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The International Seminar on
“Strengthening Buddhist Root: Theravada Buddhist Nuns in Nepal”
Venue: Aksheswar Mahavihara, Lalitpur, Kathmandu, Nepal
Aug.27-28,2017

 

It was a wonderful experience to attend this seminar in Nepal. The programme was organized under a capable hand of Prof.Dr.Shankar Thapa, head of History Department, Tribhuvan University. Mr Rajesh Sakya, the president of Aksheswar Mahavihara was very far sighted in accepting to host this historic event.
Under the capable hands of both the persons mentioned. At the opening ceremony they were able to invite H.E.the embassador of Sri Lanka, and a representative of India from the Indian Embassy in Nepal.
For the first time I witnessed the presence of many Nepali nuns in pink robes, there must be 30 of them at least. Afterward I discovered that 3 of them in maroon robe came from South India. A large crowd of Nepalis were there to honor the occasion.
The chief guests were Ven.Dhammavati, the most senior nun in Nepal, due to her age, she sent a representative. Ven.Bhikkhuni Dhammananda the most senior Theravada bhikkhuni from Thailand spoke as a chief guest.
Prof.Dr Shankar Thapa the organizer, explained to the audience how they started to organize this seminar, and what was the purpose. Some locals were enquiring as they did not invite the monks. It was explained that this was the first time, so the organizers want to provide the space for the Nepali nuns to speak with comfort. According to the culture, the nuns, out of respect will not speak in front of the monks.

H.E.the Embassdor of Sri Lanka spoke of the importance of Buddhism and the connection between the two countries.
Ven.Bhikkhuni Dhammananda spoke of the importance of the fourfold Buddhist communities that the Buddha established and the need for Nepali to help and make it possible in Nepal, the birth place of the Buddha. She also congratulate the administration of the Mahavihar to be farsighted and willing to host such interesting and beneficial event. It is an opportunity to lay a foundation to build yet many good work to offer as a token of respect to the Buddha.
All participants were joyful at such a wonderful opening ceremony.

 

 

The actual seminar took place at noon and continued to the next day. The topic of papers and presenters  are as  follows:

“Proposal for Theravada Bhikkhunis in Nepal” :Ven.Bhikkhuni Dhammananda
(Asso.Prof.Dr.Chatsumarn Kabilsingh)
“Monastic Praxis and Women involvement in Nepal”: Surendra Man Bajracharya
“Contribution of Theravada Nuns in Nepal”: Smriti Shretha Shakya
“Buddha and Establishment of Bhikkhuni order”: Dr Tri Ratna Manandhar
“Current Issues relating to Women practitioners”: Rajen manandhar
“Buddhism and Women’s Liberation”: Rina Tuladhar
“Discovering my Spiritual Path”: Ven.Samaneri Dhammaparipunna
(Dr Sireerat Chetsumon)
“Training laywomen in Thailand”: Ven.Bhikkhuni Dhammavanna
“How Am I dealing with Social Medias as a Buddhist?”: Dr Kanjana Suthikul

 

Apart from the paper presenters, there were also very good commentators of each paper and also very capable chairs.
Thanks to Prof.Dr.Shankar Thapa from History department, Tribhuvan University.
Aksheswar Mahavihar not only provided the venue but also offered lunch to all participants for the two days of the seminar.
We left with a sense of  deep gratitude, thanks to everyone responsible for this success.
For us, it is yet another offering to the Buddha, Sadhu, Sadhu.