This presentation was developed by Friends of Aloka Vihara co-founder Mindy Zlotnick. It outlines the history of bhikkhunis (fully ordained Buddhist nuns) from the time of the Buddha until present day and the nuns of Aloka Vihara Forest Monastery are highlighted prominently as an example of a group of pioneering women who are helping to revive the bhikkhuni lineage.

Mindy was moved to create the presentation when she originally saw a similar presentation by the Alliance for Bhikkhunis in 2011. She had been meditating in the Theravada tradition for over 25 years at that point, and was surprised that she had never heard this part of the history of the tradition.

The presentation runs one hour and provides an overview of the history of the Buddha’s vision of the four-fold sangha and how women were an integral part of this vision. Because of political and cultural decisions, a strong female monastic presence disappeared for almost 1000 years. The revival of the Bhikkhuni Sangha began about 30 years ago and has now spread throughout the world.

Mindy is also excited to be offering this presentation live to groups throughout the US, helping to bring this history and the story of the bhikkhuni lineage to an ever larger audience.

If you are interested in scheduling a presentation, please contact Mindy.


This is really a treasure……..Well worth the watch! Thanks so much for this well documented and important contribution on Bhikkhuni history and insight into the establishment of Aloka Vihara.
-Donna McCarthy, Alliance for Bhikkhunis

I learned a great deal from this presentation on the Bhikkhuni Sangha. Although I knew it was a controversial issue, I did not know the history, nor did I understand why nuns had been prevented from taking full ordination for so many years until recently. This presentation puts forth the entire history all the way back to the time of the Buddha. It is clearly organized and beautifully illustrated with well-designed slides, graphics and video. I highly recommend that anyone interested in Buddhism view this excellent presentation.
-Mary Helen Fein, Mt. Stream, Auburn, CA

What a masterful and wonderful presentation. Thank you. The story of the appearance, disappearance and return of the Bhikkhunis is truly fascinating……I bow in appreciation to your generous and valuable teaching.
-Will Lister, Placerville, CA

I greatly enjoyed Mindy’s presentation on the history of Buddhist nuns.  On one hand, it was sobering to learn about nun’s struggles for gender equality within the Buddhist framework, while on the other hand it inspired me to hear about the Placerville nuns’ depth of commitment and practice.  Thanks for an excellent and informative presentation!
-Tom Gray, Dharma Zephyr Insight Meditation Community, Carson City, Nevada

It is amazing that so much information was gathered from various resources and organized in the way people understood easily.  I really appreciated the deep understanding of the nun’s historic journey that was presented.
-Sister Kusala, Miao Fa Temple, Portland, Oregon

After the presentation, I felt like my eyes and heart had been opened! I was unaware of the history and plight of the Theravada nuns throughout time and was grateful to learn about their journey. I feel like I have the other half of the story of the women in this Buddhist lineage. Now, my practice can integrate the feminine teachings of the Buddha.Thank you for this presentation, chock full of information!
-Alice R, Bozeman Dharma Center, Montana

So great to connect with you and hear your enlivening presentation! It really opened my eyes to the patriarchy in our tradition and the too invisible contributions of all the women, past and present, who have dedicated themselves to the dharma. Thank you!
-Gabe Keller-Flores, Common Ground Meditation Center, Minneapolis, MN