2,600 year anniversary of the founding of the women’s order of Buddhist monks

This is an article written by my Bhikkhunī preceptor, Ayya Tathālokā Therī  and shared here with you.

This coming year, from the 2016 September full moon to the 2017 September full moon, is the 2600-year Anniversary of our worldwide Bhikkhunī Sangha.

Many people know Bhikkhunī Ayya Tathālokā Therī as something of a historian or “her-storian” of our Bhikkhunī Sangha. This news is historical – in our lifetimes.
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Here is the very important news:
This coming year, from the 2016 September full moon to the 2017 September full moon, is the 2600-year Anniversary of our worldwide Bhikkhunī Sangha.
This is according to Theravāda/Pāli-text tradition counting, including three factors: (1) the Thai Theravāda Buddhist Era calendar, together with(2) the traditional Sri Lankan Theravāda commemorative date of Bhikkhunī Sangha’s founding (Nikini Poya/September full moon), plus(3) the year of founding of Bhikkhuni Sangha found in the Pali-text Canonical Khuddaka Nikāya Therī Apadāna, five years after the founding of the Bhikkhu Sangha.

The yearlong period of observance/celebration is for two reasons: 
1. the auspiciousness and greatness of the occasion
2. to be inclusive of both Chinese/East Asian and Western anniversary counting methods, as well as small variances in South and Southeast Asian Buddhist dating.
Here in North American, in celebration, we hope to offer several commemorative events: two bhikkhunīs’ Dhamma Dana book publications, one or two commemorative bhikkhunī art series, and hopefully the establishement of the first two or three “permanent” bhikkhunī monasteries’ sīmās. (Let me know if you have any special ideas, or anything special you would like to offer.)
And, a second very important and related matter:
All those bhikkhunis who received the bhikkhunī upasampadā full ordination in 1996, 1997 and Feb 1998 will also have entered or completed their 20th Vassa during this time, and become  Mahātherīs. (That includes this letter writer.)
Our Theravada bhikkhunīs’ tradition will no longer be bereft of therīs and mahātherīs anymore. This is a wonderful thing for us.
I hope our Dhammadharini, Saranaloka, the Alliance for Bhikkhunis, our North American Bhikkhuni Association, the Asian Bhikkhuni Association, Sakyadhita International, and all the other support foundations and associations, together with all our bhikkhunis, samaneris, nuns and supporters–and together with our venerable bhikkhu brothers and teachers–will be able to join in the observance and celebration in so many wonderful ways. We have certainly made very significant progress with regards to Women in Buddhism and Bhikkhuni Sangha in the past 100 years. 
With very best wishes and lovingkindness to all, 
in the Path, 
Tathālokā Therī
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Sangha Sobhana Gāthā
for the Long Life of the Sāsana
& the Illumination and Beauty of the Sangha
Bhikkhu ca sīlasampanno, 
bhikkhunī ca bahussutā, 
upāsako ca yo saddho, 
yā ca saddhā upāsikā, 
ete kho saṅghaṃ sobhenti, 
ete hi saṅghasobhanā.
A bhikkhu consummate in moral virtue,
A bhikkhunī who is widely learned,
A male lay disciple who has faith,
And a confident female lay disciple,
These illuminate the Sangha,
These are the beautifiers of the Sangha.
– the Buddha, 
Numerical Discourses of the Buddha 
(AN 4.7 at A II 8,22)
& in celebration and blessing of the Chinese Lunar New Year,
the same verse in Chinese:
– the Buddha, 
Connected Discourses of the Buddha 
(SĀ 873 at T II 220c11)
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