Establishment of Bhikkhuni Training Centre & International Faculty of Buddhist Studies
In accordance with Buddhist Culture, a society consists of Bhikkhus (monks), Bhikkhunis (nuns), Upasakas (lay brothers) and Upasikas(lay sisters) and it is based on their inter-relationships. It is so constituted that it would, in the end – may be after many births – facilitate and culminate in the attainment of Nirvana, the Summum Bonum, for all who thus form a part of society.
This basic structure of society of which we talk so much as the foundation of the Buddhist society has ,by now, come to a terrible impasse, is rapidly degenerating and besides, is impaired in many ways. The family, the basic unit of society, itself is faced with the threat of being shattered. In consequence, we live in a society that is mostly warped and perverted.
The development and welfare of the bhikkhunis has remained a neglected facet ever since the colonial times up to the present time. Monastic Educational Centres (Pirivenas) for Bhikkhus and schools and universities for lay brothers and lay sisters galore. Nevertheless, sadly a training centre or some such place of schooling for nuns is not to be found and hitherto not even contemplated of being built by the responsible citizenry.
Bhikkhunis can do yeoman service to the society in which they live provided that they are given the requisite training in Buddhist lore (Dhamma), discipline and psychological counseling. In Sri Lanka today a bhikkhuni hardly enjoys the privileges affordable even to a lay woman. They are barred from getting a reasonable and sufficient education that befits their status. Like bhikkhus, they can be made useful to the society by imparting to them the same skills that are imparted to the bhikkhus in monastic educational centres. It is a dire need of our time to enable them to do so.
It is under this backdrop that the proposition for a bhikkhuni training centre was mooted by Ven.Kirama Wimalajhoti thera, a bhikkhu famed both locally and internationally for having redressed many a lacuna and grievance of Buddhists in the past. Thus such a bhikkhuni training centre is being established in Dekanduwala to foster the dispensation of the bhikkhunis; it was inaugurated on March 8th 2015, the international women’s day under the auspices of Ven.Kirama Wimalajhoti thera.
In this connection one other name also ought to be mentioned. The late Ven. Prof. Kakkapalliye Anuruddha thera also longed to start a pirivena for Bhikkhunis much on similar lines. Therefore in his name a library perfect in all respects would be incorporated into the proposed training Centre.
Therein bhikkhunis are going to be given a thorough grounding in the knowledge of the Tripitaka, languages such as Pali and English, counseling and temple management. Theory and practice of meditation is also going to be taught. The proposed Centre is to be furnished with residential facilities and class rooms equipped with the best, state-of-the-art facilities. Education that is thus going to be provided is not job-oriented with examinations held towards the end of training but is intensely a practical training confronting a real-life situation.
Traditional education provided in colleges and universities is job-oriented with the result that Bhikkhus who pass out from such institutions disrobe and return to lay-life intent on taking up an occupation.
We intend hereby to deviate fundamentally from this attitude of mind and give the bhikkhunis real life training causing them to clad the saffron-robe not only outwardly but inwardly as well. The beneficiaries of this scheme of conferring ancient Buddhist monastic training are not only Sri Lankan nuns but also those in the rest of the world.
The huge building complex that is to be constructed for the purpose is estimated to cost around 87.5 million rupees. An additional cost is going to get incurred for its maintenance, salaries of the panel of lecturers, transport charges and other, basically for providing sanitary facilities as it is strictly and purely a private venture fully divested of government support. The help rendered by the devotees towards its construction is highly appreciated. We kindly solicit your sympathy and benevolence to bring this monumental work, happening for the first time in Sri Lanka, to completion. It will foster not only the bhikkhuni order in Sri Lanka but also that in the rest of the Buddhist world by providing training for bhikkhunis from foreign climes.
Those who are desirous of becoming a part of this most valued venture are welcome with their contributions. We invite you all with Metta to be a part of this most noble deed.
Ven.Kirama Wimalajhoti Thera
Chancellor – Bhikkhuni Training Centre and International Faculty of Buddhist Studies
Director – Buddhist Cultural Centre, Nedimala and Sambuddhatvajayanthi Mandiraya, Colombo