the following i wrote as an answer to a monk i know when he was suggesting to give nun robes and bowls. as it took me so long to write it on the mobile, i’ll use it as a post here as well:
Your idea about giving us nuns bowls and robes is not bad, but …
It’s not suitable in real life. Monastic life runs on the conventional level, you have enough experiance with it. There is moha, dosa and lobha involved, it’s being in samsara.
Generally nuns serve and work for the monks and after that they are allowed to give them merits.
Thai nuns do most times not want to have bowls and don’t like, same as many monks, the aspect of having to go on almsround.
There are exeptions, of course, amongst Thaiwomen and foreign nuns – of which i’m one.
I have a bowl and wear a brown robes [both mae chi stile, this small zorro-cape-like and a monksrobe] and do go on almsround.
Presently i stay in a city monastery and go at least to one nun and the kitchen for alms. Outside is not allowed because even the monks don’t go on pindabat outside the monastery.
My brown robe is accepted most times but the monksrobe has to be worn hidden. Outside of the monastery i’m in danger to be arrested if i wear it. Once i was rebuked by an hysteric monk for wearing brown. Your suggestion to just wear the robes is not realizable hear in thailand, unless you have good advocats and enough money.
I’m not the one who fights for female rights in buddhism the only fight fought by me shall be for nibbana.
Even if one could wear the same robes as monks – non of the monks would accept a nun as for anything else then now, to serve, work, making merits.
They would not want to loose some of their donators to the receivers side and to have to share their donations with women.
Why 8 precepts and not 10,?That would make nuns at least similar to novices. Then the nuns can’t give merits anymore. Simple reason.
Again, there are exeptions, some monks are really understanding and helpful. That’s why i’m still in robes.
The lay-people are ready for bhikkhunis out of my experiance, some of those i had the chance to talk with have high hopes that bhikkhunis can bring back monastic disciplin and they are upset and annoyed by the behavior of monks but do not dare to stop making merits to them.
I do have the aspiration to become bhikkhuni one day. But definately not for the prize of a split in the sangha, not for propaganda or feministic motives.
Just to live the holy life.
The life of which the Buddha said it leads to freedom from suffering.
Most monks do not see that the patimokkha is a juwel, they wear it like a burden, not like a crown. They have forgotten that meditation is to see clearly and to find liberation and not to get the missing hours of sleep [meditation during ceremonies] or just a little unconvenience that makes chanting longer then necessary.
some of the nuns and, yes, some of the monks as well, honestly strive for nibbana, try to be worthy ones.
The monks don’t have to worry, they are supported, even if they break the rules.
But the nuns, … we can use the soap and toothpaste monks leave behind …
I was told be happy not to have so much bothering rules, to be happy with 8, because i’m allowed much more things to do. Then i was asked to do some gardening, like cutting branches and put flowers in earth.
But i deeply understand why the Buddha made the rules of not digging soil not breaking even grass and can’t do tat anymore. I understand the danger of touching money and making bowlhords or storage of food.
And so on and so on.
Nuns are supposed to do all the things monks can not do. And when one doesn’t do, one is a lazy parasite of the community.
So, how liberation should be possible for a nun?
There are lots of examples why just wearing monksrobes and having a bowl is not enough to grant the same chances to live the holy life for nuns.
It’s very upsetting, that modern skilled monks like Dhammanando stick more to the letter then to compassion. I had hoped to find a supporter in him.
It seems, every rule can be broken without shame, except those which would enable a nun to live the holy life.
Maybe a new buddhist monastic lifeform has to be installed for those, men and women, willing to live according to the principles. Equal rights, equal obligations, equal rules, equal robes and equal treatment in case of breaking rules, then name it as you wish and let men and women who seriousely strive for nibbana live in seperate but not to far seperated communities and help eachother to live as the Buddha told.
Equality on conventional level is out of reach and equality on ultimate level is not necessary to be mentioned.