Binara Poya and the Bhikkhuni
By Premasara Epasinghe Daily News 11/8 2008 Sri Lanka
Out of the Poya days, which falls during the rainy season, Binara is of special
significance as far as Buddhist Order is concerned. Binara Poya begins according
to the English Season in Autumn (Sarath in Sinhala) between Summer and Winter
from September to November in the Northern hemisphere.
During this period, members of the Maha Sangha, observe the Disciplinary Code
laid down by the Blessed One. They stay indoors during this rainy season and
perform special monastic rituals and attend to many religious ceremonies,
meditate and deliver sermons.
There is a very close relationship between the Buddhist monks and lay -
‘dayakas’. Temples get filled with large number of devotees observing “Sil” on
Binara Poya day. Youth play a prominent role in Buddhist activities on Poya
The Bhikkhuni Order
When the Blessed One was residing at Nigrodharamaya in the City of Kapilavastu,
approached the Enlightened One, and requested permission for women to enter the
Order. The Buddha turned down her kind request thrice.
The Buddha left Kapilavastupura, proceeded to the City of Vesali and resided at
In the meantime,
the chief of the Bhikkhuni Sasanaya, who played a lead role, with five hundred
wives of the princes, shaved their heads, wore yellow robes, met Venerable
Ananda Thera and humbly requested him to speak to the Blessed One to grant
permission for them to enter the Bhikkhuni Order.
Once again, the Buddha turned down their request, made by Ven.
Ananda. Again and
Ananda appealed to the Buddha to grant permission for Prajapathi
Gothami and her 500 companions to enter the Order.
Considering the request of
the Buddha granted permission to womenfolk to enter the Sasanaya on Binara Poya
day and requested them that they should strictly follow and honour the eight
important principles (Garu Dharma Ata) laid down by the Buddha. It was called as
the Code of Conduct for Bhikkhunis.
Some of the highlights of this “Garu Dharma” are:
a) A Bhikkhuni (Nun), although she had attained the Higher Order, eVen. hundred
years ago, She should worship and honour a Bhikkhu who had attained the Higher
Order on that very day. Here the date of the seniority does not matter.
b) No Bhikkhuni should be engaged in Retreat in an area where there are no
c) Bhikkhunis should take the advice of Bhikkhus. (Monks)
d) At the end of the Retreat a Bhikkhuni should ceremoniously end the “Retreat”
in the presence of Bhikkhunis and Bhikkhus.
e) A novice Bhikkhuni, should gain higher ordination in front of Bhikkhunis only
after one year of study.
f) Bhikkhunis should not advise Bhikkhus, although Bhikkhus may advise
Ananda, described these condition to
and stated “If you accept these
conditions, the Blessed One will grant permission to initiate the Bhikkhuni
facing the direction of the Blessed One made this announcement. “Ven.
Ananda, just as young men and women would bathe and adorn
themselves with garlands of Jasmine flowers, so do I accept those conditions
laid down by the Blessed One.
Thus, was the beginning of the Bhikkhuni Order (Sasanaya) on a Binara Full Moon
With the advent of Buddhism to Sri Lanka during King Devanampiyatissa’s reign,
the daughter of the Great King Emperor Asoka’s daughter
Sanghamitta brought the
Bo-sapling Jayasiri Maha Bodhi and there began the Bhikkhuni Sasanaya in Sri
In a very silent manner sans publicity, the Sri Lankan Bhikkhunis, contribute
their share for the propagation of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. They also play a
leading role in spreading the Message of Buddhism.
We are ever grateful to them.
The Bhikkhuni Net
An Alliance for Bhikkhunis:
The Buddhist Poya Uposatha Observance Day Calendar for 2014 is here:
May the Triple Gem Bless you!