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First Malaysian Theravada Bhikkhuni Sima established at Kwasa Damansara

Ariya Vihara Buddhist Society’s sima establishment on 23 April 2024. From Ariya Vihara Buddhist Society Facebook

The 1st Theravāda Bhikkhunī Sīmā for the 1st Malaysian Theravāda Bhikkhunī Nunnery and Dhamma Training Centre was successfully completed on the uposatha full moon according to the Buddhist Vinaya, which corresponded to 23 April 2024.

A sima is a consecrated boundary of effectively any terrain and size where essential legal acts (kamma) according to the Vinaya, including ordination of the monastic sangha, can take place. Establishing a sima is a critical prelude for any upcoming monastery, and the establishment of this bhikkhuni sima at Damansara means that Malaysia’s first bhikkhuni center in modern times can proceed legitimately.

As Ariya Vihara Buddhist Society, the organizer of the sima establishment, explained:

With wonderful guidance and superb support from the Fourfold Assembly, the bhikkhu Saṅgha and bhikkhunī Saṅgha, and great effort from Ariya Vihara’s Bhikkhunī Sīmā Consecration Committee and devoted and committed upasika(s) and upasaka(s), the Ariya Vihara Bhikkhunī Sīmā Consecration was established fruitfully to everyone’s great joy. Significantly, this means that the bhikkhunī upasampada (higher ordination) can be conducted in Malaysia once the building is ready.


On a post on Facebook, Ven. Tathaloka Theri shared the announcement from Ariya Vihara Buddhist Society that the organization had hosted a “truly united Bhikkhunī Saṅgha” with 17 participating bhikkhunīs Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Indonesia, Australia and Thailand. These esteemed monastic figures comprised five mahatheris (great elders), five theris (elders) and seven bhikkhunis (fully ordained female monastics) that had attained their higher ordination (upasampada) from the two decades between 1998 and 2018. (Facebook)

Notable among these assembled bhikkhunis were Ven. Saddha Sumana Mahatheri, Ven. Sumanapali Mahatheri, Ven. Santini Mahatheri, Ven. Viditadhamma Mahatheri and Ven. Susanta Mahatheri. Ven. Saddha Sumana Mahatheri was one of the first group of bhikkhunis in the Theravada bhikkhuni revival to be trained by senior monks in the legal performance of Vinaya-based Sanghakammas, and appointed as a bhikkhuni upajjhaya (preceptor) in 1998.

Also involved were senior monks, including Bhante Aggacitta Mahathera, Bhante Ariyadhammika Thera, Bhante K. Sri Saranankara Nayaka Mahathera, Bhante Dhammapala Mahathera, and the accompanying bhikkhu assembly. Ven. Sumangala Bhikkhuni, abbess of Ariya Vihara Buddhist Society, thanked the bhikkhus “for the invaluable support provided towards ensuring a proper and successful consecration.” (Facebook)

Ariya Vihara announced that before the Bhikkhuni Sima consecration, “the bhikkhus and bhikkhunis were invited for Ariya Vihara Maha Sanghika Dana at Menara Ken, followed by a detailed briefing of Bhikkhuni Sima Consecration procedure and preparation by Ayasma Ariyadhammika Thera from Sasanarakkha Buddhist Sanctuary.” (Facebook) The consecration was then followed by a site visit to the plot of land, with a preparatory report being compiled by Ven. Sumangala Bhikkhuni under the watchful guidance of Ayasma Aggacitta Mahathera.

A Sanghakamma was performed for the removal of previous existing sima on 22 April 2024, which allows for a new boundary to be demarcated. This Sanghakamma was followed by the outlining and declaration of the first new Theravada Bhikkhuni Sima by the Most Ven. Saddhasumana Mahatheri on the next day, 23 April, at 15:12 p.m. (Facebook)

In its Facebook post, Ariya Vihara noted:

We extend our heartfelt gratitude and profound thanks to all the 17 amazing bhikkhunīs who travelled from far and near, and were steadfast throughout rain and shine to complete the consecration properly. . . . We also sincerely thank and greatly rejoice with all who have contributed their time, effort and fund to this extremely significant event, including Ariya Exco, Organizing Committee, helpers, volunteers, sponsors/donors and all who have come to grace and be a witness in the history of establishing the 1st Theravāda Bhikkhunī Sīmā in Malaysia at Ariya Vihara.


Based in Shah Alam, Ariya Vihara Buddhist Society was founded on 10 August 2015 and is one of the most active bhikkhuni-led communities in Malaysia. The site that would eventually be consecrated was awarded to the organization by the Selangor state government on 12 November 2019.


Jason A. Carbine and Erik W. Davis (eds.). 2022. Simas: Foundations of Buddhist Religion. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.

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Ariya Vihara Buddhist Society (Facebook)
Ariya Vihara Buddhist Society

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