The 8 Garudhammas

Yesterday I spoke with the head of the meditation center, trying to find out if I can stay at Wat Thai when ordained as Bhikkhuni. He’s not talking much to me, one might have the impression that I’m not welcome. But somehow I feel this is not the case.
It seems possible to stay and it seems to make no difference if I ordain now with someone else or in one and a half year with him. As he is my preceptor I feel I should consult him in this question and I would wait if that for any reason would be better. I’m fuzzy about that, as I said earlier (did I?), I would like to have a preceptor who keeps more rules and better than I do, he does.
The longest answer to one of the questions I had was: “But you have to keep the rules, even the garudhammas”. I was not sharp and quick enough to ask if he kept all rules from the very beginning perfectly (he once told me he grew into it.)
I don’t know if I can keep them all always 100%, sometimes keeping a small rule might cause death and breaking it would save live. I can’t guarantee that I would choose death then, I’m not an Arahant. None of the monks and nuns I know would (not sure about my preceptor.
There are some stories about Arahants: one died, bound with grass by some bandits, he burnt in a fire because he didn’t want to hurt the grass. Another was robbed, all robes were taken he lied on the floor naked, bound with grass, too. When the king passed the way he was in deadly danger just by being naked within sight of the king, but he refused to hurt the grass by just jumping out of the way. I would jump off, I guess. Is that a reason not to ordain? (That monk did not only survive but became the kings counselor, to finish the story.)
No one, except my preceptor, is NOT touching money, in contrary, I was advised by Bhikkhus and Bhikkhunis not to be too fuzzy with this rule.
The list of broken rules is as long as the patimokkha is, so I will not continue here.
This can be said, as a Mae Chii I keep more patimokkha rules than as those who should keep them. (This was said by a Bhikkhuni, not me)
As for the 8 Garudhammas:
They are, if taken as kind of sanctionary system to keep women dependent and obedeiant, against the law of the USA, Canada and Europe because they are discriminating women. Monks living in a western country who oppress nuns to keep these rules must be aware of the fact that they act against the law. Other would it be if these rules were ment by the monks to help the nuns, then they were legal. In Australia the monks took themselves 8 Garudhammas which I try to find and copy into the blog later.
There is no proof that the Garudhammas were laid down by the Buddha himself, latest researches show that they are a later addition, as I heard. The whole story of Mahapajapati seems to be rewritten or changed later. Having unshakable faith in the Lord Buddha’s teaching I fully trust that this is not his teaching. The Buddha has foreseen the Quantum- and the Chaos theory, why should he have been so completely wrong in dating the downfall of his teaching after 1000 or 500 years, he stated it otherwise in other occasions.
Others say the 8 Garudhammas only were meant for Mahapajapati, the first Bhikkhuni and Buddha’s fostermother. She was ordained by accepting them. The 500 women that came with her to ask the Buddha for ordination received a normal ordination by monks, as a Story of the Dhammapada shows. Makes sense.
Buddha said rules can be changed or been given up after his death, so why not … no, let’s take it as given, they are there, let’s imagine the Garudhammas were valid: if monks want that they are kept, hey, why not! Try to see them with the eyes of the fully enlightened one, monks, with all love, compassion and wisdom possible.
1. To greet the monks. I am friendly, I do not only great monks, I great all people and I like it.
After being among Thai monks I know, without this Garudhamma Bhikkhunis would certainly have to prostrate with 5 points to the ground at meeting a Bhikkhu, as the Mae Chiis and lay people have to do. Asian women would not be able to withstand such a monk’s order. Nowadays Bhikkhus are more bothered then pleased when they are greeted always, they said, they don’t like it. And: Monks who are not respectable must not be greeted, I know very few respectable monks.
2.Yes, spend the rains, where a monk is near, … today’s world is small, to get the info because of which this rule is stated would be possible via internet, but this rule is part of the patimokkha, anyway, so nothing extra.
3. Asking the monks for the uposatha day and for exhortation (ovada, vada means = pleasant speach) it is rather likely that the monks would forget their appointment or would not like come for to meet the Bhikkhunis if the latter would not remind them to do so.
4. The next one is as well a patimokkha rule, to invite the monks for the pavarana, yep, I took part in one, a nice ceremony with good food and lots of donations – no further comment.
5. This is difficult because nobody can translate manattna, so we don’t know what is to be observed, one of the speculation is: if these rules are not kept there will be a penalty for 2 weeks. But who knows …
6. To train the 6 rules for 2 years and ask both sanghas for ordination, yes, yes, I’m almost done. This makes sense because a Bhikkhuni has to stay with her preceptor 2 more years after ordaining. Monks stay with their preceptor 5 years.
7. Not insult or revile a monk … yes, that’s hard to accept ;o)
8. Not critizise (or in other translations admonish) a monk … men hardly can take critics, that’s a fact, even more so if a woman does it. My grandma said: “If you have a problem with your husband and you need to change his behavior, never ever talk to your husband about it, tread him friendly and loving and talk with his firend or his mother, ask them to talk with him, only then chances are, that the situation will change. A wise woman.
There are stoties that a Bhikkhuni thought a Bhikkhu and he was grateful because he became enlightend through the Bhikkhuni’s help, they were friends, so teaching in a compassionate way Bhikkhus is not forbidden.
If what one says is taken as critic or as support is often more an interpretation depending on the perception of the receiver of the message. As former actress I know that critics are to be given to improve one’s actions. If a monk does not want that, ok. And cirticism in another way than helpful and loving is not allowed for both, Bhikkhus and Bhikkhunis, as it would be wrong speach. The Buddha clearly said in the vinaya how a Bhikkhus should critizise one another same holds true for Bhikkhunis. Admonishing is a sensible act always not only among monastics.
Here they are, one version of many:
1. However old a bhikkhuni may be, she must pay respect even to a newly ordained monk and should learn and practise this dhamma throughout her life.
2. A bhikkhuni must not stay in a nunnery to observe the Buddhist Lent where there is no bhikkhu nearby and should learn and practise this dhamma throughout her life.
3. A bhikkhuni must invite a bhikkhu every fortnight to fix the date of Sabbath and the day to listen to the exhortation (Ovada) of the monks and should learn and practise this dhamma throughout her life.
4. A bhikkhuni must perform the ceremony of Confession and taking advice both in the bhikkhu Sangha and the bhikkhuni Sangha and should learn and practise this dhamma throughout her life.
5. A bhikkhuni must observe the manattna discipline first from a bhikkhu and then from a bhikkhuni and should learn and practise this dhamma throughout her life.
6. A bhikkhuni, after training in six pacittiya rules of the bhikkhuni patimokkha, should seek upasampada from both bhikkhu and bhikkhuni sanghas and should learn and practice this dhamma throughout her life.
7. A bhikhhuni must not admonish a bhikkhu and should learn and practice this dhamma throughout her life
8. Since having become a nun, she should be receptive to learning and should learn and practise this dhamma throughout her life.
And here another one:
1. A nun who has been ordained even for a hundred years must greet respectfully, rise up from her seat, salute with joined palms, do proper homage to a monk ordained but that day.
• clarification: The Vinaya recounts the story of six monks who lifted up their robes to show their thighs to the nuns. When the Buddha learned about this, he made an exception to that rule and told the nuns not to pay respect to these monks. A nun, then, does not have to bow to every monk, but only to a monk who is worthy of respect.
• Pajapati’s later request: “I would ask one thing of the Blessed One, Ananda. It would be good if the Blessed One would allow making salutations, standing up in the presence of another, paying reverence and the proper performance of duties, to take place equally between both bhikkhus and bhikkhunis according to seniority.”
2. A nun must not spend the rains in a residence where there are no monks. [See Bhikkhuni Pac.56: Vin.IV. 313 ]
3. Every half month a nun should desire two things from the Order of Monks : the asking as to the date of the Observance [ uposatha ] day, and the coming for the exhortation (bhikkhunovada). (See Bhikkhuni Pac.59: Vin.IV. 315)
4. After the rains a nun must ‘invite’ [ pavarana ] before both Orders in respect of three matters, namely what was seen, what was heard, what was suspected. (See Bhikkhuni Pac. 57: Vin. IV.314)
5. A nun, offending against an important rule, must undergo manatta discipline for half a month before both Orders.
6. When, as a probationer, she has trained in the six rules (cha dhamma) for two years, she should seek higher ordination from both Orders.
• note contradiction: One of the gurudhamma mentions sikkhamanas, probationary nuns who train for two years in preparation to become bhikkhunis. It says that after a probationary nun has trained with a bhikkhuni for two years, that bhikkhuni preceptor has the responsibility to fully ordain her. However, when the Buddha ordained Mahapajapati, there were no probationary nuns. He ordained her directly as a bhikkhuni. So how do we explain that within the eight important rules, one of them states that before becoming a bhikkhuni, a woman must be a probationary nun?
7. A Monk must not be abused or reviled in any way by a nun.
8. From today, admonition of monks by nuns is forbidden. (Book of the Discipline, V.354-55)
• note Buddhist Laywomen can: This is in contrast to the rules for Buddhist Laywomen who can single handedly accuse a bad monk; which would make no sense since the Ordained, monastic bhikkhunis (nuns) are clearly meant to have more respect than lay people.

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One comment

  1. You are, Silly Nun, what you say you are; Silly Nun, as a matter of fact, the 8 Garudhammas are the highest protection that Our Lord Buddha gave to His Bhikshunis, (Bhikkhunis): you see, the karma of Devadattahood will not harm you. Understand, my dear Venerable Bhikkhuni Phalanyani?


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