Temporary Samaneri ordination at Songdhammakalyani Bhikkhuni Arama

Songdhammakalyani Bhikkhuni Arama has  organized temporary ordination since 2008. The bhikkhuni sangha here, offer temporary ordination twice a year, Apirl 6 and Dec.5. Thus the latest  one took place on April 6, it is 16th ordination given.

Each time there would be 30,40,50 women joined. Dec.5,2015 was a special one, there were 108 candidates. The occasion was to celebrate  the completion of Yasodhara Vihara.

Thus, Ven.Dhammananda has given Samaneri ordination to not less than 500 women. She was also invited to give the same ordination in Payao, northern part of Thailand and also Songkhla in the south.

The latest one, is 16th ordination given to 26 women. It is interesting to note that two third of the population have at least B.A. among them, two of them with M.A., one with Ph.D. Only one candidate has the basic 6 years of education. This statistic shows interesting information that it is among the educated ones who would be interested in samaneri ordination. For this group the average age is 41, the youngest one is 19 and the oldest one is 61.

It would be interesting to compare and contrast the women population who like to spend time engaging in spiritual practice. Many of the monks temple also organize short course for laywomen to practice of 3,5,7, or 9 days. I would suspect that  the education of women joining the monks’ temple would be in the lower educational range.

The dates of ordination in summer and winter is announced far ahead of time, the interested candidates can always load the registration form from thaibhikkhunis website or directly contact Songdhammakalyani temple.

Two weeks before the actual ordination, candidates would be inform and they would participate for the Ordination date is April 6, but the candidates need prior  training and rehearsal. So they arrived at the temple on April 3.

The candidates were divided into 4 groups, each with one bhikkhuni and one assistant to take care of them in the training, particularly how to fold the robe and how to wrap themselves properly in civara (robe). It took a few days before each samaneri would learn how to put the robe on properly.

The ordination day was quite an event, most of them received ordination for the first time in their lives. There were a couple of cases who took the ordination for 2nd time but all the rest,it was  their first experience.

Some of them would be so excited that they did not have proper sleep with high expectation of what was going to happen the next day.
Relatives started to arrive early, the temple had to prepare breakfast for them, as some of them travelled for 3-4 hours to get to the temple.

The actual ceremony started with cutting the hair and shaving. The Pavattini, bhikkhuni teacher,   ceremonially clipped the hair for each candidate, then followed by the whole community of nuns and then relatives.

Now the candidates put on white with their heads also covered with white scarf. This is the practice done only in Sri Lanka, Ven.Dhammananda, having herself taken the lineage from Sri Lanka, so her disciples do the same.

The procession was beautiful. The candidates lined up, holding lotus in their folded palms, keeping the exact distance from the one walking in front of them. I learned that they were trained quite rigorously before the proper line was formed. The candidate reached out to the person walking in front within her alms reach, and all of them kept the same space. No wonder, the procession was so beautiful.

The senior bhikkhunis led the procession with colorful parasols guarding 4-5 bhikkhunis in front. Then the candidates’ relatives joined in holding various offering, then the candidates followed.

They made 3 rounds of circumambulation of the Vihara where the ordination was going to take place. The candidates entered the Vihara, and the relatives sat under the tent in front watching with expectation for the ordination ceremony.

Three candidates came out, and went to invite Pavattini. They walked ceremonially, the first one holding lit incense sticks in the container, two candidates each held flower offering in their hands.

They came back, this time with Ven.Dhammananda, their Pavattini walking behind them.

All of them entered the Vihara to perform the ordination.

There were 4-5 bhikkhunis from other nunneries coming to attend the ceremony as guests. Also there were a group of 9 samaneras who were ordained few days earlier, they were also making merit to celebrate 108 years of Ven.Voramai Kabilsingh, the founder of Songdhammakalyani Temple.

The members of the temple took this as a very special event for them.

The candidates were led by the bhikkhunis, this time they had a piece of saffron cloth around their necks. They walked ceremonially and disappeared from our sight.

The parents were waiting with full expectation, stretching their necks to have the first glimpse of their daughters appearing, this time in the robe.

As the candidates returned, now fully dressed in robe, there were lots of camera clickings. Yes, it was such a sight which brought tears of joy to many parents.
The candidates returned to the hall to receive ordination and precepts. Once when they are properly ordained, they came out and went directly to their parents to receive the bowl.

Interestingly it is the mother who usually offers the robe, and the father who offers the bowl.


At ordination, which is the only event, when the mother comes before the father. It is explained that each individual spent at least 9 months with the mother, so at ordination time, the mother receives priority to gain the merit.
Having received the bowl, they again went back to the hall to get instruction to determine the bowl and the robe.

The ordination was over, and all of them now came out to take a group photo.
Such a big event.
I have to say that the ordination at this temple is so well prepared and organized. Indeed, it is the 16th ordination. They have gone through much training and improvement.
The relatives now waited in line  to make offering to the newly ordained samaneris.
This was indeed a big event that could happen in a life of a Buddhist woman. Thanks to Ven.Dhammananda, the first Theravada bhikkhuni in this country for being trail-blazer, and yet now prepare the ground for the future generation to walk the path. This is the most promising path as it was led by the Buddha himself some 2600 years ago.


Registration form (EN)

Registration form (TH)