Outstanding Women in Buddhism Awards

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The Outstanding Women in Buddhism Awards is an organization that recognizes Buddhist women in their accomplishments toward improving the recognition of Buddhist women and girls, charitable activities, and the spread of Dhamma.

Two Buddhist nuns, Thai Bhikkhuni Rattanavali and American Bhikkhuni Dr. Lee, Venerable Bhikkhuni Dr. Lee got the idea to develop an award in honor of Buddhist women’s accomplishments on the United Nations’ International Women’s Day. This idea arose in March 2001 after the nuns attended two events: (1) The Outstanding Women’s Awards in Thailand organized by Dr. Suteera Vichitranonda, Director of the Gender and Development Research Institute established by a United Nations UNIFEM grant, and (2) an invited speech offered by Venerable Bhikkhuni Dr. Lee at the United Nations in honor of International Women’s Day on March 8, 2001.

The nuns noticed the positive influence to the role and status of women encouraged via the events, and thus began to brainstorm. In fact, Venerable Rattanavali proposed the idea to Ven. Dr. Lee who agreed and advised her to speak to Dr. Tavivat Puntarigvivat, Director of Research at the World Fellowship of Buddhists. All the while the nuns were in residence and learning from the Most Venerable Bhiksuni Master Shi Kuang Seng, Head of Kuan-ImMost Venerable Bhiksuni Master Kuang Seng Boddhisattva's Hall in Bangkok. Master Kuang Seng released the two nuns from all temple duties to develop the idea further, and offered encouragement, guidance and support. Thus, Venerable Rattanavali planted the seed in the hearts of the above-mentioned persons and the seed received water, sunlight and nourishment, while also overcoming obstacles in the process of growth. Eventually, a lotus blossomed.

Dr. Tavivat PuntarigvivatBhikkhuni Rattanavali ( Thailand ) and Bhikkhuni Dr. Lee ( USA ) have served as co-founders since the beginning of the endeavor. Dr. Tavivat Puntarigvivat of Thailand has served as the Secretary General, and now Bhiksuni Shiou-I of Taiwan serves as the President of the Outstanding Women in Buddhism Awards. Bhiksuni Jing Ding of Taiwan serves as an honorary advisor to the committee, as well as, Dr. Suteera Vichintranonda, President of the Association for the Promotion of the Status of Women in Thailand.Bhiksuni Shiou-I

Dr. Suteera VichitranondaThe Outstanding Women in Buddhism Awards Ceremony occurred in 2002 and 2003 at the Association for the Promotion of the Status of Women in Don Muang, Thailand and then in 2004 the event subsequently occurred directly at the United Nations in Bangkok likewise in 2005, 2006 and 2007. In 2008 the ceremony was held at the Association for the Promotion of the Status of Women, and will be held there in 2009 and 2010 in order to promote the role of Buddhist women in social service.

The Outstanding Women in Buddhism Awards are part of an international women’s movement calling for change and celebrating the acts of courage and determination by women in the history of Buddhism.

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