Northwestern Events Calendar


Lecture 9: Bhikkhunī Dhammadinnā, "Revived Theravāda bhikkhunīs and the bhikkhusaṅgha: institutional asymmetries, legal and existential dissonances"

When: Friday, June 2, 2023
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM CT

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Graduate Students

Contact: Joshua Shelton  

Group: The Khyentse Foundation Buddhist Studies Lecture Series

Category: Academic


In this lecture, Bhikkhunī Dhammadinnā will take up the legal and relational ambivalence with respect to the perceived legal "existence" or "non-existence" of the revived Theravāda bhikkhunīsaṅgha (community of monastic women) from the perspective of the bhikkhus’ (community of monastic men's) willingness – or lack thereof – to participate in legal acts of the saṅgha related to bhikkhunī (womens') ordination and to the regular post-ordination monastic life of the bhikkhunīs. This talk will show how the traditional legal and identitarian ideologies manifest in "existential" dissonances for the bhikkhunīs.

Bhikkhunī Dhammadinnā was born in Italy in 1980 and went forth in Sri Lanka in 2012. She studied Indology, Indo-Iranian philology and Tibetology at the University of Naples of Oriental Studies, at the International Research Institute for Advanced Buddhology at Soka University in Tokyo and at the Institute for Research in Humanities of Kyoto University. Dhammadinna received her doctorate in 2010 with a dissertation on the Khotanese “Book of Zambasta” and the formative phases of Mahāyana and bodhisattva ideology in Khotan in the fifth and sixth centuries. Her main research interests are the early Buddhist discourses and Vinaya texts, and the development of the theories, practices and ideologies of Buddhist soteriologies and meditative traditions. She is a visiting associate research professor at the Department of Buddhist Studies of the Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts in Taiwan and the director of the Āgama Research Group. In addition to her academic contributions, Bhikkhunī Dhammadinnā regularly teaches meditation.

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