Bhikkhuni Ordination

The following information relates to training towards bhikkhuni ordination at NBM:

DEFINITIONS:

  • Resident nuns’ community:  currently refers to the resident bhikkhuni/s and Samaneri/s.
  • Sangha Orders:  monks and nuns

QUALIFYING CONDITIONS:

  • Physically and mentally healthy females age 45 and below
  • Australian citizens
  • Australian PR/New Zealand citizens:- subject to Immigration regulations where applicable.
  • Must have knowledge of the Buddha’s basic teaching and is a meditator who has learnt meditation from practising meditation teacher/s.
  • Able to follow 8 precepts as a lay trainee.
  • Willing to be receptive to advice and instructions from the senior nuns and resident nuns’ community with regards to daily matters.
  • At NBM, males and females community matters are managed under the respective Sangha Order.
  • Female candidates applying to be trained towards ordination are currently reviewed for suitability, only by the resident nuns community.

Process:

Anagarikaa training

  • Interested aspirants: please write in to NBM expressing intention of training towards bhikkhuni ordination,
  • Follow up with an application for a minimum of two weeks stay (or maximum one month, subject to a 2 weeks review by the resident 4-fold community) and subject to room availability,

Please apply through website: nbm.org.au “Staying”.

  • Guest needs to leave after the approved period of stay (after the 2 weeks/or one month).  If guest finds NBM and community suitable to receive training towards bhikkhuni ordination, she needs to submit an email to the senior resident nun requesting for anagarikaa training towards bhikkkhuni ordination.
  • Once application is received, NBM will respond with an email requesting for the applicant’s brief curriculum vitae.
  • When required information is received, the resident nuns’ community will review the suitability of candidate for training.
  • On acceptance, applicant will be informed to come in for a 3 months stay as a lay guest, subject to further reviews by the resident nuns community at
  • 2 weeks
  • 1 month
  • 3 months

If the nuns’ community finds the applicant suitable for training at the 3 months review, the applicant may choose to stay on for anagarikaa training for a minimum period of 12 months OR  

return home (an agreed period to be discussed with resident senior nun) to finalise personal matters before returning to NBM for the training.

After returning to NBM, the applicant shows commitment towards the training by shaving her head and wearing white attire.  She will be involved in supporting the nuns (and if necessary, monks) in their vinaya observances.  At the same time, she will work with the community in various jobs such as meal preparation, cleaning and washing, gardening, driving (having a driving license and the ability to drive will be an advantage) or any other areas of work which she is able to perform or willing to learn.  A routine day will be balanced with personal and group practices, work, dhamma-vinaya discussion/self-research, and meditation.

     Going Forth (Samaneri ordination)

  • Two weeks before the 12 months completion of anagarikaa training without unnecessary breaks, if the candidate feels ready for Samaneri ordination, she should write in to the senior nun to request for going forth. 
  • Upon receipt of request, the resident nuns’ community will review and decide on the suitability of candidate’s going forth.
  • Once Samaneri ordination is given, the aspirant is expected to practice the 10 precepts, one of which is giving up the use and control of money.   You are required to discuss your personal financial situation with the resident senior nun before going forth is given.

Ordaining as a Bhikkhuni

  • The samaneri is expected to stay in the training, service and practice for two years before she may request for bhikkhuni ordination.
  • When all members within the NBM bhikkhuni Community give consent for the samaneri to receive higher ordination, arrangements will be made by the senior nun to send the Samaneri for bhikkhuni ordination at a suitable monastery conducting higher ordinations, if NBM is not able to carry out the ordination ceremony. 
  • After receiving ordination, the newly ordained bhikkhuni will return to NBM to further take dependence on the resident senior nun for a further two years.
  • It is generally encouraged that a newly ordained bhikkhuni will benefit in spiritual progress if she spends 5 years with the same  community after the higher ordination, before they venture to other places of practice.

Overseas Candidates

  • Overseas candidates are encouraged to find a monastery within their own/other Buddhist country for training and ordination.

Reason:  obtaining a 5-year Australian monastic training visa is costly and may be difficult.

  • Should your/other country not have such training and ordaining opportunities, candidates are advised to write to the resident senior nun at Newbury Buddhist Monastery (NBM) to explore possibilities of training and ordaining at NBM.
  • Overseas candidates are subject to the normal initial stay and subsequent 3 month review process. Please refer to section “Anagarikaa Training”.
  • If found suitable for training by the trainer and NBM community, she needs to go through an interview with a panel of BSV Committee members to assess candidate’s qualification for visa sponsorship for training at NBM.
  • If found suitable by the BSV Committee, the candidate may undertake the following Schedule of Training programmes as follows: 
    • 1 year as Anagarikaa training under the Subclass 408 Special Program Visa category.
    • 2 years as Monastic in Training (Samanera / Samaneri) under the Subclass 407 Training Visa for Trainees
    • 2 years as Bhikkhu / Bhikkhuni training under the Temporary Activity Subclass 408 Religious Worker Visa. This visa can be extended for another 2 years, after which the Nominee will need to return to his/her country of origin.

Note that there will be a review at the end of each training category, before the Candidate is eligible to advance to the next category of training. At each category, the candidate is required to sign a separate Visa Sponsorship Agreement which the Candidate is required to abide by.  

A note for candidates about travelling on a BSV-sponsored visa: please comply with the conditions of your visa. If you need to travel during your training period, please discuss with your trainer and visa officer.

Withdrawal or discontinuation of visa sponsorship

At any time, the candidate can choose to withdraw from undertaking the training. If there are any breaches regarding the visa sponsorship agreement, the BSV also has the right to discontinue the sponsorship any time during the training by giving 2-weeks’ notice in writing to the candidate. The BSV will sponsor a return ticket to a candidate’s country of origin for samaneris and bhikkhunis. Anagarikaas need to buy their own ticket.

On completion of the above listed Schedule of Training programmes at NBM, the candidate is encouraged to return to serve in his/her home country, or in any other monastery requiring their service.

If candidate wishes to stay on at NBM, it is subject to the BSV’s consent for sponsorship and immigration approval.