Bhikkhuni Gunasari


On October 13, 2002 , Dr. Khin Swe Win, M.D., a retired medical physician in California , USA , became Samaneri Gunasari. She studied Buddhism from a young age, and aspired to become a Bhikkhuni in this life time. Samaneri Gunasari ordained at Dharma Vijaya Buddhist Vihara in Los Angeles , California . She later went to Sri Lanka to study Pali literature and the Pali Canon.

On February 28, 2003 in Sri Lanka , Samaneri Gunasari received higher ordination to the Bhikkhuni Sangha order, along with another Myanmar Samaneri Daw Saccavadi. Among Myanmar women, this was an unprecedented event. The Bhikkhuni Sangha had been defunct for the past 1,000 years in Myanmar , and the opportunity for women to received Bhikkhuni ordination has been forbidden in Myanmar for that same period.

Living in the land of the free in the USA , she decided to fulfill her aspiration of becoming a Bhikkhuni. Also, she is happy to set an example for future generations of women in Myanmar and in countries where Theravada Buddhism is predominant. Bhikkhuni Gunasari finds ordination to be the right path for her to follow as it was clearly established by the Buddha’s foster mother Maha Pajapati Gotami, the leader of the Buddhist Bhikkhunis at the time of the Buddha in the 6th century B.C.

The Buddha said, "Na so sabbesu thanesu puriso hoti pandito ethipi pandita hoti tatha tatha wicakkhana." In English, “Men are not wise in every situation. Women are wise also. Women are equally capable."

Since her ordination as Samaneri Gunasari in 2002, she has lived a homeless life. Bhikkhuni Ayya Gunasari departed from her beloved husband Dr. Shein Win and children.