Thursday, June 13, 2013

Good things about America

 By Amma Thanasanti Bhikkhuni on Sakyadhita: Buddhist Women

I am blessed to be an American-born bhikkhuni living in the United States, blessed to be part of a society that insists on equality, celebrates pioneers, and encourages living according to one's values. My vision of how laypeople and monastics can evolve as an integrated community to support each other to awaken would not be possible in many other contexts. For a variety of reasons, the U.S. is a highly favorable container in which Buddhism can flourish in our postmodern world.

I am also aware that we live at a unique and pivotal time in history. In numerous places around the world where I have taught, I experienced a deep readiness to see women come into fullness and maturity, to find their voices and lead. This is particularly true here in the U.S. At a bhikkhuni ordination in northern California in 2011, the renowned scholar Venerable Anālayo remarked that full ordination for Theravada bhikkhunis is the single most important event in the Buddhist world these last hundred years. He is not alone in recognizing the inestimable value of women monastics. 

Other blessings of establishing the Dhamma in America include the opportunities produced by its entrepreneurial ethos, where hard work, clear vision, and the right contacts make projects blossom.This culture’s commitment to social justice is another precious gift. America’s dedication to equity makes it far easier to develop leadership structures that support not only women but others who have been marginalized. Perhaps even more significant is that we are free to teach what we know from our own experience rather than having to fit into a prefabricated model of how things are supposed to be. We are able to teach in a way that is applicable to the global challenges we are facing today.

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