Dissertation > Philosophy, religion > Religion > Buddhism > History of Buddhism

The Study of the Semilarities and Differences of the Buddhist Bhikkhunis Who Are Educated in Monastic Institutes between China and VietNam in Modern Time

Author RuanShiQiuYue(ShiRuYue)
Tutor ChenQingYuan
School Fujian Normal University
Course Chinese classical literature
Keywords Bhikkhuni Bhikkhuni sanghas modern Chinese Bhikkhuni sanghas modern Vietnamese Bhikkhuni sanghas
CLC B949
Type PhD thesis
Year 2008
Downloads 208
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After attaining enlightenment, Sakyamuni Buddha accepted the five Kondanna brothers as his first disciples while the first time setting the Dharma wheel in motion at Deer Park (Benaras). From then, a Buddhist sangha was formed. Later many more were accepted and the number of sangha members increased to 1,250. When Ananda recommended the step mother of the Buddha, Mahapajapati, to become a Bhikkhuni, the Buddha accepted that request, but He ordered that they should completely follow the 8 unsurpassed harmonious rules for life. Then Mahapajapati and 500 women of the Sakyan clan were ordained. The first Bikkhuni sangha was then formed.Later when various Buddhist schools were established, almost all scriptures and regulations carried the view of signifying the male importance while despising the value of female. They considered that female was the sources of contamination, which led to the threat and obstacles to the Bikkhunis’ religious life. Because of the negative perception about female, female were always looked down, and it was believed that only male could attain enlightenment. In Theravada Buddhism, female was barred from leaving home to become bikkhuni, mainly because of its traditional and cultural belief considered female as embodiment of sexuality. Mahayana Buddhism had a more open view of female. Though having the similar Theravada view of female, it considered that female could finally attain enlightenment. During the early times of Mahayana Buddhism, it was believed that Bodhisattvas’miracles of changing female to male before they could attain enlightenment. However, this view was still not positive, it would be more progressive if there were a breaking down of gender view. Therefore, later in the development philosophy of Tathagatagarbha, it clarify that all living beings have the same Buddha nature, it means female also has the same ability to get enlightenment as male does. This is a positive view, asserting Bikkhunis’ enlightenment.Holy disciples of the Buddha continued His work. They propagated Buddhist teachings beyond the border of its mother land. Buddhism entered into China and Vietnam during the first century. However, Chinese Bhikkhuni sangha was not established until the fifth century. Due to the completely destruction of long time war situation in Vietnam, Buddhism was unfortunately influenced. Almost historical documents relating to Buddhism were set on fire by invaders, just a few left, saying that Vietnamese Bhikkhuni sangha was first established at least 6 centuries after the Chinese Bhikkhuni sangha.Vietnam was under the control of China for a millennium, therefore Vietnamese Buddhism is deeply influenced by Chinese Buddhism. Almost all Buddhist sects in Vietnam are Mahayana. This is one similarity between Chinese and Vietnamese Bhikkhuni sanghas. Another similarity is the influence of traditional old fashioned discrimination. There were not many researches into these Bhikkhuni sanghas.Internationally, Chinese and Vietnamese Bhikkhuni sanghas are considered the strongest Mahayana sanghas. However, due to certain restrictions, these two Bhikkhuni sanghas have not been well developed as that in Taiwan. The writer only compares the Vietnamese Bhikkhuni sangha and the Chinese continent Bhikkhuni sangha, which does not include Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao’s. The continent of China is so large, but the capacity and the time factor of the writer are limited. Therefore the writer cannot make a full research on all activities of Buddhism in China, just mainly focusing on some typical activities of Bhikkhuni sangha in Chinese Buddhist schools and institutes only.Information and documents about this matter are not abundant. There are so many difficulties during the research. So, besides using the previous research works as well as the experience work, the research is about the activities of these two Bhikkhuni sanghas, mainly in their organisational structures, the management of institutes, life and education.

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