The Time Has Come

Here’s a very important new article on bhikkhuni ordination, called The Time Has Come. To which I cannot help but add: a fact’s a fact.

It’s by three ex-nuns, Thanissara, Jitindriya, and Elizabeth Day (Cintamani), and will be appearing in The Buddhadharma in a few days. The article spells out clearly and straightforwardly the issues that have arisen since the Perth ordinations. It deals with the ordinations, Ajahn Brahm’s expulsion, the responses of the siladharas, the five points, and the nature of institutionalized sexism. As well as the main article, there are substantial contributions by Janet Gyatso, on the historical heritage of the garudhammas, and Llundup Damcho (Diana Finnegan) on the situation in the Tibetan Sangha.

The authors ask:

What would it look like to relocate the ‘problem’ of bhikkhuni ordination and gender equity within Buddhism to where it really belongs? … with those who fear women’s full participation.

The time really is here. How long must we be ‘patient’? It takes an hour, tops, to perform a bhikkhuni ordination that would satisfy every Vinaya requirement. But we’ll be waiting for Maitreya Buddha if we want to satisfy the requirements of the ‘Walters’, the hyper-conservative monks who oppose bhikkhuni ordination on principle.

The opposition has gone back underground now, where it has festered for the past decades. Senior Ajahns in England opine that the gender issue cloud will simply pass in time. Keep the conversation under wraps and gender equity will be just like a bad dream. (I have previously mentioned that in Amaravati, this and other websites that support bhikkhunis were blocked; apparently this is no longer the case.)

But the opposition is no less active for being hidden. In Thailand, the Western monk Ajahn Nyanadhammo has done his best to persuade Bhante Gunaratana to reverse his long standing support for bhikkhunis.

Ajahn Brahm has been excluded from this year’s UN Vesak because of the ordinations, after having had a presentation already accepted. A group of bhikkhunis, on the other hand, will attend the occasion, being encouraged to do so by a number of senior Thai monks.

The opposition will not appear in public, and will at all costs avoid a debate. Those who oppose bhikkhunis, with a few refreshing exceptions, will not even admit the plain fact that they are in opposition. Silence is their friend.

On the other hand, we supporters of bhikkhunis are happy to say what we say in public, to participate in an open dialogue. Today I’m on my way to the ABC studios in Sydney, where we’ll do an interview for John Cleary’s Sunday night radio program; the interview is on the upcoming Buddhist Film Festival, where bhikkhuni ordination is a major theme.

We’ve got to keep talking, to keep the dialogue alive, keep the issue in people’s minds.

Change is with us already.

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264 thoughts on “The Time Has Come

  1. Dear Ven (my Main man…oops monk :))

    Sadhu sadhu brother!!

    We want Bhikkunis! We want Bhikkunis! We want Bhikkunis!

    Gee, Nyana trying to get Rahula on-side. LOL

    It’s almost like the Reds/Yellows farce in Thailand.

    Kindest regards

    Barry Hoben

  2. I will look forward to getting a copy of The Buddhadharma to see this article.

    I am so glad to hear that Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, author of “Mindfulness in Plain English,” is among those supporting bhikkhuni ordination. His book is a treasure.

  3. Yes, it is true the time has come. The tide is turning……at last. The outrage, fustration and pain I felt several months ago has been replaced by hope, optimism, and positivity. (So much for equanimity hehe)

    To those senior Ajahns in England who choose to put their heads in the sand…Wake up! Is this how you wish to be remembered? As bigots? Is this how you want your legacy to be written down in Buddhist History? You can make change happen. Be heroes not cowards. Be honourable Men!

    As far as the cowardly and immature behaviour around Ajahn Brahm’s exclusion from the UN Vesak, I am disgusted.

    I don’t know who Goh Seng Chai of KL is, but I want to ask you: “what are you so afraid of”. “Why do you fear women?”
    Why do you want to keep women in the back kitchen cooking food and serving monks, instead of being great spiritual teachers themselves? Why don’t you support them to become better human beings? Isn’t that your job as a spiritual teacher and monastic?

    Surely, bhikkuni monasteries offer support, healing, counselling and comfort to women of all ages from all lands. Is it better to sell the young poor women of Thailand and other South-East Asian countries to sexual slavery to support their families, or provide them with an alternative? To become a Buddhist Nun. Surely the latter is preferable. Let’s give these young women a chance in life to be great spiritual warriors. Let’s give them every opportunity to succeed in living the Dhamma!Put aside bigotry, prejudice, and discrimnation. These values are born from ill-will and hatred and do not belong in Buddhism.

    And what a great loss it is for the UN Vesak to not have such a great teacher as Ajahn Brahm present. Surely bigotry and discrimination does not belong in the UN Vesak….but apparently it does. How sad!

    Thank you Bhante Sujato and Ajahn Brahm for being truely ethical, honourable, heartfelt and righteous men. You are both shining lights, amongst the darkness of dishonourable cowardly men.

    • Anne

      Excuse me Anne, i can’t help disagreeing with you on your strong word and tone used on those not agreeable to you or those not in your camp as cowards. Who is a bigger coward? Who were these Ajahns from England that you were referring to? If you are not a coward please be specific and name them.

      Anne, are you mindful of what you have just said?
      Imo, to call other noble Ajahns cowards is unacceptable, disrespectful and provocative.
      A very strong word indeed! I wonder who is your Buddhism Teacher who taught you to speak harshly with such poor mannerism towards other noble Ones.

      This Bhikkhunis ordination issue has inevitably now causing a schism in the Sangha. Another schism in Buddhism history. It is so unfortunate and sad that there are those that chose to create disharmony and try to disrupt peace in Buddhism.

    • Hi Yoh, check what state of mind you have before writing too. Are you writing from a kind and gentle heart? seems a bit ‘ill will’ to me. Also a schism has to be intentional. If some Western Ajahns, like Sumedho, Nyanadhamo or others don’t like it, it’s because of their defilements and it just still shows they have some more practice on their path of getting rid of greed, hatred and delusion.
      So before criticizing others, we must look at where our actions are coming from. What state of mind is motivating us to say such things.
      Furthermore, noone is saying a person is foolish but rather certain acts are foolish. We can’t judge anyone since whatever someone does is caused by a whole array of conditions. We can say certain actions though are foolish since not according to the teachings of the Buddha. No way is bhikkhuni ordination is schism! that’s crazy talk. It’s actually just following the Buddha’s teachings of having a fourfold assembly.

    • Dania dear

      It was not out of any ill-will. Its my rights to have my view, that’s all. I hope you have no problem with that.

      I am not saying Bhikkhunis ordination per se but the aftermath “schism” in the Sangha caused by that very act (all acts come with intention or mind the forerunner).

      Your paraphrasing sounds familiar.

    • Dear Yoh,
      Ajahn Brahm merely did the right thing according to his ethical conscience. His act from the heart has earned him world-wide applause as a result.

      It is the Walters of WPP who have caused the “schism” that you speak of, by excommunicating him…..for doing nothing wrong.

      What a curious quirk of human nature it is that abusers consistently project their abuses onto the very people they are trying to harm.

      Thankfully, Ajahn Brahm is above such petty ill-will.

      Thank you also Yoh for teaching me patience and tolerance. Much blessings to you.

      Anne (yes, that is my real name) :)

    • ah so you can read Ajahn Brahm’s mind?
      you said: “schism” in the Sangha caused by that very act (all acts come with intention or mind the forerunner).”
      Look you don’t know where AB was coming from.
      So according to your logic it means Buddha caused a schism in the sangha too, since he ordained women as well. I’m sure some foolish monks at the time of the Buddha didn’t agree to it then.
      Obviously you se can see that some monks’ negative response due to their defilements and delusion does not make it a schism.
      metta to you Yoh, may you relax and be at peace:)

    • Hey Yoh,

      Of course I expected some backlash to my strong comments. I have my opinion you have yours.

      My interpretation of the word coward is men who do unethical acts towards others who are vulnerable, and will not own up to their malicious acts and take cover in silence.

      Men who will not, even though they have the power to make change happen, will NOT do the right thing.

      I stand by my words. I will not back down. Yoh, I am not a coward. I say what I think, I charge those who I believe have done the wrong thing and I am willing to announce it unshamedly to the world. No matter wnat backlash I may face.

      respectfully, Anne

    • Anne you said: “…”
      ..My interpretation of the word coward is men who do unethical acts towards others who are vulnerable, and will not own up to their malicious acts and take cover in silence…

      Were you saying those Ajahns from England (don’t know who you were referring to or accusing)did unethical acts towards others who are vulnerable?

      What unethical acts did these Ajahns from England do and to who that you were referring to. To me, it looks like the other way wrong in this case. (It is a fact not a baseless accussation)- It was Aj B who did unethical acts (referring to the secretive bhikkhuni ordination without approval by the wider Sangha and both Elders Sangha) towards others who are vulnerable (in this case WPP,Thai Elders Sangha, Western Elders Sangha).

      I think, Anne, you need to rephrase your alleged accusation in your aforesaid baseless statement.Yes, i am defending those vulnerable innocent noble Ones who have been intimidated and unfairly accused by others. Let there be justice.

      As some of you do not want to put this bhikkhunis issue to rest, may i humbly be permitted to speak up without prejudices.

      I find that those who rallied behind the Perth bhikkhunis ordination kept accusing WPP of excommunicating Aj B, but in fact, it was Aj B who “excommunicated” or rather “axe”-communicated WPP and his Preceptor by bypassing them in going ahead with the Bhikkunis ordination without consensus and agreement from his WPP/Forest Elders,Western Elders & European Elders Sangha of Ajahn Chah Theravada Forest tradition lineage.

      Imo, before the formal ordination, Aj B had already “ex(axe)communicated” himself from WPP by bypassing them and by attempting to coax the Western Elders to rally behind his imminent plan to ordain his Nuns in Perth. – (all source of facts gathered are based from articles posted in various blogs or sites and not based on personal assumption).

      So, in this case, who excommunicated who (so to speak)??? Let justice speaks for itself.

      If there were no rules,orders and laws in any society, the society would go astray, disarray and choatic.

      Likewise, in monastic, there are rules,order and regulations to abide by each of the monastic members.

      From my understanding, when a monk wears the robe, he no longer is an individual but belongs to the Sangha, in turn represents the Buddha-Sassana.

    • Far out…

      ‘Put to rest’…Are you SERIOUS? Gladly if it were the right time to do so. It isn’t. Ajahn Nyandhammo’s underhand actions make that clear. As do the actions of this chap who got Aj B blocked from the UN. Put to rest indeed… Your ‘camp’ as i think you put it, would love that…that’s exactly what they’d like.

      As for the poor vulnerable ones you refer to, do you mean those poor vulnerable ones who:

      1. introduced the 5 points.

      2. developed the 5 points IN SECRET without ever mentioning it to Ajahn Brahm even though these poor vulnerable ones knew the WAM meeting was coming up.

      3. Then had the gall to accuse AB of not being consultative enough!! When in fact, once the date had been decided he did let them know. They disagreed. He went a head. The point is…HE LET THEM KNOW and THEY DID NOT let him know about the 5 points.

      4. held a meeting which asked one of their own (who has tirelessly worked hard for his own and others salvation) to tell a deliberate lie. And what was that deliberate lie you ask: that the Bhikkuni ordinations were invalid.

      5. These poor vulnerable powerless beings who can call a press conference and make FALSE accusations against about temple mismangagement. If you really want i can try and get you a copy of the independent auditors letter stating that the BSWA accounts were in order. This is Australian law that such an audit takes place.

      6. These poor vulnerable ones who are so powerless that they have to resort to publicly state that they do not wish to interfere in the Perth lay communitys affairs but then secretively go behind everyone’s back and ring the Thai folk in Perth. BTW the Thai folk in Perth decided they weren’t so easily manipulated and showed their massive support for Ajahn Brahm…but that’s been written about elsewhere and since you are so well read i won’t repeat it here.

      7. These poor vulnerable beings who circled the name of the nun who had signed the global petition and stuck it on her door in order to bully and intimidate her.

      I really could go on and on… And others could add to this list because there are things that have happened that i know i am not aware of fully because people are being careful about their speech.

      You seem to think that our ‘camp’ as i think you like to call ‘us’ are just following blindly behind something we know nothing about.

      Please don’t ask me to stop writing or speaking again. That is not your business. The good or bad kamma that comes out of my mouth are my business and i will decide which teachers i think walk the talk. Certainly those who practise forgiveness are high up on the list. In that spirit i forgive your ignorance and also welcome your comments.

    • Kanchana….awesome response! I second everything she said.
      To say that these senior monks who have ALL the power are vulnerable is a joke, and has no substance to it. That’s obvious to everyone.

      By the way, speaking of cowards, how come you don’t have a REAL name Yoh? ;-)

    • I’m sorry but this discussion smells a little of politics… By what I mean is, those who support the bhikkhuni movement condemn only the Ajahns in England. Those who are against the Bhikkhuni movement deem only Ajahn Brahm as unethical. I think there should be some effort to regard both sides as dealing with things in a more organical manner.
      respectfully,
      Zack

    • I like your stong comments Anne,

      ….. when a man make stong comments it is seen as ‘strong’ if a women does it is labelled as harsh, if a women talks it is labelled as ‘gossip’ if a man talks it is labelled as ‘talk’ and of course considered important ‘talk’ if women are ordained and monumental and good change and evoloution occurs it is called `creating a schism’ if men only are ordained and sexism is supported causing schism thoughout the world for men and women everywhere this is called harmony?

    • By the way Yoh, Ajahn Brahm and Bhante Sujato are not my Budhhist teachers….so do not use my words to cast aspersions on these great men. Thank you.

    • Dear Zach,
      I am with you on keeping an eye out for polarization. Gnerally speaking I think most of us realize this is very layered and not to cling to views at all costs. Occasionally we get hooked when someone pounces in with comments that people feel are unjust and yes, the discussion does entertainingly migrate energetically towards whatever knot arises…people are feeling still quite vulnerable on all angles of the issues…and there is still need to dialogue and express and frankly be counselled on how to deal with the shifts, the opaqueness etc…I think these blog dialogues might be a little more skillful if in the many communities there were real opportunities to flesh these things out, get to the facts, express, be reassured…trauma counselling, you know. hehe. seriously. Bhante Sujato has very kindly provided (tolerated? :-) a space where that could take place…pillow beating and mutual support on top of honing knowledge of Vinaya, sharpening debating skills and growing voices…Metta, Dear Zach

    • Yoh I do not agree with you …… I personally find nothing harsh or disrepectful in anne’s tone, there is nothing wrong with women being strong

      … as for you darl,you speak to her in such a patronising tone are you a female sexist, dear darl sweetie, the worst of any kind who trys to keep women ‘in their place’.

      or are you jus too cowardly to make a stand on anything.

      I am sure alot of eastern women and western womendo not want change because they have so much invested in pretending to be the meek mild and subserviant little angels and victims they pretend to be.. they no which side there bread is buttered.

      This type of pretence of being the dumb weak female who cannot live with out a man is a lie..a false front and (I as a western women was quite astonished at how easterm women weave they wiles and manipulate men by pretending to be dumb and sweet whereas western women go the other way)

      On all fronts women need to be seen as equal, this lieing, this front that women put on pretending to be meek and dump, is as bad as men thinking they are better than women and is what in part could be is causing this discrimination.

      Sure there will be problems because women are far from perfect but problems are there to be dealt with as they come up… so sister get some balls and stop patronising a strong women like Anne, Support her for saying what she beleives.. and as for those so called respectable teachers, they will get respect when they earn it and they will NOT get it in this country while they discriminate against women and/or try to stop them from having equal access to ordination.

      It is all too easy for women to let men dominate, to just be sweet and nice to them agree with everything so they can get what they want and keept the peace… and asion women have this donw to a fine art, obvioulsy they have no choice in some countries,but this is bull$#@! it is just the easy way out and is not good for women, or men (as it makes them into egotistical monsters because they believe they are superior when it is not true) and it makes women into less than they are or are capable of becomeing and deceitful liars.

      Men may need to give us equal access to ordination because they are the ones blocking it, but it is up to us to do the rest and take responsibility for our own enlightenment and make a stand when it is necessary and you cannot force someone to respect someone they do not.

    • Reading my comments again, I did not mention Ajahn Brahmali who has also been a shining light. Sorry Ajahn Brahmali.

      Also, there is no black and white as I have depicted it in my comments. There are also shades of grey. There are many monks out there from all over the world who are sympathetic to this cause and have been quite supportive in making change happen. To them, I say “Sadhu!” They are also honourable men.

      In the end, we have to follow our hearts and DO the right thing. It is apparent to anyone with an ethical conscience that gender equality is obvious.

      To do otherwise, or to oppose it is bigotry. As I said, prejudice, discrimination and bigotry do not belong in Buddhism.

  4. Sadhu Sadhu Sadhu Bhante Sujato and to all the Bhikkhunis and Bhikkhus who are struggling to reinstate the sangha the way the Buddha intended it to be.

    Oh, and Bhante Gunaratana has not only ordained women at his temple, but he has also abolished the eight heavy rules.

    • Thank You Lars.
      Either there is clear seeing or there isn’t. The notion of changing Bhante G’s mind. Honestly! Mara’s grip is firm in this world. But not on those who have seen the truth.

    • (To which I might add, “How can they sleep when their beds are burning?”)

    • Hehe. I was picking up on – time has come – a fact’s a fact – noted at the beginning of the blog by none other than a former musician. :-)

    • I Live in Florida and attend the only other Sri-Lankan Temple in America. Bhante Gunaratana is our Maha Thera for N America. Every other Sri-Lankan Bhikkhu I have met in America also supports full equality for Bhikkhunis.

      I dont think Bhante G tries to be to confrontational about abolishing the eight heavy rules, but My friend went on a retreat to Bhante G’s temple in New Jersey and the nuns walk in line according to the number of rains they have. so the last person in the line is a junior monk, then two nuns then a monk then a nun ect.

    • Dear Lars,
      Thank you for reminding us that we can gravitate to the wise. Thank you for this joyful offering.
      Metta

    • Wonderful! That’s great! Bhante G abolished the eight heavy rules! :)
      hip hip hurray! :)
      So that’s great. It gives support that we don’t have to blindly believe everything we read especially if they do not fit into the rest of the Buddha’s teachings and if they do not lead to peace and harmony.

  5. Venerable Sujato, more power to you for your consistent iconoclastic approach, your open-ness, transparency, honesty and dissolving of mystification and stereotypical roles in the Sangha, and for your deconstruction and analysis of ‘status’ and ‘position’ within monastic hierarchy.

    It’s a pleasure to read your progressive pages that engage us on so many levels.

    There’s another monk in Singapore,Shravasti Dhammika,who seems to be equally challenging whilst still showing deep integrity and total love of Buddhism.

    Barnabas.

  6. Dear Avusos

    I too am curious about this Goh chap and how he influenced the exclusion of Ajahn Brahm from the celebrations.

    I think Ajahn Sujato was referring to the Vesak Day observances at the 7th Conference of UN Day of Vesak which has traditionally been “organised” or “hosted” by the Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University. Mr Goh is certainly on the IOC (International Organizing Committee, the working committee of the IOC and Honorary Assistant Secretary of the International Secretariat to organize the United Nations Day of Vesak Celebrations in Bangkok, Thailand) – lifted from

    http://www.vesakday.net/vesak50/Biography_ioc.php?ioc_id=35&trnslang=th

    Unfortunately, he also sits on the ExCo of the INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL OF UNITED DAYS OF VESAK –

    http://www.icundv.com/vesak2010/node/87

    I’m not sure if the UN, particularly UNESCO, is aware of the shennanigans perpetrated by these various bodies, since I could not find anything to suggest that UNESCO is doing anything more than lend the brand equity in “United Nations Day of Vesak” to these bodies.

    Perhaps a short petition to UNESCO, a supposed champion of gender equalisation, would be in order.

    If there’s a silver lining to this whole affair, Singapore now has Ajahn Brahm for 3 full days over Vesak!!! Woo hoo!

    • Hi Sylvester,

      The details are obscure (probably deliberately so), and Ajahn Brahm is still waiting for any written confirmation. I suspect it will remain off the record. Goh Seng Chai sits on these boards as regional representative, but as an individual, not representing any larger Buddhist organization. I also think the UN should contacted directly about this, but it is hard when there is nothing in writing.

    • Sylvester,

      You have aroused my green-eye monster. But in the end Ajahn Braham’s teaching on Mudita has won. So, BIG Anumodana to you and all the lucky Singaporeans.

      If I hadn’t already applied leave of one week in June and two weeks in July, I would have asked for another three days in May to go to Singapore!

      Please convey my deepest respect to Ajahn Brahm for me.

    • Dear Dheerayupa

      As requested, I have paid homage to Ajahn Brahm in your name, with my head at his feet. _/\_

      He was happy to hear your name.

      HAPPY VESAK!

    • Dear Sylvester,

      Thank you sooooooooo much. _/\_

      You have brought tears of joy to my eyes on this very important day.

      Your post has reminded me of the importance to seek refuge in the Buddha, the Dhamma and…the Sangha.

      Again, big thanks to my kalayanamittata.

      With mega metta to you and all bloggers here.

      Happy Vesak!

  7. That was a good article and a good post. I think that both paint the situation with too broad a brush.

    For one thing, I believe that some of the monks (no doubt a minority) oppose bhikkhuni ordination on vinaya grounds. There is among some monks the very strong belief that not the slightest thing should ever be done that has even a possibility of being against vinaya as it has been received by them. So to understand what could be against vinaya they think of certain exegetical principles that are not stated in the vinaya, to stay on the safe side. So that is one thing. I personally believe that they are wrong on that but I don’t think that the opposition of these monks is because of sexism.

    For another, believing that the garudhamma story is a later fabrication is one thing. But how can the bhikkhunis not observe the garudhamma-like pacittiyas? They are part of the patimokkha are they not? Has there been anything written up on that?

    • Yes, I see that the whole situation is more nuanced than perhaps some allow for Calif — but what possible harm could it be, to ordain women, conventions and tradition or not ? What harm?

      Just to put it in a wider world perspective — When I think of the women and children who have all their rights removed and trampled on by Israelis, I can’t muster up much energy to see how people can get worked up about women ordaining.

      Love and light, and here’s a video for the children of Gaza, under brutal assault from Israel — just to get things in perspective here.

      http://www.gilad.co.uk/writings/children-of-gaza-speak.html

    • EXCELLENT Barnabas, excellent!!!!

      What you have said is possibly the best thing written on this blog!!!!

      What harm indeed? What a good good criteria, so according to Dhamma and the Lord Buddha’s advice.

      Thank you for this Beautiful Right Speech.

    • Hey Californian, the little vinaya procedures that were criticized at the Perth ordination by some ‘nit picky’ ‘fault finding’ people can possibly been little offenses and by no means invalidate the ordination! I remember reading the debate between the scholars. I forget where these articles were since it was so long ago but the gist of it is that if you want to be really critical, then maybe there might have been a little offense (like ordaining more than 2 in a year or something like that (correct if wrong Bhante) but it doesn’t invalidate the procedure and the women ordaining are still bhikkhunis and can practice renunciation to the MAX ;o)

    • Hi Californian,

      As you say, most of the garydhammas are also pacittiyas: but these are the inoffensive, or at least less offensive ones. The rules about bowing and admonition are not found in the pacittiyas, although there are certain variations here (of course!). I’ve discussed this in my Bhikkhuni Vinaya Studies.

    • Hi Bhante,

      Thanks for responding. I have a follow-up question. Bhikkhu pacittiya 21 and 22 regulate when a bhikkhu can “exhort the bhikkunis”. In his summary and description of it Thanissaro Bhikkhu adds “Exhorting a bhikkhunī about the eight vows of respect — except when one has been authorized to do so by the Community or asked a question by a bhikkhunī — is a pācittiya offense” (found beneath this: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/vin/sv/bhikkhu-pati-intro.html#sexual). Presumably he got this from the vibhanga’s explanation of these rules? The rules themselves doesn’t mention the garudhammas, do they? It doesn’t make much sense for them to be talking about the garudhammas.

      Also another follow-up, is there a rule that the bhikkhus cannot give the gesture of respect to bhikkhunis? Is there any regulation of whom bhikkhus can acknowledge in that manner?

  8. Mr. GOH SEM CHAI is
    1. Executive Council Member, The World Fellowship of Buddhism
    2. President, WFB Selangor Regional Centre Malaysia
    3. Hon Assistant Secretary-General, international Council of United Nations Day of Vesak

    The website for the UN Vesak this year is http://www.icundv.com/vesak2010/node/707.

    I’m planning to write something to them too!

    • Thanks Dheerayupa,

      I would love to find out a bit more about this chap…

      I so disappointed in the UN… They’ve abandoned their own charter on Human Rights in this action.

      Those who keep going on about Rights and Western Ideals as if they are one and the same and full of evil… They haven’t cottoned on to the fact that these Rights are there to protect the poor, the down trodden, the vulnerable and exploited. It’s a disgrace that a ‘Buddhist’ can state that Rights have nothing to do with the Practise of Buddhism.

      Rights does not equal ego and getting what i want.

      Rights equals kindness, compassion and a fair chance for all beings…especially those who need extra protection.

      If it was good enough for the Buddha… but that argument doesn’t seem to work for some… it looks like some people can have ego and getting what they want without seeking to uphold a doctrine of Rights… that is, without considering whether their actions have a kind/compassionate impact on others or a cruel impact on others.

    • Yes, it is a disgrace to the conference to be so openly sexist and discriminatory. I see that Mr Goh Sem Chai is a Layman. I find his statements on mental well-being and improving spiritual life hypocritical.

      This is his statement from the website:
      “In today’s world, human races are facing the various kind of crisis globally such as global warming,natural disasters affecting the lives of many,wars, political conflicts and also many other issues due to human weaknesses.

      I hope all the delegates from members of Maha Sangha to lay people will attend the various Penal
      workshops to discuss the various issues in hand and come out with proposals and suggestions on how we can together make this world a better place to live.

      The recent spats of earthquakes that occurred in many parts of the world and taking the lives of
      many citizens are a concern. Many may asked “why is this happening to these people?” Let me make a
      suggestion.Maybe, the people are less religious now compared to the olden days. The panels on Mental Well-being and Ecology are most appropriate platform to come out with some solution. I hope some concrete solution can be found to overcome some of these issues.

      On this joyous occasion of the thrice-sacred day of Vesak – the day of Birth, Enlightenment and passing away( Parinibbana)of the Buddha, let us reminded on the practice the Dhamma taught by our Lord Buddha.

      Let us remind ourselves the Great Virtues of our Master and use them in our daily practice to improve our spiritual life.

      May I conclude here by wishing the celebration of the United Nations Day of Vesak a success and may
      all the existing global problems and issues be overcome and eradicated.”

    • Bhante Sujato, i don’t know if you can answer these questions but here they are:

      What were his motivations in blocking Ajahn Brahm?

      Were they in the interests of diplomacy because it seems that this event is held in Thailand?

      Or is there something worse behind this?

      **

      Who are the Bhikkunis attending?

      Where are they from? Who are their monk teachers?

      Is their presence going to be mere tokenism or will they be a vital presence in this forum. Will Bhikkuni ordination be discussed?

    • Hi Kanchana,

      As for the motivations, I have no information so it would be mere speculation.

      As for the nuns attending the UN Vesak, I have the following information.

      Ayya Medhanandi, Ayya Mudita, Ajahn Anandabodhi and Ayya Tathaaloka were invited, together with a bhikkhuni delegate from the Bhavana Society; Bhante G has asked Ayya Sobhana to be that delegate. In addition, several Mahayana and Sri Lankan bhikkhunis, as well as Thai mae chi, have been invited. It seems there is a general support from within Mahacula, as well as, perhaps, the Sangha hierarchy generally, for participation of nuns. Ayya Tathaaloka has been encouraged by her teacher, the senior Thai monk Chao Kuhn Maha Prasert, to attend.

  9. UN… What does it represent?
    Vesak… What does it symbolise?

    Some unenlightened beings could tarnish the meaning of the UN and Vesak day.

    It’s another dukkha moment for us to contemplate how delusions, ill will, desires and fear – when allowed to cloud our mind – bring about unwholesome decisions.

    • Sister Dee – Might you have time to visit with a few friends of mine at the UN in Bangkok?

    • I’m sending you a message on my mobile phone number for your friend to contact me. :)

    • oops. I mean…I am sending you a message to your Facebook account to give you my mobile phone number. :)

  10. Thanks for the thumbs up Kanchana.

    Ven Sujato wrote — “Ajahn Brahm has been excluded from this year’s UN Vesak because of the ordinations ”

    I am not sure I understand — who excluded him ? Surely not a UN representative? I can’t understand how that would be possible. And if the Thai Sangha are doing exerting vicarious pressure, surely that wouldn’t be legally allowed. If I can introduce a comparative legal precedent here — Justice Richard Goldstone , a highly regarded Lawyer accused Israel of war crimes at the United Nations, in a report the UN accepted and upheld.

    The Israelis have disowned the report, and are doing their best to block it — but there’s nothing whatsoever they can do about it. By the same logic, surely there’s nothing the Thai Sangha can do, to get Ajahn Brahm discredited , especially in any UN events?

    Here is the report on Israel’s war crimes and massacres. I’d say it’s essential viewing to those who love humanity and want to resist evil.

  11. Dear Ajahn Sujato,

    I am writing to you with due respect to you as member of the sangha. Your accusation of me opposing to the invitation for Ajahn Brahm to attend the UN Vesak is very disturbing. Your accusation is untrue. How and where did you get this untrue Message. I have a video recording of the meeting discussing the issue. In this video, there were different opinions on the issue. What I said in the meeting was that since it is the issue of the sangha and it is for the sangha to discuss. The decision made was that of the EXCO and no one person can make a decision. If I were to object, I was just one person’s view.

    Venerable, please get your fact right before nyou publicly accused me for what I have not done. It is not fair, as member of the Sangha, you should check the facts first before making any accusation.

    If you want to see the Minutes and the Video, I can share with you.

    I hereby demand a public apoly to me.

    Sadhu to you. Sukhi Hotu

    • Dear Goh Seng Chai,

      Thanks so much for commenting. There’s no need at all to demand an apology: if I’ve said anything that’s offensive or incorrect, then may you please forgive me.

      You will understand that I hear many things, and choose quite carefully what will be posted here. Those items that are mere rumor or hearsay I exclude, and i will only post thing if I have heard them directly from a reliable source. Of course, even the most reliable sources can be mistaken, and any offense caused is very unfortunate. When inaccuracies are brought to my attention, I retract them immediately – as I have already retracted my mention of your opposing Ajahn Brahm at the UN Vesak.

      Nevertheless, in taking up your positions of responsibility in powerful Buddhist institutions, you must be open to public scrutiny and criticism. If that criticism is mistaken, then fair enough, it should be countered and retracted. But we must not let ourselves get in a situation where criticism is wrong in and of itself. And, of course, this is why I encourage an open and questioning forum, where I myself have been criticized many times.

      So once again I thank for responding and stating your position. This is how dialogue should be carried out.

      We should remember, however, that this leaves unresolved the main problem, which is the exclusion of Ajahn Brahm because he supported performing bhikkhuni ordination.

      I will comment further on this, but if you could allow me just a little time to consult before I say anything else.

    • Bhante Sujato & the rest,

      Imo, ifeel Bhante & the rest should at least communicate with this Goh Seng Chai(a public figure in S.E.A) first to check the facts and validity of the allegation before slandering and disparaging him (intentionally or unintentionally) in world wide web by merely relying on hearsays or from those who are desperate and frustrated, as it is sensitive. That could tantamount to libel.

      Mr Goh is only an active self-less volunteer in Buddhist activities for almost 50 years.

    • couldn’t help noticing the similarities between his way of speaking and yours Yoh…the whole ‘it’s a sangha matter’ thing…

    • Dear Yoh,

      I did not rely on hearsay, nor on someone who is ‘desperate and frustrated’, but on the direct statement of someone closely involved in proceedings at the organizational level.

    • Yoh, your covert thrreat is unsubstantiated. Legally, if someone is a Public figure (as you have kindly admitted here for us) then comments regarding them, in the public arena is not considered libel.

    • Mr.Goh Seng Chai,
      Thank you so much for responding here on this blog.
      Can you please explain to me and the others here why Ajahn Brahm has been deliberately excluded from participating in this UN event on such an important Buddhist day of the year?
      As Buddhists, we find this act of exclusion discriminatory and offensive to someone we love and respect. Please can you offer us all here some reason?
      respectifully, Anne

    • Anne

      I think even Mr. Goh cannot answer you directly as he just said it was EXCO’s decision. Please respect their decision. Please don’t try to stir up unrest in the Sangha and proliferate further,in particular this holy month of Wesak. Let the Sangha deliberate on Sangha issues, we are just lay people and not a monastic. Trust Ajahn Brahm & Ajahn Sujato to handle and take up this matter with them and do not provoke others.

    • Sorry that is not the way to go Yoh, we are not ‘just lay people’. We are all in this together and must support one another. Monastics aren’t superior to lay people, they just chose a renunciant life and of course we all have sympathetic joy for them but they are not ‘better’. I respect all monastics because they take up the practice that the Buddha recommended so please don’t read me wrong. I am just saying that we can’t just imagine ourselves as meager ‘lay people’ that shouldn’t get involved in Buddhism in the world.

      Buddha said that one should not think of oneself as better just because one follows more precepts or are more moral. It’s spiritual materialism thinking like that. We shouldn’t think of ourselves as better, same or worse:) We support one another and all have different roles and duties to one another.

      If someone makes a decision they should not hide or be ashamed to declare it to the public and those interested.

      In fact this is Vesak so we must celebrate the Buddha’s teaching. What a wonderful month to further develop the establishment of the bhikkhuni sangha and foster honesty and openness with one another.

    • Right on sister Dania!

      I’d like to add:

      Lay people become enlightened while their contemporary monastic brothers and sisters did not. Thus…with this capacity latent within us also…we are NOT mere lay people…we have a MASSIVE responsibility to the Buddha Sasana.

    • You do love to tell people to not talk don’t you? A very polite sort of ‘shut up’.

      Yoh (and i am NOT being sarcastic) may you never be silenced when you wish to speak.

    • That’s right. lay people can still practice the path and see the Dhamma even meditate and make this our last human birth. That’s profound. So we CAN Do it. We are not ‘just’ lay people. We’re part of the Buddha’s fourfold assembly.

  12. Dear Mister Cali — It seems that Ajahn Brahm has been prevented from a visit to the UN, because he has angered the Thai Sangha.

    I wonder how that is legally possible . I then gave the comparative example of how one community, the Israelis, have tried to block acceptance of Justice Goldstone’s report — but have failed to do so.

    On similar grounds, I don’t see how the Thai Sangha can possibly block Ajahn Brahm from a UN event — unless of course, the UN themselves block him.

    The video explains that generic disparity further vis a vis the UN and legal procedure.

    But hey Cali, by all means, don’t watch it — I trust you can prevent your finger from the touching play button?

    To all else who are interested — then more love, more light.

    • nah, monks shouldn’t get angry. If the Thai monks are angry, it’s caused by noone else but their own delusions and defilements.

  13. BUDDHAM BUDDHAM BUDDHAM
    Om Mani Padme Hum!

    Ajahn Brahm made a schism in the Thai Bhikkhu Sangha.

    He should now establish the Australian Bhikkhu Sangha, immediately, in accordance to the Dharma-Vinaya, and proceed, together with the Bhikkhus and Bhikkhunis who entrusted themselves under his sole responsibility.

    Om Mani Padme Hum!
    BUDDHAM BUDDHAM BUDDHAM

    • Maria said: “Ajahn Brahm made a schism in the Thai Bhikkhu Sangha.”

      That is quite a serious accusation. One of the very few serious offences in Buddhism.

      If what you said is untrue, you are breaking your fourth precept by telling inaccurate information. AND on a more serious level, you could be verbally attacking a very good, if not yet enlightened, monk.

      Please be cautious about your speech before you’ve made such a harsh accusation.

  14. wow you seem very enthousiastic Bhante! that’s great. Wholesome motivation is needed to get wholesome things done. I know that I tried several monasteries to ordain but there weren’t many to chose from! Women don’t have much choice. Now things are starting to happen. There is a bhikhuni sangha growing. You know what… talking is good but taking action is better. The best thing that happened was getting the women who want to follow the Buddhist path totally, to ordain. I mean, people have been talking about bhikkhuni ordination for a long time, just doing it with the confidence that it’s the right thing is what is necessary to continue. I’m sure there are many women who gain faith in the Dhamma and want to renounce the lay life and follow a life of seclusion, meditation, service etc. They want to wear the robe of the Buddha, let them! I still love reading in the suttas that someone hears the Dhamma for the first time, they get so much joy and happiness and faith in the Buddha and ask to go forth, and the Buddha says “come monk”. He doesn’t say “uhmm i have to have an international conference first and consult with my friends, maybe write a few articles etc etc” nooooo it defeats the whole purpose!
    This is good because it also gives motivation to practice. After reading how alive Buddhism is after the last 2 blogs, I just want to go back to the meditation hall, sit on my butt and be quiet now. Great job and a big SADHU for making monastic life possible for women. Big ‘hip hip hurray’ to Bhante Sujato, Ajahn Brahm & Ajahn Brahmali and of course all the bhikkhunis and nuns involved.

  15. There can be no Sangha of Bhikkhuni, without the Sangha of Bhikkhus.

    Where there is a Sangha of Bhikkhunis, there has to be a Sangha of Bhikkhus, by its side.

    Bhikkhunis are not supposed to cook, wash or lay on their knees to any Bhikkhu.

    But Bhikkhus have the preference, because the Bhikkhu lineage is older than the Bhikkhuni lineage.

    As also because where there is a Bhikkhu Sangha, there is no need to have a Bhikkhuni Sangha nearby.

    But, again, where there is a Bhikkhuni Sangha, there must always be a Bhikkhu Sangha very close to it.

    The paraphernalia written by three deserters of the Buddha Sangha is not to be read by Bhikkhunis, is not to be read by Bhikkhus. Why? Because the paraphernalia written by those three deserters misrepresent Tathagata.

    • Maria please elaborate how the article misrepresents the Tathagata. What are your objections? Please be specific. Thank you.

  16. The UN has been working tirelessly to reduce discrimination in the world – with some degree of success. This seems to me to be a small “event” amidst the pile of events that take place every day. To us it is meaningful. If we wish to mobilize the UN around this issue, we can. It would not be done in relation to Ajahn Brahm but moreso in relation to an unequivolcal public statement around nondiscrimination as a human right – and the UN’s work in supporting this – which serves to protect the Bhikkhu Sangha as much as any other practitioner in the fourfold community – institutionalized discrimination and lack of respect for human rights treaties (monitored by the UN) only serves to fuel injustices in the world and undermine religious freedom.
    The UN has well demonstrated in its work throughout the world the undeniable links between gender inequality and poverty, conflict and corruption. In those countries where equality is strongest and discrimination the weakest – there is the least corruption, least conflict, least poverty and greatest religious freedom,almost without exception. (We might add – there appears to be empirical evidence that this also applies to Sanghas. Ahem.)
    And why should this surprise us? This is wnhat the Buddha taught!!!!!!!!!!!
    It has not stopped amazing me how people who have been practicing the Eightfold Path for many years still cannot see the interdependence and interconnectedness of things – how their eyes can be so blind to the world around them – with Burma and Vietnam and Tibet just stones throws away.

  17. Human beings who practice the Eightfold Path will not be blind, dear Lisa. If they are blind, then it means they are not practicing the Eightfold Path. A most crucial factor that is lacking could be ‘right view’…

    This Vesak celebration, though said UN Vesak celebration, is hosted by University of Maha Chulalongkorn Radjavidayalai. I don’t know how many people at UN are involved at the operational level in this event.

    Regarding Mr. Goh Seng Chai’s efforts to block Ajahn Brahm’s attendance, it could be his own idea because he didn’t approve of Ajahn Brahm’s role in the Perth Bhikkhuni ordination, or someone brainwashed him with the idea.

    Considering that he is the honorary assistant secretary-general of the event organiser, the organising committee, which could consists of many Thai monks at the university, might be easily persuaded to excluse Aj Brahm as proposed since not many Thai monks approved of any Bhikkhuni ordination in the Theravadin tradition.

    • I am encouraged by something Bhante Sujato said – that some Bhikkhunis will be attending – at the suggestion fo Senior Thai monks. :-)

  18. BUDDHAM BUDDHAM BUDDHAM
    Om Mani Padme Hum!

    Ajahn Brahm made a schism in the Thai Bhikkhu Sangha.

    He should now establish the Australian Bhikkhu Sangha, immediately, in accordance to the Dharma-Vinaya, and proceed, together with the Bhikkhus and Bhikkhunis who entrusted themselves under his sole responsibility.

    Om Mani Padme Hum!
    BUDDHAM BUDDHAM BUDDHAM

    ……..

    dheerayupa :Maria said: “Ajahn Brahm made a schism in the Thai Bhikkhu Sangha.”
    That is quite a serious accusation. One of the very few serious offences in Buddhism.
    If what you said is untrue, you are breaking your fourth precept by telling inaccurate information. AND on a more serious level, you could be verbally attacking a very good, if not yet enlightened, monk.
    Please be cautious about your speech before you’ve made such a harsh accusation.

    • Hi Maria,

      Yes, i think it is advisable for Ajahn Brahm to establish his own Perth Sangha according to Perth tradition with full autonomy in setting up his own monastic Rules (like the 5 points or whatever points he wanted for his monastery and Bhikkhunis)since he did not agree to the same monastic rules as the Thai Theravada Sangha or Ajahn Chah forest tradition, for a peaceful solution and for restoring harmony in the Sangha.

      His Bhikkhunis are ordained and no one is now stopping them and Ajahn Brahm from operating as a full fledged monastics of their own. Why are they hesitating in forming their own Perth Sangha? Isn’t that what Ajahn Brahm and his Bhikkhunis wanted?

      Every Sangha or monastery has its own in-house Rules and it is not wrong for Ajahn Brahm to have his own in-house Rules for his Perth monastery as long as it complied to Perth laws.

      There should be no more problems and conflicts.Condemning each other will not solve anything, it only makes matter worse and relationship strained. Hopefully, Peace and goodwill restored.

    • Dude,

      at some point your are going to stay stuck on that track because you keep repeating it as if it is something holy… They HAVE established a Sangha in Perth. A thriving one. They established it a long long time ago… get with the program Yoh.

      As for condemning and creating problems… I’d like to point out that you are the one who brought up the past. We were all discussing the current article and the current news about the distasteful actions of one monk and one lay man. You told us all off and then brought up the bad smells from the past to which i felt compelled to reply in the previous post.

    • Hey Kancana, perhaps it’s a scam. I think Maria and Yoh are the same person, and having a conversation with eachother to overtake the blog.
      It’s quite funny isn’t it? Sad but funny.
      Geez, here we are a bunch of honest Buddhist having wholesome discussions about Dhamma to help support and encourage eachother in practice, and some people just want to cause trouble. Perhaps they want to start some blog riot, getting a little ego boost from it?
      Well, we’re not going to let them:) We won’t let anyone control our happiness, peace and practice of: making peace, being kind, being gentle ;)

      It’s ok, there will always be some with foolish views with much dust in their eyes… just part of samsara i guess..

    • It is good training Dears Sisters. Undertaking this cause is not for the faint of heart. Mara sits on the fence trying to push each of us apart – one way to do that is to stir up fear or shame in speaking the truth. So we stare it right in the face and sharpen the sword. And when I can’t that’s when you come in. Or Dheerayupa, or Kanchana. :-) hehe. Kalyanamitta

    • Kanchana

      Obviously i meant Perth Bhikkhunis Sangha!(we are on Bhikkhunis issue here). I was not born yesterday.Good day (didn’t mean to upset you).

    • Umm… did you re-read your previous post before writing the above?

      You state: ‘it is not wrong for Ajahn Brahm to have his own in-house Rules for his Perth monastery’ … i would underline HIS

      You state: ‘like the 5 points or whatever points he wanted for his monastery and Bhikkhunis’ … i would underline HIS and AND

      Seems pretty straigthforward. However if you really believe what you’ve just said then fair enough. Only you know for sure whether you are being honest with yourself or just being defensive here…

      there is no shame in admiting you are wrong or made mistake. heck i’d call it down right courageous if you did.

      On the other hand… if you mean what you say… I must tell you that i find a rather unwholesome subtext in your claim. Is it possible that, phrases like go off and form their own Sangha really equate to we don’t want to have anything to do with you. It seems to me that you are drawing a boundary between a Perth Sangha and the ‘Real’ Sangha. Not a lot of Metta in that sort of thinking.

      I wish you well Yoh (more well than you would think considering my blunt language) however i completely reject the arguments you present.

  19. “THE ADMISSION OF WOMEN TO THE SANGHA

    “……..

    Well then, Ananda, if Maha-Pajapati, the Gotamid, will undertake to keep Eight Important rules, let that be reckoned unto her as full ordination. Those Rules are these:

    A Bhikkhuni, even if she be an hundred years in the robes, shall salute, shall rise up before, shall bow down before, shall perform all duties of respect unto a Bhikkhu, even if that Bhikkhu have only just taken the robes. LET THIS RULE NEVER BE BROKEN, BUT BE HONOURED, ESTEEMED, REVERENCED, AND OBSERVED AS LONG AS LIFE DOTH LAST.

    Second, a Bhikkhuni shall not spend the rainy season in a district where there is no Bhikkhu residing. LET THIS RULE NEVER BE BROKEN, BUT BE HONOURED, ESTEEMED, REVERENCED, AND OBSERVED AS LONG AS LIFE DOTH LAST.

    Thirdly, at the half-month let a Bhikkhuni await two things from the Sangha of Bhikkhus, namely, the appointing of the Sabbath and the coming of a Bhikkhu to teach. LET THIS RULE NEVER BE BROKEN, BUT BE HONOURED, ESTEEMED, REVERENCED, AND OBSERVED AS LONG AS LIFE DOTH LAST.

    Fourthly, at the end of keeping the rainy season let a Bhikkhuni, in presence of both Sanghas, of Bhikkhus and of Bhikkhunis, invite inquiry in respect of three things, namely, of things seen, heard, and suspected. LET THIS RULE NEVER BE BROKEN, BUT BE HONOURED, ESTEEMED, REVERENCED, AND OBSERVED AS LONG AS LIFE DOTH LAST.

    Fifthly, a Bhikkhuni guilty of serious wrong-doing shall do penance for the half-month to both Sanghas. LET THIS RULE NEVER BE BROKEN, BUT BE HONOURED, ESTEEMED, REVERENCED, AND OBSERVED AS LONG AS LIFE DOTH LAST.

    Sixthly, when a Bhikkhuni has passed two seasons in the practice of the Six Rules she may ask full orders from both Sanghas. LET THIS RULE NEVER BE BROKEN, BUT BE HONOURED, ESTEEMED, REVERENCED, AND OBSERVED AS LONG AS LIFE DOTH LAST.

    Seventhly, a Bhikkhuni shall not in any case abuse or censure a Bhikkhu. LET THIS RULE NEVER BE BROKEN, BUT BE HONOURED, ESTEEMED, REVERENCED, AND OBSERVED AS LONG AS LIFE DOTH LAST.

    Eightly, henceforth is forbidden the right of a Bhikkhuni to have speech among Bhikkhus, but not forbidden is the speaking of Bhikkhus unto Bhikkhunis. LET THIS RULE NEVER BE BROKEN, BUT BE HONOURED, ESTEEMED, REVERENCED, AND OBSERVED AS LONG AS LIFE DOTH LAST.

    Now, Ananda, if Maha-Pajapati, the Gotamid, will undertake to keep these Eight Important Rules, let that be reckoned unto her as full ordination.

    Then the Venerable Ananda, having received from The Exalted One, Gautama Buddha, these Eight Important Rules, went to Maha-Pajapati, the Gotamid [and told her all that Gautama Buddha, The Exalted One had said] and she replied:

    “JUST AS, LORD ANANDA, A WOMAN OR A MAN, YOUTHFUL, OF TENDER AGE, FOND OF SELF-ADORNMENT, HAVING WASHED THE HEAD AND GOTTEN A WREATH OF BLUE LOTUS OR OF JASMINE OR OF SCENTED-CREEPER FLOWERS, SHOULD TAKE IT WITH BOTH HANDS AND PLACE IT ATOP OF THE HEAD – EVEN SO DO I, LORD ANANDA, TAKE UPON ME THESE EIGHT IMPORTANT RULES, NEVER TO BE BROKEN SO LONG AS LIFE DOTH LAST.” (Vinaya, ii. x).

    (“Some Sayings of the Buddha – According to the Pali Canon” – translated from the Pali by F.L. Woodward, Oxford University Press, Madras, 1925 – Pages 121, 122, 123).

    It was by faithfully obeying the above Important Rules clearly explained, that countless Bhikkhunis attained Arhatship in those days.

    ……..

    Albert Mah :Maria please elaborate how the article misrepresents the Tathagata. What are your objections? Please be specific. Thank you.

    • Dear Maria,

      Maria wrote: “Ajahn Brahm made a schism in the Thai Bhikkhu Sangha.”

      It all depends on how we look at it. Here we have Ajahn Brahm carrying out an ordination allowable according to the Dhamma ( It was revived in 1996 and it shouldn’t be a problem to ordain Bhikkhunis).

      “Now that the Theravada Bhikkhuni Order has been established in Sri Lanka it should be a matter of time for women renunciates in these countries to come to Sri Lanka, or get down Sri Lankan nuns to their countries and establish the Bhikkhuni Order in their lands. Admittance to the Bhikkhuni Order to women was granted by the Buddha himself.” – http://www.buddhanet.net/nunorder.htm

      However, a number of monks wanted to obstruct other monks from following. Therefore, they stirred up so much trouble for the monks who wanted to open the door of dhamma to beings with a female form. Is it Ajahn Brahm who wanted this to become such a big issue. Or is it a big issue because certain monks wanted to thwart an ordination that is allowable by the Buddha? Is it reasonable to place the responsibility of the disagreement solely on Ajahn Brahm.

      Maria wrote: “He should now establish the Australian Bhikkhu Sangha, immediately, in accordance to the Dharma-Vinaya, and proceed, together with the Bhikkhus and Bhikkhunis who entrusted themselves under his sole responsibility.”

      Australian or Thai, it is merely a label. Let’s not make a big deal out of it. It’s strange how people join the sangha to let go of the whole world and identification with the fabricated self and yet remain so attached to a certain label / tradition. Didn’t Ajahn Chah also said in an interview that ” Foreigner, Thai, these are all conventions. In ultimate reality, there isn’t anybody. There is only, Earth, Fire, Water, Air. Elements which are combined temporarily. We call a person, body, mind, a person. But ultimately, there is no ‘me’.” Isn’t this the trademark of Buddhism .

      Maria Wrote : “The paraphernalia written by three deserters of the Buddha Sangha is not to be read by Bhikkhunis, is not to be read by Bhikkhus.”

      I can understand why they might have left. Here they learned of the Buddha’s world transcending teaching about leaving behind the conventional reality and awaken to the ultimate reality. And that you are not your form, feelings, perceptions, consciousness, and cetana. And when they left everything behind to experience ultimate reality, everyday they are treated differently just because they have a different form. There is a contradiction there. It can be difficult to embrace the idea of non- identification with the body as self when day in and day out you are reminded that you are a lower entity because of your very form. This remind me of a similar caste system found in some other religion. The Buddha actually taught against the caste system that rank people based on birth, and started his own religion.

      When asked about this contradiction, the ex-nun was told that the idea of higher or lower are just perceptions that they should let go of. But then why insist on such discriminative treatment in the first place if they themselves have let go of these perceptions of high /low, or male/ female which doesn’t exist. Of all the people, the monks who study the this essential Buddhist concept should be the first to set an example and treat people without discrimination. After all this is trademark of the Buddha’s teaching.

      The often quoted story/myth of how Maha-Pajapati was admitted after accepting the eight weighty rules is highly questionable in many aspects. If we analyze it in terms of the Dhamma, these rules contradict the very essence of the Buddha’s teaching on non-identification with the 5 khandhas.

      About these three women not remaining:

      In the Kalama Suttra the Buddha said :”Don’t go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought”

      ” When you know for yourselves that, ‘These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to welfare & to happiness’ — then you should enter & remain in them.

      We don’t know for sure whether it is actually the Buddha that laid down these 8 weighty rules. These women actually stayed for many years to experiment with it. And in their own experience, when adopted & carried out, it doesn’t lead to welfare & to happiness. In that situation, should they “remain in them”. I don’t believe the women are given the necessary conducive conditions to succeed on the spiritual path. They are likely to end up in a wild goose chase anyways if they stayed under such practicing conditions. At the most, they might just end up like some of the monks that we see today alienating others that don’t submit to their distorted practice. In that situation, it is best to return to lay life.

    • I’m not a Buddhist scholar but I understand that reputable scholars think now it unlikely that the 8 heavy rules were made by the Buddha, and that they were made at a later date by male monastics. You will note that your quote is from the Vinaya, not from a Sutta.

      Are you really sure that it is not you who is misrepresenting the Tathagata, however inadvertently?

    • David

      If you said reputable scholars (btw, pls specify names for accountability & transparency as there are many other scholars like Thanissaro Bhikkhu etc who do not think likewise)disputed the 8 rules, then no end to arguments, as we can say there are others who thought Buddha did not mention the 4-fold assembly before Parinibbana as it could be made at a later date by female monastics.

      The mandatory “8 rules” is in the Mahapati Gotami Sutta to Ananda. During Buddha’s time, Buddha only set up Bhikkhu Sangha not Bhikkhuni Sangha as evidenced in all the Suttas (O’Monk) until Majapati came along to request for ordination.

      Buddha also had no power (like a King) to outlaw bhikkhunis from wanting to start their own Sangha but He accepted it with the 8 rule mandate advice to Ananda which Gotami promised for life.

      Only Buddha was fully enlightened enough to “know” that Bhikkhunis had to undergo the 8 rules for life for attainment (perhaps He knew the “right ingredients” according to the Law of Karma of women). Too bad Ananda did not ask why 8 rules imposed on women who wanted ordination. That is how it should be.

      Whoever wanted to change the 8 rule mandate had to be a Buddha otherwise deemed rebelling our Buddha or taking Buddha for granted.

      P.s. Yoh is the name i used for this blog.

  20. Those three defeated ‘ex-nuns’ misrepresent Tathagata.

    Those three defeated ‘ex-nuns’ wrote and signed a crime of hate, a confession of religious intolerance.

    _____________________

    “Albert Mah: Maria please elaborate how the article misrepresents the Tathagata. What are your objections? Please be specific. Thank you.”

    • Dearest Maria

      Truly may you be well and happy. May you be peaceful and wise.

      May you read the and understand the Teachings so that these good things really do happen for you.

      According to the Buddha Dhamma one of the essential requirements for Stream Winning is hearing/reading, discussing/understanding the Buddha’s Teaching.

      In this Beautiful Teaching:

      ** The word ‘defeated’ in relation to nuns occurs when they have broken one of the the Parajikas. Now this can only happen (as i understand it) with FULLY ordained monks and nuns. As these virtuous (i believe they all keep 5/8 precepts purely) and kind (i believe they cultivate loving kindness and wish ALL beings well) women never broke (to my knowledge) any of the Parajika rules and anyway even if they had were never FULLY ordained nuns, they are certainly not defeated.

      **Further: Majjhima Nikaya (translation by Bhikku Bodhi):

      Sutta 58 Section 8: ‘such speech as the Tathagata knows to be untrue, incorrect, and unbeneficial, and which is also unwelcome and disagreeable to others: such speech the Tathagata does not utter. Such speech as the Tathagata knows to be true and correct but unbeneficial, and which is also unwelcome and disagreeable to others: such speech the Tathagata does not utter. Such speech as the Tathtagata knows to be true, correct, and beneficial, but which is unwelcome and disagreeable to others: the Tathagata knows the time to use such speech. Such speech as the Tathagata knows to be untrue, incorrect, and unbeneficial, but which is welcome and agreeable to others: such speech the Tathagata does not utter. Such speech as the Tathagata knows to be true, correct but unbeneficial, and which is welcome and agreeable to others: such speech the Tathagata does not utter. Such speech as the Tathagata knows to be true, correct, and beneficial, and which is welcome and agreeable to others: the Tathagata knows the time to use such speech. Why is that? Because the Tathagata has compassion for beings.’

      Worth a read. All 6 combinations are worth a read.

      We all make mistakes. One of the great beauties of the Buddhist faith is it’s emphasis on Forgiveness. It seems you have as much to learn on this as I do. It seems that your speech/writing has the capacity to be as abusive (re: some of your statements made above) and harsh as mine can. May we both grow in this Dhamma of gentleness, acceptance, investigation and truth.

      **Furthermore this Teaching:

      Was orally passed down for 500 years and more. Was written down after the 500 years. This is what we have all been taught, this is what the history and the scholarship (as far as i know) confirms.

      What happened during that time? Do you really think that this was a perfectly preserved teaching?

      To believe this goes against these aspects of the Buddha’s Teaching:

      1. Impermanence: The body of transmitted teachings too can change and vanish.

      2. Unsatisfactoryness/Suffering: It will change and vanish regardless of what we may wish.

      3. Anatta: those who chanted/wrote were not perfect beings in control of their memories. They could make mistakes. And i would question (as opposed to blindly believing) that an Arahant can have a perfect memory (and it could not have been Arahants only who transmitted/chanted) because the Arahants of the First Council asked Ven Ananda to the First Council when he was a Stream Winner (not an Arahant like all the others) just because his memory of the Buddha was so good.

      4. The Buddha often taught the importance of investigation and questioning.

      This is what modern scholars are doing. I always said, let them show me why they think the Bhikkuni ordinations are valid. And they have. I want evidence. I’m not just supporting this because it feels right.

      Re: the garudhammas…same thing…there appears to be some evidence to suggest that they were a later addition.

      The same with the Mahapajapati tale. For example, there is a time discrepancy that those who CLOSELY study the suttas discovered. I can’t remember what it was, but something to do with Ven. Ananda’s age not fitting in with the rest of the Sutta’s…or something like that…

      If you take and read everything without checking it with your own conscience and reason you are deserting the Tathagata’s teaching.

      If you take and read everything without checking it with the bulk of Suttas that agree and are in correspondence with each other you are not investigating as the Teacher instructed and you are deserting the Tathagata’s teaching.

      With Metta

    • This message of yours was not immediately below mine, yesterday.

      Immediately below mine, yesterday, was a message posted by Hoben.

      Not by you.

      But, I will give you an answer, out of compassion for the public who might be reading in silence, the gradual public defeat of Bhikkhu Sujato, in his own Blog:

      Refuse to lie in the name of The Tathagata!

    • “the gradual public defeat of Bhikkhu Sujato, in his own Blog”

      You must be joking.

    • By the time your silly message was posted, and I read it, it was already time to for my rest, after 17 hours of work.

      You see, the Buddha taught that there is a period to rest, there is a period to watch.

      By the way, your false compliment is an error.

  21. I really hope that Ajahn Brahm was told by his seniors in the WPP clique “…you can’t DO that…” (ie THE ordination we’re on about).

    And I hope he just replied “Well, I just DID!”

    Funny how people over the years have come out with that turn of phrase to me (bit of a rebel):
    YOU CAN”T DO THAT!

    I JUST DID, CAN”T YOU SEE. Wooohoooo!

    Be a groundbreaking trendsetter at least once in your life, it’s fun!

  22. Maria wrote — “Those three defeated ‘ex-nuns’ wrote and signed a crime of hate, a confession of religious intolerance.”

    You see, I just find statements like that to be so bizarre, and a clear sign that, as I have repeatedly suggested on Sujato’s Blog, that some Thervadins are removed from wider world events, and, also selfish, and thus lose all perspective.

    The nuns are guilty of a crime of hate? Women and children are murdered in Gaza, and have their land stolen by Israel, daily — but meditating nuns are ‘guilty’ of ‘crimes of hate.’

    No wonder Mahayana movements started is all I can say. I am devoted to Theravada on all levles, and always will be — but these squabbles over nuns are absurd. What is it that people really want? That a nun of twenty years standing should stand behind a Samana of one years’ experience in the ‘lunch queue?’ That a nun should scrape and bow before a monk of three years standing?

    Why do people want these things?

    Some people on Sujato’s board didn’t like my mentioning that Theravadins were, quite possibly, showing the schools’ ‘hallmark’ signs of selfishness, narcissism, projection and vanity,and lack of knowledge of wider struggles in the world — I increasingly see evidence of those things.

    • Barnabas, it’s ok:) When people are obviously nutty and full of anger, just ignore them… it won’t fuel their fire. They want to start a fight so we just ‘luv em ;) as Hoben did and they can’t fight back :)

    • maybe it’s just a joke. i can’t believe someone can actually write such silly things and mean it. it’s probably a joke and we’re buying into it;o)

    • Dear Barnabas,

      I’ve just read something last night which is relevant to your comment above :) :

      Ajahn Chah said that a religion is like salt. Salt is always salty. Anyone who eats salt will feel the salty taste. If a person does not eat salt, he will not feel the salty taste. A religion is not degrading, it’s the people. Some people see bad monks and blame it on Buddhism. It’s like a person who doesn’t eat salt and blame it on the salt.

      In my humble opinion, ‘selfish’ and ‘vain’ monks are men in saffron robes. They are definitely not the Buddha’s disciples.

      However, we should not forget to look at their 998 good bricks. When we see them, then perhaps we can forgive these and remember that they are simply unenlightened human beings who are at least trying to become better beings, though not yet successfully. :)

      With metta,

    • It’s funny how believing in a system can have both a wholesome and an unwholesome effect.

      On the one hand it can make you hugely sensitive to reality and will ultimately liberate you.

      On the other hand it can make you loose touch with reality and further fall into Mara’s traps.

      Now the question is, how can i safeguard myself from falling into the latter trap and encourage myself to cultivate the former?
      :) All the best.

    • Well Maria or rather Bhikshuni Ariya,

      As a member of the assembly of lay women i reprimand you for your ill mannered behaviour here.

      You a quite correct…you can say what you like on this Blog and Bhante will not censor you unless you are seriously and grossly offensive… Not because he can’t but because he values open dialogue, he values the chance for all to be heard and for all to be questioned fairly and openly. You on the other hand have displayed rude and agressive behaviour to three women whom i doubt you have even met and whom you don’t seem interested in conversing with…simply harassing. This is behaviour unworthy of a daughter of the Buddha.

      Clearly your knowledge of Buddhism is quite slight and for that i pity you…An angry Arahant? Even i know enough to know that is impossible.

      I don’t think I’m going to bother responding to you again until you take a more civilised tone and are able to show what a good Bhikshuni should show, that she is capable of dealing with the sarcastic as well as the sincere with a heart of loving kindness.

      With Metta

    • FYI, Maria is a man, so his claim about being a bhikkhuni is on the same plane of reality as his claims to be an ariya or an ‘angry arahant’…

    • Oops, I made a mistake here, I think she’s a woman again! Actually, there’s no real info on her blog, just a photo of a man, which glancing at quickly i took to be Maria, but now i realize it’s a photo of someone else… I’m proud to say that, after claiming to be an ‘ariya’, a ‘bhikkhuni’, and an ‘angry arahant’, Maria is now accusing me on her blog of deliberately lying! I must be doing something right…

    • Dear Bhante,

      I believe that what she says on her blog must be hilarious.

      Please do not block her. Whoever he/she is, his/her comments make me smile or even laugh on dull working days. :)

      We usually have discussions or even disputes here, but no one is like this ‘Arahat’ Maria. His/her words are not to start any discussion, but to test how well we have practiced dhamma!

      Yours in dhamma,

  23. I don’t know much at all about Ajahn Nyanadhammo. But I googled his name, and the first page that came up quoted him as saying the following: “I felt like I was a new person, I was born again I was died from a farang and was born to be a Thai.”

    I don’t know if he stills feels that way. But it seems to me that monastics are supposed to be leaving identities behind, not changing one for another.

    If someone feels strongly the wish to assume a new identity, then that person may be overzealous about living up to what he thinks that identity means. That can be problematic.

    • To be fair, having read that piece, it wasn’t written by Nyanadhammo and the author may have misquoted him or misrepresented his emotional tone.

    • I know something of this as he lived here for many many years; i can say with almost 100% certainty that that is indeed how he feels.

      Californian, I totally agree with this statement of yours:

      ‘But it seems to me that monastics are supposed to be leaving identities behind, not changing one for another.’

      I wonder what Ajahn Nyana would say to that?

      Some on this blog state that there’s no need to jump up and down anymore…that it’s all done now and the folk in Perth should just get on with it… Which basically means shut up while people like Ajahn Nyana do their best to undermine the growth of the Bhikkuni Sangha.

      It’s been oddly therapeutic writing this… I feel i can be aware of Aj N’s actions, my disappointment, saddness and yes, even anger, but still feel a sense of well-wishing, gratitude and softness towards him…he did so much good for us… That doesn’t mean that i’m going to agree with or support all his actions.

    • Hi Californian,

      Wow, what a fascinating quote – google really gets to things sometimes, doesn’t it.

      I’ve known Ajahn Nyana for many years – he was one of my mentors when I was a novice. In those days he was one of the ‘bad boys’, a rebel from the [perceived] stifling, ritualized, institutional Wat Nanachat. For many years he was a devoted senior monk at Bodhinyana, and was Ajahn Brahm’s closest friend. To see this split is very distressing for all, and particularly for Ajahn Nyana himself. He’s just a man, who has found great inspiration and solace in the Thai forest tradition, and who, like all of us, struggles with these issues of tradition vs. modernity. He’s come down on what I believe is the wrong side in this issue, and it will be a dreadful shame if these friendships and respect cannot be healed.

    • Sadhu Bhante,

      I too have ambivalent feelings about Ajahn Nyana. He was exceptionally kind and encouraging to me when I began my monastic life, some 10 years ago. He was always pretty candid about his faults, and was not adverse to sending himself up. Heard the one about getting booted in the chest by Ajahn Chah? And Ajahn Nyana is one of the best Sangha storytellers, full of amazing anecdotes about Ariyan monks with psychic powers and encounters with wild animals in the forest. So it’s with great sadness that I see Ajahn Nyana as almost lost to the Perth Buddhist community who spent many years looking after him at Bodhinyana. It’s also very painful to witness two close friends (Ajahns Brahm and Nyana were a formidable team once) now being cast as adversaries. I’m sure the power of Dhamma & forgiveness will eventually prevail, regardless of who’s “right” or “wrong”. May Ajahn Nyana see the light on bhikkhuni ordinations and become their newest champion, within the TFT patriarchy, no less! :)

  24. In the Buddha Sangha, no Arhat ever attained Arhatship before meeting Mara, face to face.

    Even the Buddha himself, had to fight Mara.

    Bhikkhu Sujato did not point the right path, i.e., the Buddha, the Dharma, the Sangha, to his friends who post in this anti-Buddha blog of his property?

  25. The only solution is for the laity to boycott the support of WPP group of monks.

    Instead divert your support to the new Bhikkhuni Sangha.

    B

  26. “What would it look like to relocate the ‘problem’ of bhikkhuni ordination and gender equity within Buddhism to where it really belongs? … with those who fear women’s full participation”

    Having read the comments in this thread with interest, as I am inextricably involved, I think they have drifted away from the main thrust of the Buddhadharma magazine article as expressed in the quote above. That is, for too long Ajahn Sujato, myself and the participating Bhikkhunis, have been asked to justify our actions in facilitating the Perth Bhikkhuni ordinations.
    Now it is the time for those Western monks, and Thai monks who either live in the West or regularly travel there, to either show their support for Bhikkhuni ordination in the West,or justify their opposition to it.
    Ajahn Sumedho is leaving Amaravati at the end of this year, so is the Thai monk Ven Pannyasaro who, I was told, drafted the notorious Five Points. Ajahn Amaro, currently at Abhayagiri Monastery in California, is to take over leadership of the Amaravati group. It seems appropriate that he makes his position on Bhikkhuni ordination clear, in plain English not in Amaravati-speak, to the supporters of his future monastery. Other influential monks such as Ajahn Vajiro of Amaravati, Ajahn Nyanadhammo in Thailand, Ajahn Pasanno of Abhayagiri, the Thai monk Ajahn Preecha in Italy, Ajahn Tiradhammo in New Zealand, the Thai monk Ajahn Anan who visits the West regularly, they should also be pressed by their lay supporters to publicly explain their position, not as a group but as individuals. If they have nothing to be ashamed of, they should have no fear in articulating their position in public clearly and independently. I ask this because I understand that straightforward honesty, not deafening silence, is necessary for moving forward on this painful issue.
    Unfortunately, I do not have the power to compel these good monks to explain whatever position they hold on Bhikkhuni ordination, or to question them on why they refused my genuine offer of forgiveness and reconciliation. But you, the lay people who feed these monks and provide the funds that support their other needs, do have that power. Maybe it is the time to exercise that power.
    It is now the time, as a result of The Buddhadharma magazine’s article, for them to personally explain themselves to the Buddhist world.
    With Mega Metta, Ajahn Brahm.

    • “they should also be pressed by their lay supporters to publicly explain their position, not as a group but as individuals. If they have nothing to be ashamed of, they should have no fear in articulating their position in public clearly and independently. I ask this because I understand that straightforward honesty, not deafening silence, is necessary for moving forward on this painful issue.”

      This deafening wall of silence is a result of group think, close bonding and being afraid to upset the apple cart. Essentially it’s assuming a position of “See no evil and Hear no evil”. Therefore we are doing no evil and we don’t see what this fuss is all about. However, these monastics are definitely not wise monkeys; if they were this bhikkhuni ordination issue would not have come to this.

      “But you, the lay people who feed these monks and provide the funds that support their other needs, do have that power. Maybe it is the time to exercise that power.”

      Yes Ajahn I have already decided that I will not support any monastic or institution who opposes bhikkhuni ordination and I hope many more lay people will too. And if I get the opportunity I will ask them for an explanation of their position.

    • Oh no, Ajahn Brahm it is shocking you said this:
      {{{ But you, the lay people who feed these monks and provide the funds that support their other needs, do have that power. Maybe it is the time to exercise that power.}}}

      I was once your fan but no longer now after your Bhikkhuni campaign.

      Now, are you trying to get votes from the lay people to achieve your long-term goal by asking the lay people to pressure those Western monks to oblige or else no food on your table. This is a Sangha problem not lay people’s. You have to fix the problem you started off within the Sassana and not desperately garnering support from lay people to rally behind you in this Bhikkhuni mission. Btw, Buddha only form the Bhikkhu Sangha!

      I am saddened and disheartened by your this unskillful act and intention. A very black Monday!

    • oh my goodness are you for real Yoh?

      you said “buddha only form the Bhikkhu Sangha!”
      I KNOW!!!!
      THIS IS our friend Maria coming back in disguise! She is pretending to be Yoh! :)
      very funny Maria, but we catch you out :)

      It’s not ‘the sangha’s problem’, it’s all our problems. We’re in this samsara mess together.
      The point is very clear my dear Yoh, or Maria in disguise or whoever.
      Buddha established fourfold assembly which has an inclusion for all Buddhists to practice the path. It is very clear for anyone who wishes to open the suttas. For those who invent their own little world of bhikkhu but no bhikkhunis, well… that’s their problem and they’ll be suffering in samsara for a loooong time:) poor dears.

      Now imagine, Buddha made an assembly, everyone who has the good intentions to practice is invited, except YOU! how would you feel? then the same, why do some deluded beings want to exclude the Bhikkhuni Sangha? Look, the only people who took the bhikkhuni ordination as something tragic are those who don’t know much about Buddhism or who have defilements they must let go of. For all others this was a beautiful celebration! At last the road is finally open for females to be supported in their path of renunciation.

      And now we have to be weary in this blog that some people will disguise themselves and hold a fake name (or even pretend to be someone we already know) to cause agitation in this blog. So let us not get shaken by these troublemakers. We know in hearts what is wrong. Most of the world supports bhikkhuni ordination and for those few, well, we have pity on their rebirth! :)

    • just as a correction, Bhuddha clearly formed the bhikkhu, bhikkhuni sangha as can be seen on his final words:
      DN 16:Maha-parinibbana Sutta: Last Days of the Buddha
      “‘I shall not come to my final passing away, Evil One, until my bhikkhus and bhikkhunis, laymen and laywomen, have come to be true disciples”

      when i said ‘i know, i meant that i knew that “Yoh” must have been “Angry Arahant” come back with vengeance ;)

    • Yes, why don’t you reveal yourself with your real name Yoh? To hide behind a fake name while you attack others is not an act of bravery. Rather it is on the contrary.

    • My dear Dania

      OMG, I did not mean Bhikkhu Sangha with no Bhikkhunis in it.

      Bhikkhu Sangha comprises of Bhikkus & Bhikkunis with the 8 rules prescribed by Buddha. I was just quoting what Buddha established. Nothing more nothing less.

      FYI, i am not Maria, name is Yoh. What is your real name Anne?

      I will stop blogging here for good. Not fruitful for me.

    • Do you realise you have PUT WORDS IN AJAHN’S MOUTH?

      THESE ARE YOUR WORDS not his : ‘asking the lay people to pressure those Western monks to oblige or else no food on your table’

      Making assumptions again? in your own words ‘desperately garnering support from lay people ‘ and ‘ your this unskillful act and intention’. THESE ARE YOUR WORDS and PERCEPTIONS. You don’t know if they are correct.

    • don’t know about that… :)

      i’m ‘talking’ so much here…it’s a bit scary…but i reckon there’s no courage without fear…

      i hope those who oppose bhikkuni’s can have the courage to be honest with themselves and their supporters.

    • A nice short video by Pema Chodron on “troublemakers” With Metta (and not directed at anyone more than any other)

    • Right.

      Let’s not get side tracked here about the defintion of the ‘bhikku sangha’ (does it include bhikkunis…by the way…what??)

      What Ajahn is suggesting is that those lay people who are in close proximity to these good monks (‘GOOD MONDS’ by the way ARE AJAHN’S WORDS) have a conversation that involves some challenging questions.

      What about email as an option for those of us who are far away?

      I’ve actually already tried emailing one monk (who is not on Ajahn’s list) and he emailed back very courteously and said he was actually supportive of Bhikkunis in terms of training but didn’t want to be drawn into the public arena about it. I won’t say who he was because i’d feel i was betraying some trust if i did. He said he didn’t want to get involved in politics.

      In a nutshell…my reply was that politics is the way of the world and if a small amount helps others to leave the world and all it’s politics then it is a good thing. He graciously replied back in agreement with my statements. Thus i now find myself hoping that he will show more courage and faith and be open about his support and training of bhikkunis. Why keep it under wraps if it is the right thing to do?

      My point in this rambling story is that while email is no where near as effective as face to face questioning, it can have an effect.

      Anyone got any email addresses for the monks mentioned in Ajahn’s post?

      Let’s get on with it. Let’s ask the questions. Preferably face to face. Or over the phone. Or if that’s not possible via email.

      Some people think we should let these other monastaries alone. but it seems to me that there are western supporters of western monasatarys who want things to change (and that’s not just an assumption). Besides, ‘letting be’ in terms of letting these ‘western thai’ monastarys be is like pretending that they aren’t part of the Buddha Sasana. Well they are. And so am I. What happens to them happens to me.

      In the next few days i’m going email address hunting? Anyone got any leads?

    • hey that’s great if we phone them! get ‘em off guard:) it’s either they answer or just hang up:) and have a micrphone handy so we can record them for evidence :) hehe
      this is fun isn’t it.
      I just sent an email to Birken monastery. I’m from Canada and the only monastery at the time i was looking to ordain was Birken yet there was no possibility of female monastics staying there at the time. I wonder what Ajahn Sona’s take is. If he replies I’ll let the fellow Sujato bloggers know.

    • Dania, You must have missed his talk following the WAM. I shall dig up the link for you. It took me months to muster the courage to listen to it. Bhante Sona will say that he ordains anyone who is sincere and not seriously flawed. However, there are no nuns at Birken. Period. Therefore, one must question whether Bhante Sona considers being female to be a serious flaw.

    • Hi Lisa,
      Actually, he did email back! He said he does support them. He said there was a Thai nun there for 9 years. He said the reason there are no nuns now is just a question of economics. Now I’ve never been there but we can’t judge or assume why there are no nuns. All i do know is that I can imagine it must be hard to get support since it’s so cold there! It seems very difficult to get there too.

      By the way, if Bhante Sujato gets a moment, I have a vinaya question. If a woman wants to ordain, can she live on her own if she is confident in the practice or does she need to find a monastery and group of nuns? I am asking because I have 2 friends who would like to ordain but didn’t quite find a monastery suitable for them. Or, is it possible for the nuns to just join an already existing monk monastery? This seems easier since there are already many established monk monasteries which have the support. How did the bhikkhunis live at the time of the Buddha? Perhaps this is all in your bhikkhuni book?

    • New monastics, whether male or female, should spend their proper training period in a monastery with a community. No community is perfect, and no community is a perfect fit for anyone – which is precisely why we do this. After the training period is complete, then it’s fine to stay by oneself.

      I know many examples of monks who have not done this, but have just done their own thing, and frankly it doesn’t turn out well.

      There might be some monks’ monasteries where women can stay, but I don’t know of any that I would recommend as a long term proposition. Ultimately, we need to learn to participate in our community, and we can’t do that if we’re just a sideshow.

    • Hehe. Dania. That is a very interesting answer that makes it really difficult for me not to want to walk onto my balcony right now and explode like a well sealed bottle of milk that has been in the hot sun for a month.
      Alas, this is the very crux of the issue. Identity conflicts whether based on race, class, religion or sex have at their source a few key elements. One of them is power dynamics (often based on projections) around resources (summed up in the word “economics”).
      One has only to look at how many women feed the monastics in Thailand, attend retreats here in the West and donate monies, land such as to Santi, etc. to know that such an argument is pure pst mythology. That is, without the benefit of asking Bhante Sona to explain the asnwer in more detail, which I would ethically be obliged to do in order to justify a reply to his comment. Which I do not intend to do, and I must respect the conditions any Bhante is working with as he would kindly accept mine.
      But it is an answer worth investigation, for one who would have the intention of pursuing ordination in female form in this TFS tradition.
      In the Buddha’s day were the “economic” conditions more favourable? Not likely. Simply put, the Buddha was more courageous and prepared to forego the seduction of “groupthink”, do what he thought was right and trust the Dhamma.
      Dania,why don’t you check out Ayya T’s site? I understand a number of Bhikkhunis are gathering there for Vassa – I am thinking of requesting to join for a few weeks. Why don’t you consider that? A community of fully ordained women, supported by a community of laymen and laywomen who believe in full orduination for women. It is as close if not closer to you than Ottawa.
      Metta _/\_

    • Dear Lisa, it’s a pleasure reading your comments. They are very light and positive thank you:) Actually reading your response about ‘economics’ sounds right. I ‘bought into’ the ‘no money’ thing thinking that if there is not much support currently then they shouldn’t add more monastics but if there are people willing to be trained and pure in their intentions then the support will come! The Buddha didn’t say don’t ordain because it’s a risk in terms of support! Honestly, if you are doing the right thing then people will support you. Look at Bodhinyana! They are doing very well and it’s because of the pure intentions in their practice. So I agree with you and thanks for bringing that up.
      By the way, I’m not looking to ordain at the moment since I’m very happy in my current situation. I have time to do service and meditate and don’t have any reason to leave. Who knows what the future might hold but not at the moment. I do however have some dear friends who wish to ordain so I am looking around for them:) Thank you, I will suggest Ayya T. Ayya Medhanandi seems ok too.. I am just starting to read her teachings and they seem quite found.. Her dhamma talks seem quite good too. I’ll try calling her maybe and seeing how she guides people in practice and how she runs the monastery. I’ll report later for all those aspiring female monastics:) By the way, anyone met her and have any impressions?

    • Dear Lisa

      Here’s a rather unusual admonition given by the Buddha about the economics of a monastic life –

      1. if the dana is poor and bhavana is unproductive, leave that spot;
      2. if the dana is rich but the bhavana is unproductive, leave that spot;
      3. if the dana is poor but the bhavana is productive, stay put and persist;
      4. if the dana is good and the bhavana is productive, stay put, even if the sponsor tries to evict you! :)

      Apparently, the 4th scenario was a way of repaying the sponsor’s generosity by allowing him/her to do more good.

    • Dear Sylvester,
      Wonderful! Trust this virtual Sangha to consistently produce the right gem at the right time.:-) Sound advice worth reflecting on in light of the economics comment and in the context of any future plans to stay somewhere long-term. (Insh’Allah)

    • I think this important message from Aj. Brahm is becoming buried. Bh. Sujato, can it be lifted up to a post to encourage more thoughtful discussion and response?

      For those of us who have learned from, lived with, and supported various of these ajahns, this is a painful and unavoidable issue. Since October, I’ve been waiting and weighing, weighing and waiting in vain, hoping they would ‘personally explain themselves to the Buddhist world.’ The petition and the eloquent, heartfelt letters submitted to the WAM requested dialogue with the concerned lay community, but none has been forthcoming. I’ve doubted that anything I could personally add to these efforts would make a difference. But seeing that the offensive against bhikkhunis and supporters of bhikkhunis continues in public and in private, the ‘deafening silence’ is becoming more and more thunderous. When this article goes live in Buddhadharma this week, there will be an opportunity for online discussion. Thanissara wrote: ‘It will go live May 12th – on line debate/ discussion from May 25th – after it is published.’ Let’s hope for (and demand) a genuine response from these ajahns, and let’s participate responsibly and thoughtfully ourselves.

    • Dear Bhante Brahm,
      I wonder how we can be catalysts for bringing gender into the awareness of our monastic and lay friends. After attending the Congress in Hamburg, it occurred to me that it might be useful to engage in a measured process – like really basic sessions among interested laypeople just to begin bringing the layers of knowledge and understanding required for a shift or even an interest to come to light – knowledge of the Vinaya – of the opportunities and barriers that exist based on gender. (After the congress, I sent the presentations to a number of Ajahn Chah’s branch monasteries and trusted they would do what was right or what was within their means to take it further).
      In those lay communities where I have spent time recently (in this tradition) there is very little awareness of either the Vinaya (myself included) or of the importance – relevance – of providing serious and structured opportunities for women to practice (and why they are so scarce in this tradition.)
      Encouraging open minds around gender relations is much like the Dhamma – it takes more than one conversation, knowledge, positive peer influence – the right interventions at the right time – small awakenings and a ripening in order for people to begin to become conversant and truly sensitive to the issues. Throw in there a few key champions within the Sangha leadership and lay communities…and over time with steadfast efforts, we might see some movement. But just so…and with no structure or vernues or dialogue…it may not simply happen on its own…there is too little awareness among the lay communities…BTW no critical mass uniformly present in all of the communities…(people seem to be brainwashed – or just not quite ready psychologically to let go of the idealized concepts they have of their respective communities. As with the the church- it is too painful for them to go there? I hope that’s it because I prefer that to the brainwashing possibility) This applies to both men and women. And women are sometimes the bastions of tradition as our friends Hoben and Dheerayupa have pointed out.
      10,000 years or more of conditioning – how do we undo that with minimal backlash…because that is what happens when shifts in gender relations happen too quickly- we cant control the whole process but some careful planning sure helps…so, what might that look like?
      Humbly Yours in the Dhamma

    • (What I was trying to suggest is that for some, this isnt simply a matter of sitting on a fence, it is a matter of realization. Since it is a matter of realization, it cannot be forced into someone’s awareness. They can agree in principle but until the transformation occurs in their “wisdom” they cannot sincerely support it. For those of us who can see with (relatively) non-discriminating eyes this is hard to understand. One of the useful insights come to light in this forum is the recent analysis done on the difference between how liberals and conservatives process things – it has to do to some degree with how we are hard wired to respond to change and the unknown- I found that to be very insightful – for me to develop greater compassion towards people I work with in this field of changing gender relations – and to develop methods of awareness raising that respond better to how they are hard wired, rather than how I think they should be hard wired)

      http://www.latimes.com/news/obituaries/la-sci-politics10sep10,0,2687256.story

      (Taking it with a grain of salt, of course)
      With Metta

  27. Yoh :
    Only Buddha was fully enlightened enough to “know” that Bhikkhunis had to undergo the 8 rules for life for attainment (perhaps He knew the “right ingredients” according to the Law of Karma of women).

    To know that you must be fully enlightened too. Wow, what’s it like?! (I would have said it was just blind belief, but for someone as obviously knowledgeable as yourself that couldn’t possibly be true, could it?)

    Yoh :
    Too bad Ananda did not ask why 8 rules imposed on women who wanted ordination. That is how it should be.

    So you know what the answer WOULD HAVE BEEN if Ananda had asked that question, do you? Wow, I’m even more impressed. When are you starting your new religion? How do I join?

    • C’mon David

      I know you are trying to be sarcastic.Don’t be sarcastic. All my knowledge and info on Buddhism are from the Suttas. I am still an amateur. Isn’t this blog serve as a forum?

  28. Ok, ok, time out my brothers and sisters, monks and nuns,lay and ordained, conservatives,orthodox and radicals all !

    “The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.” – Albert Camus.

  29. Thank you, Maria, for your visit. I’m glad you’ve dropped in. You’ve taught me a lot.

    With great appreciation for your presence on this blog.

  30. Dear Maria

    REALLY, SINCERELY: Have a wonderful day.

    Thanks to Barnabas:

    Barnabas : MY very existence is an act of rebellion.” – Albert Camus.

    Love is in the air

    Hoben, Thailand

    • Dear Hoben,

      Love is in the air…dee da da – dee da da…Love is in theeee airrrrr…dee da da – dee da da…

      Teee heee heee! Loved it! Thanks for the laugh. :)

  31. The article above states that ‘no one owns the house of Budhist monastisism’ and nun’s should not be driven out of their monastic home. But isn’t that exactly what all this is about. Money and who pays the bills. Of course, it would be nice for everyone to choose to become a nun or monk and have everything provided for you at the expanse of lay people – but its certainly not a right. Western monks and nuns tend to be a pretty self selected group of people – some with real problems. If, in the Thai tradition they don’t want to provide for siladhara or bhikkshuni, surely that’s up to them – and as far as I can see – the Thai community in the monasteries you are repeatedly criticising do not want to provide for siladhara or bikhshuni though they are happy to provide for monks. If it’s just about having a ‘collective inheritance’ why not get together and start up a monastery of your own. If ‘the time has come’ siladhara and bhikhshuni should get lots of people willing to provide for them to live in a monastery with all the special attention and status and they want. The Dalai Lama can give you his blessing – as can Bhikkhu Bodhi and Bhante Gunaratana and everyone else you praise and you can have what you want. They you can let go of complaining about the Thai Forest Tradition and let them get on with their practice in the way that they want. It’s true isn’t it.

    • In that case, the Thai forest tradition should not be misleading female aspirants and supporters of nuns and Siladharas by accepting their money and support designated towards women. There should be no pretense of offering a safe refuge for women at all if it is not wholehearted. If supporters of women are being shouted at and Siladharas bullied and monks petitioned to reverse their support for Bhikkhunis, then there should be no misleading pretence to invite women to practice in that Sangha at all, and monies and land donated to support women’s practice should then be politely refused and encouraged in the direction of those places where women are welcome, and sincerely supported. Same for female aspirants – encourage them to stay on retreat and build those communities where they are seen as sincere and worthy aspirants.

    • There was wholehearted support – but things have changed since all the troubles started with demands for more status. In Thai tradition there are no nuns – no bhikkhuni. If siladhara want more status – they have to move to Australia or somewhere else. Let us all now choose our option and move on. Plenty of places now for these status seeking women to go. Leave those who wish to practice the dhamma and free themselves from becoming anything to practice in peace.

    • Dear Mooli,
      Really and truly how can you be so hateful and mean towards these women who have gone forth? Is your hatred really towards them or towards sometjing else? What is that something else? What is it? Have you looked deeply?
      Who goes forth seeking status? I have more status in the TFS Sangha as a laywoman than as a monastic. One would give up a lot of status – as well as rights accorded to onesself by UK and international law- as well as dignity- and all property, houses and wealth – to become a monastic in this Sangha … try to step back and look at this differently…
      And everything is practicing Dhamma…all of it…not your way better than my way better than yours. It’s all practice.
      With Metta

    • I have looked deeply for a long time. Its time to describe the elephant in the middle of the room. Endless demands for more respect – more premises – more servants to drive them to therapists – buy their special foods – take them to airport every winter so they don’t have to experience the cold and go to India/California. Personal computers, mobile phones, facebook websites. Do you now what you are talking about. Have you met these privileged western women? They have a better life style than most men and women in Thailand. I’ve made a aditana not to write on this blog site any more – but one bit of advice I would give you – meet these siladhara and live with them for one year and then you will be able to speak about facts – not your dreams of how you hope it is.

    • Mooli, It would be very wholesome and lead to lots of peace and harmony if Thailand woiuld change and ‘get with’ the modern times which allows equity between men and women. Also Thailand being a Buddhist country would benefit by following the Buddha’s teachings of allowing a Bhikkhuni Sangha. if they are not following the Buddha’s teachings, they would just be cultish.

  32. In answer to my earlier post, the first garudhamma (and the one that has caused the most problems for women according to that article) is not found in the patimokkha, so going in order of seniority in food lines without regard to gender seems the right thing to do on all fronts.

    Since receiving food from the laity is one of the most (if not the most on some levels) important functions of the sangha, to inject gender distinctions into it seems contrary to what some of the suttas have to say about gender identity.

    • “Since receiving food from the laity is one of the most (if not the most on some levels) important functions of the sangha, …”

      Really?! I think they have a lot more important things to do than that. If that is a widely held view, it explains a lot.

    • I would agree with Californian in the sense that it is highly visible and highly symbolic of the symbiotic relationship that is intended and the teaching this offers on interdependence. It is a very precious kamma on the part of the giver and the receiver, no?

  33. Cali wrote : “Since receiving food from the laity is one of the most (if not the most on some levels) important functions of the sangha.”

    As Israeli American academic Melford Spiro noted in his study of the Theravada Sangha in 1970, that relationship Cali mentions can very also be interpreted as selfish,self serving and child like in its dependency, ego driven and vain.( within laity and ordained role playing)

    On the one hand, the food for the Sangha can sometimes serve a purely self seeking, selfish wish fulfilling ‘good luck’ function for the lay people, under the guise of self lessness : we give them food, then we get good luck in our lives. We have all seen that I think, again and again.

    Also noticeable, is the fact that Western lay people often vicariously feed off that function on a number of levels,whilst not usually being at the forefront of the feeding the Sangha ritual, buying or paying for the food offered. The Western lay people are in a kind of second tier — they aspire to meditate in a similar manner to the monks, yet also enjoy the “Asian exoticism” of the Monastic environment, and importantly — enjoy the “exotic” Asian abundant and free food.

    On the part of the ordained Sangha again, it can feed into a child like state of dependency, which can also have strong features of narcissism and vanity. The monks deserve to be fed, are special in some way, and deserve your food. It can also feed into a childlike state of dependency. The monks line up, the lay people put food in their mouths.

    For more , see Melford Spiro’s in depth research — I put the link on the excellent “projection” post written by Sujato some months ago.

  34. Wei Wu Wei

    The seeds have been planted

    For bhikkuni ordination

    Let it be for now

    Let it manifest

    In its’ own time, not our time

    Patience, metta, patience, metta, and more patience for all

    • Yeah good point A. Natta, but women have been waiting for about 2,500 years already…..patience is getting kinda old :)

    • Hi Anne,

      I am on your side for gender equity. In reference to patience. Patience in letting go of our attachment to views. Mine included.

      Many have expressed passionate arguments. I think the gates will open as we begin to let go.

      With metta,
      A. Natta

      <

  35. Hey fellow bloggers. Remember the ‘demon in the emperor’s palace’ who feeds on anger? Well obviously someone’s playing jokes and trying to infest this wonderful blog that Bhante Sujato is hosting…. now what to do… obviously if we respond to whatever the ‘angry arahant’ says, that will be its fuel for more. What if we just not feed it? Ignore? and it’ll starve and go looking elsewhere for some food to grow an ego? kapish? It’s obviously a prank and not real. Someone just trying to make jokes and stir up the wonderful peeps of Sujato’s Blog :o)

    • Well said. Stoking the fires detracts us from the work at hand: to rebuild a healthy Sangha – energies directed in this way rather than biting the hook – hehe. Upodana
      It also serves to undermine the integrity of the group.
      And turns up fairly steadfastly on this blog.
      Ah. The plot to discredit the Buddhists.
      hehe.
      Whatever.

  36. Anne :Kanchana….awesome response! I second everything she said.To say that these senior monks who have ALL the power are vulnerable is a joke, and has no substance to it. That’s obvious to everyone.
    By the way, speaking of cowards, how come you don’t have a REAL name Yoh?

    Thanks Anne. I just want to add a further comment to point numbers two and three (as repeated below):

    2. developed the 5 points IN SECRET without ever mentioning it to Ajahn Brahm even though these poor vulnerable ones knew the WAM meeting was coming up.

    3. Then had the gall to accuse AB of not being consultative enough!! When in fact, once the date had been decided he did let them know. They disagreed. He went a head. The point is…HE LET THEM KNOW and THEY DID NOT let him know about the 5 points.

    ***

    I was at the BSWA Annual General Meeting this year. At the start of this AGM the Minutes of the previous AGM were unanimously passed by all present (there was a fairly large group of members present) as a true and correct record. One of the key things that was a part of LAST year’s Minutes was an aspect of Ajahn Brahm’s Report (or it might have been the President’s report) which stated that they were working towards a Bhikkuni Ordination.

    For those who like to create and perpetuate the lie that the Perth ordinations ocurred in total secrecy… this Recorded Fact opposes your arguments adequately. This Recorded Fact occurred in Feb/March 2009. Whereas the Ordinations and much of the organisational work to make them happen ocurred in Oct/Nov 2009.

    I must thank Blogger Yoh for bringing up the past. I’d forgotten all about this important bit of information. Re-visiting the past has given me the chance to let you all know about this.

    • 8) 8)

      Anne, i don’t want to give the wrong impression…i am very familiar with the feeling of fear and have regular meetings with unwholesome qualities!!!

      So i really appreciate the fact that you have very kindly encouraged the fearless and the wholesome in me. Thank you. It’s lovely to get some positive reinforcement. :) :)

    • Thanks so much, Kanchana. It’s an important piece of information to invalidate the accusation.

      It is sad to see what some unwholesome speech and actions have been made just to satisfy some unwholesome objectives.

      I would like to reinstate that I am so grateful for Ajahn Brahm, Bhante Sujato and the Bodhiyana’s Sangha for their brave decision and action regarding the Bhikkhuni ordinations.

  37. Dear Bhante Sujato,

    thankyou for this post, and for all your wonderful work on bhikkhuni ordination (I’ve been attending your Friday nights recently, and thankyou also for your teachings).

    As someone who’s presently reading the Suttas I was wondering – could you give us, here or maybe in another post if you ever have the chance, a brief precis on your opinion as to the historicity of the eight garudhammas?

    There’s always a broader issue with this kind of question about what historical investigation we do, and how it ties in with our own desires for things to be a certain way – given that textual-historical investigation could be an endless process, and that there are issues between textual-historical investigation and ‘supranatural’ beliefs about particular texts, how much can we start with the texts without imposing our own agendas (rather than start with our agendas and look for textual evidence), and, on the other hand, make sure that we employ our critical faculties to follow the path as taught by the Buddha as closely as we are able? Thankyou!

  38. Seriously I think our little “AA” member has been smokin’ something that probably doesn’t comply with the 5th Precept :) :)

    • Maybe, dear Anne, when “yellownecks” (kasavakantha) masquerading as AAs have to smoke that kind of stuff, it may be for medicinal purposes. It loosens the grip of insanity just a little bit to allow them to express their patigha, but in a rather incoherent manner.

      Karuna for this dreaded condition is of no use, since the intended beneficiary has to be at least compos mentis to recognise the gift. Let’s welcome the comic relief for a bit and use it to remind ourselves that the Dhamma does not lead to such bondage.

  39. Maria, I think you are teasing us to get a response, and most of us have fallen for it — in internet-speak, I think we call that a ‘flamer’ or a ‘troll’ — and we have all fallen for your gleeful ‘provocation’.

    Damn, one of us should have said, ‘ignore the troll’ — ok, I hope you had a good time !

    Still, I think for most of us, and for most fair minded meditators/lovers of a peaceful life, then I think we will still support a nun’s vocation.

    And why not?

    Barnabas.

  40. I just read “Ajahn Sujato is predator of the Bhikkhuni Sangha” — I have to laugh — you really are trying to get a reaction aren’t you? Very, very funny.

    I can’t react to such a statement except with a great big smile !

    The world is in one of its worst states financially in many decades — the Western elites and their lackeys are threatening the world balance, demonising poor and weak victims. Americans and their European servant elites are drunk with their power, totally out of control. People are being lied to cheated, losing all they own, economies are crashing and falling as predatory bankers and radical conservatives turn a multi corporate ‘globalized’ world upside down — but…. *Sujato* is a ….predator?

    !!!!

    Barnabas.

  41. Please tell me why my comment is being moderated. It is fair comment. Not rude. Everyone speaks about messages being blocked at monasteries in FS tradition – but why block messages here?

    • Hi Mooli,

      Your comments have not been moderated, unless by mistake. Sometimes it takes a while for comments to be approved, and sometimes the spam filter sends a comment to trash by mistake. i usually only moderate comments by obvious and silly trolls, like our friend Maria.

  42. Dania and all dear bloggers here,

    After my first reaction to Maria’s, I, like Dania, was then thinking about Ajahn Brahm’s recount of the Buddha’s story of the Anger-eating Demon. That is why I thanked Maria for visiting us all.

    She has given us a wonderful opportunity to be aware of how our mind is provoked by simple words. Her presence has helped us practice Ajahn Brahm’s teaching about ‘Opening the door of your heart’ to whatever is happening. Fill our heart with metta for those who are offensive and the first merit we will immediately get is our happiness.

    I know that after you close your eyes and send metta to the person who uses the name ‘Maria’ and defines him/herself an angry Arahant, you will be smiling like I am.

    With metta to all,
    Dheerayupa

    • Forgot to add that some of you might be smiling, but some of you might be laughing, like our dear Sylvester. :) In fact, after reading that person’s comment, I was laughing too (especially at the most hilarious comment that Bhante Sujato is a predator), before I could compose myself to do some metta for that person.
      :) :) :)

    • it is funny isn’t it:) in a few years, it’s something we can look back and laugh over when reminiscing the blog days. “remember that time when…”
      Another good Ajahn Brahm teaching: we only have to put up with them a few minutes, they have to live with themselves! :)

  43. OK lighten up guys and gals. This post is entitled The Time Has Come. That’s the same title as an anti-war, pro-peace song by Midnight Oil – The Time Has Come (Beds Are Burning). The band’s lead singer is Peter Garrett who is currently the Australian Minister for Environment Protection, Heritage and the Arts. Listen and enjoy.

    • Whoa. He’s a Minister now. Good you guys and gals there in Australia. Nice to see people doing something worthwhile with their fame (and skills and wisom).

  44. David Conway :
    “Since receiving food from the laity is one of the most (if not the most on some levels) important functions of the sangha, …”
    Really?! I think they have a lot more important things to do than that. If that is a widely held view, it explains a lot.

    Even the meditating monks need to do it to survive. That is pretty important.

    • I thought you meant their most important function in the fourfold community. Obviously they have to eat.

  45. Hi Kanchana,

    There are some changes at Bhante G’s Bhavana Society, but I’d rather let the people there comment on this, as it seems to be in a bit of flux. It’s important to remember that this happens in the much longer context of developments there. Bhante G has always been primarily a lay teacher, and the Sangha has never gained a root at Bhavana in the same way it has in the Ajahn Chah monasteries. As Bhante G approaches retirement, the future of the place is very much up in the air, and it is possible that it will end up more specifically as a lay meditation center. Ayya Sobhana, one of Bhante G’s students, will be joining Ayya Tathaaloka for this vassa. Whatever happens at Bhavana, there is no question that Bhante G has for a long time supported bhikkhuni ordination, and continues to do so.

    • :) That’s reassuring. Thank you.

      I’ve heard an anecdotal story of someone hearing Bhante G referring to Metta as a ‘friendly feeling’. I always appreciated hearing that as it made metta seem POSSIBLE for my grumpy sore little mind; twas a real turning point for me. The person who told me this story said it has the same effect on him…he thougth: ‘oh, i can do that’. :)

    • Pity that some of his students have gravitated in other directions when they could have rallied behind one who has shown great integrity. (I dont mean Bhikkhuni Sobhana)

    • (Need to work on that anger! It’s a good angry though. It’s a grow up and find your engaged Buddhist voice and sever old attachments find new community anger)

    • Bless you Lisa! May you give your anger so much metta that it melts away into a pool of pink and gold love!! Poor old anger…we Buddhists give it a heck of a hard time when it pops it’s ugly smelly old face up…

      Remember Cindi Lauper singing ‘girls just wanna have fu-unnn…’ ?

      Try ‘anger just wants to be lu-ah-vd’!!!!

      Much love to you and your anger.

  46. Thanks Albert
    Actually, I think the song was about Aboriginal land seized in the colonial days

    ‘It belongs to them…..We’ve got to give it back”

    The ‘Predator’ (LOL, LOL, LOL) will probably know.

    ‘How can we sleep while……

    WOMEN remain second class beings in the Buddhasasana?

    Go for it you Bikkhunis!!!

    I willingly prostrate my 50 year old male body to your collective fortitude. (I ain’t very willing to prostrate myself to a LARGE majority of the Bikkhu Sangha in Thailand.)

    Barry Hoben
    Thailand

    Gee, Maria’s gonna have me for breakfast I do believe! LOL

  47. Just a little THAI perspective here:

    I, a New Zealander, have been (happily) married to a Thai lady for 28 years.
    When I mentioned to my wife about the ordination of women by Ajahn Brahm she was “No, women cannot be monks”.

    Make of that what you will but I think my wife’s perspective would be fairly representative of the Thai population as a whole.

    I still love her! We just agree to disagree about this (and a few other things!) LOL

    Maria the Man. Well, well he/she would be right at home in Pattaya.

    Barry Hoben
    Thailand

    • Hoben,

      My girl friend (not girlfriend), who is well-educated, modernised and homosexual, also said without pause that it can’t be done in the Thai tradition. She even compared the severity of the offence of Ajahn Brahm’s involvement in the Bhikkhuni ordination to a crime of murder!

      I decided to stop talking about Bhikkhuni ordinations with her then and there before our friendship of 30 years will be beyond repair!

      Do you know that the famous Mae Chee Sansasee is said to oppose the establishment of the Bhikkhuni Sangha in Thailand, too?

    • Well then that really renders TFB to cult status, as people have been quite clearly brainwashed on the topic. However, that does not explain why ca. 75% of Thai monks support Bhikkhuni ordination (according to AfB sources)

    • Cultural conditioning goes very deep indeed and may take several generations to change views in Thailand. However, a major paradigm shift (as we are experiencing here) will certainly speed this up. In the end, this topic too shall pass….. :)

  48. The article above states that ‘no one owns the house of Budhist monastisism’ and nun’s should not be driven out of their monastic home. But isn’t that exactly what all this is about. Money and who pays the bills. Of course, it would be nice for everyone to choose to become a nun or monk and have everything provided for you at the expanse of lay people – but its certainly not a right. Western monks and nuns tend to be a pretty self selected group of people – some with real problems. If, in the Thai tradition they don’t want to provide for siladhara or bhikkshuni, surely that’s up to them – and as far as I can see – the Thai community in the monasteries you are repeatedly criticising do not want to provide for siladhara or bikhshuni though they are happy to provide for monks. If it’s just about having a ‘collective inheritance’ why not get together and start up a monastery of your own. If ‘the time has come’ siladhara and bhikhshuni should get lots of people willing to provide for them to live in a monastery with all the special attention and status and they want. The Dalai Lama can give you his blessing – as can Bhikkhu Bodhi and Bhante Gunaratana and everyone else you praise and you can have what you want. They you can let go of complaining about the Thai Forest Tradition and let them get on with their practice in the way that they want. It’s true isn’t it.

    • Sounds great to me… Can we also have a guarantee that such plans will not be deliberately, quietly and unwholesomely underminded by powerful forces within the WPP Sangha?

      Yeah…I thought not…

    • You’re incorrect. Everyone would be happy if the siladhara became bhikkhuni, moved out and built their own monastery and set up on their own – monks included as well as lay people. But they won’t do it. They keep hanging on to the Thai Forest Tradition for their financial support and comfort. Being a monk or a nun is not a right – lay people offer to support those we wish to support – who show they are worthy of offerings and respect. If they don’t want to support these women its fine. In a message above, Ajahn Sumedho leaving is mentioned like it was good news – its not – its awful news. We are left with people whose only dhamma is their own status, comfort and squabbling. Its a dark day for the dhamma. Why encourage it. Also Ajahn Brahm disowned and not invited to UN – all because of this status and squabbling. It’s a schism in the sangha whatever you say.

    • Ummm..have you answered my question?

      Perhaps have a re-read.

      Sorry to hear you are sad about Ajahn Sumedho leaving. I hope you find a good teacher.

      Also…who cares what i say…why not look up the Vinaya defintion of schism and see what the Buddha said? Just a thought.

      Much Metta.

    • Mooli,

      My apologies… i also needed to have a re-read!

      You have sort of answered my question but i must say that i find cold comfort in your answer.

      You said: ‘Everyone would be happy if the siladhara became bhikkhuni, moved out and built their own monastery and set up on their own – monks included as well as lay people.’

      Why did i find this cold? Cos it sounds as if you want to be rid of these nuns. You can’t wait til there gone. Good riddance to them.

      Is it unreasonable of these women who were drawn to your temple and your monastaries out of faith and love to ask for some loving support from those whom they look to as brothers, teachers and sources of inspiration.

      Sure, let them go to a bhikkuni monastary. But then will you never visit them? Will the monks at your places never help or teach them? Are they shut out of your world and their world?

    • oh my Mooli, lighten up! totally not schism:) it is a celebration that the bhikkhuni sangha is developing and things are happening according to the Buddha’s teachings. And there was no ‘hurray’ shouted anywhere here that Sumedho is leaving. We wish him all the best wherever he goes. Things always change. Abbots get old and retire or move, it’s natural. Part of samsara. A new abbott will come and we should look positively at the changes and see what will happen to Amaravati.

    • Dania and Kanchana, no problem with Bhikkhuni. Please carry on and do so immediately. But leave Thai Sangha alone. Siladhara who just want status and comfort and squabbling please become bhkkhuni and leave to become bhikkhuni. Please go to Australia. People even pay for them to leave. Nothing to lighten up about. This is very serious matter to all those who love the dhamma. Buddha’s teachings and vinaya being interpreted by you one way – being interpreted by thai forest sangha another way. You take your way we take our way. No more squabbling please. No conspiracy theory. Guarantee if all siladhara leave to go and start own bhikkhuni sangha by themselves no problem here.

    • aha! the ‘angry arahant’ has turned into Mooli!
      Mooli I know you! You are “AA” in disguise! :)
      hey i don’t know any Thai sangha so how can i be picking at the Thai Sangha? you have to make some sense Mooli in order for people to take you seriously.

      Listen mate, if it were about ‘status’ and for those who say bhikkhu/novice/male siladhara all the same, then the bhikkhus who are against bhikkhunis should become novices if it’s ‘all the same’. Let them be a male ‘mai chee’ if it’s all the same:) It’s not all the same. If it gives people more faith and inspiration in the practice of renunciation to shave their heads and wear the robes of the Buddha, then hey why not support them? I would like to see Ven. Sumedho become a siladhara if it’s all the same to him:)

  49. Yoh :My dear Dania
    OMG, I did not mean Bhikkhu Sangha with no Bhikkhunis in it.
    Bhikkhu Sangha comprises of Bhikkus & Bhikkunis with the 8 rules prescribed by Buddha. I was just quoting what Buddha established. Nothing more nothing less.
    FYI, i am not Maria, name is Yoh. What is your real name Anne?
    I will stop blogging here for good. Not fruitful for me.

    It’s not fruitful for you because you seem to have rather fixed views.
    You’re not a Taurus are you?

    (Apologies to all Taureans…but i happen to know alot about that ahem…stubbornness…ahem…persistance i mean.)

    And while it may hurt you not to be Ajahn Brahm’s ‘fan’…i rather doubt it will hurt him. He’s been trying to get us lot to be more independent and able to stand on our own two feet for ages now…about time some of us cut loose…

    Good luck Yoh. I really mean that. I hope you keep reading those suttas, just remember the Buddha probably wouldn’t have recommended that you read them blindly.

  50. sujato :Hi Kanchana,
    As for the motivations, I have no information so it would be mere speculation.
    As for the nuns attending the UN Vesak, I have the following information.
    Ayya Medhanandi, Ayya Mudita, Ajahn Anandabodhi and Ayya Tathaaloka were invited, together with a bhikkhuni delegate from the Bhavana Society; Bhante G has asked Ayya Sobhana to be that delegate. In addition, several Mahayana and Sri Lankan bhikkhunis, as well as Thai mae chi, have been invited. It seems there is a general support from within Mahacula, as well as, perhaps, the Sangha hierarchy generally, for participation of nuns. Ayya Tathaaloka has been encouraged by her teacher, the senior Thai monk Chao Kuhn Maha Prasert, to attend.

    WOOHOO!!! HURRAY!!! YES!

    That’s a wonderful list of lovely nuns. Sigh…:) :) :)

    Thanks for that gorgeous bit of infor. I can’t imagine these nuns being used in tokenistic power games. YIPPEEE!!!

  51. If anyone is interested, the excellent Al Jazeera Arab news outlet is even commenting on the issue of women ordaining.

    And whilst we are on the subject of Arab news outlets….Free Gaza. Free the Palestinian women and children. Return their stolen homeland. Here’s a Buddhist woman’s view on Gaza.

    • Terrific, thanks so much. Actually, we had gone a long way towards organizing an al-Jazeera special on the bhikkhuni ordination in perth. We dropped the idea since the nuns wanted to keep things quiet.

  52. Ah, got a very nice prompt response from Birken monastery. Ven. Sona is traveling but the person replying referred me to a hermitage in Canada run by a bhikkhuni!
    Cool! :)

    http://www.satisaraniya.ca/

    So there is a start of a bhikkuni sangha dedicated to living a monastic life in Ontario, Canada:)
    and… surprise surprise it’s in the town of Perth, Canada!

    from the website:
    “Sati Saraniya Hermitage is a Theravada Buddhist sanctuary and monastic community for women training in the bhikkhuni lineage, the first of its kind in Canada. “

    • “Town of Perth”? Interesting. :)

      As for Thailand, last year I asked a monk of over 10 vassas who gave good teachings and reportedly had a degree in engineering + an MBA what he thought of Bhikkhunis. His reply shook me: according to the Theravadin tradition, which is the only pure tradition, bhikkhuni ordinations are impossible but of course women can get ordained in Mahayana tradition. Like many others, he added that women can practice as laypeople.

      I’ve found it hard to go back to that monastery for his teachings. I still go there to give dana. The monaster is well managed and monks there seem well-behaved. BUT when it comes to teachings, I prefer listening to Aj Brahm’s talks on my MP3 or reading books on Ajahn Chah’s teachings.

    • Come and visit Dania. I am in Ottawa and you are welcome to stay at my place. Will be away for most of the summer. Ayya M teaches in Ottawa occasionally and is based about a 1.5 hour drive outside. I have not spent much time there as I recently moved here and travel too much. But if it makes your path easier, come, come. Metta

  53. Dania :aha! the ‘angry arahant’ has turned into Mooli!Mooli I know you! You are “AA” in disguise! hey i don’t know any Thai sangha so how can i be picking at the Thai Sangha? you have to make some sense Mooli in order for people to take you seriously.
    Listen mate, if it were about ‘status’ and for those who say bhikkhu/novice/male siladhara all the same, then the bhikkhus who are against bhikkhunis should become novices if it’s ‘all the same’. Let them be a male ‘mai chee’ if it’s all the same:) It’s not all the same. If it gives people more faith and inspiration in the practice of renunciation to shave their heads and wear the robes of the Buddha, then hey why not support them? I would like to see Ven. Sumedho become a siladhara if it’s all the same to him:)

    I don’t know who AA is and I’m not taking drugs like you accuse other people who you don’t agree with. This is how you debate. No one can demand to be provided for. Buddha said we should choose who we, as lay people, support when we see those worthy of offering and respect. Not people who squabble over status and comfort and financial support. No one is stopping anyone becoming anything as long as they can find their own support. You cannot demand that we have to support anyone. Let nuns strike out on their own, gain their own support, and then they may also gain respect from the lay community. I’m sorry Ajahn Brahm couldn’t go to UN meeting. No one wants all this trouble.

  54. Lisa Karuna :It is good training Dears Sisters. Undertaking this cause is not for the faint of heart. Mara sits on the fence trying to push each of us apart – one way to do that is to stir up fear or shame in speaking the truth. So we stare it right in the face and sharpen the sword. And when I can’t that’s when you come in. Or Dheerayupa, or Kanchana. hehe. Kalyanamitta

    And I am dancing across the tree-tops with my bow and arrows. We are all in this together dear Sisters.

  55. Mooli :
    There was wholehearted support – but things have changed since all the troubles started with demands for more status. In Thai tradition there are no nuns – no bhikkhuni. If siladhara want more status – they have to move to Australia or somewhere else. Let us all now choose our option and move on. Plenty of places now for these status seeking women to go. Leave those who wish to practice the dhamma and free themselves from becoming anything to practice in peace.

    Mooli, you might not realize that monkhood is also a status. It is a very high status. Even the king of Thailand has to bow down before a bhikkhu.

    It is because of the status that the Theravada ordination lineage has survived at all. And it is because of the status that the monks get the support they need to practice.

  56. Mooli :Dania and Kanchana, no problem with Bhikkhuni. Please carry on and do so immediately. But leave Thai Sangha alone. Siladhara who just want status and comfort and squabbling please become bhkkhuni and leave to become bhikkhuni. Please go to Australia. People even pay for them to leave. Nothing to lighten up about. This is very serious matter to all those who love the dhamma. Buddha’s teachings and vinaya being interpreted by you one way – being interpreted by thai forest sangha another way. You take your way we take our way. No more squabbling please. No conspiracy theory. Guarantee if all siladhara leave to go and start own bhikkhuni sangha by themselves no problem here.

    Mooli you sound like you are in a great deal of pain. I’m sorry.

    Please look at what you have written. You start by saying that there’s no problem with Bhikkunis…but the tone of your writing states otherwise. Clearly you do have a problem with bhikkunis.

    Is it because you think it’s about status?

    I’m sorry you think that. If i thought that i’d feel the same way as you.

    It’s about much more that status.

    It sounds as if you are in the UK.

    If you ever get a chance to visit the Bhikkunis in Perth, i recommend it.

    You will see 4 ordinary women with a lot of faith and love for the Triple Gem. Knowing them to the extent that i do i can honestly say they really dont’ want fame, money or status.

    They seem to be happiest when they are in the secluded monastary. They are very quiet and little seen. The best way of seeing them is to go and visit them. In some ways they are rather hermit like.

    The Abbot there used to teach more but due to illness no longer teaches. I think, knowing her as i do, that she is happier when no one is around and she is not speaking. I’d say she’s a solitude lover not a status lover.

    However with regard to status, I love what Californian said before and as i can’t say it any better i’m just going to quote him:

    ‘Mooli, you might not realize that monkhood is also a status. It is a very high status. Even the king of Thailand has to bow down before a bhikkhu.

    It is because of the status that the Theravada ordination lineage has survived at all. And it is because of the status that the monks get the support they need to practice.’

    Wishing you well. It doesn’t have to be the dark and painful way you think it may be. All the very best.

    • Thank you for your concern Kanchana. I’m sure you are nice person but I’m not in pain. I’m trying to get accross that women who don’t like the traditions of the Thai sangha should try somewhere else. Bloggers here are getting muddled with 5 points for siladhara in UK and bhikkhuni ordinations in Australia. No point blogging anymore. I’m sure bhikkhuni in Australia are very noble and sincere. But the women who wrote the article we are talking about were siladhara in UK – and there are still siladhara in UK who can’t stop criticising their own tradition and Luang Por Sumedho even though he put a roof over their heads and fed them and gave them everything they needed to free themselves from their delusions. I just wnat to suggest why they don’t go to Australia or anywhere else to become bhikkhui or whatever status they want. Why don’t they venture out on their own or move to another tradition where its ok to be bhikkhuni or whatever they want?

    • Dear Mooli, The current situation is this: there are plenty of monasteries worldwide for men to ordain and there is hardly a choice for women. Firstly, it is clear that the Buddha established a female monastic Sangha.
      Secondly, we want it to strengthen and develop so that it is easily accessible to women who have faith and want to live the renunciate life to the MAX.

      That is why we are putting this effort in. So that half of the population can practice this beautiful path of peace, renunciation, gain wisdom and leave samsara. This is probably the most important thing we can do at this time: to allow half the population the possibility to leave samsara. For those that would like to, to give them the chance where currently the chance hardly exists or is very difficult.

      Just because you do not understand, does not mean you can discourage those that want to support female monastic life. Hopefully may you one day understand and stop making this bad kamma of discouraging monastic life for women.

    • Yy final blog. Dania, sorry to say you can’t keep on topic. Just keep repeating what you want and not listening. I understand that women can lead monastic life and so they should But authors of this article and other siladhara criticise their own tradition where historically there is no bhikkhuni. There are a growing number of bhikkhuni in other places so why not go to other places instead of moaning as siladhara and losing all respect from lay people. If half of women want to become bhikkhuni that’s fine. Set up monasteries and press on. I’m suggesting that ex-siladhara who wrote this article and current siladhara who are complaining join with half of all women and set up bhikkhuni monasteries. Where’s the problem. If my wife does not like me any more she will leave me and find somewhere or someone more suitable. No problem. Lay people are free to support those who are worthy of offering and worthy of respect. We will choose who we support according to our culture and traditions. You choose who you want to support. Fine.

    • Dear Mooli

      Thank you for you kind words (in a previous post)…however i refer now to this statement of yours:

      ‘There are a growing number of bhikkhuni in other places so why not go to other places instead of moaning as siladhara and losing all respect from lay people.’

      Reading this Mooli, it does still seem to me that you are in pain. You sound so angry; when i am angry i know i am in pain.

      Wishing you all the best.

  57. Zachary :I’m sorry but this discussion smells a little of politics… By what I mean is, those who support the bhikkhuni movement condemn only the Ajahns in England. Those who are against the Bhikkhuni movement deem only Ajahn Brahm as unethical. I think there should be some effort to regard both sides as dealing with things in a more organical manner.respectfully,Zack

    Zach,
    the only reason many lay members world-wide are in opposition to the Ajahns in England is because they are the ones who drafted the notorious 5-points. Rules that are not in accordance with the Lord Buddha establishment of the Bhikkuni Order, and these 5-points resulted in some very disparaging treatment of female Nuns in their tradition. This is not about politics. It is about following the Buddha and treating female monastics with due respect.

  58. The essential first step in eliminating discrimination against women and female ordination in the Thai Forest Sangha is publicly acknowledging that such discrimination exists. Wide discussion of the traditional institutions, policies, practices, stereotypes – and yes, individuals – that work to subordinate women in Buddhism directly and indirectly leads towards improving the situation of women. Thank you to Thanissara, Jitindriya, and Cintamani for writing this article, to the The Buddhadharma for publishing it, to Bhante Sujato for this public discussion forum, and to all those whose actions and intentions are grounded in improving the worldly experience of all beings, including women.
    With joined palms,
    Brenda

  59. Hello Bhante,

    I asked a question above which you haven’t answered, possibly because it was somewhat long-winded. So succintly, what is your opinion about monks saluting bhikkhunis who have been ordained longer than them? I know this is an issue at these times.

    According to Ajahn Thanissaro: “Cv.X.3 repeats Cv.VI.6.5 to reinforce the first rule of respect: that a bhikkhu may not bow down, rise up to greet, perform añjali, or perform other forms of respect due to superiors to a woman, even if she is a bhikkhunī.”

    But that isn’t in the Patimokkha so it’s status isn’t so clear. What are your thoughts on it?

    Thanks!

  60. Mooli said: ‘ But the women who wrote the article we are talking about were siladhara in UK – and there are still siladhara in UK who can’t stop criticising their own tradition and Luang Por Sumedho even though he put a roof over their heads and fed them and gave them everything they needed to free themselves from their delusions. I just wnat to suggest why they don’t go to Australia or anywhere else to become bhikkhui or whatever status they want.’

    Dear Mooli,

    Is this how you repay Luang Por Sumedho? If you are a product of his teachings and conditioning then it would seem that he has taught you to shut your heart to those who are critical of you and shut the doors of the temple to them too.

    Your temples and monastaries are these women’s homes.

    Their brothers – the monks – have a say in how their home is but not them? Is this what you have been taught.

    ***

    Mooli said: ‘But isn’t that exactly what all this is about. Money and who pays the bills. ‘

    Have you been taught that men and women go forth out of a need for material comfort? I’ve been taught they go forth out of faith in the Triple Gem and for the sake of Nibbana.

    It’s interesting that Mooli has said as either Dania/Lisa reported that Ven Sona says that it’s a question of economics.

    Did Ven Sona elaborate on what he meant by this?

    Metta to all.

    • Kanchana, really this is ridiculous. I don’t know how you are feeling and you don’t know how I am feeling. You keep telling me I’m in pain or angry – am I hungry and sleepy too – do you have psychic powers? This is ridiculous. I’m feeling very well thankyou and just trying to get my point of view across. How would you appreciate it if I kept telling you how you felt? You need to conquer this aspect of your reasoning when you think you can tell other people how they think and feel. Actually you are also wrong about the siladhara. It is a question of economics. A group of women who chose themselves to become spiritual aspirants – whether they have emotional of mental problems or not – whether they are lesbians or not – come to the temple and ask to be supported. The sangha and lay supporters agree to pay for their upkeep so that they can practice in the Forest Sangha Tradition of Ajahn Chah. Now,they spend their time criticising the support they have been given – demanding that support as a right – assuming hard working lay people have to pay for their upkeep no matter what. It’s very ugly behaviour. There is no humility – no appreciation of the gift they have been given. You’re right, I do feel irritated now, but it’s by your silly comments not by the beauty of the dhamma and sangha. The sangha lives off the alms of the lay people – they take what is offered – they do not say how things are or what they want. Their training is to go beyond wanting and dictating what they want to accept what is offered. Thai people are so generous in what is offered but this is not enough for these status seeking women. Now they want bhikkhuni status but without any bhikkhuni rules to follow. We have put up with years of this nonsense – I hope everyone speeks out what has been happening.

    • p.s I am also proud that Luang Por Sumedho has taught me the importance of being a lay person and my practice and support. I know the importance of my role as a lay person – and I have self respect so that I cannot be bullied into offering to those who are not worthy.

      Kanchana and Dania, you both want to tell me how I feel, what I think. I don’t understand this – I’m this – I’m that. Stick to the facts of the debate and argue with reason not with what you immagine others think and feel and your idealogy of how we should all be. Different people have different traditions. Allow others the dignity to express themselves and discuss facts about what is happening. And if you don’t have facts, dont make them up.

    • Mooli, It’s nothing about ‘status’ since Buddha said that you renounce all status when you enter the renunciate life. Women have the right to follow in the Buddha’s footsepts. It gives them more faith and energy to practice knowing they are following the path the Buddha recommended. This opportunity should not be denied.
      You just blamed Kancana with no foundation to assume your state of mind and now as a hypocrite you are assuming the siladhara’s state of mind. How do you know if they feel grateful or not?
      Our job as lay supporters is to offer them the possibility to practice the monastic life as Buddha laid down. We cannot judge another person and we do not know their level of appreciation and it is not our right to assume. If someone wishes to live the monastic life does not mean they aren’t grateful for the support they have already had.

    • I am not a hypocrite. You can only insult Thai people. Take drugs – mad etc etc.

      I can tell the siladhara are not grateful by the arrogant way they behave – and the large number of things they expect – what I see – not what I think.

      Look in your own mind and feelings before you tell me to look into mine. And stick to the facts.

    • Also, buddha said we should renounce status – but ignorant people think the robe gives them status to behave in an arrogant way always demanding and criticising the tradition that has looked after them.

    • Mooli said: ‘The sangha and lay supporters agree to pay for their upkeep so that they can practice in the Forest Sangha Tradition of Ajahn Chah.’

      This statement serves to highlight the vulnerability of the 10 precept nuns:

      They are neither Sangha nor layperson. The ‘sangha’ in Mooli’s statement seems to refer to the fully ordained monks. (And indeed, technically, the novice monks on 10 precepts and the 10 precept nuns, are not a part of the Sangha per se…although i’ve been told they can be considered to be a sub-set within the Sangha). Thus the monks and the laity (on 5 or 8) precepts are those who do the ‘agreeing to pay for upkeep’ and the 10 precept nuns have no say. Going by this statement of Mooli’s, it would seem that only the monks and laity have some say.

      ***

      Mooli said: ‘The sangha lives off the alms of the lay people – they take what is offered – they do not say how things are or what they want.’

      Yes, they are indeed alms mendicants.

      As to not saying how things are. Well clearly that is wrong. The most obvious way that highlights this is when they give a Dhamma talk. I assume that generally a Dhamma talk draws on the recent experiences of the speaker. In a profound sense, the Dhamma is exactly ‘how things are’.

      As to not saying what they want. Again this is wrong. My understanding is that there are clear guidelines about how a monk can state what they want. In relation to alms for example:

      1. If they choose there food when it’s spread out on a table ‘buffet style’ they can point to what they prefer.

      2. A layperson can say to a monk, I’d like to offer you something worth such and such dollars…what would you like?

      Furthermore, in relation to monks relating to other monks and in relation to how the monastary is run and decisions that affect the entire community…my understanding is that the Buddha set up quite specific guidelines within the democratic (yes, the Buddha knew about democracy; Siddhatta Gotama actually grew up in a type of democracy) structures of the Bhikku Vinaya which most Western monks (to my knowledge) keep scrupulously.

      These structures govern how decisions are made, how monks interact with each other even when difficulties arise amongst them; even the most junior monk is supposed to have a voice. These structures give them fair, peaceful ways of having a voice, a say, in how their home is run and also in finding ways of skillfully and honestly resolving conflicts.

      These are a few examples of the various safety nets provided by the Bhikku Vinaya. The 5 points do not provide the Siladharas with the safety nets the Bhikkuni Vinaya would provide.

    • Mooli,

      You are quite correct, i did assume how you were feeling based on my perceptions of some of your writing:

      ‘why not go to other places instead of moaning as siladhara’

      ‘Please go to Australia. People even pay for them to leave.’

      It sounded as if you were upset and rather disliked the Siladhara.

      My apologies for making these assumptions.

  61. Mooli said: ‘If my wife does not like me any more she will leave me and find somewhere or someone more suitable. No problem.’

    Just to comment on the above analogy which was used by Mooli in reference to the Siladharas; he’s basically suggesting that they leave if they don’t like where they are.

    I’d suggest that it’s normal within any relationship (parents and children, brothers and sisters) to dislike each other from time to time. Yet the Dhamma doesn’t teach us to run away.

    Within closeness one finds friction as well as friendship. The Dhamma teaches us to improve our perceptions, our reactions. It teaches us when and how to communicate/ negotiate. It acknowledges that things can get heated and it recommends forgiveness and self-reflection.

    From what i’ve seen, a healthy relationship is one within which it’s safe to argue, safe to be human, safe to be unenlightened human; it’s safe because all parties know that despite what happens, despite what’s said there will be love, forgiveness and understanding.

    Thus i can understand why the Siladharas are not leaving. They love Amaravati and Chithurst. They love Ajahn Sumedho. They love the tradition that they were so drawn to, the tradition that inspired them to give everything up and go forth.

    I can understand how things can become heated. Yet I know through direct experience that it’s possible to have love and forgiveness as a safety net even when there is conflict.

    • Very nice Kancana. that’s right, we can always try to work things out with forgiveness and giving people a chance rather than running away:)

  62. Hi there everybody,

    I have not visited this blog for some time. I am shocked that you guys/gals are still arguing and all of you now do not stand on ceremony anymore. Previously, it started off very courteous and respectful but i now find it has become very personal and emotional.

    I am here not to blog but to appeal to Ajahn Brahm & Ajahn Sujato to discontinue this kind of irresponsible and child-like dialogue to address a controversial issue. Instead of pacifying the commentators and situations, you in fact encourage this kind of behaviour to incite hatred, anger and ill-will out of disactisfaction,frustration and intolerance.

    This is a borderless web and accessible to the world. You have no idea at all what level of Buddhists and non-Buddhists you are addressing here. There may be those who are emotional, those who are vindictive, those who are extremely depressed and those who are new comers.

    Most of the lay buddhists here are either untrained or unskillful in handling their feelings and emotions and might have very adverse impact on some and we do not know whether they are handling all these well or not or some may take it badly and personally or over-react by doing unskilful things. For you and Ajahn Brahm and the other members of the Sangha who have trained in the forest and by your Teachers on meditation, you are skillful in handling emotions and not being affected by whatever emotions, criticisms etc but not the majority of those who blog and read your blog.

    Another thing i noticed here is, most of them end their comments with “Metta”, much Metta and Ajahn Brahm’s Mega Metta but can we raditate Metta when we are in such a mindframe and in a state of anger, hatred, vengefulness and negativity? Sounds a bit hypocrite, isn’t it?

    The way i see it, all these comments and dialogues here are doing more harm than good.They are heading no where. Surely there can be a more mature & civilized platform or avenue for all of us to resolve this issue. Those who are in silence does not mean they are passive.

    If all of you are honest in forgiveness and reconciliation, do you think by commenting in this manner and retaliation will help? For me, I look at it like, it is not truthful in asking for forgiveness and truthfully want to reconcile. It is like passing the ball to the other side and if the other side do not respond then they are the ones not forgiving or do not want to reconcile. It is going to be a ding dong game.

    If you are serious about it, firstly stop all these criticizing of each other.

    May reconciliation materialized by right approach and sincerity and work towards it in a peaceful manner. Hope it works out. We tell others we Buddhist are peaceful people but are we really peaceful people? Action speaks louder than words.

    For those of you in Perth who have not visited South East Asia, you are most welcome as most of the countries here are very progressive and advancced, and not conventional and backward. However, in the midst of progress & modernization, we try to preserve and conserve cultures, traditions and heritage of Buddhism and we do not allow modernization to stain our heritage, culture and traditions. When you visit, you will appreciate it.

    Truthfully yours in the Dhamma. – Lay Buddhist from S.E.A.

    • Hello Truly Asia

      If i sign off with Metta, i mean it. :)

      I can strongly disagree with someone, really not like what they’ve said but still wish them well and hope they are doing alright.

      I know that i can do this because i know what it feels like when i can’t do this!!! That is, i know the difference…i know what it feels like when i’m so angry that i’ve completely forgotten Metta. It’s a much nicer feeling when that kind, friendly, loving feeling is not totally lost to me. :)

      I think most people who are here have enough respect for the Buddha’s teaching and will therefore be honest about their feelings. It’s true we haven’t always been skillful…but no one’s perfect. Thank goodness ‘forgiveness’ is such an important part of the Dhamma. May we readily forgive ourselves and each other. I hope you will forgive me for any offense caused by any unskillful writing on my part. Thank you, sincerely meant, for the reminder.

      With Metta.

    • Dear Truly,

      Truly wrote: “I am here not to blog but to appeal to Ajahn Brahm & Ajahn Sujato to discontinue this kind of irresponsible and child-like dialogue to address a controversial issue.”

      Perhaps you have a better idea that you would like to recommend to everyone. We would love to hear it. Please share with us.

      I believe addressing and finding the answer to a serious issue is much better than sweeping it under the carpet.

      Truly wrote:”For you and Ajahn Brahm and the other members of the Sangha who have trained in the forest and by your Teachers on meditation, you are skillful in handling emotions and not being affected by whatever emotions, criticisms etc but not the majority of those who blog and read your blog.”

      I believe a lot of people are mature adults who can discuss and debate issues in Buddhism just fine. If you feel that it is too much for you to handle, maybe it is best to find something more entertaining to read or watch.

      “Another thing i noticed here is, most of them end their comments with “Metta”, much Metta and Ajahn Brahm’s Mega Metta but can we raditate Metta when we are in such a mindframe and in a state of anger, hatred, vengefulness and negativity? Sounds a bit hypocrite, isn’t it?”

      “Hatred” and “vengefulness” are strong words to project on others. We can’t really get into someone’s mind, so can we say that we know for sure that they are hatred, and vengeful.

      Personally, I don’t even hate the monks that are against bhikkhuni ordination much less anyone who merely engage in the discussions. After all, they are the Buddha’s disciples. How can you hate them. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you would want to spoil them to the point where they can do things like molest children, have mistress, car collections, abusing other monks, etc.. and not say a word. It is possible to not condone someone’s harmful actions and still have metta for the person.

      People compare metta to the love of a mother for her child. Let’s say your son play with fire or beat up the younger brother, will you not say anything. Does loving your son means that you should sit there and watch quietly as he abuses your younger child.

      ” Surely there can be a more mature & civilized platform or avenue for all of us to resolve this issue.”

      Ajahn Brahm suggested that the WAM is a good time and place to sit down together and discuss the issue. But it was refused. People did try to send in their letters, but it wasn’t a solution. Maybe you have a good idea you might want to share.

      “asking for forgiveness and truthfully want to reconcile. It is like passing the ball to the other side and if the other side do not respond then they are the ones not forgiving or do not want to reconcile. It is going to be a ding dong game.”

      Someone from the other party said that whatever they choose it is their choice and that we need to respect that. I thought it is a little odd that someone talked about the importance of respecting other’s view after all the harassment that Ajahn Brahm had to go through for following his heart. If they have respect and toleration for other’s choice , then none of us would have to be here in the first place.

      We have no issue respecting other’s choices. But how practical is it going to be if only one party is doing the respecting , and the other continue to suppress. It is only reasonable to suggest that both party need to commit to this. There needs to be reciprocation for it to work. It is not a ping pong game . It is a reasonable suggestion.

      ” We tell others we Buddhist are peaceful people but are we really peaceful people? Action speaks louder than words.”

      Issues arise in every religion. No one is seeking problems, but whenever problems arise we still need to deal with it in a non-violence manner. Dialogue and talking things out is the best way we know for many situations. Again, if you have a better idea please feel free to share with everyone.

  63. The new issue of “Present | The Voices and Activities of Theravadan Buddhist Women”, published by the Alliance for Bhikkhunis, in online now. It features a brilliant article by Thanissara entitled “Take It or leave It and the Ground in Between,” an excellent article by Saccavadi on discrimination against women in Burma, an article by Ven. Anaalayo in which he re-examines the Bahudhātuka-sutta, and much more. Check it out!

    http://bhikkhuni.net/present/index.html

    • Thanks SO much for this link Brenda. I’ve only read Thanissara’s article so far, and it is truly exquisite.

    • Yes, I second that. I’ve just read Thanissara’s article and it is breathtaking. So sane, so deep, so true. Thank you, Thanissara.

      Bh. Sujato, can you please make a blog post about the new Present so people are aware and can discuss?

  64. Hi to all Buddhists here,

    I had a glimpse of all the differences in opinions and views here.

    I would like to wish everyone A Happy Peaceful Vesak Day and Sokhihotu.

    Time has come for us all to move on as all of us are different in a good noble way and that made us interesting living together in this world.

    Life would be boring if we were the same. You may not agree, but this is how I see people and the world as they are.

    We should all move on peacefully, in this auspicious day, as a mark of respect for everyone regardless of our differences.

  65. Hi, i read somewhere on this blog website that Bhante G disregarded the 8 garudhammas. It’s quite inspiring and I admire this. Does anyone know how the lay community and monastics regarded this? A big SADHU for Bhante G! :)

    • Hi Diana…I don’t know what the ‘authorities’ think – (I remember teaching a retreat in S.Africa – when a young woman asked me about gender discrimination in Buddhist monasticism – after my waffle on of a reply – she cut to the quick and said – ‘Who owns Buddhism anyway?’) So as I was saying – People who want to be authorities – good luck to them..
      BUT – IM not so HO the Garudhammas have to go… for Buddhism to have the bright future it deserves – at least bright monastic future..

  66. For those still following the Bhikkhuni debate.
    A letter from Sister Ananadabodhi and Sister Santacitta.

    Dear Friends in Dhamma,

    Warm greetings from Aloka Vihara.
    Firstly, we would like to express our gratitude to all who contribute in any way to the beautiful community that has gathered around Aloka Vihara. We very much appreciate this precious opportunity to live and practice here, and the possibilities it brings.

    Some of you will know that our nuns’ community at Aloka Vihara has gone through many changes in this first year since our arrival. We would like to share more of where we are in regards to our taking root in this fertile soil of the Bay Area.

    We are living in an historic period where the unfolding of full participation and ordination for women is happening in most world religions. Our community is no exception: When we came here for the first time in January 2008, our intention was to look into establishing a training monastery for siladhara. As three sisters who have trained in the UK monasteries for about 18 years, we each felt ready to enter a space of new growth, inwardly and outwardly.

    Meanwhile in our own communities in the UK, the response to the international attention on the position of women and the feminine in Buddhism, was to reaffirm a conservative stance. In October of 2009, just shortly before our move to the Bay Area, we as a community of siladhara in the UK, agreed to the ‘Five Points’ in order for siladhara ordination to continue:
    (http://www.forestsangha.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=381%3Awhere-we-are-now&catid=17%3Anews-g-from-the-monasteries&Itemid=8).

    Saranaloka Foundation is the first trust that has been established with the specific intention of supporting nuns of the Thai Forest Tradition of Ajahn Chah and Ajahn Sumedho. Our heartfelt wish in coming here, was to establish a training monastery for nuns within our lineage; an aspiration that was complicated by the imposition of the ‘Five Points’ in August 2009.

    Since our arrival here in December of 2009, we recognize more and more the impact on our hearts of those ‘Five Points’ and the vulnerability of the siladhara ordination, which is valid only in the Ajahn Chah / Ajahn Sumedho lineage. The training itself has been of immense value to us on our Path and we are deeply grateful to have had the opportunity to train with the siladhara for so many years. Now, living outside of our larger communities in England, we feel unable to pass on the ‘Five Points’ to other women wishing to live the renunciant life. Our own process is a movement of the heart; responding to the ‘Five Points’ and the conditions which gave rise to them.

    The ready availability in the US of bhikkhuni ordination, the ordination given by the Buddha, offers us a new platform for the establishment of a training monastery for women. Taking all these things into consideration, we have come to the decision to move towards taking bhikkhuni ordination to provide a stronger container to pass on to other women. In keeping with the ‘Five Points’ we will take leave of the Ajahn Chah / Ajahn Sumedho lineage in order to later receive full ordination.

    We have already informed the elders of our community of this intention and will formally ask forgiveness and take leave of our community in April 2011, when all the nuns and other elders will be gathered at Amaravati. We recognize that this is a huge step and truly want to honor all that we have received over the years.

    Having considered this very deeply, we feel the loss and turbulence that such a big step inevitably brings. We experience this within ourselves, and some of you may also feel this in regard to the changes. We want to acknowledge the many questions and inner inquiry our move may stimulate in you, our friends and supporters. The creative tension is very evident.

    We feel a strong heart connection with the siladhara community in the UK, wishing that they flourish in their practice. The aspiration towards liberation and providing a sustainable form of training for women samanas is a goal we all share.

    We want to acknowledge Ajahn Metta’s presence and input during the initial phase of Aloka Vihara and thank her for all that she has contributed. Ajahn Thitamedha and Sister Sumedha have also spent time with us here and expressed how important it has been for them to experience and take part in the evolution of Aloka Vihara.

    This process has sometimes been quite rocky and although at times we would have liked it to have been gentler, we feel it has been similar to ploughing a fertile field, to prepare it for planting. We thank you all for your generous support and interest in our project so far. We continue to be committed to our vision of establishing a training monastery for Theravadan nuns, practicing in the Forest Tradition; a style which is found in all Buddhist schools.

    The Forest style of practice emphasizes renunciation, simplicity and meditation as a path of awakening. When the time is ripe, we intend to relocate to a rural setting, more suitable to the Forest style of practice. In the mean time we are very happy to stay at Aloka Vihara with its peaceful presence and close accessibility for our community, the wild ocean and beautiful Golden Gate Park.

    We look forward to seeing you at Aloka Vihara, though we recognize that some of you may no longer feel congruent with the unfolding of our vision. We regret any disappointment this may cause and look forward to welcoming all of you as part of our evolving community.

    With much gratitude to you all for your support of Aloka Vihara in so many ways.
    Many blessings in Dhamma,

    Sister Anandabodhi and Sister Santacitta

    Aloka Vihara
    1632 48th Avenue
    San Francisco
    CA 94122 USA
    Tel 415-6819359
    http://www.saranaloka.org
    http://www.buddhistglobalrelief.org

    • A follow on letter from Jill Boone – Board member of Saranaloka.

      Dear Friends of Saranaloka,

      I am writing to follow up on the recent letter from Ajahn Anandabodhi
      and Ajahn Santacitta. The vision of the Saranaloka Foundation is to
      support the expansion of possibilities for women in the west to pursue
      the dhamma in a monastic form and to deepen their practice for the
      benefit of all. The original form of our vision was to support a
      women’s monastic community for siladhara in the Ajahn Chah lineage.

      Going forward, we will continue to offer support to the siladhara
      visiting and teaching in the United States. In addition, after
      extensive research, discussion, and thoughtful consideration, the
      Board of Directors has decided to expand its vision to support the
      Aloka Vihara nuns in their pursuit of bhikkhuni ordination, which is
      not possible for siladhara.

      The weekly routine at the vihara and the style of practice will remain
      the same, and we hope you will continue to visit and support the nuns.

      More information about this evolution will be provided on the website
      in the coming weeks. In addition we will be communicating directly
      with our donors. You are invited to attend supporters’ meetings on
      Nov. 28 at 3 pm and Jan. 9 at 1 pm at the Aloka Vihara.

      Thank you again for your support of the nuns and the Saranaloka
      Foundation.

      Jill Boone
      President
      Saranaloka Foundation

    • Could someone please direct me as to what are, or where are the exact teachings, sutas written by the Buddha that have been interpreted as meaning women should not be ordained or are not capable of being enlightened?

      Certainly in the Tibetan Tradition from the little I know of it there are some passages that could be interpreted this way but it also depends on just that how you interpret. I don’t think women should expect to be treated with ‘kid gloves’ either, especially if men aren’t so I would hardly think a few criticism of women would constitute discrimination and are possibly completely justifiable. There are plenty of women who are quite evil just like men, but there is no one woman and lots of different women, more good than bad, all with different desires and afflictions justl ike men. In Tibetan Tradition even though there is alot of patriachy women are revered, and respected it is more the cultural aspect of the countries they live in that is the problem. I found it quite disgusting to read that one women who had the same parents, education, karma and culture as her brother ended up cleaning houses whereas her brother is considered one of the great teachers of the tradition. Now she is considered a great female teacher but still I bet her brother never have to clean houses!

    • Thank you Sisters Anandabodhi and Santacitta. This is deeply moving news. I wish you and all around you well as you all move along the path you have chosen.

      Thank you Jill and Saranaloka.

      Thank you Thanissara.

    • Beautiful letter, and I am also so deeply touched by this news. Although I do not know either of them. I had tears flowing onto the keyboard as I read the letter from Ajahn Anandabodhi and Ajahn Santacitta All good wishes for deepest peace and freedom on your path (please pass this on to the sisters, Thanissara). I felt a similar wave and mixture of feelings, which are difficult to articulate concisely, when I read about Ajahn Thanasanti’s ordination.

      And thank you Thanissara, and all the many others involved, for all you do. Again, I do not know you personally but I feel immense gratitude to you. It is not easy being at the forefront or negotiating these winds of change… It is not easy taking leave of a community one has been part of for so long (nor to stay, for that matter). All good wishes (and sadhus for your continuing courage and practice) to those who have chosen to leave, both those remaining as nuns (or monks) and those taking up lay life, as well as those who are staying within the Ajahn Chah/Sumedho communities.

      May we all, monastic or lay, have the freedom and support to continue to nourish the practice of awakening through whatever vehicle we choose, and through the communities and practices that mostly deeply resonate for us. It is my hope that someday it will be possible for Bhikkhunis to be recognized and supported within the Ajahn Chah and Sumedho lineage.

      Whether this eventually occurs or not, I am touched, inspired and in full support of the following sentiment expressed in their letter:
      “We continue to be committed to our vision of establishing a training monastery for Theravadan nuns, practicing in the Forest Tradition; a style which is found in all Buddhist schools. The Forest style of practice emphasizes renunciation, simplicity and meditation as a path of awakening. When the time is ripe, we intend to relocate to a rural setting, more suitable to the Forest style of practice.”

      May it be so!

  67. I don’t know what it is that impels some of us to follow the path, but it is joyful to recognise it in others and to form spiritual friendships.
    These friendships can and should transcend conceptual boundaries which is just as well because we all need to feel the path for ourselves (although it is nice to have companions along the way) and there do seem to be so many paths through the woods even if they meander towards the same source.
    I am aware of the largely unaligned path that I have been following for a very long time. I have seen major upheavals in Buddhism before but the issues have been complex and blurred. The furore surrounding the 5 points and Bhikkhuni ordination is more clear-cut and links to female ordination across religions as well as cultural clashes on other fronts within Buddhism. The responses are often powerful, illogical and primitive and have engendered a great deal of pain to many. Such pain is often the precursor to greater spiritual development. Even so, I don’t like to see my friends (of all persuasions) suffering.
    Therefore I am glad to see Sisters Anandabodhi and Santacitta venturing forward into a more recognised and less proscribed form where I hope they can flourish. It must be immensely liberating for them to choose their robes and their affiliations rather than having a body of monks deciding what they think is possible or good for them. We shall respect them for their decision to show an outward form that best suits their inward inclination at this time.
    In the overall evolution of course, robes do not give one insight (although they can be very useful for giving instant recognition to others); nor does disrobing remove insight.
    The beleaguered Siladhara have chosen a number of different solutions to the situations forced upon them. Some are leaving the monasteries but staying in robes while others are disrobing.
    I would like to mention one who is indicative of this. Sister Sumedha is disrobing soon. She it was who, when things were at their worst put her own name to a well penned addition to the petition. Such courage is needed to follow the path and she has decided that for her it is best followed out of these robes, these rules. This is beautifully set out by her on the Women in the Forest Tradition Facebook site (public).
    Things are changing faster now and not just at the obvious front. The old idea of a monastery supported by a generous local population or of monks living simply in the forest is being superseded by more sophisticated but less transparent models and now by sangha groups connected by internet. I am grateful to these sites for opening up so much exciting information to work on and develop through. I do hope that they can keep up with the Sumedhas of this world as well as the Anandabodhis because I suspect that a network of spiritual friends will prove to be quite effective in at least providing an alternative to the hierarchical physical sites in danger of sliding into a Gormenghast of rules and rituals or indeed of their opposite, a lax institution with no accountability.

  68. Err…, well, you can keep repeating that statement like a broken record, it doesn’t make it true.

    Have you actually examined any of the relevant scholarship?

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