Women in Brown

a short history of the order of siladhara, nuns of the English Forest Sangha, Part Two

Authors

  • Jane Angell

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/bsrv.v23i2.221

Keywords:

Buddhist monasticism, Buddhist nuns, English Forest Sangha

Abstract

This history of the unique community of Theravada nuns known as siladhara, based at Amaravati and Chithurst Buddhist monasteries is presented in two parts. The history from its inception in the late 1970s until the years 2000 appeared in Buddhist Studies Review 23(1). This second part gives the most recent developments in the order, from 2000 to the present day, plus reflections on the future. The research is based on personal interview with founding members of the order as well as email, telephone and written communications with nuns past and present. It considers the implications of the revived bhikkhuni ordination for the siladhara and addresses the possibilities for the future. It describes the founding of a parallel order of Theravada nuns in Western Australia, with some significant differences to the UK nuns. It concludes that in attempting a form of monasticism for women, giving all the advantages of renunciation but at the same time negotiating the difficult synthesis of Western expectations, traditional Theravada cultural norms and the monastic rule itself, it has largely succeeded.

References

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Ariyesako, Bhikkhu, 1998. ‘The Bhikkhus’ Rules: A Guide for Laypeople’, Sanghaaloka Forest Hermitage, Kallista, Australia. Available at Access to Insight website: www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/ariyesako/layguide.html (November 2006).

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Spuler, Michelle, 2002. ‘The Development of Buddhism in Australia and New Zealand’. In Westward Dharma: Buddhism Beyond Asia, C.S. Prebish & M. Baumann (eds), pp. 139–51. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Sujato, Bhikkhu (Bhante), 2004. ‘Full Acceptance’. Eastern Horizon (August). A revised and longer version is at Santi Forest Monastery website: www.santiforestmonastery.com/writings/ Full%20Acceptance.pdf (November 2006).

Sumala, 1991. ‘Women in Buddhism’. Monastic Studies No 19: Buddhist and Christian Monasticism, pp. 114–18. Benedictine Priory of Montreal, Montreal, Canada.

Visvapani, 2002. ‘Bold Step for Nuns’. Dharma Life Magazine, iss. 19 (Winter): www.dharmalife.com/issue19/asianbikkhunis.html (November 2006).

Williams, Elizabeth, 2005. ‘Women’s Ordination in Theravada Buddhism: Ancient Evidence and Modern Debates’. Unpublished PhD thesis, University of Sunderland.

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Published

2007-02-03

How to Cite

Angell, J. (2007). Women in Brown: a short history of the order of siladhara, nuns of the English Forest Sangha, Part Two. Buddhist Studies Review, 23(2), 221–240. https://doi.org/10.1558/bsrv.v23i2.221

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