttara-nikaya
B       Berlin edition
D       Derge edition
Dpe     Bka' 'gyur dpe bsdur ma edition
F       Phudrag edition
H       Lhasa edition
J       Jang Satham edition
K       K'ang hsi edition
L       London Shelkar edition
MA      Madhyama-agama (T 26)
Mvy     Mahavyutpatti
N       Narthang edition
Q       Peking edition
R       Gyantse Tempangma edition
S       Stog
Skt.    Sanskrit
T.      Taisho edition (CBETA)
T       Toyo bunko edition
Tib.    Tibetan
Vin     Vinaya
Z       Shey edition


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Bhiksuni Jampa Tsedroen and Bhikkhu Analayo

Academy of World Religions & Center for Buddhist Studies, University of Hamburg

Bhiksuni Jampa Tsedroen and Bhikkhu Analayo (1)

(1) Academy of World Religions & Center for Buddhist Studies, University of Hamburg. Email:

(2) The present paper takes its inspiration from discussions held between the two authors during the 1st Founding Members Conclave of the International Buddhist Confederation at Delhi, 9th to 12th September 2013. In part I of this paper, Analayo surveys the gurudharma regulation on bhiksuni ordination found in different Vinayas, while in part II Jampa Tsedroen examines the option of ordination by bhiksus only, based on the formulation of the first gurudharma in the Tibetan Mulasarvastivada Vinaya in comparison with the Sanskrit version. Her findings in this respect are one of the outcomes of a research project on "The ordination of nuns in the Tibetan Buddhist canon and its presentation in the Tibetan commentaries" undertaken with the support of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, whose help is gratefully acknowledged. The authors are indebted to Samaneri Dhammadinna, Ann Heirman, and Petra Kieffer-Pulz for commenting on a draft version of the present paper.

(3) For surveys of these eight rules see, e.g., Analayo ("Women's" 82-6), Cheng (Buddhist 83-100), Chung ("Gurudhamma"), Chung ("Ursprung" 13), Heirman ("Gurudharma"), Heirman ("Some Remarks" 34-43), Hirakawa (notes to 49-95), Horner (Women 118-61), Husken ("Eight"), Husken ("Legend" 46-58), Husken (Vorschriften 346-60), Kusuma (Da sasil 29-32), Nagata (283f), Nolot (397-405), Salgado, Sujato (Bhikkuni 51-81) and Waldschmidt (118-21).

(4) Since the emphasis in our paper is on the canonical Vinaya versions and their implication for legal acts in the respective Buddhist traditions, the gurudharma stipulations found in T. 196 at T. IV 158c19 and T. 1478 at T. XXIV 946b25 are not taken into account. The relevant part of the Vinayamatrka ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), perhaps a text representing the Haimavata tradition, only reports the establishing of the eight gurudharmas by the Buddha, but does not list the actual gurudharmas individually; see T. 1463 at T. XXIV 803bl3. The same is the case for T. 156 at T. III 154al.

(5) T. 1428 at T. XXII 923b8: [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]; see also T. 1810 at T. XL 540c4; this and the following gurudharmas have already been translated by the Committee of Western Bhiksunis (3) and Heirman ("Where" 111).

(6) Roth (17,5) ([section]13): astadasavarsaye kumaribhutaye dve varsani desitasiksaye paripurnasiksaye ubhayato samghe upasampada pratyasamsitavya; this has already been translated by Nolot (9) and Strong (55).

(7) T. 1425 at T. XXII 474c1: [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]; see also T. 1425 at T. XXII 471b12, which specifies that a woman who wishes to receive the higher ordination in the Tathagata's Dharma and Vinaya should also be fully eighteen years old; this has already been translated by Hirakawa (50f) and Heirman ("Where" 112).

(8) T. 1421 at T. XXII 185c23: [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]; this has already been translated by Heirman ("Where" 112) and Sujato (White 20). As noted by Chung ("Gurudhamma" 228), here and in the case of the Mulasarvastivada Vinaya the eight gurudharmas are mentioned again as part of the instruction to be given after completed ordination. In this context, T. 1421 at T. XXII 189a2 gives gurudharma 1 in the same formulation: [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII].

(9) T. 1451 at T. XXIV 351a1: [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (repeated again at T. XXIV 351b21). The corresponding Sanskrit fragments have been edited by Ridding and La Vallee Poussin (125,30) and again by Schmidt ("Bhiksuni-Karmavacana" 244,21) ([section]4b5): bhiksubhyah sakasad ananda matrgramena pravrajyopasampad bhiksunibhavah pratikamksitavya; this has already been translated by Wilson in Paul (85). On the school affiliation of these fragments, see Chung ("Bhiksuni-Karmavacana" 420), Finnegan (For the Sake 310 note 591), Oberlies (62), Roth (5 note 3b), Schmidt ("Zur Schulzugehorigkeit"), and Yuyama (6). The same gurudharma is also quoted in the Abhidharmakosavyakhya, Wogihara (374,18): bhiksor antikad bhiksuninam upasampat bhiksuni bhavah. As in the case of the Mahisasaka Vinaya, here, too, the eight gurudharmas are mentioned again as part of the instruction to be given after completed ordination, at which point gurudharma 1 is given as follows, T. 1453 at T. XXIV 464c3: "The bhiksunis should request from the bhiksus the higher ordination, the becoming of a bhiksum," [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. Notably, in this formulation the giving of the going forth by bhiksus only is no longer mentioned; on the formal going forth not being an indispensable requirement for the validity of higher ordination in the Mulasarvastivada tradition see Clarke (228-230). The instruction to be given after completing ordination has also been preserved in the Sanskrit fragment Schmidt ("Bhiksuni-Karmavacana" 269,8) ([section]29b5), which does mention the going forth (see below note 58). A more detailed discussion of the Tibetan translation of this gurudharma in the Mulasarvastivada Vinaya can be found in the second part of this article.

(10) T. 1435 at T. XXIII 345c10: [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. This is not part of the account of the foundation of the order of bhiksunis, which in the Sarvastivada Vinaya is given in abbreviated form in T. 1435 at T. XXIII 291al. The full account has been preserved in a Madhyama-agama discourse, however, where a similar formulation can be found: MA 116 at T. I 606a5: "a bhiksunishould seek the higher ordination from the bhiksus," [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]; translated in Analayo ("Mahapajapati's" 279). The same formulation is also found in T. 60 at T. I 857bl. These two discourse versions differ from the Sarvastivada Vinaya insofar as, according to them, this is the first of the eight gurudharmas, not the second.

(11) T. 1461 at T. XXIV 670c6: [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII].

(12) Vin II 255,19: dve vassdni chasu dhammesu sikkhitasikkhaya sikkhamanaya ubhatosanghe upasampada pariyesitabba; this has already been translated by Horner (Book V 355); also see AN 8.51 at AN IV 277,9, which has been translated by Bodhi (1190), Hare (184), and Nyanatiloka and Nyanaponika (151). Here and elsewhere, Sanskrit terms are used even when translating from the Pali, in order to facilitate comparison.

(13) According to the comparative survey of the bhiksuni pratimoksas in Kabilsingh (Comparative 116), the Mahasamghika Vinaya does not have such a rule.

(14) T. 1428 at T. XXII 754b26: [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], this has been translated by Heirman (Discipline 763) and Kabilsingh (Bhikkhuni 194), and discussed by Heirman ("Where" 117).

(15) T. 1421 at T. XXII 92b3: [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (with [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] as a variant reading) [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]; this has been translated in Kabilsingh (Bhikkhun l 109).

(16) Vin IV 317,20: ya pana bhikkhuni gabbhinim vutthapeyya, pacittiyan ti; this has been translated by Horner (Book III 361), Husken (Vorschriften 245), and Kabilsingh (Bhikkhuni 24).

(17) This has been pointed out by, e.g., Analayo ("Women's" 83f), Heirman (Discipline 796 note 122), Heirman ("Some" 69f), Husken (Vorschriften 353), Kieffer-Pulz ("Ehe-" 202 note 9), Shi (420), and Sujato (Bhikkhuni 192f).

(18) Dharmaguptaka Vinaya, T. 1428 at T. XXII 924b7; Mahisasaka Vinaya, T. 1421 at T. XXII 186b17; and Theravada Vinaya, Vin IV 319,26. As noted by Husken (Vorschriften 251 note 647), the Sarvastivada Vinaya explicitly links the training as a probationer to the need to find out whether a candidate is pregnant, T. 1435 at T. XXIII 326b17: "From now on I prescribe that a sramanerika trains for two years in the six principles, [so] it can be understood if she is pregnant or not", [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII].

(19) A more detailed study of the evolution of bhiksuni ordination, especially of the ordination of the followers of Mahaprajapati Gautami, is presently in preparation.

(20) As pointed out by Tsedroen ("Relevance" 11), "it makes sense that the dual ordination is not yet mentioned, because there was no order of nuns at the time when these rules were set up."

(21) This position has already been argued by Jampa Tsedroen ("Foundation") for the Mulasarvastivada gurudharma.

(22) Nevertheless, the account given in the Theravada Vinaya can be read coherently as a legal document. On such a reading, which is the viewpoint that would be adopted by adherents of the tradition, the gurudharma stipulation could be seen as setting the general trend for the future, which was then supplemented by a permission for bhiksus to ordain bhiksunis as an exception applicable to a situation when no community of bhiksunis is in existence; as discussed in Analayo ("Legality").

(23) See, e.g., Analayo ("Women's renunciation" 82-86), Chung ("Buddhist" 87), Chung ("Ursprung" 13), Gnanarama (70), Husken ("Eight"), Husken (Vorschriften 346-60), Kieffer-Pulz ("buddhistische" 378 note 378), Kusuma ("Inaccuracies" 8), Shih (420f), Sujato (Bhikkhuni 51-81), and Verma (73).

(24) Regarding the alternative options of dual ordination done with the assistance of Dharmaguptaka bhiksunis, Kieffer-Pulz ("Presuppositions" 223 and 225) comments: "If considered only in terms of traditional law, then it is seemingly not possible for the Mulasarvastivada to accept Dharmaguptaka ordination in a way that allows them to carry out formal procedures together." It would be "far less controversial ... [if] the Mulasarvastivada bhiksuni lineage would be re-established by first ordaining the female candidates through the Mulasarvastivada bhiksu sangha." The same holds true for the Theravada tradition, where ordination by bhiksus only appears to be legally valid in a situation where no bhiksuni order is in existence, an option that in traditional eyes is certainly far less controversial than an ordination carried out with the assistance of Dharmaguptaka bhiksunis; see Analayo ("Revival").

(25) For the Theravada Vinaya, ordination by bhiksus alone has recently already been discussed in detail in Analayo ("Legality" 316, 325-332). From this it is clear that, in case an ordination in cooperation with an existing bhiksuni community is not possible, from a Theravada perspective higher ordination of nuns by bhiksus on their own is valid.

(26) Edited by Ridding and de La Vallee Poussin and re-edited by Schmidt ("Bhiksuni-Karmavacana"). The manuscript appears to have consisted of 32 folios, of which 25 folios are preserved, while seven folios are missing: 1-2, 8, 12-14, and 32.

(27) Unlike the case of the Vinayavastu, the translation of the Ksudrakavastu was not revised. See Skorupski (Catalogue 4, 23).

(28) In this article we are only able to provide such a detailed collation for passages from the Mulasarvastivada Vinaya, not for others passages. The siglas are according to the Kanjur Resources: (accessed October 13, 2013). In addition to the 13 editions listed above, readings from the Dpe bsdur ma edition have also been noted as Dpe.

(29) Peking 1680. See (accessed October 13, 2013).

(30) las LRTNHSZFQJD : lus KB.

(31) rnams LRTNHSZQKBJD : om. F.

(32) kyis LRTNHSQKBJD : kyi ZF.

(33) byung F : 'byung LRTNHSZQKBJD.

(34) bsnyen LRTNHSZQKBJD : snyen F.

(35) 'gyur LRTNHSZFQKJD : om. B.

(36) ba LRTNHSZQKJD : om. B: bar F.

(37) L 24b4; R 22a3; T 23b2; N 330b1; H 154a5; S 149b2; Z 157b3; F 127a5; Q 99b1; K 381b4; B 363b8; J 101a5; D 102a7; see Dpe 245.20.

(38) On the translation "higher ordination" or "full ordination" for upasampada see Deleanu ("Transmission" 3) and Tsedroen ("Erleuchtungspotenzial" 159).

(39) The Tibetan dge slong ma'i dngos por 'gyur ba. would correspond to bhiksunibhavah, "the having become a bhiksuni" or "bhiksunihood".

(40) Schmidt ("Bhiksuni-Karmavacana" 244,21 [section]4b4): bhiksubhyah sakasad dnanda matrgramena pravrajyopasampad bhiksunibhavah pratikamksitavya; this has already been translated by Wilson in Paul (85); for the parallel in the Chinese translation of the Mulasarvastivada Vinaya, see above note 9.

(41) Skt. singular matrgrama; Tib. plural: bud med nams.

(42) las LRTNHSZFQKBJD : lus B : la F.

(43) 'byung QKBJD : byung LRTNHSZF.

(44) bsnyen LRTNHSZQKBJD : snyen F.

(45) porQKBJD : po LRTNHSZF.

(46) L 26a5; R 23b2; T 25a3; N 332a5; H 156a1; S 151a4; Z 159a7; F 128b5; Q 100b2; K 383a5; B 365a8; J 102a7; D 103b1; see Dpe 248.13.

(47) Schmidt ("Bhiksuni-Karmavacana" 246,26 [section]6b2): bhiksubhyah sakasad dnanda matrgramena pravrajya upasampad bhiksuni bhavah pratikamksitavyam; for the Chinese parallel see above note 9.

(48) Notably, in the Mulasarvastivada tradition pravrajya and sramanerika ordination are considered two different steps. In the living tradition, there are women, especially in the Karma Kagyu tradition, who have received the five upasika precepts and the going forth, but not the sramanerika precepts. Legally they are considered to be lay women, although they usually live in a "nunnery." In society they are referred to as "nuns" (ani), the same expression as used for sramanerikas. The main difference is that their lower robe (Tib. sham thabs; Skt. nivdsana) has no patches and they have no yellow/orange upper robe (Tib. stod g.yogs, Skt. uttarasanga, Mvy 8934 bla gos), which sramanerikas wear during ceremonies.

(49) Regarding this term, see Kieffer-Pulz ("Presuppositions" 218 n. 4) and Sujato ("Vutthana" 13f).

(50) According to the traditional understanding, this is a vow given before the actual bhiksuni vow is taken; it is regarded as an intermediate discipline that is substantially the same as the siksamana vow; see the Bod rgya tshig mdzod chen mo (2: 2254): tshangs spyod nyer gnas kyi sdom pa: dge slong ma'i sdom pa dngos ma blangs sngon la 'bog pa'i sdom pa zhig ste, dge slob ma'i sdom pa dang rdzas rigs gcig pa bar ma'i tshul khrims so.

(51) The details will be discussed in another article presently in preparation. Here we focus on the gurudharma only.

(52) Here the Tibetan has, different from above, not the plural bud med rnams, but the singular bud med.

(53) kyis TFQKBJD : kyi LRNHSZ.

(54) bsnyen LRTNHSZQKBJD : snyen F.

(55) 'gyur bar LRTNHSZFQKBJD : gyur pa F.

(56) L 48b1; R 43b2; T 46a2; N 358a2; H 180a1; S 175b7; Z 185b8; F 147a4; Q 114b2; K 12b7; B 10a7; J 116b8; D 118b7; Dpe 286.16.

(57) Other occurrences of this gurudharma can be found in the "Section on Rites and Acts in connection with the bhiksuni pravrajyavastu" (dge slong ma'i rab tu byung ba'i gzhi'i skabs kyi cho ga dang las rnams) in the Ekottarakarmasataka, D 4118, ('dul ba), wu, 139a1: ming di zhes bya ba dge slong mas dge slong rnams las rab tu 'byung ba dang bsnyen par rdzogs pa dge slong ma'i dngos po yongs su btsal bar bya ba; as well as in the Abhidharmakosopayikatika, D 4094 (mngon pa), ju, 213a2: kun dga bo bud med kyi tshogs dag gis rab tu byung zhing bsnyen par rdzogs pa dge slong ma'i dngos po dge slong dag las blang bar bya ste.

(58) Schmidt ("Bhiksuni-Karmavacana" 269,5 [section]29b5): bhiksubhyah sakasad evamndmike matrgramena pravrajya upasampat bhiksuni bhavah pratikamksitavya. The whole four-part announcement is also found in the Vinayasutra, which similarly at this point refers in an abbreviated manner to gurudharma 1; see Bapat and Gokhale (53,14): upasampad bhiksubhyah; see also T. 1453 at T. XXIV 464c3.

(59) A more detailed discussion of the transmission of the Mulasarvastivada bhiksuni ordination is presently in process.

(60) Tib. sngon gyi cho ga, Skt. purdkalpa; see Mvy 9281.

(61) Tib. da ltar byung ba'i cho ga, Skt. vartamanakalpa.

(62) See Geshe Rinchen Ngodrup's statement in Mohr and Tsedroen (Dignity 261, note 4).

(63) As pointed out by Tsering ("Lamp" 164f): "Today women cannot be fully ordained through simply accepting the gurudharmas. They should be ordained gradually by means of the present ceremonial rite (da ltar gyi cho ga)"; see Tsering (Nyams zhib 31); also see the statement by Samdhong Rinpoche in Mohr and Tsedroen (Dignity 255).

(64) See Clarke (232-238).

(65) Ibid. (234-236).

(66) The pratimoksa vow is considered by tradition to be one of the three kinds of avijnaptirupa (non-revelatory form, i.e., a very subtle form of rupa; see Dhammajoti (14f)). It is believed to cease with the body at death, provided it has neither been returned nor broken by committing a major defeat (Tib. pham pa, Skt. parajika). This avijhaptirupa is generated out of certain causes and conditions. In the Mulasarvastivada Vinaya context, it is important to note that the Abhidharmakosabhasya (Chos mngon pa'i mdzod kyi bshad pa), D 4090, ku, 176b1, in relation to verse II.14b-c, explains that in substance or in essence the vow of a bhiksuni does not differ from that of a bhiksu. It is only the name that changes according to gender: rdzas su rnam pa bzhi yin no // dge slong gi sdom pa dang / dge tshul gyi sdom pa dang / dge bsnyen gyi sdom pa dang / bsnyen gnas kyi sdom pa'o // de ltar nas sor thar pa'i sdom pa ni mtshan nyid so sor nges pa'i phyir rdzas nyid du rnam pa de bzhin yin te / dge slong gi sdom pa las ni dge slong ma'i sdom pa gzhan ma yin no // dge tshul gyi sdom pa las kyang dge slob [em. slob : slong D] ma dang / dge tshul ma'i sdom pa gzhan ma yin no // dge bsnyen gyi sdom pa las kyang dge bsnyen ma'i sdom pa gzhan ma yin no //ji ltar shes she na / mtshan las ming ni pho ba'i phyir. See also Bapat and Gokale (Vinaya-Sutra xli and xliii).

(67) Tsering ("Lamp" 173) and Finnegan ("Flawless" 197).

(68) Mohr and Tsedroen (Dignity 256).

(69) The formulation employed indicates explicitly that the bhiksu may leave in order to confer the training in the six principles and the six minor principles, D ('dul ba), ka, 244b5, H ('dul ba), ka, 342a4: chos drug dang j rjes su mthun pa'i chos drug gi bslab pa stsal du gsol, see also Dutt (143,5): satsu dharmesu satsv anudharmesu siksam ddsyanti, and T. 1445 at T. XXIII 1043b15: [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. This makes it clear that the point at issue is the formal initiation into the probationary training, pace Heirman ("Becoming" 190).

(70) D ('dul ba), ka, 244b1, H ('dul ba), ka, 341b4; see Dutt (142,13).

(71) 'Dul ba'i mdo'i rgya cher 'grel pa (Vinayasutratika), D 4120 ('dul ba),yu, 138b5: dge slob ma'i tshangs par spyod pa la nye bar gnas pa'i sdom pa dang bsnyen par rdzogs par bya ba la yang ngo zhes bya ba ni j dge slob ma mtshams kyi phyi rol na gnas pa rnams kyis tshangs par spyod pa la nye bar gnas pa'i sdom pa mnod pa dang j bsnyen par rdzogs par bya ba chos dang ldan pa'i don de gnyis byung na de dag bsgrub pa'i don duyang dge slong dbyar gnas par khas blangs pa mtshams kyi nang na 'dug pas zhag bdun man chad mtshams kyi phyi rol du 'gro zhing de tshun chad kyis phyir 'khor bar byin gyis brlab bo zhes bya bar sbyar ro.

(72) This is the translation already given in Tsering ("Lamp" 177).

(73) Tengyur D 4117 ('dul ba), wu, 63a5: dge slob ma'i tshangs par spyod pa la nye bar gnas pa'i sdom pa dang bsnyen par rdzogs par bya ba la yang ngo.

(74) As Samdhong Rinpoche in Mohr and Tsedroen (Dignity 255) emphasizes, "Tibetans strictly follow the Indian commentaries on it by Gunaprabha and Dharmamitra." Finnegan ("Flawless" 199) explains that "the root Vinaya text ... is no longer read by most Tibetan monks or scholars. Instead, Vinaya education and the regulation of monastic life are centered on Gunaprabha's highly condensed interpretive digest and the vast commentarial tradition based on his work."
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Author:Tsedroen, Bhiksuni Jampa; Analayo, Bhikkhu
Publication:Journal of Buddhist Ethics
Article Type:Essay
Date:Jan 1, 2013
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