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Critics on Feminist Influence for the New Bhikkhunī Revival Debate in Sri Lanka: Ethnographical Inquiry

Author:

Gihani De Silva

Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka, LK
About Gihani
Department of Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences and Languages
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Abstract

Feminist academia and activists are the pioneers of revival of bhikkhunī order in Sri Lanka. These International and local proponents are being criticized for their very attempt. Thus, the main objective of this study is to recognize dasasilmātās’ responses towards this intermediation of feminist activism, as dasasilmātās are the oldest alternative form of female renunciant group, who highly affected by the new status of bhikkhunī-hood. This ethnographical study has conducted using observation and interview methods, employing ten executive members of Silmata Jathika Mandalaya (SMJMEC), five dasasilmātās in western province, four bhikkhunīs and one government officer under purposive sampling method. According to ethnographical findings, most of dasasilmātās do not accept International bhikkhunī higher ordination ceremonies and contribution made to them by local and international feminist (female) activists. But, they do not mention about bhikkhu activists as feminist activists. However while criticizing, they highlight the Western feminist influence. Therefore, they hardly identify the high profile of Asian feminist involvement in revival of bhikkhunī order in Sri Lanka. For instances, in reality there were multiple transnational bhikkhunī advocacy projects. Dasasilmātās not only equates feminism with the West, but also with elite class status. Further, inner disagreements or fractions among local feminists and activists in the early period of the bhikkhunī revival movement are important concerns.

How to Cite: De Silva, G., (2016). Critics on Feminist Influence for the New Bhikkhunī Revival Debate in Sri Lanka: Ethnographical Inquiry. Sabaragamuwa University Journal. 15(1), pp.36–49. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/suslj.v15i1.7706
Published on 01 Dec 2016.
Peer Reviewed

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