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Sangha terms part 4 – FACEBOOK Ayya Tathaaloka’s information on Bhaddha and Amma

Ayya Tathaaloka Bhikkhuni
In one of the precepts i’ve been writing about recently, the arahant theri Bhadda Kapilani — one of the foremost woman disciples of the Buddha — addresses her fellow bhikkhunis as “Amma” – in that case meaning “Dear Ones”. I was touched by this and wrote to Ven Thanasanti calling her this :-).

Btw, “Bhadda” is the feminine form of “Bhadanta” or “Bhante”. “Bhadda” is what the Buddha himself called three of the greatest ladies in his Sasana: his former wife Yasodhara was called Bhadda Kaccana, Maha Kassapa Thera’s former wife was called Bhadda Kapilani, and the bhikkhuni Foremost in Speed to Gain Enlightenment was called Bhadda Kundalakesi. “Bhadda” means “fortunate, honored, revered, venerable, auspicious, blessed, beloved.”

In the Bhikkhuni Vinaya of the Pali texts, the bhikkhunis mostly use “Ayya” to address both each other and to address the bhikkhus, so all of our Pali formulas us “Ayya”. 2nd century inscriptions still showed “Ayya So and So Bhikkhu” as well as its use for bhikkhunis. I first encountered “Ayya” in this lifetime with Ayya Khema, whose Dhamma teaching and courage i greatly admire.



I am a Bhikshuni ordained in Mahayana Chinese Buddhist tradition. I'm currently translating Vinaya sutras from the Chinese Mahayana Tripitaka.

2 thoughts on “Sangha terms part 4 – FACEBOOK Ayya Tathaaloka’s information on Bhaddha and Amma

  1. bhavita (p. 203) [ bhâv-ita ] cs. pp. (&root;bhû) produced, manifested; cherished; good-humoured; elated, conscious of one’s power; pervaded or inspired by, engrossed with (in. or –°ree;); directed towards (lc.); perfumed: -bhâvana, a. furthered and furthering; -buddhi, a. having purified or moulded one’s intellect.

    bhavaniya (p. 203) [ bhâv-anîya ] fp. to be set about; -indulged in (pain); -cherished; -imagined or realized; -supposed or assumed.

    bhavaya (p. 203) [ bhâv-aya ] cs. of &root;bhû; -ay-itavya, fp. to be cherished or furthered; -ayitri, m. promoter, patron.

    bharya (p. 203) [ bhâr-yã ] fp. to be borne; to be sup ported, cherished, or nourished; m. one sup ported by another, dependent, servant; mer cenary, soldier: âtilda;, f. wife; female, mate (of an animal).

    priya (p. 187) [ priy-á ] a. [&root;prî] dear, beloved, of (d., g., lc., –°ree;); favourite, cherished; pleasing, agreeable; dear, expensive (very rare); fond of, prone or attached to (lc. or –°ree;); °ree;-of a. cpds. before a noun, fond of, devoted to; with ab. dearer than; -m, ad. agreeably, kindly; in. gladly; m. friend; lover, husband; son-in-law; n. kindness, favour, pleasing or kind act; â, f. beloved, mistress, wife; female (of an animal).


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