Ven Pannavati & Bhikkhunis

pannavatiIn 2009, Venerable Dr. Pannavati received an Oustanding Buddhist Women’s Award in Thailand. It was at this time that she became acutely aware of the oppressive patriarchy that exists in Thai monastic culture. That same year, she received a special commendation from the Princess of Thailand for Humanitarian Acts as she assisted Venerable Dr. Lee, an American Bhikkhuni who has resided in Thailand training monastic females for over a decade in ordaining the first Thai Bhikkhunis, on Thai soil with Thai monks as witnesses.

In May 2010 she convened a platform of Bhikkhunis to ordain the first 13 Cambodian Samaneris in a U.S. Cambodian temple, witnessed by Cambodian abbots including Maha Thera Ven. Dhammathero Sao Khon, President of the Community of Khmer Buddhist Monks of the US. Venerable Sao Khon rejoiced at the gesture and gave a dhamma talk exclaiming, “At last the Buddha’s family is together again!” In 2012, she took 5 Thai bhikkhunis and one Cambodian Samaneri to visit monks in Cambodia. She received the same response. A grand ordination is planned when the new great temple of the Khmer monks association in MA is completed.

Ven. Pannavati continues to visit Thailand each year, offering support for the nuns and their projects educating girls, rescuing them from sex trafficking and training and ordaining women through a grassroots movement.  In 2013, Pannavati established a 1,000 book library in Rayong for girls and boys in elementary school.

As of 2013, the International Women’s Meditation Center of Rayong has ordained 35 bhikkhunis and samanaries. There are 6 temples and the first stupa on a Thai bhikkhuni’s temple land is being constructed.