I recently completed work on the translation of three discourses from the Anguttaranikāya (Bk 8 51-51) along with a complete translation of the commentaries, which are now published on Ancient Buddhist Texts.
The first discourse concerns the establishment of the Community of nuns; the second the qualities required by a monk to be fit to teach the nuns; and the third is the discourse that led to Ven. Gotamī’s Liberation.
This has been rather longer in the making than I expected because first of all interpretation of some of the commentary was rather problematic. I was fortunate enough to have Dr. Junko Matsumura to provide some expert help with that.
Secondly the material itself is rather involved as it concerns the establishment of the Community of nuns, and the very controversial way this is presented in the first of the discourses, which insists on eight serious rules (garudhamma) that should be agreed to, and the Buddha saying the life of his Dispensation (Sāsana) will be halved by women being accepted into the Sangha.
It is quite clear to me, working on the material over the past few months, that neither of these things can be original to the establishment of the Community of nuns, and that both the garudhammas and the dire warnings are later additions.
The complications already present in the discourse are compounded in the Commentary which seems for one thing to be envisioning a different time-frame to the discourse itself, besides other things. All of this, and more, is discussed in the Introduction.
I had the benefit of consulting with Ayyā Tathālokā Bhikkhunī over many of these issues, and the work is better informed because of that input.
The work is available in two very different versions, the first with the Pāḷi text and a line-by-line translation of the discourse and its commentary, meant more for the student of Pāḷi:
the second has only the English discourse and not the commentary, but it also has a reading of the translation embedded in the text, so if you want to listen rather than read you can do so here:
The material is also made available in various formats: html, pdf, epub, mobi and mp3, and I hope the work will go some way to help people understand some of the issues involved in the debate about the nuns’ ordinations.
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