Front Page Titles (by Subject) XXXII.: WOMEN ADMITTED TO THE SANGHA. - The Gospel of Buddha
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
Also in the Library:
XXXII.: WOMEN ADMITTED TO THE SANGHA. - Buddha, The Gospel of Buddha 
The Gospel of Buddha. Compiled from Ancient Records by Paul Carus. Illustrated by O. Kopetzky (Chicago and London: The Open Court Publishing Company, 1915).
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
WOMEN ADMITTED TO THE SANGHA.
Yasodharā had three times requested of the Buddha that she might be admitted to the Sangha, but her wish had not been granted. Now Pajāpatī, the foster-mother of the Blessed One, in the company of Yasodharā, and many other women, went to the Tathāgata entreating him earnestly to let them take the vows and be ordained as disciples. 1
And the Blessed One, foreseeing the danger that lurked in admitting women to the Sangha, protested that while the good religion ought surely to last a thousand years it would, when women joined it, likely decay after five hundred years; but observing the zeal of Pajāpatī and Yasodharā for leading a religious life he could no longer resist and assented to have them admitted as his disciples. 2
Then the venerable Ānanda addressed the Blessed One thus: 3
“Are women competent, Venerable Lord, if they retire from household life to the homeless state, under the doctrine and discipline announced by the Tathāgata, to attain to the fruit of conversion, to attain to a release from a wearisome repetition of rebirths, to attain to saintship?” 4
And the Blessed One declared: “Women are competent, Ānanda, if they retire from household life to the homeless state, under the doctrine and discipline announced by the Tathāgata, to attain to the fruit of conversion, to attain to a release from a wearisome repetition of rebirths, to attain to saintship. 5
“Consider, Ānanda, how great a benefactress Pajāpatī has been. She is the sister of the mother of the Blessed One, and as foster-mother and nurse, reared the Blessed One after the death of his mother. So, Ānanda, women may retire from household life to the homeless state, under the doctrine and discipline announced by the Tathāgata.” 6
Pajāpatī was the first woman to become a disciple of the Buddha and to receive the ordination as a bhikkhunī. 7