First Theravāda Bhikkhunī Sīmā established in Malaysia

The Buddhist Channel, 9 May 2024

Petaling Jaya, Malaysia -- On 23 April 2024, at 3.12pm on Uposatha full moon, 17 esteemed bhikkhunīs from Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Indonesia, Australia and Thailand declared and successfully demarcated the first Theravāda Bhikkhunī Sīmā* for the first Malaysian Theravāda Bhikkhunī Nunnery and Dhamma Training Centre  led by Venerable Sumangala Bhikkhunī,  the pioneer and Abbess of Ariya Vihara. . The demarcation of the sīmā was done with specific steps and considerations in accordance with the Dhamma-Vinaya.

The participating bhikkhunīs in the sīmā censecration ceremony consisted of 5 Mahā Therī(s), 5 Therī(s) and 7 bhikkhunīs with higher ordination (upasampadā) from 1998-2018. Notable among them are Ven. Saddhasumanā Mahātherī, Ven. Sumanapalī Mahātherī, Ven. Santinī Mahātherī, Ven. Viditadhammā Mahātherī and Ven. Susantā Mahātherī.

The formal consecration ceremony ensured that the sīmā in Ariya Vihara is spiritually and ritually activated. The demarcation of the sīmā is historic and significant for the bhikkhunī sangha in Malaysia. It means that bhikkhunī upasampada (higher ordination) can now be conducted in Malaysia once the new Ariya Vihara building in Kwasa Damansara is ready for use.

Prior to the establishment of the new sima, the Saṅghakamma (monastic formal procedures according to the Vinaya) for the removal of previous existing sīmā was held on 22nd April 2024.

The process of creating and maintaining the Ariya Vihara sīmā, which is deeply rooted in the Vinaya, has a long and established tradition in the Theravada Buddhist community in the country.

Based on Ayasma Aggacitta's "Sīmā Consecration Vinaya Guideline", a briefing was given by Ayasma Ariyadhammika on the making of a sīmā to bhikkhus and bhikkhunis on 21 April 2024 after the Maha Sanghika Dana

Showing solidarity for their female counterparts, the ceremony was supported by Bhante Aggacitta Mahāthera, Bhante Ariyadhammika Thera, Bhante K. Sri Saranankara Nāyaka Mahāthera, Bhante Dhammapāla Mahāthera and the bhikkhu assembly. No bhikkhus were involved in the ceremony as the bhikkhuni sīmā consecration had to be done by the bhikkhunis themselves.

Development of the Ariya Vihara building is on-going and it is expected to be operational once sufficient funds are available to commence construction.

If you wish to support the project, please contact the following:

For booking and enquiry, please contact:
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* Note:
Sīmā is a pali word which refers to a ritually determined boundary within which all members of a single local Buddhist community, or Sangha, must assemble to perform ecclesiastical acts. These acts include important monastic procedures such as ordinations. The establishment and correct consecration of a sīmā are crucial for the validity of these acts. The sīmā can be marked physically by elements like stone markers or designated topographical features. The rules and specifics regarding sīmā have been laid out in the Vinaya and have been subject to extensive interpretation and modification throughout Buddhist history.
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