Samita ASBL

Bhikkhuni ordination and Burmese politics


The former Burmese Bhikkhuni Saccavadi, who was ordained as a Bhikkhuni in Sri Lanka in 2003, was accused and jailed in Burma some years ago. Some observers feel convinced that her later disrobing came as a direct response to the duress of her experience.

A PhD candidate has now published online his doctoral thesis study of a famous case of a monk tried by Burmese monk authorities and found guilty of apostate views and behaviors. The thesis takes up a number of cases of accusations of monks in Burma for comparative study as part of the context for analysis; part of one chapter is devoted to Sacca’s case. The thesis offers a fascinating overview of the evolution of Buddhist thought in Burma and across countries in the early 20th century, including some unexpected effects of colonialism on Buddhist thought.

Saccavadi’s case and the Burmese position on Bhikkhunis is discussed on page 205.