The Santipada Team

Bhikkhu Sujato

Ven Jagariya
Chinese translation, textual analysis, website

Ven Adhimutta
text discussions

Jackie Miller
text discussions, editing, proof reading

Ven Mudita
Hybrid Sanskrit translation

Jennifer Procter
French translation

Maggie Lavelle
website, editing

Sikkhamānā: Buddhist nuns’ training

While the sikkhamānā training is found in the Vinayas of all schools, the texts are beset with contradictions and interpretive difficulties. The most recent scholarly contribution by Oskar von Hinuber concluded by declaring: non liquet—it is not clear. But bhikkhuni ordination is the decisive issue facing the contemporary Sangha, and clarity is essential, even if it means clarifying what we do not know.

The Santipada team have gathered, translated, compared, and analyzed the references to sikkhamānā training in the Vinayas of all schools in all languages. Much of this material is translated into English here for the first time. This project, while incomplete, provides the most comprehensive resource in English for the study of this topic. The information presented here is not meant to be a final product, but a gathering of information that a serious student can use for research.

There are three main areas where we hope to find clarity:

  • What was the original form of women's ordination?
  • How was that adapted by the traditions?
  • How may we best apply our understanding for ordained women today?

Questions that have arisen in our research include:

  • For whom was the two-year training intended?
  • What form did the training take?
  • How did the relevant rules evolve over time?
  • What does a critical comparative approach to these texts reveal about the fidelity of the text transmission process?