Wednesday, 26 May 2010

A Message I sent to My Supervisor

Dear Kate,
Your question about dalhikamma makes me interested. I wish I could answer such a common question. Although this word “dalhikamma” is not generally used in Burmese tradition, it is thought to be followed by the Burmese Buddhist society.

The word “dalhikamma” is found in the different texts especially in Vinaya treatises. Basically, it emphasizes the sima consecration and higher ordination. The text states that even though the consecration of sima is completely successful as soon as the samanasamvasaka simasammuti kammavaca has been recited by the monks, the aviappavasa simasammuti kammavaca is usually recited again in order to make sure(dalhikamma) the completion of sima.  Whether or not the avippavasa simasammuti kammavaca is recited, the sima is successful. But, it is normally recited. 

In connection with higher ordination, the postulant can surely be a monk at the completion of natticatutthakammavaca recited once by a group of monks. However, the recitation of natticatutthakammavaca usually follows second time and third time in Burmese tradition. It seems to me that such a recitation is for the purpose of firmly confirmation (dalhikamma) of the monkhood. Although the procedure of higher ordination is traditionally performed so, the word “dalhikamma” is not familiar to the majority of monks and novices in Burma.

Moreover, the recitation of natticatutthakammavaca also depends upon one who would be a monk in long term and who would be a temporary monk. In the case of the former, the natticatutthakammavaca is mainly recited three times, whereas the natticatutthakammavaca is regularly recited just one time in the case of a temporary monk. In this regard, the-3-time-recitation can be said as dalhikamma for a long-term monk. If the natticatutthakammavaca is recited only one time and if it meets a wrong recitation, the postulant cannot be a real monk. That is why it is emphatically recited three times. In the case of a temporary monk, it seems less important.  

I knew the real sense of dalhikamma when you asked, but I was confused and got wrong when it came together with punopasammpada. I got ashamed of myself for it. In my view, the punopasammpada totally differs from the sense of dalhikamma in this account. Dalhikamma is by and large focused on the initial stage of higher ordination, not in higher re-ordination. In the monastic life, the seniority is incredibly important. If a monk suspects himself whether he has actually become a real monk and if he desires to receive dalhikamma, he has to disrobe and then again receive the higher ordination. It means he becomes the most junior and he must count his vasa from the very beginning. There was a story of a Burmese monk who suspected the sima where he was ordained. He decided to disrobe and begin his monk life from the beginning at the age of 23 (3 vasas). He did accordingly. I am convinced such a process would be called a dalhikamma. 

In contrary, every monk who receives punopasampada never counts the vasa from the beginning. I myself have received higher re-ordination four times, but my life is stable and I don’t suspect my monkhood, no need to go to the initial stage of higher ordination. The famous monks frequently receive the higher re-ordination. As I said the more famous a monk is, the more higher re-ordination he would receive.

Finally, the dalhikamma is dealt with sima consecration and the initial stage of higher ordination. It is not dealt with the punopasammapada.

-Vinayasangaha atthakatha, p-367
-Parivara atthakatha, p-244
-Vinaya pitaka paccha vissajjana, vol. 2, p-110
-Vinayalankara tika, vol. 1, p-375
-Mahavagga atthakatha, p-323

All of your questions are very beautiful and interesting. Seeing your viva questions, I realize you have carefully read our papers and looked for the suitable and related questions. Really, really I admire you.

With kind regards,
Your student,
U Janaka


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