So according to the 8 Garudhammas of Bhikkunis this is the first one.

1) A nun who has been ordained even for a hundred years must greet respectfully, rise up from her seat, salute with joined palms, do proper homage to a monk ordained but that day.

For me this sort of pushes the males to superiority. What is the reason for this? Is it accurate? Where can I find a reference to it in the Vinaya Pitakaya?

  • 1
    This should be garudhamma and not gurudhamma?
    – ruben2020
    Commented Aug 18, 2017 at 7:50

4 Answers 4


The reasons are many:

  1. Males are superior. Males left their homes, lived in forests, attained enlightenment, started the religion, wandered & spread the religion, often at great danger to their lives. The women did not do this but came along later, demanding to join the men. If the women were equal, they would have started their own religion but they did not do this because women do not have the spiritual, moral &/or social authority to start their own religion that is respected by the world at large. The women joined the male Sangha and the men had to make many sacrifices in order for the women to be protected and live safely, so the Sangha would not fall into disrepute if women were harmed. In summary, the male monastic community is based on men that left the family life and women are always 'guests' or 'visitors' to this community.

  2. The Buddha (AN 6.52) taught the ideal of women is to dominate & want to be mothers. If women are given the freedom they want in the Sangha, they would want to act like mothers, lecture the monks, particularly the young monks, fault-find and the other behaviours women have the natural tendency to do because of their natural instincts to be mothers, nest-builders & housewives. This is contrary to the Dhamma, since the Dhamma is not the household life but a life of independence. Even today, we can witness new Buddhist nuns complaining & making demands like Western feminists rather than devoting their time to meditation practise (example, here).

  3. In summary, men do not need to push their superiority. Instead, they must uphold the monastic community so it does not degenerate from its essence. Even today, most nuns are teaching metta (love) & feminism (attachment) rather than emptiness (sunnata). The Vinaya states:

As the story makes clear, gender is not an issue in determining a person’s ability to practice the Dhamma and attain release. But from the Buddha’s point of view it was an issue in his design of the Sangha as an institution....His concerns were pragmatic and strategic, aimed at the long-term survival of two things: the true Dhamma and the holy life.

The analogy of the clan predominantly female shows that, in the Buddha’s eyes, the survival of the holy life through wars, invasions, and the fall of civilizations required a Community predominantly male. Experience in Sri Lanka, India, and Burma has borne this point out: Bhikkhunı Communities were wiped out when these countries were invaded, whereas bhikkhus—if they could not survive in place—were able to flee and regroup elsewhere...Thus the Buddha formulated the eight rules of respect to help prolong the survival of the holy life by favoring the gender more likely to survive

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/bmc2.pdf page 367


There's interesting information provided in this website, which provides some (presumably) anecdotal justification for the rule.

The first story from the Sarvāstivāda Vinaya Suttavibhaṅga is as follows:

(Thullananda is a Bhikkhuni)

The lay woman went to Thullanandā and said: ‘Are you aware that was the Elder Mahākassapa, the Buddha’s great disciple, who is greatly revered by the deities as a virtuous field of merit? If you were to rise and greet him, what harm would come of that?’

Thullanandā said: ‘Mahākassapa was originally practicing another religion, [i.e.] Brahmanism. You greatly reverence that, but I do not respect it.’

The lay woman was annoyed and scolded: ‘These bhikkhunis say, “If you do what is good you will get merit”, but when they see bhikkhus coming they do not rise, as if they were women from another religion.’

When the bhikkhunis of few wishes, contented, keepers of ascetic practices heard about this they were not pleased. They went to the Buddha and told him everything. For that reason the Buddha summoned the two-fold Sangha together.

Knowing, he asked: ‘Is it true that you did that thing, or not?’

She answered: ‘It is true, Blessed One.’

The Buddha for this reason in many ways scolded: ‘How can this bhikkhuni see a monk coming and not rise?’ Having in many ways scolded for that reason, he said to the bhikkhus: ‘For the sake of ten benefits, I lay down this precept for bhikkhunis. From today onwards that precept should be taught:

‘Should a bhikkhuni, seeing a bhikkhu coming, not rise, this is an offense of pācittiya.’

The second story from the Vinaya of the Mahīśāsakas:

Now at that time bhikkhunis did not bow to monks, did not greet them, did not receive them, did not invite them to a seat. The bhikkhus were annoyed, and did not return to teach. Then the bhikkhunis were foolish, without knowledge, and not able to train in the precepts. The senior bhikkhunis saw this, looked down on it, and scolded in many ways. The matter was therefore told to the Buddha. For that reason the Buddha summoned together the two-fold Sangha.

He asked the bhikkhunis: ‘Is this true or not?’

They replied: ‘It is true, Blessed One.’

The Buddha in many ways scolded them: ‘Did I not already teach the eight garudhammas as suitable etiquette regarding bhikkhus? From today onwards, that precept should be thus recited:

‘Should a bhikkhuni, seeing a bhikkhu, not rise up, bow down, and invite him to a seat, this is an offense of pācittiya.’

For trainees and novices, it is an offense of wrong-doing. If sick, if previously there is anger and suspicion, with no shared speech [recitation?], there is no offense.’

And Pācittiya means:

‘Pācittiya’ means: burn, boil, smear, obstruct. If not confessed, it will obstruct the path. This is the offense: if a bhikkhuni sees a bhikkhu and does not rise, this is a pācittiya; straightaway seeing and not rising, straightaway at that point there is pācittiya.


In this other question (which was closed as a duplicate of this one), the OP wrote,

One day during a Dhamma deshana I heard a thero chanting that these rules were added later into Buddhism, by Brahmins, to show that Lord Buddha didn't give equal right to women, which was a practice in their community. Can someone please clarify this to me?

I note that Wikipedia references papers which claim to show that the rules were added later:

However, Bhikkunī Kusuma in her article "Inaccuracies in Buddhist Women's History" has pointed out a number of inaccuracies in the ways the Eight Garudhammas have been recorded in the Pali Canon and its commentaries.[3] And others point out the plethora of textual problems with the position for garudhammas.[15] Tathaaloka Bhikkhuni published evidence that the Eight Garundhammas are non-historical.[5]

So, I don't know but these references suggest that the Thero isn't the only person with this belief.

See also this answer, which gives details of some modern-day scholars' attempts to demonstrate this kind of thing (i.e. to demonstrate that it's a later addition) on a different but similar subject.


How important this rule is, is best shown by the first Bhikkhuni herself, as she asked the Buddha to repeal the rule, because it's hard, and thereby was not only rejected but also rebuked for her respectlessness.


Just as a clan in which there are many women and few men is easily plundered by robbers and thieves, in the same way, in whatever doctrine and discipline women get to go forth, the holy life does not last long... Just as a man might make an embankment in advance around a great reservoir to keep the waters from overflowing, in the same way I have set forth in advance the eight rules of respect for bhikkhunīs that they are not to transgress as long as they live." — Cv.X.1

[...] The analogy of the clan predominantly female shows that, in the Buddha's eyes, the survival of the holy life required a Community predominantly male. That was why he delayed granting Acceptance to his aunt, so that she would be willing to accept the eight rules of respect; that was why the requirements for Acceptance in the Bhikkhunī Saṅgha were more difficult and complicated than the requirements for Acceptance in the Bhikkhu Saṅgha; and that was why many of the rules governing relationships between the two Communities favored the bhikkhus over the bhikkhunīs.

The bhikkhunīs did not accept this situation docilely. Soon after vowing to adhere to the eight rules of respect for the rest of her life, Mahāpajāpatī Gotamī requested that the bhikkhunīs be relieved of the most onerous one — the first. The fact that she was asking to renege on her word to the Buddha doomed the request to failure.

My person will not explain in detail, because "political correctness" and doing a favour for personal gain are today much more dominant, and people neither tend to faith and truth, nor to what is required for long term benefit, they generally have actually no respect in regard of the Jewels and put their own developed values above it: do not go for refuge = putting one self under an authority.

For one who wishes to seriously understand, it will not easy, but will, but one find the answer briefly given to an extent that will satisfy one's last doubts.

Others may even see in this very lifetime the reason, but then, if the Savaka Sangha is finally extinguished, it will be just a shock: "oh..." that would left behind.

(Note: you may try to sell this gift of Dhamma or even use it for your personal wordily gain! This will show you the truth of it's content.)

  • Sadhu for correcting spellin and grammer, Nyom @ChrisW . In regard of adding a quote, my person did not do so, because even the whole story of the link does not proper display the whole picture and if reading that, one could think that the Buddha had not much compassion with woman (althought at least he sacrified the properbly longer time, got right and let them go forth under HIM), aside that it is not direct related to the question. 1. garudhamma. Which he never directly explained, why, like most of the rules, aside of "for best welfare for all, here the Bhikkunis, for long and aim" Commented Aug 19, 2017 at 13:09

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