Statement of His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Bhikshuni Ordination in the Tibetan Tradition

First International Congress on Buddhist Women's Role in the Sangha: Bhikshuni Vinaya and Ordination Lineages
Hamburg University, Hamburg, Germany
July 18 - 20, 2007

On the basis of the above considerations, and after extensive research and consultation with leading Vinaya scholars and Sangha members of the Tibetan tradition and Buddhist traditions internationally, and with the backing of the Tibetan Buddhist community, since 1960s, I express my full support for the establishment of the Bhikshuni Sangha in the Tibetan tradition.

Within the Tibetan community, we have been striving to raise standards of nuns in terms of education, introduced Buddhist philosophical studies and also worked to introduce the bestowal of a Geshe degree (highest academic degree of monastic studies) for nuns as well. I am pleased that we have been successful in accomplishing these aims to a great extent.

I also believe that, since a Bhikshuni Sangha has long been established in the East Asian Buddhist traditions (of China, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Korea) and is presently being revived in the Theravada tradition of South Asia (especially Sri Lanka), the introduction of the Bhikshuni Sangha within the Tibetan Buddhist tradition should be considered seriously and favorably.

But in terms of the modality of introducing Bhikshuni vows within the tradition, we have to remain within the boundaries set by the Vinaya - otherwise, we would have introduced the Bhikshuni vow in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition long time ago.

There are already nuns within the Tibetan tradition who have received the full Bhikshuni vow according to the Dharmagupta lineage and whom we recognize as fully ordained. One thing we could do is to translate the three primary monastic activities (Posadha, Varsa, Pravarana) from the Dharmagupta lineage into Tibetan and encourage the Tibetan Bhikshunis to do these practices as a Bhikshuni Sangha, immediately.

I hope that these combined efforts of all Buddhist traditions bear fruit.

The Buddhist Bhikshu Tenzin Gyatso
The Dalai Lama