We are pleased and honored to announce that on 21 June 2022, the full Bhikshuni Ordination was bestowed on 142 nuns at an auspicious site below Paro Taktsang in Bhutan by His Holiness the Je Khenpo, Tulku Jigme Chhoeda, head Lama of the Drukpa Kagyu monastic order in Bhutan. This historic event was supported by His Majesty King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and organized by Her Majesty the Queen Mother, Ashi Tshering Yangdoen Wangchuck, who is the Patron of the Bhutanese Nuns Foundation and Dr Tashi Zangmo, the founding director of the Bhutanese Nuns Foundation, BNF.
Traditionally, the full ordination for nuns was not given in the Mulasarvastivada vinaya lineage extant in Tibetan and Bhutanese Buddhism. The nuns only received as far as novice or shramanerika ordination. The revival of the full ordination has been a subject of research for many years but no resolution on how it could be carried it out had been agreed upon. It remains a highly controversial subject.
However nowadays nuns are living in well-run nunneries and becoming highly educated in Buddhist philosophy and practice. They themselves are now teachers and authoring books. So the time was ready for them to take the next step and become fully ordained as the Buddha Himself specified and as modern scholarship has shown to be a valid possibility. The nuns are fully capable of studying and undertaking the Vinaya or Monastic code, performing the monastic rituals and leading an exemplary life. In this way the Fourfold Sangha of monastics and laity will be completed as was the Buddha’s intention.
Therefore, it was with great courage and compassion that His Holiness the Je Khenpo of Bhutan made the decision to bestow this higher ordination on nuns, thus opening the door to the elevation and encouragement of all nuns in the Mulasarvastivada tradition.