This is a 30-minute documentary from Viriya Sati talking to people on both sides of the divide in the discussion about the re-establishment of the Bhikkhuni order in the Theravāda tradition, which happened around 15 years ago.
Many still oppose it, especially amongst the monastic hierarchy, even though enough research is available these days to show, not only that it is possible, but that it has been successfully accomplished.
Unfortunately there are a few inaccuracies in the documentary: it is not true that the Buddha was the first to give monastic status to women, they had it already in other śrāmaṇa groups, and even within the early Brahminical upaniṣads there are highly revered women teachers; and he created two Sanghas and four assemblies (bhikkhu, bhikkhuni, upāsaka, upasikā), not four Sanghas.
The period covered by the film is mainly from the period before and after the Perth ordinations in October 2009, which caused such a strong backlash from the authorities in Thailand, and is filmed mainly in Thailand, America, England and Australia, and interviews some of the main people involved in those ordinations.
As the film makers are from the Thai Forest monastic tradition, the main focus is on the Thai tradition, but much more progress has been made on this front in Sri Lanka, the traditional home of the tradition, and it would have been more balanced if this has been brought out more clearly.
The film ends with the sāmaṇerī ordination of Sister Upekkhā, who on April 27th 2014 received upasampadā ordination in Perth. May she and all women who aspire to follow the Path laid down by the Buddha find their aspirations fulfilled, and support readily available.
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