Frequently asked questions
1. Why is it necessary to follow the daily schedule?
On account of these rules and this way of life the noble ones used to attain enlightenment and it is a great gift to be able to try out this way of life under our conditions of a hectic world. Living in order keep us within boundaries so we can act wholesomely and thanks to it we can understand our own wrong habits and replace them with the good ones.
“Living in an order is something that makes you a better person. To respect the rules and to live accordingly is one’s primary obligation. It would be very difficult if we lived in a community that doesn’t follow order. Every society has its own set of rules and so does our monastic community, whose rules have been laid down by the lord Buddha - on the ground of committing offence - and I personally hold these precepts in high regard. In the beginning one does not fully comprehend the meaning and it is difficult to observe all of them, but this is because our minds are used to do what they want and are not willing to obey. The mind likes its freedom and does not want to submit. On the contrary, the order gives you more freedom than you would think. Abiding by the rules gives us protection from ourselves and our
mind’s impurities. It is something that helps us overcome our wrong habits, laziness, arrogance, false speech, and on the other hand it supports the good qualities like effort, concentration, compassion and equanimity. Observing the rules, in fact, means to tighten one’s belt so that we could become a more cultivated person and a better one. After some time we might see that we does not need to tighten the belt so fast since this is our natural behaviour now and we are not capable of bad conduct. “
Bhikkhunī Visuddhi (excerpt from the interview for the magazine Dingir)
2. Who is the Saṅgha? Why should we care about the needs of Saṅgha?
Saṅgha is a word in Pāli and Sanskrit meaning "association", "assembly," "company" or "community" and most commonly refers in Buddhism to the monastic community of ordained Buddhist monks or nuns. This community is traditionally referred to as the bhikkhu saṅgha or bhikkhunī saṇgha. As a separate category, those who have attained any of the four stages of enlightenment, whether or not they are members of the bhikkhu saṅgha or bhikkhunī saṅgha, are referred to as the ariya saṅgha or "noble saṅgha".
Some lay practitioners in the West these days use the word "saṅgha" as a collective term for all Buddhists, but the Pāli Canon uses the word parisāfor the larger Buddhist community - the monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen who have taken the Three Refuges - reserving ‘saṅgha’ for a more restricted use. The distinction between saṅgha and lay persons has always been important and forms the parisā, Buddhist community.
The saṅgha is the third of the Three Jewels in Buddhism. Due to the temptations and vicissitudes of life in the world, monastic life is considered to provide the safest and most suitable environment for advancing toward enlightenment and liberation.
“He acquires unwavering confidence in the saṅgha thus: ‘The saṅgha of the Blessed One’s disciples is practising the good way, practising the straight way, practising the true way, practising the proper way, that is, the four pairs of persons, the eight types of individuals; this saṅgha of the Blessed One’s disciples is worthy of gifts, worthy of hospitality, worthy of offerings, worthy of reverential salutation, the unsurpassed field of merit for the world.’ ” MN7
We should admit to ourselves that we do not know how to take care of buddhist monastics properly here in Czech Republic.
3. Who is Bhikkhunī?
A bhikkhunī is a fully ordained female monastic. Bhikkhunīs live by the vinaya, a set of rules. The progression to ordination as a bhikkhunī is taken in four steps. A layperson takes the Five Precepts. The next step is to enter the pabbajjā or monastic way of life, which includes wearing the monastic's robes. After that, one can become a sāmaṇerī or "novitiate". The last and final step is to take the full vows of a bhikkhunī.
Bhikkhunīs at the time of the Buddha had equal rights and an equal share in everything. In one case, eight robes were offered to both saṅghas at a place where there was only one nun and four monks. The Buddha divided the robes in half, giving four to the bhikkhunīs and four to the bhikkhus, because the robes were for both saṅghas and had to be divided equally however many were in each group. Because the bhikkhunīs tended to receive fewer invitations to lay-people's homes, the Buddha had all offerings brought to the monastery and equally divided between the two saṅghas. He protected the nuns and was fair to both parties. They are subordinate in the sense of being younger sisters and elder brothers.
According to the Buddha’s teaching women are well able to realize nibbāna as men do. The order of bhikkhunīs has been established by the Buddha at the request of his aunt and stepmother Mahāpajāpatī Gotamī who was the first woman to obtain bhikkhunī ordination.
4. Who is Upāsika/Upāsaka?
Upāsikā (feminine) or Upāsaka (masculine) are from the Sanskrit and Pāli words for "attendant". This is the title of followers of Buddhism (or, historically, of Gautama Buddha) who are not monks, nuns, or novice monastics in a Buddhist order, and who undertake certain vows. In modern times they have a connotation of dedicated piety that is best suggested by terms such as "lay devotee" or "devout lay follower."
“The rules of conduct” refer to “the Eight Ethical Precepts” and to the minor training rules. You can stay in the ārāma provided that you accept and follow the rules undertaking of which is valid on entering the ārāma. The precepts give rise to samādhi (concentration) and thanks to samādhi wisdom arises. This leads to the attainment of noble path meaning the goal of Dhamma has been accomplished.
If anybody wants to go deeper into the precepts he should go through the whole vinaya piṭaka, the monastic rules for bhikkhunīs. Upāsikās and upāsakas - are householders and other laypersons who take refuge in the Three Jewels (the Buddha, the teachings and the community) and practice the Five Precepts. In southeast Asian communities, lay disciples also give alms to monks on their daily rounds and observe weekly uposatha days. In Buddhist thought, the cultivation of ethical conduct and dāna or "almsgiving" will themselves refine consciousness to such a level that rebirth in one of the lower heavens is likely even if there is no further Buddhist practice. This level of attainment is viewed as a proper aim for laypersons.
In the Pāli Canon's Jīvaka Sutta, the Buddha is asked, "Lord, to what extent is one a lay follower (upāsako)?"
The Buddha replies that one takes refuge in the Triple Gem. Asked how one is a "virtuous lay follower" (upāsako sīlavā), the Buddha replies that one undertakes the Five Precepts. Asked how one practices being a lay follower "both for his own benefit & the benefit of others," the Buddha states that one is consummate oneself in and encourages others in the consummation of: conviction (saddhā); virtue (sīla); generosity (cāga); visiting monks/nuns; and hearing, remembering, analyzing, understanding and practicing the Dhamma. Traditionally, in India, upāsikās wore white robes, representing a level of renunciation between lay people and monastics. For this reason, some traditional texts make reference to "white-robed lay people" (avadāta-vassana).
In this discourse, the Buddha instructs a householder named Dīghajāṇu Vyagghapajja, a Koliyan householder,
on eight personality traits or conditions that lead to happiness and wellbeing in this and future lives.
5. What am I suppose to wear in the ārāma if I stay?
In the ārāma we train ourselves as upāsikā/upāsaka, therefore we wear white clothes. Clothes should be simple
and comfortable, shirts and blouses should have long sleeves, skirts and trousers should cover knees. Any provocative clothes like tight and short shirts, low-cut neckline and see-through material, is inappropriate. Please, do not use perfumes, cosmetics and jewellery. It is enough if you bring along your toilet articles, watch or a small alarm clock, slippers and a sleeping bag. You can find more in Terms of stay section.
The contact to support projects and activities of the Association Karuṇā Sevena: 6855804001/5500, IBAN: CZ6755000000006855804001, SWIFT: RZBCCZPP - The funds are used to cover the basic monastic needs of the Venerable bhikkhunī Visuddhi, such as - robe, food, medicine and abode (this also covers transportation, accommodation, air tickets, etc.). Distribution of books, construction of the meditation room, the furnishing of the monastery KS, insurance, utility bills, etc. Tax deductible in the Czech Republic. Please state the reason for the donation with the following note" For the Association KS."
The contact for the project Suriya Lamai: 6855679001/5500, IBAN: CZ4955000000006855679001, SWIFT: RZBCCZPP
- The intention of the project Suriya Lamai “The Children of the Sun” is to enable children from poor families to develop and educate themselves and to provide them with basic needs. The donation is tax deductible in the Czech Republic.
Neither of the above is a public collection, and therefore we ask all donors to add their contact information to their gift, so that we can issue a donation agreement contract or a donation receipt. We thank to all the donors.
Link to the Paypal for foreign donors: