For one to be considered a Buddhist monk or nun, one must receive what is known as full ordination, or a ceremony in which one is officially ordained as a monastic. While this process is meant to be open to all genders, the Venerable Chao-Hwei, the Venerable Zinai, and Venerable Ayya Dhammadipa (Dassanāya Buddhist Community) had a lot to say about the challenges women face at the 2023 Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago, IL.
At a parallel session called “The Global Ethic & the Path to Ordination to Monastic Life for Buddhist Women,” the three monastics, in addition to Dr. Darcie Price-Wallace (Northwestern University) and Hsiao-Lan Hu (University of Detroit Mercy), they discussed why ordination is important for women practitioners. According to Ven. Dhammadipa:
“The reason to become a monastic is to have the opportunity to dedicate one’s life fully to full awakening, no matter what gender you perceive yourself to be or not be.”
At the same time, panelists agreed that women are often perceived as not needing ordination in order to dedicate oneself to the Dharma. As Ven. Chao-Hwei points out, this leads to an imbalance of women vs. men in the monastic world:
“For female Buddhist practitioners, this leads to marginalization, which poses a significant problem.”
Keep watching* and see more from the 2023 PoWR at tzuchi.us/parliament-world-religions.