Turns of events

It’s now a year and a half since Ajahn Brahm and Bodhinyana monastery were excommunicated from their monastic circle, Wat Pa Pong, for disobeying orders by ordaining women in accordance with the Buddha’s teachings.

Has anything got better?

Short answer: not so you’d notice.

Long answer:

Ajahn Brahm has been in discussions with some of the WPP Ajahns overseas, trying to arrange a forgiveness ceremony, to let go and move ahead. He is clear that neither he nor his Sangha are interested to rejoin Wat Pa Pong. They do, however, want WPP to stop the active campaign of cutting Ajahn Brahm and his monks out of communion, requiring that Ajahn Brahm’s monks effectively disown him as a teacher if they stay in a WPP monastery, and so on. After several discussions where such a move seemed hopeful, suddenly the word came from the WPP Ajahns: ‘It’s not time yet’.

I wasn’t aware there was a right time for forgiveness.

Having just spent a few weeks in Bodhinyana, when these issues were discussed regularly, I can confirm that there is a lot of pain and disappointment at WPP’s actions among both the lay and ordained communities. In speaking with Ajahn Brahm, however, I never heard him do anything other than seek for a way to resolve the conflict. There was no criticism, no sign of ill-will, only the question: ‘How do we get over this?’

Meanwhile, a serious situation of conflict at the branch monastery in Wellington, New Zealand has arisen. A little background is in order. The monastery was established around the same time as Bodhinyana in Perth, and by coincidence they chose a similar name, Bodhinyanarama (after Ajahn Chah’s Pali name). Bodhinyana was established by inviting monks from Thailand. However, Bodhinyanarama was established with monks from England, and hence they have always been part of the ‘Amaravati circle’. Like Bodhinyana, however, Bodhinyanarama was set up by a pre-existing Buddhist society operating as a charitable association, the Wellington Theravada Buddhist Association (WTBA), which purchased the land, developed the monastery, and holds the title.

Bodhiyanarama enjoyed its glory days early on, under the leadership of Ajahn Viradhammo, when it expanded to become a sizable and thriving monastery. Since he left it has dwindled, and for many years now has rarely housed more than one or two monks. Bhikkhunis are not welcome.

Now, Ajahn Tiradhammo, the current abbot, wishes to change the legal basis of the organization. He wishes to change the constitution of the charitable association, with its open membership and democratically elected committee, and replace it with a model under which the stewards are appointed by the sangha and the abbot is appointed from Wat Pa Pong and Amaravati, and the WPP monks who make up the ‘resident Sangha’ will appoint a committee of lay trustees to handle the financials. All control is taken away from the locals, and the WPP Sangha can effectively insulate itself.

As I have shown at length in previous posts, such an arrangement is neither Vinaya nor Thai custom.

There are no abbots in the Vinaya – there is not even a word for ‘abbot’. The Sangha is, not a self-defined organization that excludes others, but the universal Sangha of the ‘Four Quarters’. Short of schism, there are no grounds in Vinaya for a group of monks to set themselves up in this sort of exclusive way.

In Thailand, the abbot is traditionally chosen through consultation between the resident Sangha, the local lay community, and a representative of the Sangha administration. (The Sangha administration is involved because under Thai law the monastery law belongs to the Sangha as constituted under the Sangha Act, and so the authorities have a legal duty of care. This, of course, does not apply in the case of monasteries overseas.)

What is the argument for this change? As best as I can make out, the argument is that the current WTBA constitution does not give any guaranteed ‘rights’ to the monastic community, including things such as decisions regarding what to build, or what monastics can stay. Things have been merely workable under a tacit agreement between the Sangha and the lay committee. Of course it is reasonable for the monastic Sangha to have a say in what happens in the monastery, and for this to be reflected in a constitution. It is quite possible to do this in a way that still gives the local lay community a say. It’s just a matter of balance. Certainly this is no justification for handing the entire monastery over to people overseas, especially when there is no guarantee that monks will actually be sent.

Having failed to persuade the committee, Ajahn Tiradhammo resorted to branch stacking at the AGM held on June 12. He secretly organized for a number of new people to come expressly to support him, and coached them before the meeting, hoping to make them members of a new committee. However, on a technicality they were not able to become voting members for the AGM and the previous committee was largely re-elected.

(Curiously enough, a similar manouver was attempted by the notorious New Kadampa Tradition (NKT) at an AGM of the Australian Sangha Association a few years ago. On the eve of the AGM we got a flood of membership applications from every NKT member in Australia. Under the ASA constitution, however, the NKT members do not have a recognized ordination, so are legally unable to become members.)

Accounts of the meeting are highly emotional. Many people present were very upset by the way this was done, and what they saw as the open manipulation of democratic processes happening in their Dhamma hall.

A strong letter of complaint has been sent to Ajahn Tiradhammo and several of the western WPP Ajahns. There have been allegations that the proposed revision is illegal under New Zealand trust law. It remains to be seen what the outcome will be.

What exactly is going on here? The rules of Wat Pa Pong remain: discrimination against women and submission to the authority of the Ajahns. Since the majority of devotees reject these principles, they have been kept secret as far as possible; however this is no longer possible. The only way to ensure survival is to gain absolute power over the considerable wealth and property invested in the monasteries.

We shouldn’t be surprised. The Ajahns have been telling us these things for years. Equality, democracy, rights: according to the clear, often repeated, and explicit teachings of senior Wat Pa Pong Ajahns, these things are alien, ‘Western’ values irrelevant to the Dhamma and of no value for liberation. What we are now seeing is simply these principles put into practice.

WPP faces a choice. Will they continue to endorse these principles? Or will they begin the difficult process of reflection and change?

There is a storm coming, make no mistake. Maybe not this year, maybe not next, but it will come. The senior teachers are passing away, and so the spiritual center of gravity that has held the Wat Pa Pong tradition together is dissipating. There are those within WPP who believe that discrimination against women and submission to the authority of the Ajahns are the heart of the Buddhist monastic tradition. And there are those within WPP who believe that these are corruptions that defile the true Buddhist tradition.

Can these very different viewpoints be reconciled? Of course! There’s no great secret: recognize the problem, accept that it needs to be overcome, and work with commitment to overcome it. Since even the first of these is a long way off, however, I’m not holding my breath.

One by one, each of the Wat Pa Pong branch monasteries will have to decide where it stands. Whether it is to be an instrument of Thai Buddhist colonialism, or a source of spiritual vitality in its own land. The moral question is a no-brainer. The hard part is how to make it work.

323 thoughts on “Turns of events

  1. I think just what you are doing is the right way to go.

    .educate and let people know that the Buddha did not discriminate;
    .that the Sangha must consist of women and men etc;
    .that authoritarianism is not what the Buddha taught.

    Honestly Ajahn Sujato I do not think most people know this; I mean they may know it in their hearts but they need to see it on paper as well to give them strength to believe it – but not in over technical or academic ways.

    Although no women I know would tolerate or go near any sexual discriminatory groups anyway so could not care less about groups that “would keep them out” they do not know that authoritiarianism is not what the Buddha taught. Even alternate Buddhism that accepts women do not tell you this – they tell you obedience to the “authority figure” is the all there is; it is totally authoritarian and archaic in that sense; not that anyone probably takes much notice of that anyway unless they really like or respect the “authority” figure, but still it needs to be understood correctly.

    Although I think it is time for Theravarden Buddhist to ordain women (was it ever not?) one caution is that the issues of discrimination are not wiped out just by getting women in or ordained. In fact it could even make it worse for women; by that I mean some women are just as discriminatory to other women as men. This happens when men tell them or make them think they are better than other women or “special” this women can make the lives of women even worse.

    The point here is that it must be done right this Bhikkhini thing. Just getting in women who are not right will not help it can make it worse; ordaining these horrible bossy little girls and making them “directors” telling them they are speciall etc doesn’t help most women; in the end it makes it worse. It is like letting certain groups into the country and giving them power or authority over there own fellow country men and women but if these people turn out to be violent fundamentalists then the people who sincerely want to get away from the violence of there own country come here to find that there religion is no better because the same people are running it in this country (hope that analogy makes sense).

    Personally my experience with some of the nuns in alternate groups has been horrendous and suggest these girls were just ordained to make them look non-discrimate. I never really thought of ordaining but now no that I never would because of these nuns, it has put me off ordaining for life – I could think of nothing worse than having to live with these women and I have completely lost respect for the other nuns; possible the ones who to have what it takes to lead when that is necessary who just stand by and let all this happen – because they are obedient to the male lamas- so although I fully support women ordaining I hope it is not done for the wrong reasons and women (and men) who can inspire other women’s aspirations for a spiritual life LEAD THIS – not as it seems to be happening in alternate groups whereby women are ordained (it seems) just to do the dirty work of the male authority figues ie women themselves are ordained to “keep women subdued, controlled and out of the way” so men can continue to do what they do but pretend they are not discriminating.

    • Dear Daisy, I can not help but to notice your comment. Correct me if I am wrong. Are you directing this comment to a certain minority religious group in Australia i.e. Islam? If you are, I suggest you be very careful in your next comment!

      “It is like letting certain groups into the country and giving them power or authority over there own fellow country men and women but if these people turn out to be violent fundamentalists then the people who sincerely want to get away from the violence of there own country come here to find that there religion is no better because the same people are running it in this country (hope that analogy makes sense).”

  2. I know this is a negative thing to say but personally I do not hold out much hope for women ordaining in the Theravarden tradition or any other.

    I believe this because there is no attraction there, why do it? Also It seems that many of the people who were ordained years ago hold the power and rights these days;the key to the door of the monestries so to speak etc; many of the people tucked away in nunneries are probably very inspiring but the ones you see and meet …the ones that were ordained – my god! to be honest from a women’s point of view ..like I said in my first post …my worst nightmare . There are not that many inspirational women for women just alot of a sort of goody goody mentality that reeks of “men pleasing” or the total opposite – men haters.

    Most women seem to just want to do an say the right thing to please men and the men only reward the women that do so how are you ever going to have women who can think for themselves if the only ones that get ordained are the men pleasers…

    I mean I am sure there are women out there who are not like that but because they are not popular with men they will never be seen and it seems both men and women only supports women who are seen to be popular with men so ummm; it is like a catch 22 – the women that men like don’t usually like or support other women and the women that do support other women are not usually liked by men (because they are not sexy or bossy enough) and therefore alot of women as well as men won’t support them.

    Anyway don’t mean to sound negative but even if opportunities were available and equal for women i am not sure it is a very enticing concept in alot of ways.

    • Some might not get to be enlightened becase they got stuck on an issue. Not getting your way so you keep throwing tantrum like a kid. Your life does not turn out that way it suppose to–blame them on the parents/governments/social groups/color of somes outfit/oversweeten cake…

      A song by Eagle should do…”Get over it!!”

    • Daisy, have you ever bother to ask yourself why there is a problem in reestablishing a Bhikkhuni order in Thailand. Have you even consider other resisting factors? What is the root of the problem here? Instead of trying to solve it from the root, you just keep mudslinging at WPP. Is this how you prove yourself that you mean well in long term? For a noble person, one should reflects a lot and ask for a very favourable dialogue to discuss the matter. Unless you want to attain it by force or cooersion.

      ” Victory attained by violence is tantamount to a defeat, for it is momentary”

  3. I wish all you monastics would return to being monastics. Bhante Sujato seems to want to be the Bernays of Buddhism.

    Maybe the WTBA could ask Ajahn Tiradhammo to leave. I’m sure there are others waiting in the wings who would like to take over this temple and expand their influence.

    • Peter,

      Isn’t that what he is trying to do; trying to have monestries run the way the Buddha wanted – not as sexist authoritarian army type male chest beating bootcamps.

      Isn’t retung to being monastics following the Buddhas teachings and exactly what Ajahn Sujato is doing?

      Or are you suggesting that returning to being monastics is returning to an authoritarian run hierachical organisation where women are not allowed and where monks just follow orders?

      I think not returning to the above ideal is the whole point – it is not the correct way to run a monestry as taught by the Buddha.

      Or have i misunderstood your point?

    • “Isn’t that what he is trying to do; trying to have monestries run the way the Buddha wanted – not as sexist authoritarian army type male chest beating bootcamps.”

      Now you are punching way below the belt. Do you mean not having hiarachy in Bhuddhist community? Bhikkhunis did have to bow down to a one rain Bhikkhu in those days and still.
      Tell you the truth I would never understand it why it is the way it is. If you think like an academic, your mind will never understand it. And if you think like a spiritual person, your heart will tell you that you are not meant to. A gift, faith is, that you have yet to receive.

  4. Who was supposed to ask forgiveness from whom? A ceremonial mutual forgiveness (you forgive me I forgive you)? In clearer wording the sweep it under the rug option? Definitely not the time for that, when? considering postures like the OP (Thai colonial Buddhism?) not anytime soon. For the hundredth time, Bodhinyana is in no way obligated to WPP anymore, nor is WPP in anyway obligated with Bodhinyana. What is this obsession of performing communion with WPP? Wasn’t Bodhinyana to go its own way now? And please stop accusing WPP of discriminating women, WPP only follows what the council of elders dictate (WPP is in Thailand unlike Bodhinyana and thus must follow Thai sangha law), if the council of elders were to accept Bhikkuni ordination today, WPP would follow suit immediately with not even the slightest hesitation. Your criticism and campaign should be directed to the council of elders and acting Sangharaja, but we all know why Bodhinyana wont go there. Bhikkunis continue to ordain in the Theravada tradition, some of Thai nationality already live, practice and are supported in Thailand and no one is up in arms about it, its not the early 1900′s, Thailand is changing (Female prime minister) Your misdirected crusade for Bhikkuni ordination (and western enlightenment) in WPP is not contributing in anyway whatsoever on the contrary its detrimental. By demeaning WPP publicly you are making Bodhinyana fair game. For I doubt that any member of Bodhinyana is perfect, consider that sooner or later mistakes will be made and many will take advantage of that (many, because WPP has many followers and you have chosen to senselessly offend them) From your post I gather that in NZ no law has been broken, civil or vinaya. And yet you pounce on them, in the process bringing out embarrassing past mistakes of Wat Pah Nanachat. Why? are you so hurt that you must hurt others? for the hundredth time Bodhinyana chose not to follow Thai tradition, and thus became a liability for WPP (which is in Thailand), no big problem Bodhinyana was “freed” to go it’s own way, and yet here they remain seething and riled, lecturing WPP all high and moral, truly a sad spectacle. And please spare us the “we will bring you democracy and western enlightenment even by force because its for your own good”, it’s completely discredited and revealed for what it truly is.

    • H Peter,

      sorry ’bout that!

      Diogenes

      The point is I think that it is the authoritative dictatorial stance that the WPP are taking – that they must be OBEYED – is at issue ie we are NOT children!

      Surely monks who have been ordained for many years can make their own decisions and should base these on the time and place they live in and in line with the laws and policies of the government and countries they live in. It is illegal to discriminate against women or other races in this country.

      Are you saying this is wrong for them to do this- are you suggesting that this type of domination is in line with buddhism??

      it sounds like you are in agreement with the fact that if Bodhinyana do not OBEY WPP they should be excommunicated, that you support dictatorship.

      They are just stating the truth of the situation nothing else.

      Do you think that monestries in other democratic countries should obey WPP even if it goes against the laws and policies of that country? Do you support dictatorships then?

    • Hey Daisy, why don’t we just rewrite the whole tipitake? Seeing that most rules pertain in those volumes might not be inline with the law of foreign countries.

    • Dear Daisy,

      Your comment as below:

      “The point is I think that it is the authoritative dictatorial stance that the WPP are taking – that they must be OBEYED – is at issue ie we are NOT children!

      Surely monks who have been ordained for many years can make their own decisions and should base these on the time and place they live in and in line with the laws and policies of the government and countries they live in. It is illegal to discriminate against women or other races in this country.”

      I know you are not childish but you still need more growing up to do. And surely sernior Bhikkhus in WPP can make their own decision in relation to Thai law and not Australian law(of course). Becasue they live in Thailand, yes? So it has to be in line with the law to where they are situated.

      Moreover, it is illegal to discriminate against women everywhere—hello Houston! I think we all know this.

    • To Daisy:
      How many female catholic priest do you have in Australia? I thought it was illegal to discriminate against woman in your country? membership in WPP is completely voluntary, so nothing dictatorial there. WPP must obey Thai sangha law, since they are in Thailand, but not Bodhinyana since they are not in Thailand. You are confused or just plain ignore who you and Bodhinyana should take issue with namely the council of elders and the acting leader of the Thai Sangha, I hope you and other lay people correctly direct your issues with them since Bodhinyana will dare not(so much for their brazen ideals and principals). I suggest you inform yourself better before offending the WPP tradition which many of us hold in high esteem. (sorry for the repost I seemed to misplace and not address the reply)

    • .Hi Easy Company,

      Easy Company said,

      Hey Daisy, why don’t we just rewrite the whole tipitake? Seeing that most rules pertain in those volumes might not be inline with the law of foreign countries

      Easy Company said

      Dear Daisy,

      I know you are not childish but you still need more growing up to do. And surely sernior Bhikkhus in WPP can make their own decision in relation to Thai law and not Australian law(of course). Becasue they live in Thailand, yes? So it has to be in line with the law to where they are situated.

      Moreover, it is illegal to discriminate against women everywhere—hello Houston! I think we all know this

      Daisy is saying

      Hello Houston – make up your mind mate!

    • Daisy,

      “Dictatorship?” This is not Hollywood. I think you need to calm and get a grip.

  5. How many female catholic priest do you have in Australia? I thought it was illegal to discriminate against woman in your country? membership in WPP is completely voluntary, so nothing dictatorial there. WPP must obey Thai sangha law, since they are in Thailand, but not Bodhinyana since they are not in Thailand. You are confused or just plain ignore who you and Bodhinyana should take issue with namely the council of elders and the acting leader of the Thai Sangha, I hope you and other lay people correctly direct your issues with them since Bodhinyana will dare not(so much for their brazen ideals and principals). I suggest you inform yourself better before offending the WPP tradition which many of us hold in high esteem.

    • Yeah Diogenes, I totally gree. These guys keep knocking on the wrong door. Why not take it up with the Thai Buddhist Governing Bodies and then we will comply for sure. Just as Bodhinyana has to adapt to Australian’s cultural ways and civil codes, sames as WPP has to abide by the local regulation of Thailand. Unless you would like us to be double-standard. eh? Would not that be something. If WPP or Thai Sangha law inadequately facilitate your needs then you should erect your own division, don’t you think? I would.

      Don’t look back now, we did not start the fire, you did. Plain and simple.

      And this goes to a certain individuals who mentioned the name of WPN. This is just plain fallacies in reasoning ( like that of most politicians ). When valid arguments are no where to be found for your side, you start to character attack. It just goes to show does not it? what happen where and when has nothing to do with this issue, yes? By adopting good system of doing things from other place do not mean that we have to adopt everything from that place becasue not everything that came from that place can not all be good, yes?

    • Why don’t you read the article Bhante has posted above and respond to what it says. The comments here have digressed onto other issues which are not the focus of the article. I understand you feel the need to defend WPP. So perhaps you can help those of us who don’t know them as well as you, shed some light on the actions described by Bhante as taking place and the motivation behind them.
      It is perfectly honourable to question external influences on communities for their legality and their ethical orientation and to make this known to the public. This type of informal injustice – if these allegations are true – have legal precedents for everyone practicing any religion in New Zealand – and for any of us still practicing in communities affiliated with WPP -i.e. there would be precedents set also for Canad, Australia and the UK. This type of action – again – if it is true – then also has wider legal and practical repercussions on all religious groups n these countries.
      Making the developments in this community is a moral responsibility – and trying to intimidate or silence people out of it should be considered very carefuly.
      I am so sorry for the pain that pervades your posts. I do not understand where it comes from, but I wish for you to find peace.
      _/\_

    • Why don’t you read the article Bhante has posted above and respond to what it says. The comments here have digressed onto other issues which are not the focus of the article. I understand you feel the need to defend WPP. So perhaps you can help those of us who don’t know them as well as you, shed some light on the actions described by Bhante as taking place and the motivation behind them.
      It is perfectly honourable to question external influences on communities for their legality and their ethical orientation and to make this known to the public. This type of informal injustice – if these allegations are true – have legal precedents for everyone practicing any religion in New Zealand – and for any of us still practicing in communities affiliated with WPP -i.e. there would be precedents set also for Canad, Australia and the UK. This type of action – again – if it is true – then also has wider legal and practical repercussions on all religious groups n these countries.
      Making known the developments in this community is a moral responsibility – and trying to intimidate or silence people out of it should be considered very carefully.
      I am so sorry for the pain that pervades your posts. I do not understand where it comes from, but I wish for you to find peace.
      _/\_

    • To Easy Company and alluded
      Lay people might be forgiven for ignoring the facts and being misguided but Bodhinyana knows better, and so their true intentions come into question. Bodhinyana somehow thinks that WPP should side with them and stand against the Thai Buddhist Governing Bodies, that is very “brave” of them considering that Bodhinyana is in Australia and WPP in Thailand, and yet Bodhinyana wouldn’t dare knock on the right door (it’s in Wat Bowon not WPP for those who ignore this). It’s become clear to me now that Bodhinyana’s true intention was to split the Thai WPP sangha from the western branch by means of what Bhante Sujato refers to as a no brainer.- women rights and other “unquestionable” western ideals, if the high moral ground is on your side, how can any resist lest they be exhibited, right? and thus have Ajhan Brahm erected as the leader of this new modern, progressive, western sangha and probably not remaining as branch monasteries of WPP anymore, but as it turned out nobody followed suit, Ajhan Brahm has been left alone, no amount of threats sufficed, in this post by Bhante Sujato he is still at it giving a haggard ultimatum (I would ask or what?), in his words “One by one, each of the Wat Pa Pong branch monasteries will have to decide where it stands. Whether it is to be an instrument of Thai Buddhist colonialism, or a source of spiritual vitality in its own land” I would add that “a source of spiritual vitality in its own land” means will fall under the fold of Bodhinyana. And that is the reason for this discordant attitude of Bodhinyana not being interested to rejoin WPP (what a loss of face that would be) and yet wanting to perform sanghakhamma with WPP. Its damage control, trying to salvage whatever possible, by getting a foot in the door. If Bodhinyana monks were allowed to perform sanghakhamma with western WPP monks, we would read on this blog on how its proof that “the western WPP has finally come to its senses, and how Bodhinyana was right all along” well let me state it clearly, they are not welcomed in WPP or Thailand .The OP is being translated and posted in Thai, so that Thais know what Bodhinyana thinks regarding their backward traditions that for all their backwardness preserved such a rich Buddhist tradition for such ingrates.

    • To Karuna;
      You should reread the article, you seemed to have only picked up on the issue of the NZ Wat and are oblivious to the rest.

    • Dear Diogenes,

      We have thrashed the “other” topics to death and I did not wish to add anything further except to say that the Thai Buddhist Governing Bodies (while I am not sure exactly what you are referring to here I can guess because, we have thrashed it to death here) are far more tolerant and supportive of Bodhinyana (in Australia) than what you are suggesting here and that they are in fact, as is the wider Thai Sangha, looking rather askance at the “reactive” activities as they are unfolding in New Zealand and elsewhere. The only way for you to know if this is true is to interact with a wider Sangha family – rather than the immediate WPP Sangha family- on these matters – I appreciate that you may not wish to do this – as you seem to feel it inapropriate to discuss various points of view on the matters at hand – fair enough – but if you don’t discuss them – then you will not really know what others are thinking -or asipring to – I fear this is the biggest mistake – that the community – as you see it – (the WPP community) is turning inward on itself – and does not reaze the impact of its actions on the wider Sangha – and does not fully realize how they are being perceived.
      This blog is a very thin slice of reaction – I guess you are in touch with others – but I would hope that those “others” include people outside the “WPP” community – only then can you begin to speak for the wider Sangha in Thailand and the “governing bodies” there. From what I have heard and come to know through my networks, which include news media, monasteries in different traditions, nuns communities, un agencies and ngos in Thailand, the reality is quite different from what you are portraying. This is not to make a point and say you are wrong, we are right – I think what I would like to do is invite you to step outside and embrace a wider understanding of Sangha and Sangha building. I know you will have something to say about this -probably that you already have interacted with a wider Sangha- and I am ready to hear it. Please understand it comes from a place of true friendship and not condescension.

      I also feel if we are to criticize Bhante Sujato (which I dare not do because there are enough who do so here, and I do not have so much time to spend here) – for his comments – then perhaps offer up a constructive comment and say – rather than phrase things in this way, have you considered this? I also find it very odd that as soon as Bhante Sujato posts on his blog – people jump and generalize and say “Ajahn Brahm and his monks are at it again.”

      This is an inaccurate assessment of what is actually happening. There is a monk who has a blog and he has chosen to post something that is potentially of value for the public to know of. I don’t think it is possible for monks to censor each other at all times nor is it appropriate at all times. There are those who feel these things should be kept private – and you (and sometimes I would agree with you on this) have the right to hold that understanding.

      But we also have to hold each other to account when we blow things out of proportion, try to hijack the message, distort the message and when we try to stop others from exercizing their right to share information, which essentially here was to expose a challenge that has arisen in the NZ community. If you disagree with the way in which this was done then I think it is good for you to share with us an alternative skill with which this could have been done.

      Diogenes, tell me, what do we have to do to be Sangha brother and sister and still hold each other’s views, which are quite diverse?

      _/\_

    • Dear Karuna

      I’m a disciple of the late Lungta Maha Bua, Wat Pah Baan Taad (and not WPP), but the whole Thai forest tradition is my spiritual home, the same one from where Ajhan Brahm comes, and Ajhan Sujato in this post decided to trash the whole tradition, like they say you don’t defecate where you eat. And anyone is supposed to believe Ajahn Brahm enjoys wide support amongst the sangha (Monks and laity) in Thailand? most don’t know him, others don’t care they don’t see it as an issue of supporting him or not, and others are very offended, not at what he has said, but at what his supporters are saying (like Ajhan Sujato) so you see why discretion in these
      kinds of matters is best. Very few support him here, albeit very visible because they speak english, are internet savvy, journalist, rich and so on. On the NZ issue, all I’m hearing is allegations, no vinaya or civil law being violated. I have inquired on this issue, since we are only hearing one side. It seems the lay committee in NZ are supporters of Ajhan Brahm in this dispute and since Ajhan Tiradhammo is backing WPP they are juxtaposed, rendering the relationtionship as unworkable, it’s just unfortunate consequences of the fallout, my guess is that if this rift wouldn’t have happened, we wouldn’t be having this NZ issue. On alternatives, like I and others here have pointed out, long before this fiasco there has been Bhikkunis living and practicing peacefully in Thailand, they need material support more than anything and not this counterproductive western self righteous preaching, there are also civil organizations petitioning (and conducting campaigns) the Thai sangha governing bodies to make bhikkunis official (and not just tolerated) and redacting the secondary laws pertaining
      to them. Your support and participation is more than welcomed, also you may start your own iniatives, as long as they are respectful and creative they would do much good and If you lack the skills, develop them first, don’t let the passion or rightness of woman ordination spoil it for the Bhikkunis who are actually living and furthering the cause here in Thailand.

    • Hi Diogenes,

      Thanks for clearing that up.

      Also I am not too sure exactly how many female catholic nuns we have in Australia.

      On a personal level My mothers friend is a catholic nun and she lives in a monestry with quite alot of others, actually I think it is the same order as the nun Mary McCillop who was just named as a female saint by the catholic church.

      I am not from a catholic background more Anglican presbyterian, my cousins mother (in her 50-60) just ordained as a presbyterian mininster, my other cousin a women acts as a pastor or something and I know of a few other women who are nuns or whatever they call them in that religion etc, that is just my personal experience, sorry have not done any specific research on this issue.

      Regards

      Daisy

    • Daisy
      I said female catholic priest (or priestess), not nuns, and there are non any where in the world, since the catholic(protestant and most major christian denominations) church doesn’t allow for women to become priest they can only become nuns, and so they cannot conduct mass, become bishops, cardinals, pope, administer sacraments and, in short they are below and less than the male priest. Thailand has always had 10 precept nuns, which is a good analogy, because they too cannot become fully ordained monks (again like catholic nuns cannot become fully ordained priest) where does australian anti discrimination laws stand on the issue of women being forbidden from becoming full fledge priestess in the major christian denominations?

  6. Institutional issues are clearly important to spiritual matters, but it looks like there’s little desire on either side to focus on any common ground. If the main concern of Ajahn Brahm is for “WPP to stop the active campaign of cutting Ajahn Brahm and his monks out of communion, requiring that Ajahn Brahm’s monks effectively disown him as a teacher if they stay in a WPP monastery,” then it might be a good idea for Ajahn Brahm and his monks to stop the active campaign of criticizing the WPP.

    Ajahn Brahm was clearly right to want to ordain bhikkhunis, but many apparently think that there was another way to realize this goal than just doing it.

    Now, heels are being dug in. Not good, wise, or particularly skillful.

    Meanwhile, at the Wikipedia page for Wat Nong Pah Pong, I see this in the list of International Branch Monasteries:

    Dhammasara Nuns’ monastery in Western Australia (Associated Monastery)

    There’s a Nun’s monastery among the WPP’s International Branch Monasteries?

    • Why is Dhammasara Nuns’ monastery listed at Wikipedia as an associated monastery among the International Branch Monasteries of Wat Nong Pah Pong, while Bodhinyana monastery is not?

    • Also, Ayya Tathaaloka seems to have had a lot of success as a monastic in the Thai Forest Tradition. Can someone please explain the need for what happened in 2009, which has led to a serious split that, in fact, appears to have overshadowed the ordination of the bhikkhunis?

    • Dear Ratanadhammo,
      You will find the history of these things in previous blogs. In fact, it was Ayya T who performed the ordinations, not Ajahn Brahm.
      OK ’nuff said. The rest is in the archives.
      Over and Out for a while again
      Metta,
      _/\_

    • My question is simple:

      What was the need for the ordinations to be conducted the way they were in 2009, which is what caused a serious split? Ayya Tathaaloka was ordained over a decade earlier and had been founding monasteries for nuns, so what was the pressing need for the ordinations to be conducted the way they were in 2009 rather than do the work to achieve a better result from within the organization?

      Now the problem for Ajahn Brahm seems to be his unhappiness with there being consequences resulting from the split with the Sangha. As it stands now, it looks like he won’t be welcome even after the issue over bhikkhuni ordination is resolved.

      Honestly, Ajahn Brahm and everyone at Bodhinyana monastery would be wise to stop making themselves the issue and to stop criticizing the WPP as if they’re going to change things by attacking the WPP leadership in this way.

      They may have been – indeed, may still be – on the right side of this issue, but they also may have to accept that they’ll have to acknowledge that they did something wrong in the way they went about achieving the goal.

    • Daisy,

      Thank you for this fine example of how the messy game of politics is played.

      Well done!

    • Hi Ratadhammo,

      I will take that as a compliment even if it wasn’t meant as one!

      Have a nice day:)

      Daisy

    • Daisy,

      You seem to be very good at opinionating strongly without listening at all and sidetracking conversations.

      Bhante Sujato clearly feels very strongly about the issues he’s been raising for more than a year. He’s presented a lot of good evidence to show that his position on ordaining women is right on, but he can’t just ignore the way institutional changes have been made since before the time of the Buddha. Clearly, he recognizes that things are getting worse between members of the Sangha despite all of his excellent arguments in favor of ordaining women.

      As I think Ajahn Brahm and others want to move beyond the divisiveness of this ongoing debate, which should not have been about them in the first place, they might want to think about where they could have done things differently.

    • Ratadhammo,

      If things were done secretly then I agree with WPP on this issue – has AB been listening to too many Vajrayana Buddhists maybe…but then possibly there was no secrecy I don’t really know.

      Ratadhammo, having read your posts you seem to think you are some kind of expert on every issue and in every regard, I am not claiming or pretending to be an expert or to know all the facts; you do, in your posts you constantly elude to being some sort of authority in every regard.

      You seem to think you know more than the monks and nuns many who have had 20 -30 years of study and practise in the Dharma. Maybe you do….so are you ordained, have you been studying for years on end?

      If you are going to make claims then back them up with evidence, if you are going to elude to being the boss and authority on everything on this website then fine maybe you are… I don’t know because as I said I am certainly not – but if you are I think you need to clarify where you get your knowledge or “expertise” from.

      At first it seemed to be that you were more of an expert than the women ie you think women are silly because they don’t pretend to know everything like youd… but apparently it is not just women …you are more of an expert and wiser than Ajahn Brahm now – so where were you trained, do you consider yourself an enlightened being? what teachers are you/ have youstudied under a teacher ….because I think you need to back up your confidence in your own knowledge and ability and your “aura” of expertise, authority and superiority with some references to where you get your opinions and/or facts.

      Regards

      Daisy

    • Daisy,

      You certainly read a lot into my comments that isn’t there.

      I’ve never claimed to be an authority or an expert. I never said that I’m “more of an expert than the women” and certainly never said anything that could even be reasonably interpreted as meaning that I think “women are silly.”

      I don’t have to be wiser than Ajahn Brahm to be able to offer a point of view that he should be wise enough to consider as he and his monks just keep making their problems with the Sangha worse.

      Finally, I find it surprising that someone who forcefully expresses so many opinions like yourself would put me down for expressing my views, regardless of who may or may not have been my teachers (interesting appeal to institutional authority, btw).

    • Ratendhammo,

      . My other “opinions” as you claim are “personal experiences” and are in response to other comments, or questions I hope get answered that are in need of clarification sorry if these bug you but I guess they are just issues I hope to get cleared up -or discussions with people on the website.

      It is a fairly general theme in the Buddhas teachings that the Dharma should be based on personal experience NOT just theoretical dogma, ie due to the fact we all have different karma no matter what the texts say it is going to be interpreted differently through these concepts, because of this karma – so theory is only relevant to a certain point ie my experience of theravarden buddhism will be different from yours because I am female you are male or for other reason, even if we read the same text our experience is going to be different and this is why teachers are needed and why theory has very definate limits.

      Asking who someones teacher is quite justified especially if they are making comments on Dharma theory. I think you will find most authentic Buddhist have teachers; otherwise anyone could go around saying anything.

      I would not want a doctor who is self taught to be operating on me – is this bowing to institutional authority?

      Even the buddha had teachers and he was born a stream enterer or whatever I don’t think he was bowing appeal to institutional authority?

      Also it is your opinion that AB and the monks are making things worse with the Sangha – and alot of Buddhist believe that ignoring things and pretending it will all go away is the best course of action, does a cancer go away if you ignore it, maybe sometimes but also maybe sometimes it gets worse. To confront and deal with issues before they become full blown problems is a smart thing to do and does not make it worse; if a fire starts put it out before it gets out of control so to speak.

      “..here someone abandoning false speech, abstains from false speech; when summoned to a court, or to a meeting, or to his relatives….’ doesn’t this mean speak the truth?

      ..does the Buddha not say blame what is blameworth and praise what is praiseworthy?

      Anyway best wishes

      and…have a nice day:)

    • Ratadhammo,

      “then it might be a good idea for Ajahn Brahm and his monks to stop the active campaign of criticizing the WPP”

      Where is the evidence they have done any active campaigning or criticisizing the WPP??

      I have seen none, to me it seems there is only stating the truth of what happened

      Regards

      Daisy

    • Read the post above. You’re commenting to it, no? Read it again. It’s a public statement about more than just ordaining women.

      Here’s a quote:

      The governing principles of Wat Pa Pong remain as they have ever been: discrimination against women and submission to the authority of the Ajahns. Since the majority of devotees reject these principles, they have been kept secret as far as possible; however this is no longer possible. The only way to ensure survival is to gain absolute power over the considerable wealth and property invested in the monasteries.

      References about bhikkhunis not being welcome at places like Bodhiyanarama are only one little piece of the larger criticism.

      Drawing up sharp divisions and essentially demanding that people take one side or the other has its time and place (those who oppose violence need to draw a line, for example), but no one at Bodhinyana monastery will create peace with anyone in the WPP fighting over institutional differences or contribute to positive institutional changes in this way.

      Meanwhile, you haven’t answered my question about the need for doing what was done in 2009 in the way it was done, which only created splits that have just been getting worse.

    • Dear Ratanadhammo,

      Bhante Sujato is not one of Ajahn Brahm’s monks. Ajahn Sujato runs his own monastery and is his own man. It is far too simplistic to assume that all the views expressed by him are also held by Ajahn Brahm and the Sangha at Bodhinyana Monastery.

      The reason the ordination was performed the way it was in October 2009 is simply because there seemed to be no alternative. At the time it seemed to be the right thing to do. I am sincerely sorry that some people feel hurt.

      It is also true that Wat Pa Pong had the right to expel us. However, I never imagined this would be the consequence of our action. I asked Ajahn Brahm before the ordination what he thought the consequences would be, and he said there would be a bit of an uproar but not a major problem. That was obviously wrong. If Ajahn Brahm should be blamed for anything, it is for being too optimistic.

      I am not sure if the split is getting worse. Time will show. In any case it is surely the obligation of any right-thinking monastic to try to heal the current split. I would certainly like to see the current split healed, and I am sure this is true for most of the monks within the Wat Pa Pong circle.

      With metta.

    • Hi Bhikku Brahmali
      If you feel that Bhante Sujato’s views are exasperating the situation wouldn’t it be a good idea to make that clear?

      You said that “At the time it seemed to be the right thing to do.” Does that mean in retrospect you think it was a mistake? Is it not possible for Bodhinyana Monastery just to accept the situation and move one?

      Sometimes things just aren’t how we would like them to be, in spite of all our “good” effort and intentions.

    • Dear Peter,

      I always make my views clear to Bhante Sujato. We have a robust sort of friendship.

      I, and I think all the monks at Bodhinyana, do accept the situation as it is, and we are quite happy to “move on”. However, if we can move towards greater harmony, then so much the better. There are a number of monks on both sides of this issue who would prefer a normalisation of our relationship. As long as there is goodwill, it is worthwhile pursuing harmony in the Sangha.

      Did we make a mistake? The problem is that you make your decisions based on the knowledge you have at the time. If we had had the knowledge we have now then, we would perhaps have acted differently. But we didn’t. For this reason I would not call it a mistake.

      With metta.

    • Hi Bhikkhu Brahmali,

      On a more serious note…do you think Sister Niarodas jokes (in her talks) are funnier than Ajahn Brahms?

      Metta

      Daisy

    • Dear Daisy,

      It wouldn’t be seemly if she outshines her teacher … She must be enjoying herself. Good on her!

      With metta.

    • Hi Bhikku Bramali
      Thank you for your very straight forward answers, which are appreciated.

    • Dear Bhikkhu Brahmali,

      Thank you for your comments. I’m sorry I didn’t see them until now.

      You have reasons not to want to call what was done a mistake. Please consider making the distinction between what was done and how it was done, i.e. the distinction that others have made, and acknowledging publicly that there may have been other ways to have proceeded within the institution in 2009 that would have ultimately led to a better result.

      In other words, please make the interests of the bhukkhunis the focus (rather than conflicts between Bodhinyana Monastery and Wat Pa Pong over institutional matters) and do what is necessary for the good of the bhukkhunis.

      I have faith that wisdom will prevail and this conflict will be resolved amicably.

      Metta. And thank you.

    • Dear Ratanadhammo,

      Were there other ways that would have led to a better result? It’s impossible to say. Nobody can possibly know whether an alternative path would have even led to bhikkhuni ordination.

      At the time we made the decision we did because it seemed like the only option. Some monks were strongly opposed to bhikkhuni ordination, and consultation would have been counterproductive. Or this is how it seemed. And to be perfectly honest, that it is still how it seems to me.

      I am not saying that all Wat Pa Pong monks, and certainly not all the Western ones, were opposed to bhikkhuni ordination. Far from it. Many, probably the majority, have shown that they are actually in favour of it. But the balance of power was such that the ‘no’ side was stronger.

      Since we didn’t see any way forward through consultation, we decided we would weather the storm. I believe our main error was an error of judgement: we didn’t expect the storm to be quite so fierce.

      You’re quite right, the interest of the bhikkhunis should be the focus, and I would say it is. We have a thriving bhikkhuni monastery in Perth, which we wouldn’t have had without the 2009 ordination. In my view, the argument that a stronger bhikkhuni Sangha would have emerged if we had not performed the 2009 ordination, or that there was another path that unequivocally was better, is simply unrealistic.

      With metta.

    • Hi Bhikku Brahmali,
      When Bahnte Sujato said ” “[Ajahn Brahm] is clear that neither he nor his Sangha are interested to rejoin Wat Pa Pong” In your opinion is this a fair representation of the position of the Bodhinyana sangha?

      Diogenes wrote “Bodhinyana intended to have a standard mutual forgiveness ceremony, which goes somewhere along the lines of “I ask for forgiveness ‘IF’ I in any way have offended…by body speech or mind…”. “I” here refering to Ajahn Brahm and some representative western WPP Ajahns, the “IF” here intended as a blanket, non specific fault. In other words the “sweep it under the rug” option, which has it’s value and place if it seems that it will solve the problem, and not that it will fester and resurface with worst consequences. And with Ajhan Brahm also asking for forgiveness directly from Lumpho Liem also for an unspecified fault. With no mention of Ahjan Brahm not participating in further Bhikkhuni ordinations, but with a tacit understanding that he wont (to save face, specially amongst his supporters).” How accurate a portrayal of recent developments do you think this is?

    • Peter,

      When Bhante Sujato said ” “[Ajahn Brahm] is clear that neither he nor his Sangha are interested to rejoin Wat Pa Pong” In your opinion is this a fair representation of the position of the Bodhinyana sangha?

      Yes.

      Diogenes wrote “…” How accurate a portrayal of recent developments do you think this is?

      You can make up your own mind based on Ajahn Brahm’s letter. The relevant paragraph in which he suggests a forgiveness ceremony reads as follows:

      “I ask for your compassion and wisdom in allowing me to visit Wat Pah Pong on 28th June 2554, to ask forgiveness from yourself, Ajahn Liam, Ajahn Sopha, and any other senior monks that you wish to invite, for anything that I or the monks in Australia may have done, said or thought, intentional or unintentional, that may have contributed to distrust or disharmony.”

      This was then translated into Thai.

      The idea that there was a tacit understanding that Ajahn Brahm would not ordain more bhikkhunis is based on a misunderstanding. Ajahn Brahm never ordained any bhikkhunis in the first place. Bhikkhus and bhikkhunis are ordained by a Sangha, not by an individual. And for bhikkhunis the preceptor is another bhikkhuni, not a monk. Ajahn Brahm is certainly not agreeing, tacitly or otherwise, that he will never be part of a bhikkhu Sangha that partakes in a bhikkhuni ordination.

      With metta.

    • Hi Bhikku Brahmali
      Once again, thanks for your very straight forward and clear answer.

    • Dear Bhikkhu Brahmali,

      Honestly, it sounds like what you’re saying is that you acted in accordance with the Dhammavinaya as sincerely as possible, but decided you were unwilling to engage the other members of an organization precisely because it would have taken time and you convinced yourself that you would not have been happy with the result.

      In other words, you set up a bunch of expectations in your mind about what would happen if you tried to consult others. That was a mistake because your expectations about what might have happened caused you to act unfairly toward all the other members of the organization.

      Also, to say that there was no alternative path that would ultimately have led to bhikkhuni ordination is simply wrong. There may be a thriving bhikkhuni monastery at Perth now, but your decision not to work within the organization may have ended the possibility for there ever being thriving bhikkhuni monasteries anywhere else in WPP because you’ve shifted the discussion away from the clear legitimacy of bhikkhuni ordination according to the Dhammavinaya to the far less clear issue of validating what Ajahn Brahm and Bodhinyana did in acting unfairly toward all the other members of the organization in 2009.

      As I understand it, there was a way to raise this issue within the organization in late 2009. You chose not to wait because you wanted to ordain women in Oct 2009. Had you raised the issue at the end of 2009 and laid the groundwork to raise it again in 2010 and again in 2011 with more and more support, you may have had a different result from the one you expected. Or you may have ultimately had to separate from WPP and ordain bhikkhunis in accordance with the Dhammavinaya. Either way, you would be heroes right now among your brothers rather than targets.

      Your failure to expect the huge storm that was sure to follow your decision is not the result of your clear spiritual strengths, but is the result of a failure to recognize that all human institutions are flawed and that they adapt and change slowly.

      Now you have to stop arguing that what you did was right because you did it in accordance with the Dhammavinaya. Everyone who ever sought ordination or who wants to be ordained must be making a decision to become part of an organization because they recognize that organizations matter. You failed to trust the other members of the organization. You failed to give them an opportunity to work with you to make bhukkhuni ordination within WPP a reality. You have to acknowledge that what you did let down all the other members of the organization, those who would have opposed you and those who might have followed you out of WPP to the greater benefit of all bhikkhunis.

      You should ask privately everyone who will listen to you to stop attacking WPP, even if Bhante Sujato is right and they are conspiring against you. There’s a reason why they’re acting the way they are as leaders and members of an organization. Attacking them publicly is only going to make matters worse for you and for the future of bhikkhuni ordination. Acknowledging that what you did as members of WPP in 2009 was wrong, on the other hand, is the only remaining way to move forward and is the only way to ensure that the discussion regarding bhikkhuni ordinations within WPP returns to the solid ground of the Dhammavinaya.

    • If the truth of what happened is accurate, then the issue should not have boiled this far. Here we just have two sides to the story: one from Ajahn Brahm and one from WPP and Western WPP. So which is more accurate. How many people in this room were at the WPP meeting (s) if there were more than one, or participate in any crutial meetings for that matter. It would be something if all of us (everyone) gather togather and have one big meeting for discussion and lay everything out on the table (evidence of every detail i.e. email correspondence and internet sources). But most importantly the spear heading individuals should be there as well. Otherwise it is just goes to show….

    • Bhikkhu Brahmali;

      With all due respect. Considering you are a member of Bodhinyana, instead of to quote you “You can make up your own mind based on Ajahn Brahm’s letter” why don’t you tell us what is meant/inteneded in such letter a letter? in other words does it mean Ajahn Brahm is recognizing a specific fault or not? My comment as quoted by Peter Durham and asked of you was in relation to a tacit understanding that Ajahn Brahm would not PARTICIPATE in future Bhikkhuni ordinations, I never mentioned ORDAIN future Bhikkhunis so no misunderstanding there except it seems on your part. So if there is no intention to ask for forgiveness for the way he PARTICIPATED in the Bhikkhuni ordination as required by WPP, then Ajahn Sujatos comments about the postponement of the forgiveness ceremony, to quote him “I wasn’t aware there was a right time for forgiveness” are deceptive, it’s not about a right time but a right way. The western WPP Ajahns seem to be more than happy (for all the criticism they have received) to have a “sweep it under the rug” ceremony, in other words for Ajahn Brahm not to specificy any fault. But that wasn’t what WPP decided, they decided AB must specify said fault. And Ajahn Brahm is set that he wont ask for forgiveness for said specified fault. And so the postponement. The only option left is.- western WPP Ajahns (naively) think in the future when the issue has died down, then maybe they can fly by WPP a forgiveness ceremony without having AB specify the fault required of him.

    • Dear Diogenes,

      Just to clarify, you have made a point a couple of times that it is not a matter of a ‘right time’, but the ‘right way’ to ask forgiveness. In saying this i was merely repeating the reason that Ajahn Brahm was told by the WPP Ajahns for not going ahead. If you have a problem with this being inconsistent with the version that you have heard, I suggest you raise the matter with the authors of the inconsistency.

    • Dear Ratanadhammo,

      Honestly, it sounds like what you’re saying is that you acted in accordance with the Dhammavinaya as sincerely as possible, but decided you were unwilling to engage the other members of an organization precisely because it would have taken time and you convinced yourself that you would not have been happy with the result.

      No, I was not in principle unwilling to engage with other members of Wat Pa Pong (WPP). Rather, based on what I knew, I could not see any way forward through consultation. It was my considered opinion that consultation would have led to a blocking of bhikkhuni ordination within the WPP group.

      In other words, you set up a bunch of expectations in your mind about what would happen if you tried to consult others.

      Yes, they were expectations, and of course such things involve a degree of uncertainty. But my expectations were a result of what I had seen over a number of years. I wasn’t just producing expectations to justify my actions.

      Also, to say that there was no alternative path that would ultimately have led to bhikkhuni ordination is simply wrong.

      What I said was, “Nobody can possibly know whether an alternative path would have even led to bhikkhuni ordination.” As far as I am concerned this is true. Since before the 2009 ordination, I have not seen anything that gives me any confidence that bhikkhuni ordination will be possible within the Wat Pa Pong group of monasteries in the foreseeable future.

      There may be a thriving bhikkhuni monastery at Perth now, but your decision not to work within the organization may have ended the possibility for there ever being thriving bhikkhuni monasteries anywhere else in WPP …

      This is assuming that such a possibility ever existed. I would say that the Perth bhikkhuni ordination opened up the possibility of bhikkhunis in Perth. Without it, I doubt there would be any bhikkhunis anywhere within the WPP group. At least one monk I know has said directly that there should never be any bhikkhunis in the Thai forest tradition. And this was a Western monk, even a relatively young one. Yes, there are many monks who are positive about ordaining bhikkhunis, but I cannot see how they would have prevailed.

      As I understand it, there was a way to raise this issue within the organization in late 2009. You chose not to wait because you wanted to ordain women in Oct 2009. Had you raised the issue at the end of 2009 and laid the groundwork to raise it again in 2010 and again in 2011 with more and more support, you may have had a different result from the one you expected.

      I believe the WAM in 2009 would have been used by opponents to quash any further progress towards bhikkhuni ordination within the WPP group. All that has happened since the ordination – in particular the five points coming out of Amaravati Monastery – has strengthened this belief.

      Or you may have ultimately had to separate from WPP and ordain bhikkhunis in accordance with the Dhammavinaya.

      I didn’t want to leave WPP. This was not an option for me, nor anyone else at Bodhinyana Monastery.

      Either way, you would be heroes right now among your brothers rather than targets.

      This is fantasy. Perhaps there are some who would have seen a principled withdrawing from WPP as honourable. But I believe many would have been horrified.

      Your failure to expect the huge storm that was sure to follow your decision is not the result of your clear spiritual strengths, but is the result of a failure to recognize that all human institutions are flawed and that they adapt and change slowly.

      I have not said it was the result of “clear spiritual strength” (that’s not the implication of “we decided we would weather the storm”), but that it was the result of “an error of judgement”. But you are probably right that that error of judgment included an overestimation of WPP’s ability to change.

      You failed to trust the other members of the organization.

      I didn’t distrust anyone, nor did anyone else at Bodhinyana. We just felt that we knew well enough where everyone stood on this issue.

      You failed to give them an opportunity to work with you to make bhukkhuni ordination within WPP a reality. You have to acknowledge that what you did let down all the other members of the organization, those who would have opposed you and those who might have followed you out of WPP to the greater benefit of all bhikkhunis.

      If there was no way forward – which is what I believe – how could we have let anyone down? What seems clear is that we would have let the aspirants down if we hadn’t performed the ordination.

      Acknowledging that what you did as members of WPP in 2009 was wrong, on the other hand, is the only remaining way to move forward …

      “Wrong” on what criteria? There is a difference in perception here. Some people think we were wrong based on their understanding of what was acceptable within the WPP group. We think we were right since there was no other option in moving bhikkhuni ordination forward. Both of these criteria are subjective. However, I am happy to acknowledge that some perceive us as having acted wrongly. And I would be happy to ask for forgiveness for what might be my own clouded judgement. But I cannot possibly admit that I was wrong when I can’t see it.

      —–

      It seems to me that the monks within the WPP circle that you have been in contact with are the liberal ones, the ones that are positive about bhikkhunis within WPP. However, there is another side to WPP that you may not have seen. And I believe that many of the WPP monks who are positive about bhikkhunis are ill-informed about the views of those on the other side. It is easy to say that we should have consulted, but unless you know the strength of the opposition it’s just empty words. One sounds very reasonable when one argues in favour of consultation, but sometimes what is reasonable may not work. Reasonableness must be based on realism.

      With metta.

  7. To Daisy,

    Do you know the international law ( I think, the Geneva Convention? ) for Embassies situated in foreign countries? Embassies are considered a land designated to that country whatever it may be. And if I am correct Australian Government can not intervene with whatever goes on inside. Correct me if I am wrong. Before you think that local law can intervene in evey matter of a certain embassy that situated on Australian soil, you are dreaming. You can not even frisk a diplomats at the airport without single reasonable doubt! Or maybe they can now.

  8. Why did not Ajahn Sujato came to WPP meeting a year and a half ago? But if he missed that one, maybe he could try to go to Thailand and have another talk or even debate. Would not that be a sight?! If this is as bad as they have wanted it then, I say, they should show spirit and come to meet WPP Sangha and even the Western Sangha.

    The reason I say this is because your argument and statement is excellent on the blog, so I really like to see how you do LIVE, where emotions of both sides will be shown on their face and we will know who is who. For all of us on this blog(in cluding me) hiding behind flat screens and burn the keyboard is easy. Reminds me of the day when MSN chat room was still free. I wonder how many would stutter infron of a live microphone, eh?

    Ajahn, you know this is needed to happen. Otherwise this blog can go on for years acquring humungous hits on intenet and yet nothing constructive will be done. Western minds resort to western ways. Buddhism is about doing it and being it and not type and talk. We can go on quoting Bhuddha’s profound teachings and rules and be at square 1. I guess that is why soccer is debatable on a field.

    I feel that most or both sides are avoiding confrontations, but sometimes to realize the truth of the matter you have to be up front. Mara will always loose if a person is true and upfront.

    • To Easy company;
      On the spot. These armchair generals will have WPP fight the good fight while they watch and wait for the fallout from Australia. What has Bodhinyana contributed? they ordained western women in the Sri Lankan tradition, and suddenly some followers of Bodhinyana were falsely claiming it to be historic and a first but were quickly set straight. As I mentioned there are already Thai Bikkhunis living and practicing in Thailand, I would suggest to the zealous advocates to put their money where their mouth is by supporting them and thus truly contribute. As for Bodhinyana they seem to have foresaken Thailand altogether, thank God (considering Bhante Sujato’s recent comments on time honored Thai traditions) and are focusing on the WPP western sangha assets (dream on). As for your invitation to Ajhan Sujato to come to Thailand, let me remind you that he is persona non-grata, not that he would want to come to where he considers such a detestable place.

    • Are there Bhikkhuni orders in Thailand? Yes, I guess they (Bodhinyana) could support them. Is assets the question here? Why is wealth a concern?

    • From a documentary I recently watched the Bhikkhunis here in Thailand (which seem strangely invisible to many zealous advocates of a Thai Bhikkuni sangha) were asking for material support, you know it’s indispensable for them to lead their holy lives, and also because many female candidates were interested in joining them.

    • Easy company,

      You have quite openly threatened me (a female) in one of your posts saying something like “if that is what you are saying you had better be careful”

      To me that sounds like a threat.

      Personally from your tone and the viciousness of your responses to a simple post that state the truth stating in honest open appealling communication asking from peace the reactions from WPP seem to be very threatening.

      As a lay person I would dissade anyone from meeting with you or monks from going to WPP due to fear of violent recrimination by people like you!

      Do you think your name is misleading because mate there is nothing “easy” about you.

      What about “tough company” might suit you better – is theatening women something your Abbots taught you at WPP?

      So this is how women get threated by WPP if they dont say what you want to h ear – being threatened??

      …and you want monks to meet with you face to face, from your aggessive behaviour I would think that would be plain stupid!

    • Dear Daisy,
      Upon revising if I had missed to reply to someone, I realized I had missed a reply to easy company above, and what do I see below, that you are complaining about easy company threatening you and I couldn’t believe it, and I couldn’t believe easy company didn’t reply, he might have missed it, so I checked the post, to quote easy company “Dear Daisy, I can not help but to notice your comment. Correct me if I am wrong. Are you directing this comment to a certain minority religious group in Australia i.e. Islam? If you are, I suggest you be very careful in your next comment!” so rest easy he is not threatening you but making fun of what seems your Islamophobia and what in consequence would be your stereotyping them as violent extremist.

    • Daisy, if I am easy, it would not be a challange, would it? And by the way democratically, I have rights to be difficult and complicated. Moreover, when I adivised you out of caution to be careful who you are refering to because not just us Buddhist might be reading this blog.

      “As a lay person I would dissade anyone from meeting with you or monks from going to WPP due to fear of violent recrimination by people like you!”

      From the quotation, you seem to be in a lot fear. And I wonder why? Of course you can choose to tell or not, it is your right if you choose it.

      “Fear is the path to the darkside. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate and hate is suffering”

  9. Asking for forgiveness from WPP Sangha now is like trying to diffuse a bomb after it has been exploded. On the contrary, I think you should try to put out the FIRE and clean up the mess? (your mess)

  10. Don’t we get tired of all this? There are many other things in this world that one can perform.

    Just thought of something…why ask for forgiveness if you think what you did is right? But of course, if it was right then the outcome should have been positive and not negative. And there would have been no hard feelings, debate, conflicts and walking over senior Bhiikkhu’s head at WPP, right?

    A wise Ajahn once gave a dhamma talk and at end he said something like, “If your action is right, then the result should yeild positive”. I will never forget that. It was very profound — woke me up. I am very fortunate to have been reminded of that dhamma.

    • harsh company

      The outcome is positive for alot of people, actually it is extremely positive it is just your view of it that is negative and it is not that they are asking for forgiveness from WPP possibly the other way around

      Also why are you so outrage by this, hurt your ego abit has it?

      Obviously you don’t like women and having women ordained is threatening for you – get over it mate!

    • Daisy? You don’t know me, and you never will becasue you are blocked by the “Vortex”. I am not in any way threatened by women ordained as a Bhikkhuni. Remember, I live with my mother and she is a women, so how can I be anti-women movement,ha?

      “…for a lot of people, actually is it extremely positive it is just my view of it that is negaive..”

      ” When you say a lot of people, who many?

  11. I’d heard a few things about a reconciliation over the last few months and then very recently, almost hot on the heels of these rumours, came further hints that this might not eventuate. Moments of gladness followed by resigned disappointment.

    There’s a sense (from what I’ve heard elsewhere also) that some of the UK monks have been working hard to bring about this forgiveness ceremony also.

    And for those who have asked, I understand that Ajahn Brahm was going to ask forgiveness of Ajahn Liem (the current abbot of WPP).

    I understand that the all was fine until, (as Bhante Sujato has confirmed here) the Thai WPP contingent (for want of a better word) pulled out…or at least postponed it… I hope it was a genuine ‘postponment’ and not a cancellation.

    I’ve also heard from a first hand report that the Wellington lay community have been aiming to operate through fair and open principles as they decide which road they will take.

    Therefore it is extremely, deeply disturbing to hear that Ajahn Tirradhammo has treated his local community in this manner.

    Bhante Sujato, your honesty and good intentions are appreciated.

    I’m tiring of this whole saga and ‘am just glad that I’m in a position to support Ajahn Brahm and his monks and also the fledgling Bhikkuni Sangha.

    And I’m full of admiration and respect for those in Wellington who have determined to work through fair and honest intentions. May they all have long lasting success in the Dhamma.

    • Why should Ajahn Brahm be asking for forgiveness should it not be the other way around, haven’t you got that wrong Kanchana?

    • Dear Daisy,

      May I offer my humble opinion here?

      One does not need to have made a mistake to ask for forgiveness. If one thinks or feels that one has offended or slightly upset another person and would like to reconcile, one can always ask for forgiveness.

      A new monk at Bodhinyana Monastery [sorry I forgot his name - blame it on my ageing memory :) ] urged me to participate in the forgiveness ceremony held at Dhammaloka during the Thai New Year in April.

      I don’t think he had offended many people, but during the ceremony he asked for forgiveness from all the laypeople, including me, who went to wish him a happy new year and/or ask forgiveness from him.

      I was so surprised I think I forgot to say I forgave him because he had not offended me one bit during a good hour or so when we were discussing dhamma the previous day.

      I finally understood what a forgiveness ceremony was meant to be…

      It was a beautiful ceremony to eradicate negative (either hidden or obvious) feelings among people and cultivate beautiful feelings towards each other.

      So, if Ajahn Brahmali is reading this post, could you please tell him that I forgave him :) though he had not done anything wrong; on the contrary, he has shown me how forgiveness is important to our spiritual development and how a little ceremony can make a big difference.

      Combing back to your question, dear Daisy, I maintain that I am supporting Ajahn Brahm’s request for a forgiveness ceremony. I also have greater respect for him for asking for forgiveness from his fellow monastics. He is a truly good example for dhamma practitioners.

      With much metta,

      dheerayupa

  12. Sometimes you have to sit down quietly and reflects upon the issue..and ask. Why WPP? Why a deciple of Ajahn Chah? Why was the ceremony taken in Bodhinyana? And why it was done within the sacred Sima?( assuming ) Why delay the finalised decision to Phrarajsumedhajarn for 30 days? Why informed him the last 10 days before ceremony taking place? Why it was decide in a secretive manner? Why the rush? What about the desperation? These questions do not point to WPP does it? Look at it!

    • Why is it any of WPP business, why do they interfere, why do people have to get their permission, why do you think people in Australia need their permission, why?

    • Daisy, you are right you don’t need to take permission from Thailand because they don’t have authority there. It is your authority I guess. In the west some teenagers rebel to their parents as a trend in order to get their ways. Yeah, it is a democratic system. But if it is why WPP don’t have a say.

  13. What are the aftermaths of, if it will happen, an apology? I am not so bright, so maybe someone could tell me the reasons for apology and its purpose?

  14. Continue on the paragraph…

    “A wise Ajahn once gave a dhamma talk and at end he said something like, “If your action is right, then the result should yeild positive”. I will never forget that. It was very profound — woke me up. I am very fortunate to have been reminded of that dhamma.”

    Therefore even if the intention is for the better, it should not have been carried out if it will have repercussion to the Buddhist community as a whole. So, why in one right mind would one risk to proceed knowing that it will do more harm than good? A very peculiar kamma.

    • Dear Easy Company,
      One has to apply this very wise perspective you have raised to all parties and then see what the result is.
      _/\_

    • Yeah , but I am directing to the party that created the problem in the first place

    • Dear Easy Company,

      Some senior nuns went forth for higher ordination.
      This is kusala kamma.
      The reaction could have been to rejoice in the kusala kamma.
      For me it is very simple, no more no less than that.
      Was the action in response to beings going forth one of rejoicing?
      Or whas it something else?
      It could have been very simple.
      It could have been one of rejoicing.
      There were conditions there for this to be the response.
      But another response was chosen.
      And what is the resulting kamma of that?

      OK signing off for now – I can feel the vortex!
      I know and see you now.

      Be well
      _/\_

    • Again you oversimplified your comment. Just concern for only what you rejoice with and ignore the rest. Is not that a bit selfish? No matter what consequences is chained to the nuns higher ordination it does not matter as long as there is an ordination? Surely it is kusala in everyway, if you are going to look at it as one aspect. You said it is simple. How come we are in a so messy issue at present then? It is always convenient for one to say otherwise when things are completed or when you get what you want (craving? desire?). For your record I am in support with all ordinations if it is legitimate and done properly. Tell me what is there to rejoice about when there are split in the Sangha?

    • Karuna
      “I know and see you now.” your not implying that Easycompany is Mara are you? :) This isn’t a fight between the forces of darkness and the forces of light is it?
      Lots of good wishes for you.

    • Ouf! Thanks for asking for clarification Peter! I mean the vortex of this conversation of who did what first and who is to “blame”. I think that all that needed to be said has been said and one must reread the posts if one is truly interested in the “who said what and did what first”. I see some wisdom in not engaging in that although I began tiptoeing into it again! I stopped and saw, I was standing on the edge of the vortex once again. The “who said did what” conversation is a big black hole with a whole lot of magnetic pull that we have seen degenerate our conversations here over and over again for one year and a half and pull many many people into an unwholesome space.
      I hope and try to encourage more deep listening and loving speech and of course to offer what I have to offer and I have a lot to learn about these things myself. If we can hold each other in a loving space then I think the conversation will bear great fruit. But this seems not to be possible much of the tme and that is why I call it a bit of an energy vortex. There is an underlying current of negativity that seems to appear and take hold of the conversation. So best to step aside.
      Easycompany – the “split” is not as simple as you may think. In some ways, it is the forging of a new direction, I feel that Brahm’s way is one of engaged Buddhism – and the other is alltogether different- best to go then separate ways and in many ways the “old Sangha” ties remain, deep, and loving, while there is a dispute among a small vocal powerful handful who are generating negativity and splits in Sanghas like NZ- if we want to characerize things in that way. But do we? “Split” is something that carries a lot of weight and irrelevant baggage with it and it is a choice to see it and phrase it in that way. And yes, it is my way of looking at things to see the going forth as an act of kusala kamma. I feel that is the simplest way of looking at it. I feel it is beneficial and wholseome to drop all the rest of it because it is all drama. Really it is. All of it. Human drama. My “view.” I respect your heart too. _/\_ I sign off here – I promise to continue looking more deeply – and not to return to the vortex!

  15. I would like to add that if I were in a position of leadership in the communities that have been disconnected from WPP- that I would probably drop efforts to remain connected with them. My perception from far far away is that a community is forging a path in a new direction and then possibly (it looks like but may not be the case) trying to carry a great big boulder along with it. I understand there are old friendships at stake, and that one wants to demonstrate to the world that one has made the effort to forgive and request forgiveness, and one wishes for one’s Sangha brothers not to suffer out of friendship, but the wider bigger world Sangha has embraced you fully, as has the wider Thai Sangha. And your practice is refreshing and engaged and differentiated from the old family you have left behind. I would cut the anchor and sail on… but that is perhaps because I cannot see with the same eyes as Ajahn Brahm.

    In my own practice – stepping out into a bigger Sangha has been great for health and great for practice. The biggest benefit has been to see attachment to Sangha. Relinquishing it, I have discovered a lot of love still remains for all Sangha, I experience a lot less suffering, and a little more skill, if I were ever to engage with the old Sangha family again. I feel an engaged community is a better place for the conditions that I walk with and practice will bear more fruit and skill both in the core practice and in my interactions with the world. This has meant focusing in that direction and abandoning attachment to old friends and teachers even if I see some of them suffering and trapped in the tangled roots of disharmony. I would like to help lift them out of those roots but that is secondary to the path that is being forged and if I look deeply enough I may find this desire is out of attachment.

    Yet it is also out of a loving concern for Sangha building.
    Look around us.
    Tibet, Burma, Bangladesh, Vietnam and so many other Sanghas have suffered enormously.
    We have the duty and responsibility to build Sangha.
    We must do it and we must put aside all differences to do so.
    I believe this could be what is motivating Ajahn Brahm to continue to extend an olive branch, when he really does not need to (from a humble and distant view!)

    But in the wider context, forging the new path that aligns with so many in the wider world Buddhist community, a path which is very much needed in our age (a more engaged and transparent Buddhism that serves both the Triple Gem and conventional realities) – one that is fully supported by the Australian community which is rich, diverse and engaged – and letting old friends either follow or stay where they are is another way of Sangha building.

    In love and reverence for the Sangha and a wish for all to thrive inn thir communities _/\_

  16. In a matter concerning gratitude to Ajahn Chah, the founding father of his Western diciples, I hope you are right. Remember that most of the Western diciples of Ajahn Chah prosper becasue of Ajahn Chah’s perfections and kindness that he have trusted upon them. They will always carry his name wherever they go and whatever they will commit. I guess it is not engrained in Western genes to reflect upon parents gratitude. I guess if you don’t have it you don’t have it. The danger in human is that when they think they can perform on their own and not need others advice, especially from the elders(no matter how backward they seems). This characteristic is called arrogance. But who knows Ajahn Brahm could be the next Alexander the great of the Australian Buddhist community. But he is not Alexander the great. Even as I say this ( and this is strange ) I still have full respect in him in most parts because of a short advice (ovada) he gave me a long time ago, and a very profound one. I never forget that dhamma. But in other parts, the question bakes in my heart yerning for comprehending of why, Ajahn? Why did you act on it? Till today no answer can be found. But I will always know Ajahn Brahm that gave me that short and concise dhamma. Maybe some day the relationship of the Western Sangha and Thai Sangha of Ajahn Chah will mend ( it will need a super glue though. The kind that needs to mix part “A” with part “B”). I, for one, am for unity. The reason I came on this blog was to search for answer and end this mud shed ( not blood shed). I always thought that elders Bhikkhu supposed to pave way for the next generation to copy and survived the duration of practice. I really have lots of faith in Western Sangha becasue I have lost one from my own (The Thais). But right now, the whole ship is sinking. As a lay person, I look for leading examples, of Seniors Bhikkhus overcoming problems and challanges as an inspiration and for strong faith to carry out the daily routines of life because it is certainly a trying one. But they are human like me ( as I keep forgetting ). But still, as much as I have zero flying hours in meditation, I would think that they should be better than me. But in this case, I don’t think so.

    • Dear Easy Company,
      Sadhu to you. When the Sangha let’s us down we have to return to the source, and that is part of shedding the attachment to Triple Gem and maturing in our practice. Make yourself an island and build up from the zero hours of meditation. I mean this in friendship, not in condescension! I know I have much to learn from any Dhamma friend. Having walked through the heartbreak and discovered a few rainbows on the other side is the place I look from. Generating the courage to stand up, as you are doing, for your belief in protecting the Sangha is worthy of praise (at least from a lowly Dharma sister!) – standing up for sila is a place where we shed the self and walk through the fear that comes along with that. So, Sadhu. There are so many good monks in Thailand- I am slightly envious that you are close to them. But maybe this is the time to clock time with yourself, your island. Metta _/\_

    • I will hold my piece then.

      “island”, I wonder if you meant the book,”The Island”

    • PS- If you are disappointed in the Bhikkhu Sangha, perhaps spend some time with the Bhikkhuni Sangha! It could be healing…

    • Yeah, that would be nice if they visit. I have always wonder how we would do with Bhikkhuni here. And you keep missing the point. It is not about disappointment.

    • OK – leaving disappointment aside, if you would like to sit with a suplerlative Dhamma teacher, Bhikkhuni Dhammananda is not far away from Bangkok. She is one of the most impressive monastics I have ever met and sat with. _/\_

    • Easy company,

      I do not no much of Ajahn Chah but in this situation I wonder what he would have done if he was the Abbot or leader in Thailand.

      Possibly he would have sent a brief message to AB and Monks and said congratulations on taking the initiative in our tradition in Australia, it is time; Ajahn Brahm next time please abide by the rules of (fill in here what ever tedious little rule was supposedly ignored) or we may have to take disciplinary action.

      End of story.

      the fact that you agree with everything but make such an issue about one little mistake – even if it is true (which I don’t think it is anyway_ AB is human, expecting perfection is like trying to make a god of him.

      Life is messy, that is OK too

      Why are you making an issue of one little point – it can only be an ego thing, offended that your Abbots were not obeyed to the letter – excommunicating someone for that!!

      doesn’t make sense at all.

    • if it is little why have a blog on the net then? huuum. If it is on your mind, it is on your mind.

    • and again Daisy, you seem to oversimplified the matter for the convenience.

      I hope that your life is much simpler than you have stated.

    • Yes Ajahn Chah, might have, would have done what you said. But you are not Ajahn Chah(far from that). But Ajahn would have been very careful about this issue, very careful.

    • Easy Company,

      To be honest you may be right I probably over simplify things because I really don’t understand this whole issue

      - it seems to AB ordained nuns
      - the Ajahns were not informed or thought they were not informed in the appropriate manner – a disrespectful action that may or may not have occurred.
      - and because of this AB is excommunicated?

      What a harsh country you come from – don’t think I would ever go there I think I would get put in jail and hung from the nearest tree for my spelling alone – are they always so tough on people in your country?

      Anyway I will bow out of this argument due to my own ignorance (please don’t have excommunicated from this site for admitting to being totally imperfect and ignorant) and making mistakes – i am a mere human!

      Best wishes easy company and …..relax.. :) :) :)

      Metta

      Daisy

    • ..oh one last thing

      What is important here is:

      NOT what men think!
      NOT what you think or want …or what I think!
      NOT rules and regulations!
      NOT what Abbots think or want!
      NOT even what Ajahn Brahm says or did..

      What is important and what matters and ALL that matters is that if women wish to get enlightened; if women wish to get out of this suffering world then the means should be there for them to do so…
      AND that the women who do get ordained, those with the knowledge to help others also sincerely wish and work towards helping other women to become enlightened or learn the Dharma.

      That is what matters here – not much else!

      Best wishes

  17. Dear Venerable Sujato
    I have returned to Perth unaware of the events that had taken place in regard to the Venerable Ajahn Brahms excommunication. I am deeply saddened by it as I was overjoyed to discover that a Theravadan Buddhist Nunnery had been established. If it wasn’t for the Venerable Ajahn Chah, Venerable Ajahn Sumedho and in turn Venerable Ajahn Brahm we wouldn’t have the exposure to the Dhamma that we have here in Perth and I am eternally grateful to have been able to have heard the Dhamma through these masters. Being rather ignorant I had no idea that there would have been an issue ordaining women, after all we only inhabit this body…it isn’t us! If there are changes involved in spreading Dhamma in the West then that is just how it is…we have to focus on spreading Dhamma. Ajahn Brahm has my vote! Bravo Brahmissimo!!
    with much metta from Chris

  18. Diogenes wrote:

    “By demeaning WPP publicly you are making Bodhinyana fair game……nd yet you pounce on them, in the process bringing out embarrassing past mistakes of Wat Pah Nanachat. Why? are you so hurt that you must hurt others?…and yet here they remain seething and riled, lecturing WPP all high and moral, truly a sad spectacle.”

    Ratanadhammo wrote:
    “Honestly, Ajahn Brahm and everyone at Bodhinyana monastery would be wise to stop making themselves the issue and to stop criticizing the WPP as if they’re going to change things by attacking the WPP leadership in this way.”

    I also feel that there really is no need to go on criticizing WPP publicly like this. We need to give it a rest already.

    Ratanadhammo wrote:
    “As I think Ajahn Brahm and others want to move beyond the divisiveness of this ongoing debate”

    Karuna wrote:
    “I also find it very odd that as soon as Bhante Sujato posts on his blog – people jump and generalize and say “Ajahn Brahm and his monks are at it again.”

    As I see it, Ajahn Brahm is only concern about reconciling with his brothers in the dhamma.
    I don’t believe he would want to publicly criticize other monastics from WPP. It seems that things he put effort into are creating peace and harmony.

    Please keep in mind that this is not Ajahn Brahm’s blog. Why should Ajahn Brahm be held responsible for what another person wrote. I would not assume that the posts on this blog represent Ajahn Brahm’s view on the dhamma or any other things.

    Kanchana wrote:
    “There’s a sense (from what I’ve heard elsewhere also) that some of the UK monks have been working hard to bring about this forgiveness ceremony also……I understand that the all was fine until, (as Bhante Sujato has confirmed here) the Thai WPP contingent (for want of a better word) pulled out…or at least postponed it… I hope it was a genuine ‘postponment’ and not a cancellation.”

    Let’s look on the bright side, I think it is great that they are moving toward a forgiveness ceremony . If not now then later. If it doesn’t then simply let go.

    • Thanks iMeditation.

      Regarding Ajahn Brahm’s views and efforts, I may have read too much into this part of the post:

      [Ajahn Brahm] is clear that neither he nor his Sangha are interested to rejoin Wat Pa Pong. They do, however, want WPP to stop the active campaign of cutting Ajahn Brahm and his monks out of communion.

      Some of my interpretations were based on how I read this bit.

      In the end, you’re right. These are all good people and, regardless of this passing rift, they are part of the Sangha that so many of us respect and go to for refuge. Metta.

    • Hi Ratanadhammo,

      Ratanadhammo wrote: “In the end, you’re right. These are all good people and, regardless of this passing rift, they are part of the Sangha that so many of us respect and go to for refuge.”

      The disagreement on this issue is temporary and will pass. After we have discussed and addressed the issue , then we should give it some time to heal. It is good that they even work on getting together and have a forgiveness ” party”. If it work out then great, if not then simply let go and move on. I don’t think Ajahn Brahm would hold a grudge against his dhamma brothers or want to continually demean them in public. If it is the case then he wouldn’t bother putting in so much effort to heal the issue. WPP monks are in a different location and environment, they might have some difficulty of their own which prompted their reaction. So there is no need to hold a grudge against them, and vice versa. I am very sorry that the criticism of WPP in public continues.

      As I see it Bhante Sujato and Ajahn Brahm are two very different people although Bhante Sujato is a disciple of Ajahn Brahm. I wouldn’t confuse the two. For example, some of the views relating to dhamma in the posts are very different if not contrary to what Ajahn Brahm taught. Ajahn Brahm is not the author of this post that we are commenting on. The post above are the words Ajahn Sujato and doesn’t necessarily reflect Ajahn Brahm’s words.

      Personally, I think this comment from Ajahn Brahmali reflects Ajahn Brahm’s position more closely ( please verify with AB because I am also not AB):

      “I, and I think all the monks at Bodhinyana, do accept the situation as it is, and we are quite happy to “move on”. However, if we can move towards greater harmony, then so much the better. There are a number of monks on both sides of this issue who would prefer a normalisation of our relationship. As long as there is goodwill, it is worthwhile
      pursuing harmony in the Sangha.”

      With metta,

      With metta,

    • I was confusing the two far more than I should have.

      I have no doubt that there is goodwill and that harmony will emerge as a result of it.

      Metta.

    • [Ajahn Brahm] is clear that neither he nor his Sangha are interested to rejoin Wat Pa Pong. They do, however, want WPP to stop the active campaign of cutting Ajahn Brahm and his monks out of communion.

      I don’t understand may be you can clarify. If they are not interested in rejoining WPP, then why would they have to be concern with WPP campaign of cutting them out of communion? And why would WPP still have to campaign when they are not interested in rejoining anyway.

    • Normally monks travel around from monastery to monastery. If a monk arrives in a monastery that is not part of their original tradition, they will nevertheless be accepted, and as long as they live in a way that’s harmonious with the resident Sangha, there is no problem for them to stay there. However in the case of Ajahn Brahm’s monks, there is a special order that they can’t stay in WPP monasteries unless they effectively cut off all ties with Ajahn Brahm. I don’t know the details of the order, which is normal in light of WPP’s secretiveness, but there is no doubt it exists.

    • Dear Easycompany,

      Easycompany wrote: “[Ajahn Brahm] is clear that neither he nor his Sangha are interested to rejoin Wat Pa Pong. They do, however, want WPP to stop the active campaign of cutting Ajahn Brahm and his monks out of communion.”

      I think the comment from Ajahn Brahmali regarding the him and the other monks at Bodhinyana shows that they can move on, but because there are people from both sides who still very much value the friendship that they have. For this reason, they still put in effort to repair the friendship:

      “I, and I think all the monks at Bodhinyana, do accept the situation as it is, and we are quite happy to “move on”. However, if we can move towards greater harmony, then so much the better. There are a number of monks on both sides of this issue who would prefer a normalisation of our relationship. As long as there is goodwill, it is worthwhile
      pursuing harmony in the Sangha.”

      Ratanadhammo wrote: “I have no doubt that there is goodwill and that harmony will emerge as a result of it.”

      I am also positive.

      With metta,

    • Hi iMeditation,
      Not sure if you realised but where you quote Easycompany, Easycompany was quoting from Bhante Sujato’s original post: “He is clear that neither he nor his Sangha are interested to rejoin Wat Pa Pong. They do, however, want WPP to stop the active campaign of cutting Ajahn Brahm and his monks out of communion, requiring that Ajahn Brahm’s monks effectively disown him as a teacher if they stay in a WPP monastery”.

      If the monks from Bodhinyana still want to stay at WPP branch monasteries, I personally would take it as a sign of not really wanting to move on. I would also take it as showing a lack of conviction.

      Where does the BSWA stand in all this or is it purely a matter for the Bhikku Sangha to resolve?

    • Dear Peter,

      Yes, I am aware that it was from the article. Easycompany was asking about that part, and I was referring to that part when I explaining. That is the reason I quoted that part of her post. It was the same part of the article quoted by Ratanadhammo in his previous reply to me.

  19. Ratanadhammo said:

    Ajahn Brahm “and his monks just keep making their problems with the Sangha worse.”

    Despite being a member of the BSWA and a relatively regular visitor to Bodhinyana monastery, I’ve not heard how Ajahn Brahm and his monks are doing this. As I’ve indicated elsewhere, my sources on the grapevine have indicated otherwise. But perhaps Ratanadhammo is far closer to the inner circle of events and has explicit and completely accurate information on such matters.

    I’d be deeply concerned if Ratanadhammo’s statement proved to be true and would feel compelled to question the monks and ask them to stop whatever negative acts they were undertaking. First I do need to know exactly what and how they were doing this; and indeed if their actions/speech were (intentionally or unintentionally) having this sad impact.

    So perhaps Ratanadhammo can post here, how, when and what they have done to make their problems with the Sangha worse.

    By “Sangha” I’m assuming he/she is not referring to the general “Sangha of the four quarters” (especially since I’ve had access to information which suggests that quite the opposite is true, that they are indeed consolidating on already positive relations and are seeking to actively improve strained relations). So I’m assuming that Ratanadhammo is referring to a specific group within the Sangha and while I could probably guess at who is meant, I’d rather not and would appreciate quite specific details on this also. That way I can make an evidence based complaint to Ajahn Brahm and his monks.

    Ratanadhammo, the Dhamma Jewel, it’s preciousness is because of it’s Truth. So Ratanadhammo, may you come forth with the true details behind this statement. And may it be factual, accurate and correct. May no one be slandered by anything that is stated here.

    • I have no secret information. I can’t step forward with the true details of events being orchestrated behind the scenes by anyone with sinister motives. I was referring to posts like the one to which we are commenting, made public for all to see, when I said that Ajahn Brahm and his monks just keep making their problems with the Sangha worse.

      This is the second time I’ve had to question whether someone commenting here even read the post before commenting.

      With all respect that is unquestionably due to Bhante Sujato, I don’t understand his goal at this point. Is the goal now to resolve the conflict so that monks can stay at WPP monasteries without having to disown Ajahn Brahm as a teacher? Or is the bigger goal really to push the West’s Enlightenment on others, as if the Buddha’s views on samsaric existence can be so easily matched up with an overly idealized view of the Enlightenment values?

      And…

      Dare I ask the question?

      …Shouldn’t the effort have been from the beginning, in the middle, and through to the end to gain approval from within the institution for ordaining women and to ensure a solid place for bhukkhunis within the institution, and shouldn’t that effort have been the only focus all along? At this point, they have taken a back seat to conflicts that have been focusing and appear to be continuing to focus on Ajahn Brahm and Bodhinyana monastery’s status as a result of the way things were done in 2009. Frankly, even posts about supporting bhikkhunis financially (like the one posted at this blog a few days ago) just end up appearing like an effort by some to create ammunition for a fight between Bodhinyana monastery (cast as on the side of right, the Dhammavinaya, and – oddly – the Enlightenment) and WPP (cast as on the side of wrong, as being run like a totalitarian regime). My impression is that Ajahn Brahm and others at Bodhinyana monastery were and remain stunned that so many of their brothers didn’t just line up with them and are still not lining up with them. From what I’ve seen, I don’t find it surprising at all.

      Frankly, this never should have been about Ajahn Brahm or Bodhinyana monastery. Perhaps those who were involved in doing what was done in 2009 should think about how what they did and, in some cases, are still doing, generates more divisiveness than resolution within an institution.

      Anyway, I’ve drifted from the point Kanchana is making.

      Rest assured that I am no one.

      I am viewing this from a distance, which appears to be giving me a good perspective from which to view it.

    • Hi Bhante,

      I’ve just had a quick look at some of the other posts and in particular was struck by Karuna’s comments about ‘the vortex’.

      I too do not wish to go anywhere near said ‘vortex’ again and ‘am discerning the growth of a significant headache at the mere thought of it! I’ve said plenty already!!

      So respectfully, please can you delete this very comment as well as the one preceding – the one which makes reference to Ratanadhammo’s comment!

      I’m happy for my very first comment on this thread to remain.

      But I don’t want to go into the arguing etc etc. It’s just not good for me right now. Thank you so much and sorry for the trouble.

      With metta

    • Dear Kanchana,

      Metta!

      Seriously, please let it go before your headache gets worse.

      My goal has been to encourage others to do the same by pointing out a perspective from a distance. Instead, I appear to have fed the divisiveness. I’m sorry for that.

      Be well. Metta.

  20. Dear Ven Sujato,

    It reminds me very much of St Mary’s in South Brisbane and the reaction of the Catholic hierarchy against that church. In fact it reminds me of any religious hierarchy, the Catholic Church in particular. Burn heretics!

    This very issue is why I left the Buddhist Soc of South Australia. As you know it was run by a woman who is an arch reactionary conservative on this topic. It is a shame, but I hope that Western Buddhism learns from this and grows up

    Cheers

    Ben

  21. I wonder, had WPP not make an issue out of this and go on guietly accepting all that has happened, would the Thai Bhuddhist governing body say anything to the WPP committee? If they do not then I think it is pretty much alright to ordain Bhikkhuni all along because Thais do not care much about anything, not even our own political issues ( but that does not validate Bhikkhuni ordination ). And life goes on. But if Thai Buddhist did something to WPP Sangha then WPP would be in trouble (probably not much, just a slap on the wrisk). Then again I think that the Western Buddhist Monastics (Ajahn Chah deciples) were obligated and compelled to follow the issues and acted on it due to the underlining pressure from belonging to the WPP Sangha. Well, the Western Monastics in Thailand are doing their duty, there is nothing wrong with that. Unless some would want them to just stand back and standby.
    Western Theravada Monks in Thailand of forest traditions hold their buddhist monastic codes to the letter ( which is a great thing, something that is very lack in Thai monastics). Preservation of “the backward ways” as some of you has stated, has survive for a long time, a long time. How could it have survived if the monastics(Bhikkhunis who hold the 8 Garudhamma and Bhikkhus) in the past did not hold strict to their codes. And we are up and running taking over and maybe amend certain rules a bit, why? Because it does not suit the present day situation. “If it ain’t broken don’t fix it.”
    On the other note, it would be nice if we can pick and choose and bypass the law of nature to reborn in any form we desire. Things in nature is balanced the way it is. Human thinks that having all things equal will create equilibrium. That is suicide. If things were all the same, it would not just be boring, it would not work. We have to have variations. Then again from our(human) point of view it may seem valid to have reestablish Bhikkhuni order in Thailand to balance out. And maybe it would. I don’t know. But remember one thing, becasue of our egotistic push, we always put ourselves at the certre of the universe which we are not the centre in reality but part of it. We always do in any decision we take and actions that we carry out. If our ideas of balance work well, our environment would not have been in such a mess, would it?
    The Bhikkhuni ordination in Perth was sure valid (if it is). But,could it have been delayed a bit for a favourable time and for furthur consultations ( if it was genuinely welcome by WPP Sangha and Western monatics in Thailand of WPP)? The issue was never about Bhikkhuni ordinations but the intersection of 2 circles and of that particles in intersection part that is the issue.
    It still bakes the questions why create a controversy? Probabaly, the controversy was created to raised questions and maybe promotions. Who knows, it could be a start of a good thing what Ajahn Brahm did. Maybe we miss something. But the truth of it is when the bell in my head rings, it means it was not right. The thing about conscience- it is funny. I can not deny that either but maybe others can go on thinking that it is even if it rings in their own heart too.

    “Small sacrifice for a greater good?”

    • Dear Easy Company,
      Equaliity does not mean sameness.
      Equality means, whether you and I are reborn male or female, there will be a place for each of us to take the robes and practice for full awakening, not just as householders.
      In a recent chat with a great Lion monk, he told me how he visited a remote place in Burma, and found a jewel in the midst of 70 monks monasteries – a lovely nun’s monastery.
      How lovely!
      Perhaps!
      That means, if you and I are born female in our next life in that place, that our odds are 1:70 of having a place to practice in the robes.
      Equality means, the odds are more or less 70:70.
      Not that you and I somehow become the same.
      Right view is to accept our diversity and offer one another love without discrimination, understanding that we cannot live without one another and to deprive one another of the teachings and the requisites is not an act of love but an unwholesome act of withholding and discrimination.
      It is not right view.
      This is my humble understanding.
      _/\_

    • Dear Karuna, you know that most of us can not and will not get everything in life. Not to our expectations anyway. I notice that women seems to concern themselves with a lot of equality issue, why? Is it natural instinct? Then, as long as you think that women are still treated as a secondary to men, then I, as a male, will always be criticized, whether I have or have not participate in campaigning against women trying to promote their equality, for being unfair and not giving enough oportunity to women. On this topic, do you think that sometime (probably very small) men do get unequal chance of getting into certain area of professional job too? For example, flight attendant just to name one. I think whether it is women or men our odds for getting anything to our desire will never be fullfill and hence, fortunately, we all have a way soothing that pain — Buddhism.

    • In my humble opinion, as long as we crave no matter if it is an aspiration, when don’t get it, we will always be disappointed. Unless we can get some that is.

  22. I hope we are not seeing the onset and emergence of a worldly bhikkhu sangha that resorts to protecting their turf and power base. It’s a scary thought, sad too.

  23. I praise the western WPP Ajahns for being so discreet around the forgiveness ceremony issue(which denotes a genuine concern to bring closure) But the walls have ears (lay people) and they have confirmed my suspicions, Ajhan Sujato chose to give his version, so here is mine. Bodhinyana intended to have a standard mutual forgiveness ceremony, which goes somewhere along the lines of “I ask for forgiveness ‘IF’ I in any way have offended…by body speech or mind…”. “I” here refering to Ajahn Brahm and some representative western WPP Ajahns, the “IF” here intended as a blanket, non specific fault. In other words the “sweep it under the rug” option, which has it’s value and place if it seems that it will solve the problem, and not that it will fester and resurface with worst consequences. And with Ajhan Brahm also asking for forgiveness directly from Lumpho Liem also for an unspecified fault. With no mention of Ahjan Brahm not participating in further Bhikkhuni ordinations, but with a tacit understanding that he wont (to save face, specially amongst his supporters). To which after consultation, some Thai WPP Ajhans objected (and justified in my view) since this wasn’t the conditions given to Ajahn Brahm to be reinstated (that were democratically concluded). In other words they are wrangling over the wording and specifics since the devil is in the detail and so are trying to hammer out an agreement. If too ambiguous, it can lead to future different interpretations, and we will be back at square one, although I believe Ajahn Brahm should be allowed some leniency for the benefit of his supporters. I see no issue here, its my understanding that he is being asked to specify the fault, not as ordaining Bhikkhunis, but for the way he went about it. On the issue of participating in future Bhikkhuni ordinations (as long as Thai sangha law doesn’t allow) it should be a tacit understanding that he wont. Is this too much to ask? What are the other options? That Bodhinyana truly go it’s own way, by taking their foot out of the door, allowing it to close and not look back. More on where I think that would lead Bodhinyana and why in a next post,
    suffice to say for now that it’s a dead end and so I urge Bodhinyana to acquiesce. The other only option is the statu quo, Bodhinyana stating that it has no interest in rejoining WPP, whilst complaining about getting the cold shoulder, and the continuation of the mud slinging party. If Bodhinyana were to acquiesce, it cannot be seen as a defeat if the true battle is about fostering the Bhikkhuni Sangha, because the western (and many Thai believe it or not) WPP Ajahns would be the most interested and valuable assets in joining Bodhinyana to further such a noble cause, albeit in a concerted, respectful and skillful way that is guaranteed to yield fruit which is not bitter, but of a sweetness that we can all truly rejoice in.

  24. It’s being argued that Ajahn Brahm is happy to move on and go his own way, but that some Bodhinyana monks because of friendships and a genuine desire for reconciliation are reluctant to follow him out the door. Let me remind you that the decision for Ajahn Brahm to participate in the Bhikkuhni ordination wasn’t Ajahn Brahm’s decision (according to their own statements) but a concerted one by the Bodhinyana Sangha, so if the majority wants to be reinstated, they should have a vote to have Ajahn Brahm acquiesce to the terms of reinstatement. Contrary to what Ajahn Sujato would have us believe, to quote him “I wasn’t aware there was a right time for forgiveness” the time is now, Lumpho Liam is there in WPP (however he is not holding his breath), Ajahn Brahm can come ASAP, the offer still stands, the issue is not about the right time but the right way, as I explained in my above post. Of course Ajahn Brahm is in no way obligated and in such a case Bodhinyana monks would have to decide. Following this argument I have to say that their indecision is keeping the door open through where the mud is continued to be slung. Now as I commented in my post above, if Bodhinyana goes it’s own way it will be a dead end and Bodhinyana must be aware of this, that is why now they are keen on this “sweep it under the rug ceremony” disguised as a forgiveness ceremony. The western WPP tradition is suffering from the fallout and they wouldn’t mind if its only a “sweep it under the rug ceremony disguised as a forgiveness ceremony” but not the Thai WPP Ajahns and so it didn’t fly by them, and I deduct that is the reason why Ajahn Sujato is so riled up, that he chose to trash the whole Thai Bhikkhu Sangha, westerners included. In the history of all the Buddhist sects that have splintered, the majority never made it very far, nobody remembers them, their leaders or why they split. In order to succeed they must have a particular and appealing emphasis on a doctrine, teachers/leaders, and a foundational origin like Mahayana has its texts, also you need a large adherence of both monks and laypeople. Like I argued before Bodhinyana must have miscalculated, thinking that some western WPP Ajahns would follow them into this new western buddhist sect, and by putting pressure on the rest they would soon follow. As we can see now, none did or will despite the empty threats and arguably no brainer arguments, that western Buddhism should be stripped of its pernicious asian values and married to the arguably enlightened western values (which some claim to be the true Buddhist values), well christianity and western values don’t seem to have gotten along well, Christianity being rocked by all the pedophile priest, and the enlightened western values imbued governments let most of them of the hook with money, and so Christianity is rapidly losing adherents, while asian religions imbued with asian values like Islam and Buddhism are on the rise. As of now their is no western Buddhism, and their has been a move and interest for a while by many in the west to have their own brand of Buddhism by again stripping it of asian culture and values and marrying it to strictly western culture and values, which inevitably means a secular Buddhism, which for many in the west is a no brainer, so any monks interested should disrobe, westerners will not stand for hierarchy, why should they bow to them, why should monks sit above them, why should you have separate monks and laypeople mantaining them, no siree, everyone should be equal. It has been tried before only to fail spectacularly,Some of the issues were money, the anarchy, the lack of leaders (no one could be leader) and the like. Basically the lack of those reviled asian values was the reason for their demise. As is stated in a sutta, the lack of monks and existence of only laity would be a sign of the insurmountable by then decline of Buddhism, in other suttas the Bhikkhu Sangha and Vinaya along with those reviled asian are stated as indispensable to the preservation of buddhism. An ignorant demeaning of asian values has been pitted against the an equally ignorant uncritical and unquestioned enlightened western values, but more on that in my next post, if I’m not banned by then.

    • Diogens

      Hierachy itself is not always the problem in the West and of course I agree with you it is necessary at times. It is often the degree of hierachy that is the problem here and the way it is enforced and that often the people who are appointed to certain levels in the hierachy do not have the skill and knowledge to carry out duties in line with their level of responsibility; although ultimately even the Buddha did not want hierachy I believe.

      Also I don’t think any one on this website expects you or anyone else to be completely free of defilements, I certainly am not; we all have greed, hatred and delusion… but also arrogance and ill will are the very aspects that most religions teach are wrong; that the Buddha teaches must be overcome; yet you are telling everyone what to do and what is right and wrong with such ill will and hatred, while then claiming to be some sort of great expert Buddhist – how is your attitude in line with what the Buddha taught?

      Maybe you could do some loving kindness meditation, reassess you negative view and then filter it through your mind in a less hateful way. Sure you have your views on this subject (a very democratic attitude there Diogenes having so many views??) but your level of hatred and resentment is not in line with what is going on here.

      Debating and putting forth your views on this situation are justifiable (and as I said very democratic for someone against democracy) and that is what this website if for but if you can’t do it in a fair and non-racist way, if you just make accussation that are not true regarding people saying things that are hateful about WPP when in fact all they are doing is putting forth statements of fact then maybe reassess your own level of hatred and bitterness your level of ill will, your bitterness and dislike of democracy and the west.

      Now of course you will go around with some childish vengeful action finding little bits of ill will in my posts and others and coming back and saying well in the west this and in the west that and you did this and he said that…so I will just say read the second paragraph again!

      Also with regards to the Monk and Nuns here in the west; while you reek revenge and hatred because your “idols” have not been “obeyed to the letter” on one issue ….you somehow think it is fine to come on here and speak harshly and speak without respect to and about the Monks, Nuns and Buddhists in the West and especially Ajahn Sujato and people who reside at the Centre in Perth.

      Why is it OK for you to be so disrespectful, demeaning, rude and hateful to the ordained here but not OK for us to put forth our views in even the nicest and politest of ways to the monks there?

      You expect everyone to have to bow and scape to you and your Monks yet come on here speaking in the most appallingly disrespectful way to and about Ajahn Sujato and others at the Centre in Perth and Buddhists in Australia. They do alot of good here – and you have no right to try to destroy that or devalue that!

      Personally I think you need to stop being so rude and arrogant and remember that Buddhism is about “what the Buddha taught” not about culture; east or west – and mind your manners and speak with respect to and about Ajahn Sujato and Buddhist here in the West.

      If you cannot do that then stop blaming others for inflamming this situation and take responsibility for doing that yourself.

      Also if we are going to get into hierachy could I please request your supervisor to clarify that you are appointed it seems by the monks of Thailand as their spokesperson? Surely if you are so against Democracy you would not be speaking “freely” but be under the “orders” of you Superior, so could you clarify who this is?

    • Dear Daisy
      Usually the people who have issues with hierarchy is because of envy, due to their defilements. These same people as soon as they are put in a position of power become intoxicated with it.

      Where did I claim that I was a great expert Buddhist? You are the one making the claim on my behalf. I’m closely associated with the Thai forest tradition and have followed this dispute, hoping it would be resolved soon, and abstained from posting on this blog. But I only saw matters getting worse and started posting on the blog until the post “healing the fallout from the Bhikkuhni ordination” where the OP from the BSWA was offering an olive branch on one hand and a dagger on the other, and yet I never mentioned Ajahn Sujato or Ajahn Brahm, directing my comments only to the laity and trying to be conciliatory on that post.

      And yet matters kept getting worse, yes I still have defilements but more than hatred or ill will, this current OP instilled in me anger, which I feel is justified. Unlike you I will quote, Ajahn Sujato stated “WPP faces a choice. Will they continue to endorse these principles? Or will they begin the difficult process of reflection and change?” or what I may ask? An empty threat? talk about telling others what is right and wrong and what they should do. Ajhan Sujato further stated a prophecy of doom for WPP “There is a storm coming, make no mistake. Maybe not this year, maybe not next, but it will come” I would ask, is he going to be one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse that will bring this storm unto WPP? he seems to be quite active at it. He further states “recognize the problem, accept that it needs to be overcome, and work with commitment to overcome it” more self righteous preaching, and then what really got me going here, Ajahn Sujato states “One by one, each of the Wat Pa Pong branch monasteries will have to decide where it stands. Whether it is to be an instrument of Thai Buddhist colonialism” So the Thai Buddhist Sangha are the imperial masters of their vassals the western WPP tradition? Lumpho Liam is the imperial master of his vassal Lumpho Sumedho? Is this what you call “statements of fact”? is this what you stated as “to put forth our views in even the nicest and politest of ways to the monks there? Are these comments by Ajahn Sujato full of loving kindness? maybe your advice of.- I quote you “Maybe you could do some loving kindness meditation, reassess you negative view and then filter it through your mind in a less hateful way” and your further advice “Personally I think you need to stop being so rude and arrogant and remember that Buddhism is about what the Buddha taught not about culture; east or west” should be given to Ajahn Sujato. In my experience and those around me, the Thai forest tradition Ajahns western and Thai have only been kind, compassionate and sympathetic, they are like fathers to me, so you may understand my anger at reading Ajahn Sujato’s demeaning comments about them, why? because Ajahn Brahm got expelled (when they were well within their rights) Ajahn Sujato chose to insult them, and now you are demanding, I quote you” and mind your manners and speak with respect to and about Ajahn Sujato and Buddhist here in the West” why? Is Ajahn Sujato above criticism, are we not equal? does he have some special privilege were he doesn’t have to mind his manners and be respectful but I do? so much for the oft touted western values.

      Ajahn Sujato with the comments I quoted above chose to lower the debate at this level, let me remind you that he is more obligated than I am, he is an ordained monk who is supposed to dedicate himself full time to spiritual development and is being maintained by lay people to do so, and thus should be kinder, more respectful and wiser than me. Also consider that I have tried my utmost not to refer to Ajahn Brahm, opting to say Bodhinyana unless the argument obligates me to be specific.
      I have never stated that I am anti democratic or anti western values, maybe should ask me first before accusing, I commented that I would post my views on this subject of Asian values vs. Western values, I will do it later in the day and I ask you to please read it if you have time so that you can rightly asses. Also, what comment of mine was racist? My Mother, brother and sis are white with green eyes, I took more of a darker tone from my Dad…
      In regards to my superiors they are all the Ajahns of the Lumpho Mun tradition, but are unaware of my “foray” into this blog.

      I ask you to please be more specific, for example what is in your eyes the worst thing I have said? so that I may have an opportunity to defend myself by explaining why I made that comment. And please try to understand my anger at seeing people I hold so dear being insulted, in my view unwarranted, people who have nothing to do with this dispute, it shouldn’t be so hard since you might feel the same way regarding comments made about Ajahn Sujato. This is why I hold that this issue should have been kept between the monks and not brought out into the open.

    • Diogenes,

      Why are your masters, superiors, controllers or what ever they are not allowed to be criticised – excommunication is a heavy thing to do – surely they would be aware this would bring on some criticism?

      You claim to be against democracy so must not therefore be following your own views, as this is democracy……

      so again I ask whose orders are you following.

      If you are the servant of your masters if we here in the West have to obey your masters and superiors, follow orders to the letter, then surely you as a mere lay person, a defiled and unholy person lesser than any monk or nun must be under the power of your controller

      So I don’t understand why are you here giving your views freely?
      why are you allowed to criticise and give your views freely but people in the West have to follow orders?? We are not a dictatorship or communist country but you demand we obey WPP?

      Sorry could you explain this – are you allowed out to speak because you have some special permission at the moment?

      Are you not disobeying someone in doing this –Diogenes can you please explain why you are allowed to give your views freely and criticise teachers here but we are not? That is all I ask a simple explanation?

    • Also Diogenes,

      With regard to hierachy…. still don’t understand -

      If you expect everybody else to follow the conditions of hierachy then you should yourself and you should stop disobeying orders and no your place and not speak to those higher up than yourself.

      What is your positionin the hierachy, the way you are acting it seems you must be a high level Abbot, is that right?

      You can’t have it both ways either play it the authoritarian way and follow suit yourself or stop expecting everyone else to follow orders but you yourself do what you want – because it makes no sense!

      Possibly how it is done if you have a question is that you speak to their attendents in this matter and they may speak to your superiors such as A Sujeto and A Brahm.

      in line with the principles of heirachy you are then a lowly lay person then you are not in the position to criticise any one higher than you, that is how it works in the west generally.

      Therefore it should be people on a similar level to A. Sujato and A Brahm who discuss and caution them on these matters, if there was a problem.

    • Dear Daisy;

      I asked you to read my post on Asian values vs. Western values so that you could asses my views on this. In short both Asian and Western values (including hierarchy and democracy) are not inherently good or evil, this depends on other factors like wisdom, morality and skillfulness or lack of. So that answers most of your post.

      In all of my life I have never heard a Monk express himself publicly in such an undignified manner like Ajahn Sujato, not even by the most disreputable Monks towards an enemy, much less to the Bhikku Sangha of a whole country. I didn’t elevate myself to the level of Ajahn Sujato, he lowered himself. I admit I am but a lowly lay person, but I win my bread with the sweat of my forehead. Ajahn Sujato is being mantained by lay people due to the glory of our Lord Buddha to develop himself spiritually for his benefit and that of all sentient beings, and not for behaving publicly in such a disgraceful manner as his comments that I quoted for you above clearly illustrate. Regarding Ajahn Brahm show me, where do I criticize him?

      Ajahn Brahm has effectively gone his own way. You can follow him in peace. But if you can’t let go it denotes you are full of spite and feel the need to vent it on who you perceive to be it’s cause. You are within your right to let it all out since it’s just words, but you might not empty quickly, because some responses to your words will continue refilling you with spite (if in effect it’s the case that you are afflicted with spite)

      The excommunication of Ajahn Brahm might not be such a bad thing, I feel Ajahn Sujato might agree with me, for why would Ajahn Brahm want to remain a vassal of Thai Buddhist colonialism?

      Well, I wish you the best of times and please forgive my bluntness.

    • Diogenes,

      I am not going to bother reading past the first paragraph of your post until you tell me:

      (1) Why you as a lowly lay person are allowed to give your views freely if ;you don’t support democracy

      (2) Why do others have to obey when you don’t it seems and come here of your own accord – when others are suppose to follow orders to the letter?

      Shouldn’t you know your place and just be bowing and making tea or cleaning for monks, not engaging in debate with them whether from WPP or Australia- as it appears you are very low in the line of hierachy.

      Please note I will not read any response from you that does not answer these questions directly or that is more than 20 lines in length.

    • Diogenes,

      To be honest I am just kidding Diogens I do not believe lay people you or any one should be considered low – you have the right to say what you believe about Sujato if that is what you think- I just find it a bit hypocritical that you expect others in the west to follow an authurtarian style way but yourself are free to give your views etc.

      Anyway best wishes I am not really into this Buddhism full of academic concepts it is not what I think is Buddhism is about either and it is not what the Buddha taught. Acutally I think the people of India were even illiterate at the time and believe it has to come from the heart.

      Nor do I believe it is about women being sweet sounding things to please men as it is in Theravarden Buddhist FCUK THAT – I do appreciate Ajhan Brahm taking steps to change that and although I do appreciate his efforts I don’t think anything will change to be honest and that to follow the Buddha teachings it is not necessary to wear robes or bow to men etc.

      Even if they do ordain women what difference will that make I think as an ordained women you would have less freedom than you might have not being – most of the women I know have freedom independence, spirituual beliefs, equality – they don’t have to be sweet speaking little girls who know there place, gain the approval of men, that make men feel better about themselves, women who say beautiful lovely things or tough powerful women who do all the work for men – they can just be free :) and happy ..

      Best wishes

    • Dear Diogenes,

      This is pure human drama.

      Although I love the Sangha, I feel that a lack of skill and wrong view still persist at the roots of the the WPP community.

      Ajahn Brahm should not revoke the ordinations, nor the way in which it was done, nor future ordinations.

      These Ajahns and an enlightened community are capable of dropping conventional truth and embracing the ultimate truth around all of this and that should be the basis for moving forward. The wrangling and haggling over who did said what – and what are the conventional truths “I believe in” vs. those “you believe in” – it ALL has to be DROPPED or there will never be forgiveness.

      For example, reviving the Thai Sangha law business over and over is IMHO a reinforcement of a persisting identity delusion. It has been demonstrated time and again here the law either doesnt exist at all or that it is baseless, and irrelevant to even the Mahatherasamakorn but it is necessary for people to cling to it as a truth in order to cling to the sense of identity that underpins the stance and the reaction that took place.

      There is a constant inward looking adulation that the WPP Sangha is “it” and everyone “outside” is lost. There is still that insular delusion, that Ajahn Brahm is “out” and wants back “in.”
      This is pure delusion which again serves to reinforce the big Atta monster gripping elements of the community.

      It is this same “Atta” – or identity obsession that gave rise to the outrageous and out of proportion reaction to a simple going forth, an act of kusala kamma.
      It is this identity obsession that caused so many to leave this Sangha, from lay people to young monks disrobing and other monks moving to non WPP Sanghas etc across the continents.
      Have you counted how many have disrobed or left in the Western Sanghas, and no longer come to work as stewards or give dana as a result of what is perceived to be entirely unwholesome and unseemly conduct? Are you aware of the personal tragedies that unfolded as a result of the disappointment over the unwholesome reaction?

      So many of the WPP community – from lay practitioners to even great Lion teachers have not noticed nor given the care for the welfare of the greater WPP Sangha and the greater world Sangha -for clinging to a sense of “affront” and moral outrage which is neither based in Vinaya, nor based in right view, but based in a sense of collective identity “we are this” “this is how we do things here” “how dare you step away from the pack”. And demonstrate no inclination of how others in Thailand are looking askance at the actions of the community.

      Pandering to that, the root itself, which is a distorted sense of identity (which reared its head around particular issues or events), is just encouraging the illness. It cannot possibly lead to long term healing or healthy Sangha building.

      I recently shared the details of a nuns’ conference with a monk in the Western WPP tradition, and suggested it might be a wonderful experience for him to attend such a conference in the future along with other monks.

      His response, the response of someone I consider to be a great lion, was that his fellow monks would “kill him.”

      I did not need to ask why. It would challenge the sense of “we are this” and “not that.” And this is the primary concern of those who remain trapped in this internal Sangha sickness.

      To remain there is to continue to overlook the welfare of the greater Sangha, to overlook the healing and mutual learning available to you from a greater sense of Sangha —- “for I am so fearful of my fellow brothers I dare not be the one to pierce that wall of identity” – of separation between fortress “me;us” vs. “THEM” – it would mean shedding our big misguided sense of ATTA.

      How can this possibly be right view?

      Only right view leads to Nibbana.
      Doesn’t matter how many vassas have passed in the robes or how revered you are as a patriarch.
      Wrong view is not the path to the cessation of suffering.
      Wrong view can never be the basis of forgiveness.

      If Ajahn Brahm says incorrectly that he has done something out of mal intent, or something not based in Vinaya, or something he shouldn’t have done or that he should have waited another thousand years to participate in an ordination, (while his WPP colleagues on other continents had done so – prior to him- and without discussing with the greater community and without any of the ensuing drama) is to offend the ultimate and to denigrate the kusala kamma that arose from the act of going forth.

      Holding onto conventional details over the ultimate when it comes to spiritual friendship is not forgiveness based in right view. Discrimination is not right view. Acting violently out of discrimination is not right action. I say, conventional reality should be dropped in favour of the ultimate if there is any forgiveness ceremony to take place. Sort out the details afterwards.

      At the same time, I personally think it wiser for the Australian community to keep sailing on. I would be concerned that any formal affiliation would be like shackles on the Australian communities, just like practicing in a suffering Sangha can keep us locked in an unwholesome place. There are many like myself who have sailed on and do not wish to turn back. The Australian communities are healthy, united, thriving and engaged. That’s a great place to be and to practice.

      Diogenes, I believe there are times to be harsh. We need to shake one another out of this dream and we don’t have much time. If we can, we also need to let the great Lions out of their cages. I admire your knowledge, sense of protecting the Sangha and your courage to engage in this forum. I appreciate also that you support ordination as a path for men and for women as you have said many times. I also feel a lot of unsettledness and pain in you and I recognize it because I felt heaps of the same and have been able to let it go. I let it go by stepping into a greater sense of Sangha – and spending time in communities where the predominant energy is one of peace and harmony. This has shaken off the sting and helped me to reconnect with a very deep love for the Sangha and perhaps regain more objective eyes. It is truly out of this love that I speak what I feel to be part of the truth of the situation and I no longer speak really from affiliation with WPP or with Ajahn Brahm’s or the nun’s Sanghas. I share the above also knowing that the Ajahns can forgive, and that they will see my (usual) unskillfulness as empty and impermanent.

      With Metta,
      Lisa

    • Karuna,

      Is Ajahn Brahm being required to revoke the ordinations as a condition of any reconciliation? Regarding his participation in future ordinations, he’d probably do more for the Sangha’s wellbeing and for the future of bhikkhuni ordinations if he were not to participate in bhikkhuni ordinations in the future.

      What is “kusala kamma”?

      You wrote:

      We need to shake one another out of this dream and we don’t have much time.

      What’s the rush? Is it even wise to rush it?

    • Dear Lisa;

      If one stops spinning, gets over the dizziness, takes a breath and looks at the issue calm and cool, it becomes quite simple and clear. Ajahn Brahm is not going to accept any fault for the way he went about the ordination, one can argue if he had fault or not till the end of days, thats not the point, one must remain calm and not start spinning again in order to elucidate the bottom. Ajahn Brahm is not going to state that he will not participate in future Bhikkuhni ordinations. WPP is not going to forfeit these two conditions for his reinstatement. Again one can argue the right or wrong of the WPP stance till the next aeon. And will change nothing. Ajahn Brahm has effectively gone his own way. And now for those who wish they may resume spinning, dizzying themselves into thinking that if they spin faster they will effect a change, yet the ones who continue exerting effort to remain still will truly bring a change.

      With two pennies of Upekkha,

      Diogenes

    • Dear Diogenes,
      I like the “Immeasurable Currency!” – pennies of Upekka :-)
      We are in the same place in our understanding regarding the point of us laypersons elucidating right and wrong at the conventional level. Although I understand that those who are new to all of it have the need to expand their knowledge of what happened, since it is a matter of spiritual welfare.
      But we may both be misguided if we assume the Ajahns will not come to a place of forgiveness one day soon.
      That day will come.
      May we send each other a note of rejoicing when it does.
      Metta

    • Dear Ratanadhammo,
      Your sense of earnestness makes me smile.
      You asked “what is the rush?”
      Did I understand incorrectly that you are an ordained monastic?
      So what was the rush?
      We deal with many lives.
      Why did you not wait until your next life? :-)
      Please may I also make a request? Can we all review what has been posted previously on this blog site regarding who said did what in order to better understand all the events that transpired and not take time away from the Ajahns that they could spend teaching or resting instead?
      I am sorry I did not have time to point you in the direction of all the older posts that would have answered your questions. (I am not a moderator. Just a friend passing by from time to time. And have been bogged down of late.)
      Anyhow, I mean well and am glad you are also a friend passing by here. I wish you well in your ordained life and am heartened by your earnest wish to understand what happened and help build a friendly Sangha.
      _/\_

    • I’m not an ordained monk.

      I did want to understand why you wrote “we don’t have much time.” It sounded as if we face some impending doom if changes you wish to see aren’t achieved immediately. Sometimes, institutional changes do take longer than one person’s lifetime. But that’s not what I was referring to in this case when I asked you about it.

      Anyway, Bhikkhu Brahmali and Ajahn Brahm left comments here that have further clarified the current situation.

      Lovingkindness will prevail.

      Metta.

    • No I personally don’t have the statistics, but reputable polling agencies do and are published on the internet, just google “Christianity losing adherents” and you will have them to.

    • Your link to an example of the tiny city state of singapore is naive, the article is misleading as well albeit the author recognizes it to be so, why not try the statistics for lets say the continents of America, Europe, Africa, in short the whole world.

    • You don’t comprehend the subject, it’s a little complex but nothing you can’t handle if you do a little research instead of looking for statistics that confirm your preconceived idea. Since you seem interested in the subject I will clarify things for you a little and point you in the right direction, but again you must do your own research. Let’s take the US for example, the pew forum published this month a comprehensive 200 page report (contrary to your example of a 2005 encyclopedia brittanica tiny table that doesnt say much and only misleads).The statistics show that the number of Christians in the US is growing, a large contributing factor is Latino immigrants who are mostly Christian and have many offspring who are consequently born and raised Christian and because of a latino value on tradition remain Christian, but here is the detail, you should not count them as adherents the Christian church has gained, to count them as such they must be either non religious or non Christian who then converted to Christianity, if being born Christian is counted as gaining and adherent, then when a Christian died it could be said Christianity has lost an adherent. Now look at the amount of former Christians who either became non religious or converted to a non Christian religion and voila my statement “Christianity is losing adherents” and at an alarming rate or so the study shows. Switch to Buddhism, how many Buddhist in the US are abandoning their religion? and how many adherents are they gaining, not by birth, but former non buddhist who converted to Bhuddhism and voila my staement “Buddhism is gaining adherents”. You must first determine what is your criteria/perspective and then look for the relevant facts and the relative ones as well and colate them. Australia also holds a very thorough religious census as well as some european countries. Don’t fall for the Christian propaganda that will skewer statistics with the criteria/perspective of trying to cover up the crisis they are in.

    • “You don’t comprehend the subject, it’s a little complex” Thanks ;)

      “looking for statistics that confirm your preconceived idea” Was I?
      :)

    • Peter,

      Not understanding or really being interested in statistics is something that could be taken as a compliment; I mean I am not saying it is not a fasinating subject :)…at least to those fasinated by it ..and certainly Diogenes seems to have more than a talent with it as do I am sure the other 3 people on the planet interested in it. :)

  25. Diogenes,
    Not sure where Bhante Dhammika got his statistics from but he also says “Sorry to say statistics from Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan show a similar trend”.

    Do you think that Buddhism is healthy in Thailand. Do you think asian values have created a healthy society/state?

    • Bhante Dhammika admits that the statistics may be misleading depending on the “perspective” as I mentioned myself. On the Western values vs Asian values subject, I will post my two cents later, duty calls.

    • I will add that Bhante Dhammika’s perspective is to instill a sense of urgency amongst Singaporean Buddhist to actively promote Buddhism, which is quite commendable, for the Dhamma is the highest good.

    • …Statistics will tell you that most statistics lie:
      _______________________________________________________________________________
      an innocent man was accused of being at a crime scene, which he denied, but was facing fingerprint evidence. A finger print expert was presented in court by the prosecution, who asked.

      Prosecution – ‘Assuming that the defendant did not commit this crime, what is the probability that the defendant and the culprit having identical fingerprints?’

      Expert – ‘One in several billion.’

      Prosecution – ‘Thank you.’

      Defence lawyer – ‘Let me ask you a different question. What is the probability that a fingerprint lifted from a crime scene would be wrongly identified as belonging to someone who wasn’t there?’

      Expert – ‘Oh, about 1 in 100.’

      It’s all about the question asked

    • Thorough statistical work conducted by reputable agencies (a reputation garnered through years of integral work and later corroborated by other facts) with a solid scientific method don’t lie, they might just say something you don’t like. An example, polling agencies for voting tendencies must conduct thorough scientific and unbiased reports, because other polling agencies are going to report as well, and after the voting comes, if one agency was way off, they lose their reputation(which is the life for polling agencies) for being un scientific and biased, an agency that was on the mark thus furthers their good reputation. These statistics don’t lie, the ones who lie are the ones who are not favoured by said statistics by spinning them. But this is a science, like you said it’s all about the questions asked, in other words the perspective/criteria, the thoroughness and the adherence to proven scientific methods.

    • like I mentioned before, in your example you give two statistics, the scientific method in this case will garner both statistics with further relative facts and colate them, of course as pertains to good science asking the right questions. And you will be amazed at the accuracy.

    • I have worked casually while at uni doing market research and it can be very easily twisted in favour of the answer that the company wants to get, by either leaving questions out or asking favourable questions; but yes absolutly as you say if it is done properly and in an unbiased manner, and scientifically I am sure the statistic would be unquestionably accurate.

    • Daisy, ok then, if most statistic can be inaccurate or “lie” as you have pointed out, then statistically I would presume that you might also be a liar too at some point, yes? So, can i get away with this by accusing you statistically of being liar.

      “It’s all about asking the question”

    • Hi Easy company

      Sure i’ll admit to that – who hasn’t lied at some time

      I am not little miss perfect angel doing and saying the right sweet things to please the men.

      Take care

  26. Dear All,

    For what it’s worth, I just want to say as an outsider coming in on the Bhikkhuni Ordination issue about 18 months ago, I was astounded. Call me naive but:

    1. I couldn’t believe in the 21st century the issue whether men and women should be treated equally would cause so much dispute.

    2. I couldn’t believe the level of acrimony in this dispute.

    If anyone was wondering why secular Buddhism appeals to many, you need look no further than this issue.

    Cheers

    Geoff

    • If anyone was wondering why secular Buddhism appeals to many, you need look no further than this issue.

      Non sequitur. But thank you for reminding us that everyone directly involved in this dispute has a great deal in common and that there is a reason why so many of us respect them as members of the Sangha to which we go for refuge.

    • Geoff,

      If number one of your statement is right then why can’t you believe number two of your statement.

      I am sorry if people trying to find enlightenment disappoint you as not being enlightened or passive snails watching there belly buttons, prentending everything is blissfull and peaceful and ignoring the fact that just aroung the corner or in another country people are killed and the harmed – what do you say about that – pretend it doesn’t exist.

      The acrimony is not from what I can see coming from the side of AB but the otherside. The fact that some people state the truth and other people can’t handle it even though they claim to be buddhists doesn’t mean stating the truth is the problem!

      Quite frankly what I find unbelievable is people who just think life is one big loopy love-in and when issues or conflict arise can’t handle and go on about the fact that there are issues.

      LIfe is suffering – we have to deal with it! If you can’t and would rather not deal with it find hide under a rock, go hug a tree – but why criticise other people who are trying to deal with it in the most skillful and peaceful way possibly (ie again apologises for not being enlightened)!

  27. Dear Ratanadhammo & Daisy et al,

    Non sequitur eh? I was about to respond to you but I don’t think there is any point. It would just end in tears, as my mother use to say……

    I suspect Bhante might know what I’m saying. If not, them the breaks……

    Unlike you guys I can just walk away from this……

    Geoff

    • How does walking away from a discussion make you the bigger person?

      You wrote:

      If anyone was wondering why secular Buddhism appeals to many, you need look no further than this issue.

      Yes, non sequitur.

      This discussion is entirely about resolving a dispute within an institution and an effort to make a positive reform within an institution.

      The goal of secular Buddhism is strip from the Buddha’s teaching all of its depth and meaning by convincing people that the Buddha taught nothing about experiencing reality beyond the conditioned phenomena of samsaric existence.

      Human institutions are flawed.

      The fact that human institutions are flawed does not validate any of the nonsense that is secular Buddhism.

    • Ratanadhammo, I would agree on this, “The goal of secular Buddhism is strip from the Buddha’s teaching all of its depth and meaning by convincing people that the Buddha taught nothing about experiencing reality beyond the conditioned phenomena of samsaric existence.”

      But how would I know what is and is not beyong the conditioned phenomena of samsaric existence? Is there a boundary?

    • How would you and I know? Until we’ve experienced it, we’ll just have to start with faith and confidence, trusting in the Buddha, in the Dhamma, and in the Sangha.

      Is there a boundary? I don’t know. The Buddha taught that there is an enduring happiness and that it is possible for one who experiences reality beyond all processes that produce the conditioned phenomena of samsaric existence.

      Is there a boundary? Maybe it’s at the penetration of the truth of anatta, i.e. this side, there’s clinging to conditioned phenomena; the other side, there isn’t. I don’t know.

      Let me ask you: What separates a Once-Returner and a Non-Returner from a fully enlightened Arahant?

  28. Asian values vs. Western values

    A fallacy, there is no such thing. Buddhism teaches us to distinguish between concept and reality, to understand the relative nature of everything, to be circumspect, to question what we may consider unquestionable. There is no inherent goodness or evil in Asian or Western values, it depends on the determining factors of morality, wisdom and skillfulness or lack of. Democracy can be the worst of evils, take for example Hitler’s rise to power, totally democratic. The arguments against this are easily proven wrong. Even during the early 40′s when Germany was winning the war, if there would have been another vote, people would have voted for Hitler. Like a poster I saw of a pile of excrement surrounded by flies with the caption “400 flies can’t be wrong”. And of course democracy can be a wondrous thing, suffice to look at the recent Egyptian revolution. Not that Egyptians are western, they are Muslim. In a political forum many westerners saw the revolution as bad “Oh no! the Muslim Brotherhood will be voted into power” when questioned on their championing of democracy, well they answered that democracy should be for the westerners but backward people like Muslims should have a dictatorship which is allied to the west. And here is where I take issue with double standards,hypocrisy, self righteousness and a superiority complex with many in the west, another example, no western country recognized Hamas’s win in the democratic Palestinian elections that the same western countries pushed for, democracy if it suits us if not we renege. Studies have shown animals engaging in democratic social behavior, which is quite basic and nothing special unlike a much more complex social behavior in ants .A monarchy if led by a wise, skillful king can be a wondrous thing. If led by a tyrant well a living hell.Western culture (for example christianity)is imbued with what is considered “Asian” values, Asian culture (for example Buddhism) is imbued with what is considered “western” values. The western values vs. asian values is a fallacy being peddled to xenophobes for political and religious gains.The Western, Asian distinction should be made solely on the emphasis.

  29. Just a thought, it has occurred to me that how you guys sleep at night after walking away from posting comments on Bhikkhuni, becausse I seems to have recurring nightmares almost every morning. Maybe Daisy is right about me, I am harsh. I guess my citta is not as high and mightt as you guys. And I also made it my mission in life that I am going beat you guys to the Hell gate finish line. So, if I see there please assisst me on the oriantation day cause this is my first time.

  30. Just a thought, it has occurred to me that how you guys sleep at night after walking away from posting comments on Bhikkhuni, becausse I seems to have recurring nightmares almost every morning. Maybe Daisy is right about me, I am harsh. I guess my citta is not as high and mightt as you guys. And I also made it my mission in life that I am going beat you guys to the Hell gate finish line. So, if I see there please assisst me on the oriantation day cause this is my first time.

    from …the tatushkhan :)

    • Easy Comapny

      I sleep fine – I think you have a very humble and light side too – how lucky of you to have such energy – they say having good intention is what matters most ….so when you do that and when it all turns positive you will be an enlighten force no doubt – not to mention brave too!

      I won’t be reading this blog anymore or posting – have found a secluded forest (well sort of) and will be throwing the computer to the wind (well sort of) – looking forward to a year seculsion from internet, people and distractions apart from that rather large book that apparently speaks the words of the Buddha – !

      I hope in time peace, harmony and some sort of mutual ageement prevail with WPP and Perth and millions of Bhikkhunis are ordained!

      Best Wishes and good bye

      Metta

      Daisy

    • yes, I would agree as same that chat rooms on internet is a big waste of time unless one needs to kill time or have nothing else constructive to do.

      While on this issue, all most everytime I go to a Bhikkhu asking controversial questions like the ones in this room or from other subject, I would always get the same reply, “How is your five precept?” He is , in my opinion, probably saying that everything else is irrelevant if you can not even keep your 5 precepts daily.

    • Dear Easy Company,
      I think your questions for your teacher are simple and valid. This is a good discernment of the community one is practicing in. Why not answer a student’s questions? If they have ordained and you have a trainig path that they have accepted which includes not asking too may questions, then I can understand. But if the teacher is skirting an issue, one has to ask why? I iwsh Dear Easy Company that I had asked these questions more peristently of my teachers a few years earlier. Instead I let them go, and later found I had committed to the wrong path. I wished to ordain. They are nt ordaining women and were not clearly, incrementally, concretely moving in that direction.
      I also – now- feel that the answer to the questions around women’s ordination are a meter for right view- the teaching and the Sangha should do its best to be rooted in right view. I struggle enough with wrong view. Therefore, if I have a choice, I must gravitate to a Sangha that is rooted in right view.
      And one that supports my path to higher ordination – one that encourages me and does not withhold from me.
      And that, all of that, supports my precept training. _/\_

  31. ”My question is simple:
    What was the need for the ordinations to be conducted the way they were in 2009, which is what caused a serious split? Ayya Tathaaloka was ordained over a decade earlier and had been founding monasteries for nuns, so what was the pressing need for the ordinations to be conducted the way they were in 2009 rather than do the work to achieve a better result from within the organization?”

    “Daisy,
    You seem to be very good at opinionating strongly without listening at all and sidetracking conversations.
    Bhante Sujato clearly feels very strongly about the issues he’s been raising for more than a year. He’s presented a lot of good evidence to show that his position on ordaining women is right on, but he can’t just ignore the way institutional changes have been made since before the time of the Buddha. Clearly, he recognizes that things are getting worse between members of the Sangha despite all of his excellent arguments in favor of ordaining women…”

    RatanaDhammo, you hit a snag there. In addition to your sound opinion, I also wonder why I can not get a straight reply when they seem to keep saying that this issue is a simple one and very minor. And they keep side tracking and disregard some of the facts in association to Ajahn Brahm.

    Moreover, if these people seems to know a lot about the issue, I wonder how many attended the meeting at WPP when their was an investigation a while back.

  32. Ratanadhammo,

    “Let me ask you: What separates a Once-Returner and a Non-Returner from a fully enlightened Arahant?”

    Well, I would answer that as it is stated with the name (the number of time that they will have to return). Becasue in reality I would have not idea how these realization would be like.

    • Then there is something that separates them. Then there is some boundary between clinging in some way or another to the unsatisfactoriness and impermanence of everything in this existence and the non-clinging of the no-self in a transcendental existence. To the degree that I can understand it so far, it makes sense. Experiencing it or being able to describe it is another matter!

  33. Just thought of something intriquing. From historical accounts, most prophets that were sent down from heaven was male in most well known religions, including the Lord Buddha. Must be accident of nature or not. For thousands of years, they should have been a least a couple of women religious leadership at least. But who knows, long before they might have been some.

    I also noticed that there are more women attending religious procession (in Buddhism) and in support of the Buddha Sassana than men.

    • Dear Easycompany,
      Lord Buddha is not a prophet. He had never claim to be one. The Buddha called himself Tathaagata, a term of no gender.
      I agree that most prophets we’ve known were male in most well known religions, the same are most of CEO now a days. However, this fact is conditioned by social and cultural factors of our age. It does not means that women are less spiritual potential than men.
      In the Buddha’s time, there were few female wanders who were quite well known. But traditionally, this is not supposed career for women. That is why there is such a strong reaction to the revival of Bhikkhuni ordination in Theravada tradition. If you live in Vietnam or Taiwan, you will see that there are a lot of difference. In Vietnam, the number of nuns are three time of monks, similar are in Taiwan. In these countries, (and even in Burma, a Theravada country), nuns live in independent monasteries. Though they do not hold high position in religious organisation, but their contribution to the community where they live and to Buddhasasana are undeniable. My first bhikkhuni teacher was such a nun. She remain unvarying in a very dangerous place during the Vietnamese wars where more than 200 monks either chose to disrobe or migrated to other safer places. She remained entire her life as a simple nun, not a leader. She had no name on any history books whether it secular or religious, but her name and personality is in our heart whose know her personally.

    • Daisy, I think you have misunderstood the meaning of democracy. If we are free to exercise whateverr we want then I can do anything to to you without any care in the world.

  34. It would be interesting to quantify, should women ordination in any religion increase so much that it exceeds the percentage of men i.e. 98 to 2 percent in the future.

    If women are more religious than men in the first place then they should have been prophets themselves and men follows. But the order might not sustained because men might not be so keen in showing interest in religion.

  35. Hello Everybody

    I am an outsider, a former Buddhist who still has an interest in reading about the development and history of Buddhism.

    I beleive this whole thing is about control and factional politics.The WPP is a huge multinational corporation stretching into a number of countries. It is natural that they want to control the temples which they occupy or which their members occupy. WPP is similar to Dhammakaya in this regard.

    However, this is unusual for the Sangha, especially for a group claiming to be from a so called forest lineage. Under the vinaya there are no sects or groups. Each temple is an autonomous unit. If there are 4 Bhikkhu present then they are a sangha and can perform their own sanghakammas. Now it is common for these temples or groups to be controlled by outsiders via membership of a group or a Nikaya – eg there is the Dhammayut Foundation.

    When there are organisations then there are people who aspire for positions and control. Once they control they want to expand. This is only natural as each group believes they are more authentic than the others. But it can lead to corruption. We can see allt he problems Dhammakaya had, especially with donations and land grabs. Now we have a so-called forest monk trying to stack the votes to gain control of a temple.

    Yet the forest monks pride themselves on not touching money. (BTW how many tonnes of gold did Mahabua control on his death?).

    There are also nationalistic elements. One country’s people are tryng to exert control over assets in another.

    These are not keeping in the spirit of the Buddha’s teachings. But it is interesting to read about!

    CB

    • Your observation is so true, CB. It is so pitiful that these so called ‘forest monks’ now trying to control properties (while proud of themselves for not keeping money!) and aspire for position and power within their organisation. I just wonder if Achan Chah returned what will he say?

    • Hi Mahakaruniko

      I am sure Achan Chah would be unable to recognise the group he started!

      This happens with most organisations though. Nothing to be upset about it is just part of the way things are. Things change.

      CB

    • This is true: ‘nationalistic elements’, too. Nationalistic is also a face of atta or ego.
      I do not upset over the change of minds and things now. Whenever this happen, i just need to remember the Buddha’s last words:
      “monks, all organized/compounded things are impermanence. Exert yourselves for your own deliverance”.

    • You must know Luang Ta Mahabua perssonally CB, or are you generalizing?

      “Yet the forest monks pride themselves on not touching money. (BTW how many tonnes of gold did Mahabua control on his death?). ”

      True, they may seem to handle money indirectlly. But if Luang Ta Mahabua control tonnes of gold he would have taken all of that god with him, I think, if he wants to keep them in control so bad.

      The thing about Western media ( I am generalizing), they always get the story wrong or inaccurate or enhanced with MSG as I have live in some countries during war and conflict involving middle east. It is about entertainment now a days.

      please shed some light on my comments..

    • It related to an obscure interest on the part of Luangta in protecting the Thai Baht from rash devaluation as had happened in the 1997 economic crisis. Luangta was pretty eccentric! One of the many reasons it’s hard not to love him. _/\_

  36. This whole episode made WPP look like the villain and WPP as against women in enlightenment. This is of course not true.

    Personally, I find there are many traditions available for women to choose to be ordained according to their individual properties (Buddha had said we are made of different properties). If ppl have informed knowledge that the Thai Forest Theravada Sangha only grant mai chees, then those women who wanted same status with male monks should seek another tradition or group or country that grant them such status in their aspirations. As Buddhists, we should respect one another’s established traditions, denominations, etiquettes or each monastic rules or structure, as in other religions where there are many denominations to meet their needs and preferences.

    In that sense, if AB is sincere in forgiveness, he should have respected the established structure of WPP by having his nuns ordained in other traditions or other existing recognized Bhikkunis establishment, instead of advocating for reforms of the Buddha’s Gotami 8 lifetime rules which many Theravada or Elders Sangha still hold dear, or attempting to dismantle WPP’s well-established monastic tradition of other country, in this case Thailand to achieve his aspirations. In fact, the 8 lifetime rules for nuns prescribed by the Buddha was for the harmony and benefit of both monks and nuns from the psychological point of view and for the sole purpose of prolonging the Sassana and in turn the true Dhamma, and probably beneficial to women from the kammic point of view.

    IMO, to heal this “wound”, AB can still have his nuns re-ordained in other traditions or establishments other than the WPP or regard his nuns as such because it was AB’s mistake in the first place in going ahead with the secretive ordination. In this way, things can be restored to normal and each tradition can therefore move on, unless AB still wanted to move on with his own interpretation in abolishing the 8 lifetime rules by the Buddha, claiming them as later additions, inequality, not acceptable in the West, Buddhism cannot survive with it, etc. This is my view and can be seen as harsh but might be a solution for forgiveness.

    • S. Sukha, i would like to commend you on your soul searching statement. It is the most melow and beutifully orchestrate a passage that I have read for the past 4 days (not even Diogenes can come close). You took those words right out of my brain, but I am not literate enough to put it. This is a peace keeping statement for sure. We don’t need to read beyond this in my opinion. Your statement is without emotion, passion or prejudice. Everyone and I mean everyone should acknowledge this one. I wonder if you are in ordination. If not you must be a true practitioner. Had you been here sooner, this room would have been silence in peace way back. Your “nutshell” statement is concise and to the point no more or less.

      ..this is it….

    • Hitting the “repeat” button. They are not Ajahn Brahm’s nuns and they did not ordain in his or the WPP tradition…

    • Hi Karuna,
      To quote from Ajahn Brahmali “It was my considered opinion that consultation would have led to a blocking of bhikkhuni ordination within the WPP group.”.

      Technicaly we may say that the Bhikkuni did not ordain in the WPP tradition but I think the intention was to establish bhikkhuni within that tradition.

    • Peter Durham has never wavered one bit on this issue –right on the money. Karuna, instead of “repeat”, hit the “delete” button would be wiser.

    • S Sukka,

      Anyone supporting the 8 rules has to believe women are lesser than men. Also because other traditions are ordaining and accepting women unconditionally ie 70 – 80 of attendees are women how long will this forrest tradition survive without accepting women – they will just die out or run into legal problems and be sued for sexual discrimination – so do you really think you are helping them with your sexist beliefs and comments.

      I find your statement offensive S Sukka and in no way agree with Easy Company – sexism is wrong at any time but how can anyone in this day and age go on in this ridiculous manner.

      Do you have mothers, sisters? Do you treat them like this? Have you had problems rejections from women in the past?

      In the end it is your karma and surely you will suffer at the hands of women in the next life or as bad women or worse –

      surely the heaviest negetive karma you can make is turning people men or women away from the Dharma, and that is what you are trying to do – half the population you are trying to turn from the Dharam and the other half you are trying to turn on people going to the Dharma.

      I feel compassion for you because of the great suffering you will undertake in your future lives.

      Really as men it is none of your business whether women ordain or not.

    • Dear Dhamma,

      For your info., I do take offense. Do you realize that you’re also offending the Buddha who prescribed the 8 lifetime rules and not the WPP or any Theravada tradition / Elders Sangha. They were only upholding this rule, no more no less.

      If people’s argument is that Buddhism would not survive without female monks in the West, how is it that other major religions flourished in the West without a female Head Priest / Bishop / Ulama, or in Hindu a female Priest? This was a lame excuse to ordain women to be on par with male monks. The 8 rules should not be regarded as subservient but should be regarded as a family unit in the Sassana with feminine and masculine roles respectively to maintain harmony, understanding and respect and not for status or equality but spiritual purpose. As far as I know, Buddha agreed to allow Gotami upon persistent request by Gotami and Ananda’s indirect request and appeal into the Bhikkhu Sangha for purpose of arahanthood and not to split the Bhikkhu Sangha, on an irrevocable condition of the 8 life rules as what the Buddha told Ananda as an embankment (I don’t think anyone can dispute this explicitly mentioned in the Sutta)..

      In my opinion, those who oppose the 8 rules are free to do what they like but in my opinion, they should not condemn or name calling those who want to still adopt and maintain this rule and to faithfully continue the heirachy of the Theravada tradition or Elders Sangha passed down for 2600 years. Why you people care whether WPP group would survive or not without women ordination? It is their business not those who anti-WPP group.

      To end further mud slinging at each other, everyone should let go of the past and leave the WPP group and monks alone! Mind each others own business!

    • Agreed!

      Although I think it has been proven that the 8 rules were not written by the Buddha himself but added later.

      Apparently they are not the Buddhas teachings – but if it makes you feel important to have women be subserviant to you then I guess that is your business (and problem).
      too, alot of men are secure enough in themselves not to need this but look I mean really whatever, I can have compassion for men like that.

    • S.Sukka

      The argument is just about giving equal opportunity to women, not essentially about whether it will survive in the West without female leaders. I also do not think this is something that should be rushed into either – the worst thing would be to have a female leader who was not good as this would give everyone the opportunity to say “we were right” etc.

      It is not about women or men but human beings and about men seeing women as human beings – instead of all the same – women are not all the same – they are all different, some good, some bad, some smart, some stupid; why do men always have to find a neat tidy box to fit the concept of women into; women are not that differnet from you ..from men.

      Is it too hard for men to think beyond simply stereotypes, does this take too much intellegence …why do women always have to be whores of virgins, mothers or wives, daughters or sisters – twe are all different a bit of everything.

      Women on the other hand are superior in this respect to men they have more insight and can just see men as different human beings and t accept this – if they don’t like it they leave it – they don’t have that problem, that stupidity that men have in that regard as not being able to see people as human beings rather than one big group based on how they look that have to fit a certain preconceived ideal.

      Personally I do not necessarily see having women as heads of this or that as good or bad but then i don’t see nurses as better than doctors or corporate director as more important than school teachers, or mothers as less important than any one else who does a job of any kind and think we need to reassess what value we place on certain roles.

      I know women who are nurses and think that the work they do and what they put up with is amazing especially for the conditions and money they get – but actresses get paid a million dollars to make stupid movies and to show a bit of flesh basically.

      I am not necessarily saying women need to be heads or anything but should have the same opportunities to be so – I have a women boss and i am very glad I do, I have not had a male boss who is as good as her either.

    • Dear dhamma,

      You wrote earlier – >>Although I think it has been proven that the 8 rules were not written by the Buddha himself but added later.<>So freed! So thoroughly freed am I! — from three crooked things set free: from mortar, pestle, & crooked old husband. Having uprooted the craving that leads to becoming, I’m set free from aging & death.<<
      (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/thig/thig.01.00x.than.html#sutta-11)

      With due respect, there are ppl who took this particular verse out of context to mean that Buddha encouraged women to give up the 3 crooked things to go forth. There're some ppl who misused this particular verse as a basis to encourage or convert women to go forth.

      Personally, I am not against those women who want to go forth for spiritual purpose like Gotami, but do not misquote from the Suttas or subtract anything from the original Suttas i.e. the 8 Garu. rules that were imposed by the Buddha for women going forth. This is not my opinion or view but the dhamma based on the above Suttas. No intention to be offensive but with intention to faithfully bring forth the noble Truth by the Buddha.

    • Dear dhamma,

      Some text went missing. Again.

      You wrote earlier – >>Although I think it has been proven that the 8 rules were not written by the Buddha himself but added later.<>So freed!

    • Dear dhamma,

      Some text went missing.
      If you read all the Suttas carefully, Buddha was very specific and each of His Teaching in each Sutta was referring and addressing to each particular occasion, particular question, particular problem or particular person. They are not to be taken out of context and should never be generalized or assumed.

    • S.Sukka wrote

      __________________________________________________________________
      Dear dhamma,

      You wrote earlier – >>Although I think it has been proven that the 8 rules were not written by the Buddha himself but added later.So freed! So thoroughly freed am I! — from three crooked things set free: from mortar, pestle, & crooked old husband. Having uprooted the craving that leads to becoming, I’m set free from aging & death.<<
      (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/thig/thig.01.00x.than.html#sutta-11)

      With due respect, there are ppl who took this particular verse out of context to mean that Buddha encouraged women to give up the 3 crooked things to go forth. There're some ppl who misused this particular verse as a basis to encourage or convert women to go forth.

      Personally, I am not against those women who want to go forth for spiritual purpose like Gotami"

      _______________________________________________________________
      Dear S.Sukka

      I seems to be amazed at your post but for all the wrong reasons – as a women I should be amazed by you male whatever but in fact I am amazed by:

      (a) the fact that so many scholoars have now proven that the 8 rules were not written by the Buddha him/herself – but it seems you can somehow completely ignore that fact and continue on believing it .. because it suits your purpose.

      (b) you can take another passage from the texts that clearly verifies that women should "go forth" but completely misunderstand it and twist it and NOT see that as further proof the Buddha wasn't a sexist moron like you.

      (c) and what really amazes me is that(&_&)…..
      after all this you then state that you "personally are not against women "going forth" unlike the Buddha who you claim was !!??? – this one sorry leaves me speechless. Gee I am sure the female population and breathing a sigh of relief over that one – yeah!

      [comment edited by moderator]

    • S. Sukka

      Look possibly you are right and the Buddha is a sexist; many of his teachings do seem to be bent on changing women to suit men, to be calm, softly spoken good sensible women; and good wifes, mothers and prostitutes (consorts),.

      Men can become dictators and murder thousands of people but still say they are afraid of women being in control.

      the Buddha in many of his teaching just refers to women as wives of men as if they should be molded to be pleasing to men, not to excited, not too dull whereas men can be as monotone and dull as they like even if this is boring to women.

      Anyway I am sure Buddhism will continue molding its sensible women in to pleasing accessories for men – so no need to be fearful of women Sukka!

      Whatever

    • Dear dhamma

      I can appreciate your reaction. However, please do not take this too personal. Forgive me if my explanations were ambiguous that caused you to react in such manner. If I’m not mistaken, I find that you have taken my attempt to explain the issue out of context.
      To recap, I was only referring to what Buddha put down those Garudhamma rules or vows for women who go forth but you misunderstood me. The issue here is not about women go forth, the issue I stressed was about the abolishing of the 8 Garudhamma rules set by the Buddha. Here are 2 proofs of the 8 Garudhamma rules :-

      BMC II Chapter 23 Bhikkhunis (Accesstoinsight) and
      Tenth Khandhakas – On the duties of Bhikkhunis (Sacred-text.com)
      (I linked them earlier but didn’t appear in earlier posting)

      You said there were proof by scholars to prove these 8 Garudhamma rules were later additions. Appreciate if you could kindly provide the proofs and the scholars (other than Bhikkhu Bodhi) to prove otherwise, for my further understanding as I am no scholar, just a lay-Buddhist trying to practice and obey the Buddha according to the Suttas (Pali Canon) passed down to us by the Elders Sangha or Theravada Traditions. Speaking of traditions, there were many sects/traditions as well during Buddha’s time (2600 years ago) and there were ppl like the enemy of Buddha, Devadhata. If these existed then, these can exist now (please do not take me out of context again. I didn’t imply that those that abolish the 8 Garudhammas were enemies of Buddha. Those were proof of history of Buddhism during Buddha’s time).

      I wish you well and happy.

    • S.Sukka

      I am also not a scholar but I am sure if you ask one of the nuns or monks on this website to supply you with references to such articles and research they will be only too happy to oblige.

      Also excuse my reaction but for western women who have not suffered hugh amounts of sexual discrimination in there lives, but at the same time have had to put up with both men and women in all aspects of life, these cries of fear of women and carrying on about women while in many cases justified (as obviously are womens fear of men is) sound really childish.

      It is really difficult for women in the west to believe these kinds of attitudes still exist – it is a bit like someone saying that scientists are now saying that in actual fact the world is flat and that “modern” scientists were wrong in this and we all have to change our atlases and believe this now even though there is no evidence to support it –

      i mean if I constantly went on a scientific websites arguing that the old books say that the world is flat so that is the way it is (even if this is now disproved) do you think scientists would get a little annoyed at me. (&_&)

      Lucky for Ahjan Brahm he supports equal opportunity for women or I would just ask him that question and argue about the world being flat all the time. Imagine someone turning up at his talks and retreats consistently wanting to argue or point out that the world is flat and that scientist should stop acting as if it wasn’t –

      I mean that is what this issue it is like for western women. :)

      Anyway Chow

    • S. Sukka

      With regard to the 8 rules, I have read a few different versions, there are far more versions than the two you have noted but and even if they were written by the Buddha which seems odd; isn’t it how they are interpreted that matters; they could be seen as meaning women are inferior or something if that is your karma to see it that way, but I am not even too sure how they infer that – or they could be interpreted to mean that men have such strong egos and sexual desires it was the only way to stop them being intimidated by women being ordained and/or equal, who knows how to interpret them.

      The Sangha was required to be made up of men and women apparently; the Buddha ordained his own step-mother; the Buddha never said women could not become enlightened – even in the early texts apparently there are nuns. My personal experience is that I have seen evidence that men and women are different but never ever any that men are intrinsically superior; they may be in some aspects but so are women in other aspects.

      Is the amount of ordained people men or women a sign of the level of enlightenment for each sex or a sign of superiority. Well I have met many ex-monks who have far less understaning of spirtuality than women who have never even heard of the Buddha – so I don’t necessarily think this is true either although of course being ordained and those that do it well are of course the noblest of beings.

      If you view people who are in control, corporate directors who gain respect for selling hugh amounts of sticky tape or something as superior to nurses or child care workers then .. well then you are saying that greed is admirable and superior to being humble and to love and simplicity- but greed is on e of the main defilements so taht is not what the Buddha taught – so how is seeing men as superior than women because they are greedier right

      Any way
      Best Wishes

    • Dear Ajahn & all,

      I wish to own up my mistake, in my earlier post that reads “because it was AB’s mistake in the first place in going ahead with the secretive ordination.”, in my mistake in using the word “mistake” as I meant “unmindful action”. Please discard “mistake” and replaced it with “unmindful action”.

      My sincere apology for that unmindful error.

  37. Dear Daisy, see, you always comments in extreme. Did I force you to please men or say good things to them? I can see where you are coming from. This is a sensitive issue and what we are doing (typing) is just a mere convention. We can type and agrue as much as much as we want, and that is the safe side to ponder about, that it has not been carried out by action yet. It will always remain in this room until such time when it surfaces into action. But it is good, it is like a practice field before we all jump into a real game. But I have got to say this, this room reminds me of MSN (religious) Chat rooms the most and we have not changed a bit in our temperament, which makes it exciting ( the hypocricy of religious and political debate)..

  38. Yeah, JC I would agree that if it is fear that is the cause of all this, which I also thought about it, then I am sure that what Ajahn Brahm is doing would yeild result in favor of him soon. But is it about protecting their turf? And not about other issues concerning some rules in the Buddhist codes?

    Just a thought, had it been women in control of the power all along, would men be given a fair chance for promoting equality? Would you fear us for trying to gain some control and some recognition or equality? I ask this is because if women could regconized the fear in us then they might have the same fear within themselves.

    • Dear Ratanadhammo, Diogenes and Easy Company,

      Easy Company,
      I really congratulate you for your investigation and the wisdom that you are coming to very quickly. In the area of gender relations, you have hit the nail on the head. As human beings we fear change of any kind. Changes in power dynamics when it comes to gender relations really strike at deep seeded chords of fear. I don’t fully understand them or how to deal with them however, I understand that part of it relates to our sense of identity – our sense of self – sound familiar? Our “self” is first and foremost male and female, then it is race, class, religion, age, profession etc. Well, I am not a scientist in this area and I supose it depends on the conflict or the issues. But this is my sense of the world, based on working in this field. That this one is the deepest duality.

      I cannot speak for Ajahn Brahm – I dare not! But I can provide a small lens as I have worked in the area of gender relations – changing the staus quo – or helping people cope with the massive changes to social dynamics (in this case gender) that erupt from economic and political shifts or conflicts.

      From what I know, when we embark on changes to gender dynamics in institutions, one way of proceeding is to be very strategic, that is, look around and see what resources you have available, how people feel, what their aspirations are – get the pulse of the group as a whole, and map out incremental steps in order to move with the group in a partcular direction, understanding that in the end that the movement is wholesome, legal and beneficial.

      If you look at the appointment of Venerable Amaro to lead Amaravati, that is an example of a strategic appointment. Aahn Amaro is not only a superlative Dhamma teacher, he also sees that his Dhamma sisters are worthy of respect and worthy of offerings. It offends his heart and his sense of right view to see respect and offerings withheld from them. (this is my sense from his talks and articles he has been quoted in. I have never met him) And he may be the best qualified in the community to navigate the waters of institutional transition and healing. This is an incremental step.

      Another incremental step, which in my own humble background I offered, was to travel to Hamburg to attend the Dalai Lama’s Congress examining the historical and Vinaya precedents for and against Bhikkhuni ordination in traditions where it was “lost” or went unrecorded. I thought, it is 2007, let me distribute these materials to all of the WPP branch monasteries I know, both in CD format and in written format. This will give the Bhikkhus the chance to take this knowledge and understanding into their awareness and perhaps share it with their lay communities and the wider WPP community. In this way, maybe they will move closer to acting according to their hearts which in essence is the wish not to withhold full ordination from women. This was another incremental step, which unfortunately fell flat! (In part because I did not have the conditions to follow up. At the other end, the materials were spirited away from full view of the Sangha and I have no idea if the materials were even read by the Bhikkhus, or ever discussed.)

      When things are not done incrementally – or do not gain traction, or change happens “too quickly” and without being sure there is a critical mass of support, there can be a backlash. In my field of work in gender relations, we know this. And we see it time and again. Unfortunately it usually results in an increase in violence against women (think, Afghan women running for parliament, winning, getting assasinated).

      Precisely because we are striking up against a wall that is people’s sense of identity – when that wall is struck, it is fear that arises. Depending on which wall you strike and how hard it is, the amout of fear and backlash arises accordingly. (this applies to women who identify with the traditional status quo – just as some men may agree that change is good) It is not easy for the best of us to assess that or how to proceed. There are small things we can do. And each of you has correctly a sense of that.

      In some cases there isn’t anything we can do other than outright revolution or breaking with tradition. If we look at Martin Luther King’s movement – if we look at the fruit of that – if we say – he should have done things differently or he should have known the response would be one of violence, I am not sure we would advise him to act differently.

      Ajahn Brahm has not been working professionally in the area of gender dynamics in institutions which is an art and from what little I understand from his talks, operates from a position of wisdom, right view, generosity of heart and good intentions. Things are pretty simple when we operate from this basis but maybe we forget that not all operate from a place of love and forgiveness.

      I understood the WPP affiliated Bhikkhus that I have practiced with (4-5 Bhikkhus) to be fully supportive of women’s ordination. I would have expected them to stand up for what is wholesome and for what I know in their hearts they believe to be worthy of support. I was not surprised at all that the community as a whole chose not accept the ordinations. I WAS surprised by the severity of the backlash and the response which was punishment and in some cases (as suggested in the article above) difficult to understand as other than revenge. (Let’s hope we are wrong on that count)

      At the ultimate level, it is so simple.
      The act of going forth is wholesome.
      The act of joining a Sangha of monks and nuns to confirm an ordination is also wholesome.
      The intention to help others is wholesome.
      Looking deeply in order to understand and forgive is wholesome.
      Withholding teachings, ordination and requisites, is unwholesome.
      Punishing others and excluding them or seeking revenge is unwholesome.

      Ajahn Brahm (in my humble, distant and not speaking on his behalf – I live in Canada and don’t practice with Ajahn B) operates from the basis of love, friendship and forgiveness. He has an enormous heart and capacity for forgiveness. He must really love his Sangha brothers if he is open to forgiving them for the harshness and criticism and excommunication, and the pain that was directed and continues (it seems) to be directed towards his Sangha. Right view directs his highest aspiration towards Sangha building above and beyond all conventional disputes.

      Maybe he overestimated his fellow brothers and thought they would be capable of responding from a place of love and friendship, just as he would. This is right view. In the ultimate sense.

      In conventional terms, we may make hundreds of suggestions as to how the community could have been more “strategic” or “incremental” in proceeding. But we cannot argue against this: had they known of such a way, of course they would have taken it!! It is useless to go back and say well, it could have been done this way or that way. In retrospect maybe it could have or maybe not.

      Withholding ordination from women and girls leads to a cascade of all kinds of harmful actions, in Thailand and elsewhere. Theravada Buddhist countries are the biggest purveyors of girls for sexual slavery and trafficking which is in part fuelled by the sinister root of wrong view: that one is higher and one is lower.

      Let us use right view to be directed towards the ultimate goals: forgiveness, true friendship, Sangha Building, and making the teachings and the highest path available to all.

      _/\_

  39. I am writing this post at midnight waiting for my flight to Singapore to conduct the funeral service for a disciple who has helped me. I am heartened that so many people care enough about the Sangha to suggest ways for improvement on this forum. But I am concerned with the tone of some of the contributions to this blog and the inaccuracy of some of the assumptions.
    May I first ask everyone to be gentle and kind, giving each other the benefit of the doubt. The purpose of this blog should be to provide accurate information to the wider Buddhist community and give them the opportunity to ask questions of those concerned.
    First, I respect Ajahn Sujato and know that he has only good intention, but he is definitely not my mouthpiece! I also know the senior monks at Wat Pah Pong and respect them and their practice. We are all monks and should be compassionate to each other, and wise enough to let go of the past.
    My intentions in seeking for a traditional Thai Forgiveness ceremony was for the benefit of everyone, not just Bodhinyana and the BSWA. The ill will, distrust and disharmony is not Buddhist, not as I understand it. I feel it is my duty to attempt a solution.
    It is impossible for me to state that the Perth Bhikkhunis are not valid Bhikkhunis because this is a matter for the Vinaya, not my personal opinion. I can state with a basis in fact that no Thai Law or edict was broken, that I was under the impression that such an ordination in the West was not opposed by the Mahatherasamakom (Council of Elders) but that it was vigorously opposed by the senior monks in UK ( hence thefeeling of futility in consulting them). I may have been mistaken in this, and for such misapprehensions, I ask for forgiveness. .
    However, Bodhinyana Monastery was delisted as a branch monastery, not because of the manner of the Bhikkhuni ordination, but because I refused to state that the four women were not Bhikkhunis. Just this is the source of the impasse, as I understand it.
    I have tried to solve this impasse, with the help of other senior Western monks in UK, by highlighting that the Perth Bhikkhunis do not belong to either of the two Thai Monastic sects, but are Sri Lankan Bhikkhunis, thereby having nothing to do with Thai Buddhism. It is was an attempt to offer a way outof the main cause of the impasse to those who have the desire to restore harmony. The forgiveness is meant for any hurt caused in the manner of the ordination. Even when we have good intentions, we can still cause a problem, and the ceremony is to acknowledge that.
    The outcome sought would be nothing more than the restoration of friendship. At present, the ban on any monk from Bodhinyana associating with any monk from Wat Pah Pong is demonstrably against the Vinaya (Mahavagga, Chapter 9, section 2, subsection 3, for anyone interested). Issuing such a ban against a whole Sangha is the essence of making a Schism, one of the worst acts of Karma possible! Because this is a very serious matter, all monks should try to and heal the wound. Moreover, it has affected the lay Buddhists who want the monks that they support to forgive, show compassion and be friends.
    So, please, do not use this blog to blame and defame. Please give some reasonable suggestions on how we all can move forward and get beyond this split. The status quo of schism is not Buddhist. One should not just accept this sad state of affairs.
    By the way, I have recently returned from Thailand where I was warmly received by the vey senior monks
    If I have said anything out of turn it is probably because at nearly 1 AM in the morning, way past my bedtime, my brain is not working at its best.
    With best wishes to everyone, the bloggers, the Bhikkhunis and, in particular, to all at Wat Pah Pong and its branches.
    Ajahn Brahm.

    • Dear Ajahn Brahm,

      I wish you well on your trip to Singapore. Hopefully, the same lovingkindness that is evident in your message on this blog will bring peace to everyone attending the funeral service.

      The issues have indeed become complicated since Oct 2009. Honestly, I am glad you are mindful and skillful in your reaction to what does appear to be an act of Schism making.

      Having said that, the proximate cause of their request for you to rescind or denounce the ordination of the bhikkhunis was, I think, the manner of the Bhikkhuni ordination. Therefore, to say that “Bodhinyana Monastery was delisted as a branch monastery, not because of the manner of the Bhikkhuni ordination, but because I refused to state that the four women were not Bhikkhunis,” therefore, seems to twist reason a bit, which those who asked you to do it might think is unfair.

      Still, to rescind or denounce the ordination of the bhikkhunis after the fact must have been all but unthinkable to you. After it was done, I probably wouldn’t have been able to rescind it either.

      From what you’ve written, doesn’t it seem like the resolution is right in front of everyone? If it’s correct to say that Bodhinyana Monastery does not seek to rejoin WPP and if it is correct to say, as you assert, that the Perth Bhikkhunis do not belong to either of the two Thai Monastic sects, but are Sri Lankan Bhikkhunis, then what is left to divide you, i.e. to keep you all from coming together in friendship?

      Thank you for letting everyone know that you were received warmly by the elder monks in Thailand recently. The brahmavihāras will prevail!

      Ps – Thank you for writing Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond. It provided the foundation for my first solid step into understanding something of the jhanas.

      Metta.

    • Ajahn Brahm;

      Beforehand forgive my bluntness, but I feel it necessary. Nobody on this forum has been as insulting as Ajahn Sujato’s OP, and that has set the tone.

      In relation to.- I quote you “But I am concerned… and the inaccuracy of some of the assumptions” Nobody on this forum is speaking for WPP, they do not know them, their reasons or statements, we only have Ajahn Sujato’s and Bodhinyana’s version of events which I feel are misleading your supporters. You state ” I was under the impression that such an ordination in the West was not opposed by the Mahatherasamakom (Council of Elders) but that it was vigorously opposed by the senior monks in UK (hence the feeling of futility in consulting them)” What and who is this UK thing? Lumpho Liam is the leader of WPP. As Bhikkhu Brahmali stated you knew that your PARTICIPATION in the Bhikkhuni ordination would cause an uproar, and yet you never bothered to consult Lumpho Liam and seek his advice. Do you respect and love him? I quote you again “I may have been mistaken in this, and for such misapprehensions, I ask for forgiveness” this I “may” won’t cut it, you need to be honest with yourself and decide if you were mistaken or not. If not then once and for all go your own way, if you feel you were then just come clean. That is all that is asked of you, which is not much. Your comment “However, Bodhinyana Monastery was delisted as a branch monastery” is much appreciated as it clarifies the mistaken conception that you were excommunicated.

      Your grave accusation that WPP is causing a schism is baseless (Mahavagga, Chapter 9, section 2, subsection 3) their are more grounds to consider you as the one trying to cause a schism. You are saying that WPP is FORCED to accept Bodhinyana monks, do these monks have no shame? You disrespected WPP’s leader Lumpho Liam, and your monks just want to show up at WPP branch monasteries, for what? as spies to dig up dirt, or to claim that the issue is over, proving that WPP has come to it’s senses and Bodhinyana was right all along?

      I’m happy that you were warmly received by the very senior monks at Thailand, they demonstrated how a true monk should behave, contrary to Ajahn Sujato’s behavior. But don’t think that in any way they support or agree with your disrespect for Lumpho Liam. And yet I’m also aware that other monks avoided you like the plague (well with in their rights and justified).

      You stated ” but because I refused to state that the four women were not Bhikkhunis. Just this is the source of the impasse, as I understand it” as you understand it? can you not get clarification on it, since it’s essential to your reinstatement?

      I am aware that supporters of WPP and Wat Pha Baan Taad have arranged for the revocation of your chao khun title(what else can you expect), which I’m sure you could care less. I tell you this in the hope that you realize the extent of your actions and finally realize your mistake and genuinely apologize for it. Again forgive me for my bluntness but I feel kind words wont do in this situation.

      A lowly Lay person.

    • Dear Diogenes,

      Diogenes wrote: ” Beforehand forgive my bluntness, but I feel it necessary. Nobody on this forum has been as insulting as Ajahn Sujato’s OP, and that has set the tone”

      I have to agree with you on this. It is not a good example. Every post is a source of negativity rather than peace or harmony. I sense much vengeance from the source which the posts flow from.

      Diogenes wrote: “I am aware that supporters of WPP and Wat Pha Baan Taad have arranged for the revocation of your chao khun title”

      This is what I don’t understand. Ajahn Brahm haven’t been doing anything . Why is he being the target when it is another person who’s been attacking. I am very sorry that Ajahn Sujato continues to stir up animosity among the lay community to perpetuate the rift even after a year something. This is not contributing to our practice or peace of mind in anyway. I hope Ajahn Brahm could talk to him, if Ajahn Sujato even listen that is.

      What is wrong with Ajahn Brahm’s action. Whoever post demeaning comments about WPP is the one responsible. Don’t you think you are attacking the wrong person ?

    • Dear Bhante,

      I am glad you shared this information regarding the community in New Zealand. Bhante Tiradhammo is Canadian and returns here to give talks fairly regularly. I will speak with him next time to request clarification. I believe that laypeople have a role to stand up for true Sangha building because we are all Sangha and we are all Sangha builders. I deeply object to such activity taking place in Canada and this activity in New Zealand sets a precedent for that and as I mentioned before that, in turn, sets a precedent for other religious orders in Canada to do the same. The only way we can discourage such actvity is to know about it in the first place. So, as usual, you have offered something beneficial to the wider Sangha.

      At the same time, I am deeply sorry that these important sharings get hijacked so often and that the tone degenerates. Maybe it is time to come up with some rules – or invite moderators – or block people who do not maintain a level of civility in our posts – or do not stick to the topic at hand. Maybe we need to insist that every post include the world LOVE. (And not in a context like, “I would LOVE if Karuna would just bugger off.”) Anyways, time to sign out.
      Be well, Dear Friends.
      In spite of any opinions I may hold that differ from yours, I offer unconditional LOVE to the Sangha and that includes ALL of you.
      _/\_

    • Hi karuna,

      I do moderate the blog, although most comments appear first without moderation. It is always difficult to ensure every comment is ‘acceptable’. And, as several commenters have opined, my own statements can be quite strong. I do this with a deliberate purpose. When i started on this long journey, everywhere i found fear. Again and again and again, i heard people saying they were afraid to speak, afraid to do anything. They didn’t like what they saw, and they told me many things, things much worse than I’ve actually posted here. Yet they could not speak. I remember well, sitting down to write one of my first pieces after the Perth ordinations, and i saw that what was emerging was passive-aggressive, nicey-wicey unspeak. i realized that I had been conditioned so far to avoid speaking plainly, to hide unpleasant truths. i saw that same fear in me that i had heard so many others speak of. I still feel it today. And in a moment of clarity, i recognized that that fear was deeply unwholesome, and deeply cowardly. I resolved not to let that fear be my master. I looked carefully at what I had written, and asked myself, was it true, was it real? Since then I have stuck by this moment of insight and have tried to let this guide my words. So yes, sometimes i am too blunt, sometimes I am dismissive or overly critical. You know, it’s easy for me to reshape words to take out all the gnarly bits and make it all smooth and shiny. But that doesn’t interest me. Whatever this is, it is real, and i am trying to be actually honest. I want to communicate this spirit in this blog, so that others can also be free of this fear. You can come on here and criticize me, and i don’t take offence or lash back. i welcome it, read it, consider it carefully, and if i feel a need to respond I do so. this is all a training for me, and hopefully is of use for others. Take home message: You don’t have to be perfect to have something to say. You don’t have to be an arahant before your opinion is worth something. Speak, don’t fear, and let your words tell their tale. If you speak wrongly, learn, and do better next time. But don’t remain silent out of fear. Because fear is the opposite of love. (see how i slipped ‘love’ in there – subtle, huh?)

    • Let’s all just sign off from this blog as well. It is generating too much negativity for both side unnecessarily and for too long.

      Again, the blog posts on this blog doesn’t sound like something that Ajahn Brahm would send out or instruct anyone to post. I don’t think he harbor enough vengeance or anger within to express these unwholesome posts of name calling and labeling . It is a mistake to assume that he is responsible for the repeated posts of attacks and humiliation. Let us not hold him responsible every time someone else post something.

    • Dear Diogenes,

      I don’t mean to be blunt but are you overstating your facts a LITTLE bit, Sir? And as you are a Wat Pah Bann Taad’s deciple, I heard a rumor (s) about book burning somewhere in Austratlia? Maybe, you can shed some factual rumors here seeing that you have been gunning at this since the beginning of time memeorial? If I were you I might tone down a little.

      Sorry for “Bluntness” yet again, Sir.

      “Impacted with high ordered detination…. zero probability..have a Good Day, Sir.

    • Your observation is so true, CB. It is so pitiful that these so called ‘forest monks’ now trying to control properties (while proud of themselves for not keeping money!) and aspire for position and power within their organisation. I just wonder if Achan Chah returned what will he say?

      Diogenes,
      I read most of your writings in this blog, sometimes you sound have a sharp mind, but somewhat lack of a tolerant heart. This is unfortunately a reflection of the collective consciousness of people who cling to a certain conventional set of rules or moral standards. As a student of human history, I see this is the cause of wars and injustice in the world. Please practice more Brahmavihara to balance your personal development.

    • To imeditation:

      I’m not attacking AB, nor WPP is.These are the rumours and actions circulating amongst lay supporters of the Thai forest tradition (and much worst ones which I cannot post here) I post them so that people become aware of the severity of the situation, the level of mistrust and spite, contrary to a rosy picture others might want to paint, which is being exasperated by AB’s failure to decide if he honestly feels he commited a mistake or not, if not than it’s high time for Bodhiyana to go it’s own way peacefully.

    • Bhante,

      “You don’t have to be perfect to have something to say. You don’t have to be an arahant before your opinion is worth something. Speak, don’t fear, and let your words tell their tale. If you speak wrongly, learn, and do better next time. But don’t remain silent out of fear. Because fear is the opposite of love.”

      Fantastic! That is all.

      Sam

    • Dear Bhante Sujato,

      Fear is unwholesome.

      And there is a difference between speaking the truth bluntly and speaking the truth skillfully. Speaking the truth skillfully is superior in two ways: one is more likely to affect positive change; and, one is more likely to contribute to the wellbeing and fruitful practice of others.

      I, too, often speak too bluntly. It’s not always a virtue. In fact, I am learning that in my case it is most often the result of unskillful thinking that leads to a whole lot of unwholesome heat.

      Please note what’s really happening when you allow what is unpleasant to proliferate by taking the step from vedanā to taṇhā. Without equanimity, there is no true end to suffering.

      You wrote, “Whatever this is, it is real.” Which part of samsaric existence is ultimately real? No matter how hard you fight it and try to force it to be better, or fairer or whatever, you will not eliminate dukkha from it.

      Metta.

    • And there is a difference between speaking the truth bluntly and speaking the truth skillfully. Speaking the truth skillfully is superior in two ways: one is more likely to affect positive change; and, one is more likely to contribute to the wellbeing and fruitful practice of others.

      yes, good point. I’ll keep trying.

    • And another point! We have to actually use speech to work out how to use it skilfully. So far, the only other thing on offer is silence. And I know for a fact that that is bad, when it’s a silence about that which needs naming. It doesn’t feel like you do when you speak and get upset or angry. It feels calmer, nicer. But it eats away at your insides. It turns you into something hollow.

    • You’re right about the fact that silence is bad. I wasn’t suggesting that you remain silent.

      What’s really happening when you allow what is unpleasant to proliferate by taking the step from vedanā to taṇhā? You’re seeing what is dukkha from the perspective of self. The result is more dukkha. But when we take the self out of the equation, we see more clearly and can speak more effectively. (Of course, I can say what I just said far more easily than I can do it.)

      It’s 4:45am here. Time to get back to bed!

    • To Karuna;

      To quote you “– or block people who do not maintain a level of civility in our posts – ” are you suggesting Ajahn Sujato block himself from his blog? Hilarious! Although I don’t agree that a monk should express himself publicly like Ajahn Sujato has done, at least he opened the opportunity for me to be blunt with Ajahn Brahm.

    • To Mahakaruniko;

      In my comments on the previous post “healing the fallout from the Bhikkhuni ordination” I was conciliatory to the degree that I got accused of trying to be the hero who saved the day. Those were carrots, you might feel these are sticks. I’m quite a loving person, but I can kick. You don’t know me. Spare me your hypocritical advice, you who are on a WPP trashing mission, as your empty arguments regarding the wellington issue illustrate.

    • Dear Diogenes,

      Dear Diogenes,

      Diogenes wrote: “’Im not attacking AB, nor WPP is.These are the rumours and actions circulating amongst lay supporters of the Thai forest tradition (and much worst ones which I cannot post here) I post them so that people become aware of the severity of the situation”

      Thanks for sharing the info. I really don’t blame the lay supporters of WPP after seeing continuous posts of humiliation towards their teachers even over a year .

      AB has been busy teaching after the bhikkhuni ordination. I hope the WPP lay supporters of WPP will leave him alone. Some might say, but he is not leaving their teachers alone with continuous blog posts of public humiliation .

      He is not the one perpetuating the conflict. Although the one blogging is his disciple, but that doesn’t mean that it is his instruction nor does it reflect his own attitude. They are as different as night and day. One is fearless yet peaceful, with developed metta towards friends and foe alike. The other one is fearless and full of anger and vengeance. Let us not assume that whatever his disciple post is due to his instruction or is an expression of his attitude towards WPP. Please distinguish between the two and address the right person rather than pulling AB out every time A Sujato post something, ( whoever is targeting AB right now due to A Sujato’s speech).

      Some feel that the commemoration of the 9/11 was also used to fuel further
      unwholesome actions such as acts of violence. I would say that the cause for bhikkhuni can be used to satisfy someone’s anger and vengeance and further fuel animosity towards WPP.

      By the way, you seem to be angry at AB still. Would you mind sharing the reason. Is it something he is doing now or over a year ago?

    • Ratanadhammo wrote: “You’re right about the fact that silence is bad. I wasn’t suggesting that you remain silent.”

      Both silence and labeling / name calling are two extremes that are not productive in any way. Unwholesome speech can be quite destructive and spread negativity . Silence doesn’t remove conflict either. So unwholesome speech is not better than silence at all.

      Let us hope that people stop perpetuating animosity in the name of sharing information with the wider sangha or supporting bhikkhuni. It is possible to support the cause of bhikkhuni ordination without continuing to harbor anger and vengeance.

      I say that whoever still feel anger over the issue need to learn how to let go and develop metta. It is the failure to let go that will eat them inside. Spilling it out endlessly will only spread it to others. And when the receiver send it back, it
      perpetuates this anger . It is like a ping pong game.

    • Karuna

      i would just like to say “ditto” to what you have said in this post above and I appreciate knowing the truth.

      The first rule of crisis communications “tell it all and tell it fast” so I think what AS is doing is not only in line with the Dharma but in line with the real world (meatspace that is).

      imeditation

      I believe you are a female and having read some of your posts was intially impressed by your knowledge of the Dharma; that you a seemingly informed and intelligent women but do not stand firmly with people who are standing firmly against sexism in buddhism is disappointing. AS is stating the truth – what is it about truth and honesty that bothers you – how as a female can you pretend that what WPP is advocating regarding women is OK; how weak is that.

      I wouldn’t go so far as to say you are a traitor to womenhood but Come off it – you should be deeply ashamed of your self imeditation.

    • Hi Ajahn Brahm,

      I think your post is sending rather mixed messages and is ambiguous, possibly due to the late hour.

      It’s rather ironic that you were initially concerned that the ordination would be vigorously opposed by senior monks in UK and that you are now trying to resolve the impasse with the help of senior Western monks in UK.

      I also don’t understand why you on the one hand you are talking of forgiveness and on the other schism. I don’t think there is a real need to press the issue and I don’t really feel there should be any need for monks from Bodhinyana to visit WPP branch monasteries.

      I personally feel that you could have sent a very clear message to you disciples and the wider community some time ago but for whatever reason you haven’t.

      And move on.

    • Peter,
      The issue of the bigger dspute and Ajahn Brahm’s role was resurrected by participants on this blog, not Bhante Brahm. And the original article was regarding the building of Sangha in New Zealand and some challenges that have arisen for lay people who spent their lives building Sangha and are now watching politics that have nothing to do with them (seemingly) destroy the fabric and the integrity of what they have diligently built.
      That was the original topic and it is naturally of concern to anyone who is a Sangha friend. It also demonstrates why it is difficult for there to be peace in the community and where the responsibility falls for this to take place in a genuine and lasting manner.
      Participants in this blog often suggest that if one party acted wrongly, it justifies the ther party acting in wrong conduct as well. I am not getting this logic at all.
      _/\_

    • Hi Karuna,
      My first comment on this thread did actually refer to NZ. I personally wouldn’t like to to jump to any conclusions with regard to NZ based on Bhante Sujato’s blog post. In my opinion Ajahn Tiradhammo is someone who has truly committed his life to “Sangha Building”. I also think that events in Australia have possibly unsettled things there. The monastery in New Zealand has been going 20+ years through the commitment of the lay and monastic community both near and far. If the
      The first couple of paragraphs of the original post were about Ajahn Brahm and WPP.
      Much metta :)

    • Peter,

      I certainly didn’t find anything in AB’s message that was anything like you described – maybe you need to read it again or something? I mean seriously what are you talking about?

    • Hi Dhamma
      just seen your post “I certainly didn’t find anything in AB’s message etc”. Where do you feel my comment was inaccurate?

    • Hi Peter,

      I just see him as trying to harmonise things – “Because this is a very serious matter, all monks should try to and heal the wound” so I don’t really see it as so complicated as you do.

      As a monk that is “his job” so to speak, whether it works or not is not something anyone can control – but at least trying is I guess – you know like it is the right thing for a monk to do.

      Even if wounds can’t really be healed unless attitudes change at least hopefully they can be stopped from getting worse.

      Much Metta

      Dhamma

    • Ward,

      I have watched the video, what is the problem?

      Ajahn Brahm is a monk, in the video he is talking about the Dhamma, that is what nuns and monks do, he is talking abut Vinaya and Dharma and that that includes ordinating Bhikkunis – The Buddha required the Sangha to be made up of men and women and that if they are ordained in other traditions and follow the Vinaya then they are legitimate.

      I am still confused though as to how all traditions can be ‘one’ if they are strictly authoritarian and hierachical if that wasn’t what the Buddha taught – maybe they will change their attitudes too – people are independant these days so being subserviant slaves based on hierachy is about as outdated as sexism is.

      Regards

      Dhamma

    • What Ajahn Brahm said above is very confusing.

      He said his Perth Bhikkunis are Sri Lankan bhikkhunis, but from my knowledge, prior to the ordination, Ajahn Chah tradition was mentioned in Dhammasara website as well as Bodhiyana.

      From what I understood and perceived from the remark made by Ajahn Brahm, it is alleged that there was an intention to separate Bodhiyana & Dhammasara from Ajahn Chah tradition. If so, why not just be honest about it, so that all can move on and not trying to put the blame on everything else, the Vinaya or blaming others who are not agreeable to you? No one would blame one for being honest about it in intending to move out of any tradition. In my opinion, it is nothing wrong with it if it was done truthfully and sincerely, not to conspire to influence the Western Sangha of Ajahn Chah to oppose, over-rule or condemn the Thai Forest Sangha monastic rules & Ajahn Chah tradition on women ordination. It is each tradition or monastic’s rights of each country to uphold each of their in-house monastic rules or sangha constitution.

      Ajahn Brahm could have done it without causing rifts like what the Mahayana tradition did when they wanted to move out of the Theravada tradition. Today, both Mahayana & Theravada traditions are respected, recognized and moved on.

      The bottom line is one’s intention and conscience must be clear. Forgive me, if what I said was not true due to misinformation or lack of knowledge on this issue, but with the intention so that there will be no further ill-will and attacks against one another and come to closure. My 2 cent worth opinion.

    • Sukha

      The Mahayana did not move out of the Theravada Tradition!

      I have never heard anyone make such a claim before either.

      The origins of the Mahayana movement is complex, however, in short, it was not a monastic lineage but a philophical position. One theory is that the early Mahayanists were forest monks who were trying to move away from the Abidhammic Buddhism that was evolving and back to the basics of the teachings.

      CB

    • Dear CB,

      I may be wrong on this but if you read the history of Buddhism, they called it the Great Schism, but I think the word schism may not be appropriate, as in those days there were some who wanted to form their own tradition according to their practice and emphasis which differ from the Theravada / Elders tradition which they are known as Mahayana. That’s about all. There is a sutta that Buddha explained the cause of a schism or what is schism (you need to check it out).

      What is so wrong with having different traditions and schools of thoughts based on what each tradition believes or interprets Buddhism. There were already many traditions existed in the name of Buddhism eg Tibetan tradition, Mahasi tradition, Zen tradition, Vajrana tradition, to name a few of the many out there, and are all in harmony and have mutual respect and understanding with and for each other, well-respected and established up till today and believe will be in future.

      Similarly with schools, there are co-ed school, convent, all boys school, all girls school to meet the myriad needs of the many different school children. If one doesn’t like to be in all boys or all girl school, one is free to go enroll in co-ed school. There should be choices for everyone as it is too idealistic and not realistic to think that everyone is the same and to make everyone the same into one.

      There are 24 colors in a color pencil box. What would happen if we made all the 24 to 1 color since they are all color pencil? That is only making it into a concept out of reality. Reality can never be equal no matter how you want it to be equal. If you’re making something not equal equal that is not reality, that is only a concept. Buddha’s teaching is all about reality, ultimate truth and to accept the true nature of reality as what it is. Hope my analogy is acceptable.

      In my opinion, all these arguments for more than one year would not have happened if Ajahn Brahm went about like the other traditions in trying to form his own sect or tradition according to his believe and interpretation of the Vinaya, by being more diplomatic, respectful, skillful, courteous, gentle, harmless, straightforward and perfectly upright about his intention. In the Karaniya Sutta, one had to be straightforward, upright, perfectly upright as prerequisite for cultivating metta (loving-kindness) and one could radiate metta to others only when one had really cultivated it. Nothing personal towards Ajahn Brahm but hope this helps in restoring harmony and understanding. I was just being straightforward and blunt without discrimination.

    • Dear Sukha

      I think you need to reread the history books and the Theravada version of events too. The Theravada is supposed to be the conservative group that remained when the Mahasamgikhas split from them during the first century or so after the Buddha’s death.

      I am not sure if the Theravada scriptures, such as Katthavattu etc even mention Mahayana.

      Why would Bhikkhu Brahm want to form a new sect? Just because someone does something different doesn’t mean it is wrong and that they cannot do it unless they form a new sect. Using this logic you would have the WPP sangha form a separate sect to the rest of the Mahanikaya sect of Thailand – which they virtually are actually. (they refuse to perform sanghakhamma with other monks don’t they?)

      Your understanding of these issues is lacking. Similar misunderstandings were also aired by the monks present at WPP when they decided to ‘expell’ Brahm too.

      CB

    • CB I don’t think you are really trying very hard to understand what S.sukha is saying. Your chauvinism is showing through.

    • S.Sukka and peter,

      Peter to call CB rather than Sukka a chauvist – have you read Sukka’s other posts he advocates for the 8 Guaradhamma and is leading the discussion AGAINST equal opportunities for women!

      S. Sukka Ajahn Brahm simply seems to want to follow the teachings of the Buddha – he does not seem to criticise the interpretations of other traditions but simply says that the Early or Original Teachings of the Buddha are the earliest interpretations of the teachings by those closest to the Buddha at the time therefore that is what the Buddha taught, therefore because of certain incidents in Buddhism for Buddhism to survive and possibly to grow in the West we should stop going off on tangents but stick to the teachings of the Buddha where possible.

      Although many of the other traditions do follow and teach many of the same teachings (I have been involved and had teachings, empowerments etc from three of the four main Tibetan Schools – directly) much of what they teach while useful and suitable in their own country goes against our democratic priniciples although they do provide at least on the surface equal opportunites for women (although I am not too sure this is women of all ages – although like most men they seem have less trouble in finding equal opportunities and supporting young girls??)

      There have been cases of abuse and of sexual harassment due to the interpretations of the Buddhas teachings getting way too deviant from the orginal- I recently heard of a well known lama forcing a girl with an intellectual disability to have sex with him claiming this would help purify her karma or something??

      Much of this abuse is due to the interpretations of the teaching being such that gives too much power to the head lama or abbot and his/her cult followers who therefore use and abuse this power in the name of the Buddha telling people this will help them and they must obey.

      In sticking to the orginal teachings of the Buddha I strongly believe that Ahjahn Brahm is protecting people; especially women from abuse and from the misuse of power because the early teachings support democracy, and having as your teacher the teachings of the Buddha not some guru etc who you must obey at all costs.

      Also for the survivial of Buddhism Eastern countries need to recognise that people in the West are independant – and do not particularly like authoritarian styles of governance and that sexual discrimination is illegal, therefore many of the interpretations of the Buddha teachings that support authoritarianism and dictatorshops and do not provide equal opportunities for women will only NOT be accepted in the West but would also be considered illegal.

      As the Buddha him/herself also taught in line with democracy and provided equal opportunities for women then it seems only sensible, logical and most importantly ethical to return where possible (obviously the political climate of some countries ie Tibet may prevent this somewhat) to the actual words that the Buddha spoke as much as is possible. This is what Ahjahn Brahm seems to support – that Buddhist follow the teachings of the Buddha – how any one especially Buddhists can find anything wrong with that is beyond me!

      Having said I certainly and obvioulsy it is of paramont importance that respecting and listening to qualified, authentic teachers who follow the Vinaya is of paramont importance as well and I believe as much as a lay person is capable of they should show respect to the ordained – and seek their advice and guidance because as disciples of the Buddha they have the time and means to study and reflect on the teachings and to support lay people in their practise.

      Regards

      Dhamma

    • Peter,

      Thanks for calling me a chauvanist for not agreeing with your position.

      What was Sukha trying to say?

      CB

    • CB
      I said that your chauvinism is showing through because you had introduced yourself as an “outsider” but to me it seems that you are not without affiliation. Which position of mine is it that you don’t agree with?

    • Peter,

      So you think I am a Chauvanist because I am an outsider with an opinion? Do you have an opinion on the war Afghanistan?

      I am not sure of your position but was assuming you were supporting the position of Sukha. I apologise. I should have said “are you calling me a Chauvanist for not agreeing with Sukha”.

      For what it is worth, here is my opinion on the Brahm Bhikkhuni issue:

      Ajahn Brahm did everything according to the vinaya. The ordaination is valid. But there is a question over the validity of the lineage.

      Ajhan Brahm was sneaky the way he kept it all secret and he should have been expelled from the WPP group for this reason.

      The WPP, however, is wrong to discriminate aganst any monk who has any connection with Ajahn Brahm.

      CB.

    • CB, I think we all let our chauvinism show through at times. It is difficult to really be an outsider as it seems we naturally tend to identify with groups at some point; be that culture, race, religion, nationality, social positioning or whatever. Yes I have an opinion on the war Afghanistan and I’m sure my opinion is prejudiced in many ways.

    • Dear Ajahn Brahm and others

      I had no idea this post was here! And doubtless you’ll not even see this reply. But I just wanted it on record.

      Thank you for making this clear call for peace and reconciliation without compromising the truth of your direct experience.

      I’m so sorry to read here and there the harshness that has occasionally followed your post.

      Instead of focusing on your main message, a call for friendship there seem to have been choices taken to further fan hatred by bringing up rumours and making the very odd, very odd, demand that you ‘admit you made a mistake’. I do not understand why this is so important; what is it supposed to achieve? If there was some sort of positive outcome suggested as a result, that would be much more helpful! But considering that yourself and also Bhikkhu Brahmali have made your positions so clear, it seems even weirder to repeat such things like a mantra coming from deaf ears. Instead of accepting you at your word, they jump up and down like children throwing tantrums, demanding that you admit to things that you have already stated are not true. They focus on details and pull them out and get angry about them.

      But still, perhaps they need to. Perhaps they sincerely believe their views are based in truth. And while I’m glad Bhante Sujato provides this space, I’m also glad to see that he’s set up a few guidelines so things remain on the kinder, more well mannered side of ‘blunt’. Not that i’m going to let it effect me as I’ve decided it’s nicer for me not to read some things! Self-sensoring as an aspect of sense-restraint in order to guard and grow anything wholesome in here!! I know my limits!!

      Dear Ajahn you’ve demonstrated your openness by posting here. As Bhante Sujato constantly demonstrates his. We can scold you and abuse you here, even when we’ve never met you or know anything about the depth of your integrity or of your Practise or the extent of your service to others. Thank you for this. I wish some of those who scold would come and visit you at Bodhinyana and say these things to your face. Doubtless then they will find that this medium of communication, while possessing clear advantages also has major disadvantages.

      It’s interesting that some have accused Bhante Sujato of also fuelling. While I can see the validity of this, I can also see a crucial difference.

      1. There is fuelling to keep the anger of the past, the misunderstandings and lack of harmony alive.

      2. There is fuelling to keep the truth of what is ocurring right now alive.

      I see Bhante Sujato as doing the latter. And I am very grateful for it.

      While it was difficult to have my romantic notions about the WPP tradition shattered. I’d rather know it fully rather than partially or falsely. I’ve sort of ‘grown up’ hearing Ajahn Brahm say wonderful things about his time in Thailand and the Forest Tradition there. Even immediately after the ‘excommunication’ or ‘de-listing’ or ‘kicking out of the fold’ or whatever label you wish to put on it…even straight after this I heard him refer lovingly to the very monks who pushed him out. He continues to amaze me in this respect. I’ve never heard him say anything vengeful about anyone.

      It was a hard blow for all of us here to hear what had happened. I think I can safely speak for the very large community here and say that we were all in shock. But I think we’d all rather know the truth.

      Which is not to say that we (I’m still taking the very great liberty of saying ‘we’ here instead of ‘I’) do not still love and respect all the goodness that is still present and active in the WPP communities. The good far outweighs the bad…I’m sure of it…or at least hope it. But I believe that in these particular communities the good is quieter and the deluded is louder.

      I do not pretend to know directly what is happening in England or Thailand or New Zealand or Santi. I have a small window into very small sections of what is actually happening here in Perth. Moreover people I trust tell me about their knowledge. But at the end of the day, I ask myself two things:

      1. What do I actually know through direct first hand knowledge?

      2. Do I observe love and peace in those I interact with or do I observe anger and vitriole?

      I directly know little. And while I may trust the word of others (such as Ajahn Brahm, Bhikkhu Brahmali and Bhante Sujato and other lay members of the community in Perth and elsewhere) I was not there when things happened.

      But I’ve observed love and peace in words, vibes and actions from these and others whose words I trust. So I’ll support them and delight in their virtous company on those occasions when I see them.

      And as for ‘mistakes’, to paraphrase another religious teacher, let those among you who have never made a mistake, throw the first reply to this post! (Which by the way, I’m not going to check on in case I’m tempted to reply! So not out of disrespect to anyone posting a reply, rather out of love of my own peace of mind!)

      Dear Ajahn, I understand that it was your translation of the Vinaya which formed a basis for the training in other WPP monasteries.

      And certainly, it is clear when i visit Bodhinyana, that the integrity of the Sangha there is excellent.

      Thus I trust fully what you have said about the Vinaya in this rare, rare post you have made.

      It is sad indeed we are in a state of schism at present. But I’m feeling clear, glad and happy to know that you are blameless in this.

      And I feel so grateful and happy to be supporting you and all your dear monks at Bodhinyana.

      There are 21 monks at Bodhinyana at present. The lay guest accomodation for this current Rains Retreat is full. And it is wonderful that there are so many people on self-retreat at Jhana Grove currently who are peacefully meandering over to the monastery for the weekly Dhamma talk (which is only for residents and guests who are resident at either the monastery or J.Grove) and also for the Word of the Buddha/Sutta discussions. I understand that there were 45 people in the hall for the last talk, due to the presence of the self-retreatrants from Jhana Grove. I’ve never heard of such a number being present before. At least not in the 20 years I’ve been around and offering dana and doing self-retreats at this beautiful place.

      The Dhamma grows when people practise the 8 fold Path. That’s happening here. I see it in the expressions of the faces as they come down the line to accept the rice I put into the bowls. In the faces and mannerisms of Bhikkhus whom I saw transition from lay guest to Anagarika. In the joyous expressions of the new novices. And in the goodwill and harmony in which the extensive, varied and muliticultural and multigenerational community come together. If anyone reading this does not believe me, I invite you to come and check it out. Come and stay for a while and see for yourself. Come and have a long and challenging chat with the Senior monks, face to face.

      There is no need for us to seek any association with WPP. Becasue the Buddhist community and the Sangha extends far beyond their power bases. And because we’re doing fine and are already ‘peacefully going our own way’ (as some like to repeatedly ask us to do). But that doesn’t seem like the course of wisdom or compassion or harmony…in other words, it doesn’t help the Buddhist Religion grow beautifully for the benefit of beings for such a schismatic state to go on without making efforts to heal it. In my heart and indeed in my head (if you set store by such concepts) I know that is what the Buddha would have us do were he here.

      And perhaps down the track, this community here will also decay like many others do. It seems to be nature, indeed Dhamma itself for this to happen. But the seeds we’ve grown in our hearts will flourish elsewhere where the conditions will be ripe and other communities elsewhere will grow.

      The Buddha seems to have set things up to be fair and open. I hope there will always be places that seek to honour that.

      And I hope that whatever form Buddhist communites take, there will be a healthy balance and respect between monastics and laity. For me, these last few years have provided several lessons. One began with my looking a little tiny bit closer into the nature of the Vinaya. This thing that I had assumed to have been a rigid set of rules turned out to be not that at all. The compassion and deeply beautiful flexibility in it started to become apparent. That made me realise that the Buddha would probably have wanted me to err on the side of compassion towards myself and others.

      The second big lesson for me was a massive shake up. I started to see my role as a lay person very differently. I started to believe that progress on the path was possible for me. I came to this through realising that the four communities of lay man, lay woman, monk and nun are equal in their importance. Because they allow the maximum number of people the best possible chance of achieving their spiritual goals within this Sasana. And because they are like 4 places in a great dance. And over the course of this life or indeed lives (if like me you have chosen to investigate the Dhamma in the light of this particular view) the dancers may swap places at times; so it’s vital to keep all 4 places available, in case we need to dance into one for a while. For surely the Dhamma grows in ways we do not at first expect and we may make radical lifestyle changes that only we can know are good for us in our hearts and minds.

      So this post has grown long. For those of you who stayed with it, thank you, that is a big thing! I know that directly because I’ve taken to reading very little now and very occassionally skim a few long posts! For those of you who reply, whether from agitation or excitement or love or peace or intellect…may you be well. May no harm come near, through your actions or mine or others, to you or to me or to anyone else.

      If you take my sentences out of this place and view them through your own lenses, or out of context, then there is little that can be done. That ocurrs even face to face, so i imagine we are doing it to each other far more in this medium!

      Metta

    • Dear Kanchana

      A really lovely post and you seemed to have expressed everything just how it is – well as I see it anyway. While I also do not no Ahajn Brahm, Ajahn Sujato, Ajahn Brahmali I see what they are doing as following what the Buddha taugh and admire their braveness.

      While it is fair enough that people from WPP have and express their views and good for people in the West to know this type of thinking exist I agree too that constantly harping on about a “so called mistake” is rather cruel and tedious – who is prefect – certainly not me I can’t eve spell :)?

      Thank you for your lovely but also importantly realistic post.

      A positive not on which to say farewell and to wish all those going on retreat a bliss-out time!

      Dhamma

  40. ” A little background is in order. The monastery was established around the same time as Bodhinyana in Perth, and by coincidence they chose a similar name, Bodhinyanarama (after Ajahn Chah’s Pali name). Bodhinyana was established by inviting monks from Thailand. However, Bodhinyanarama was established with monks from England, and hence they have always been part of the ‘Amaravati circle’. Like Bodhinyana, however, Bodhinyanarama was set up by a pre-existing Buddhist society operating as a charitable association, the Wellington Theravada Buddhist Association (WTBA), which purchased the land, developed the monastery, and holds the title.”

    What has this issue got to do with the one hear?

    • The purpose of the article that we are all commenting on was to share with the wider Sangha the challenges that have arisen in that community from external sources. We have allowed ourselves to be distracted from the original and noble purpose of sharing information that could impact the wider Sangha.
      _/\_

    • True. But again, if I could view things on simpler terms, it would be better. But things in life are not in a nut shell. Or can we ignore what happens to the other parties and just concern with our business? Truthfully, I feel that their might not be a way out for this issue at all. But should there be one solution at the end of the tunnel, both sides will have to chip in and work very hard for it and sacrifice something for the harmony of all community. But as long as either side is trying to gain victory on this issue, we will all loose in my opinion, I swear it (it is like a war). And you know, when diplomatic negatiations fail, war is resulted.

      “We have allowed ourselves to be distracted from the original and noble purpose of sharing information that could impact the wider Sangha.” <—Totally agree on this one.

      Some one once said," True enemy can't be destroyed." "In my humble opinion, the true enemy in the Nuclear world….is war itself."

  41. Sad.. I hope this is resolved. I do not feel any discrimination here in NYC as a woman. I own my own home and work for myself.

    I feel empowered In a good way; not a controlling way… even if I’m tiny; short and thin. I feel like I’m 7 feet tall; and the men are always polite and respectful around me; as I am to them. The only think I do not feel equal is in physical strength; so at a spiritual group the men that are ‘huge’ will move extremely heavy outdoor tables and such.. and that is sweet. And the softness(we are mothers too of women make men feel they can confide things to that sometimes they can’t to their male buddies. It is a good feeling in our spiritual (not religious) groups. And their straightforward logic minds; is a good thing too .. It is a balance of equality.. not egos.

    I feel more aligned with Buddhism than any other ways of life (religion?); and this is sad… to me Buddhism represent compassion and commonsense.. and where is the compassion to women (and for Ajahn Brahm who bravely ordain these women; he knew it was the RIGHT thing to do).

  42. Dear Ajahn Sujato,

    This has been a fascinating, vigorous and valuable discussion.

    This comment pertains to the WordPress implementation for your blog. inspired by this conversation to date.

    For the purposes of readability and usability you may wish to consider investigating whether it is possible, one way or another to upgrade your blog’s functionality to have a “Printer Friendly” page capability, that can be toggled on and off, that will re-render the web-page to be in a “printer friendly” format, such as a readably large font, high contrast, in monochrome black text and white background, suitable for simple monochrome printing and thence reading on paper.

    Such capabilities are commonplace in many blogging systems and CMS (Content Management Systems) and WordPress is quite sophisticated and so the capability is no doubt there – Similarly there may be capabilities to render a printer-friendly PDF (Portable Document Format file) of the entire page.

    Many middle-aged eyes would be grateful and it would make studying long conversation threads on your blog much easier.

    Best regards,

    Brian Westlake

  43. “At present, the ban on any monk from Bodhinyana associating with any monk from Wat Pah Pong is demonstrably against the Vinaya (Mahavagga, Chapter 9, section 2, subsection 3, for anyone interested). Issuing such a ban against a whole Sangha is the essence of making a Schism, one of the worst acts of Karma possible!”

    As I have asked around (because I am not much of a reader), there are more to Mahavagga Chapter 9, section 2, subsection 3. Maybe if someone can completely explain it without sensoring any info out.

  44. To ban monk from Bodhinyana from associating with any monk from WPP is uncall for. But why was the ban imposed? What was the cause? And, if it is the worse act of Karma, the Senior WPP bhikkhus have sustained heavy offense. Both side is in accusation of creating schism. Again the Buddhist codes are very debatable because not many can read the ancient language. Even if we can partially understand the translated version, it is still a temptation to misinterpreted the meaning.

    • Hi Easycompany,

      Just to clarify, the actual Pali passages on schism are not really debatable in their main message. In order to cause a schism you have to deliberately aim at separating the Sangha by means of what is not Dhamma and Vinaya. Performing a valid act of the Sangha, such as bhikkhuni ordination, can never be a basis for a schism. Those who suggest otherwise do so, not based on a different interpretation of the Pali, but by simply ignoring it.

  45. iMeditation said “I also feel that there really is no need to go on criticizing WPP publicly like this. We need to give it a rest already… I don’t think Ajahn Brahm would hold a grudge against his dhamma brothers or want to continually demean them in public…I am very sorry that the criticism of WPP in public continues.” I suspect Ajahn Brahm is having his minions do the dirty work, if not then why? to quote Peter Durham “I personally feel that you (AB) could have sent a very clear message to your disciples and the wider community some time ago but for whatever reason you haven’t.” people like Karuna, Mahakaruniko and CB are trashing WPP over the wellington Issue with hollow arguments, let’s put the shoe on the other foot would AB be comfortable if his lay commitee were supporting WPP?. Who honestly thinks you are not heavily biased? leave this issue to the NZ civil authorities, and relevant Sangha. You sound like mindless minions with a grudge and as part of that storm that Ajahn Sujato predicted would descend on WPP in a few years, I guess he mentions a few years time while they gather an army of mindless fanatical minions.

    • Diogenes wrote:
      “people like Karuna, Mahakaruniko and CB are trashing WPP over the wellington Issue with hollow arguments, let’s put the shoe on the other foot would AB be comfortable if his lay commitee were supporting WPP?. Who honestly thinks you are not heavily biased? leave this issue to the NZ civil authorities, and relevant Sangha. You sound like mindless minions with a grudge and as part of that storm that Ajahn Sujato predicted would descend on WPP in a few years, ”

      I did not say that I agree with the things Mahakaruniko and CB said about WPP. No where did I indicate that I support these comments about WPP. And please , don’t assume that I hold a grudge towards the WPP Ajahns. I see this is a great opportunity for the lay sangha from both sides to apply the teachings on forgiveness.

    • I never said you did, as the comments I quoted from you demonstrate, in your comments you clearly state that you are against this WPP public bashing.

    • Diogenes wrote: “I never said you did, as the comments I quoted from you demonstrate, in your comments you clearly state that you are against this WPP public bashing.”

      Yes, I am dismayed at this perpetuation of public bashing against WPP monks even though it’s been over a year already and that includes the other comments as well. I do understand why you are unhappy and feel the need to speak up.

    • Diogenes wrote: “I suspect Ajahn Brahm is having his minions do the dirty work, if not then why? to quote Peter Durham “I personally feel that you (AB) could have sent a very clear message to your disciples and the wider community some time ago but for whatever reason you haven’t.”

      A long time ago we haven’t addressed the issue , there is a need to at least talk things over. However, I also feel that it is about time he have a talk with his disciple.

      Personally, I don’t feel Ajahn Brahm did anything wrong when it comes to the ordination in 2009. If it is a choice between dhamma-vinaya and a bhikkhu who just ordained some years earlier, then go with the dhamma-vinaya.

    • Diogenes wrote,

      Diogenes wrote: “The issue is not if AB did anything wrong, but the absence of a clear statement from AB regarding the WPP bashing.”

      At this point I agree that it is a good time that AB have a talk with this disciple. However, there is no guarantee that Ajahn Sujato will listen. Maybe he did, but the other person didn’t listen. This is also the other possibility. If Ajahn Sujato listens to everything his teacher said, then Ajahn Brahm is partly responsible for not instructing him. However, it seems to me this is not the case.

    • iMeditation;

      In regards to my statement “I suspect Ajahn Brahm is having his minions do the dirty work, if not then why? to quote Peter Durham “I personally feel that you (AB) could have sent a very clear message to your disciples and the wider community some time ago but for whatever reason you haven’t.” I don’t know if Ajahn Brahm is behind the WPP bashing, but understand that many people suspect he is, and that is why they are taking it out on him.

    • iMeditation
      Do you think it is just Ajahn Sujato? Have another read of Ajahn Brahms post above “At present, the ban on any monk from Bodhinyana associating with any monk from Wat Pah Pong is demonstrably against the Vinaya (Mahavagga, Chapter 9, section 2, subsection 3, for anyone interested). Issuing such a ban against a whole Sangha is the essence of making a Schism, one of the worst acts of Karma possible!”. To me that kind of statement is not really going to be helpful to any kind of reconciliation, if that is what Ajahn Brahm wants.

    • Dear Diogenes,

      Diogenes wrote: “I don’t know if Ajahn Brahm is behind the WPP bashing, but understand that many people suspect he is, and that is why they are taking it out on him.”

      I also feel that people thought Ajahn Brahm is behind the WPP bashing, that is why they attack him the moment a negative post went up. As I see it , Ajahn Brahm is a very mature and developed monk, he is definitely not behind these negative post . It appears that AB is very positive and uplifting. He truly develops metta and wants to build up harmony rather than tearing it down.

    • Dear Peter,

      Peter quoted : “At present, the ban on any monk from Bodhinyana associating with any monk from Wat Pah Pong is demonstrably against the Vinaya (Mahavagga, Chapter 9, section 2, subsection 3, for anyone interested). Issuing such a ban against a whole Sangha is the essence of making a Schism, one of the worst acts of Karma possible!”. To me that kind of statement is not really going to be helpful to any kind of reconciliation, if that is what Ajahn Brahm wants.”

      Is there a need to issue a ban on a group of monks from associating with other monks. This is splitting them apart and thereby advocating a schism. The person doing this might not have created very good kamma for himself. This is considered to be among the serious acts. Other similar ones are killing one’s parent , an arahant, or injuring a Buddha . Being a monk who is concerned for other’s welfare, I am not surprise that he put effort into healing the situation. That is how I understand it, you can verify with him if you think I misinterpret his words.

    • iMeditation, In my opinion that kind of statement is not conducive to reconciliation. I think one of the problems as that a committed disciple of Ajahn Brahm, like yourself, would never be able to see or acknowledge that.

    • Dear Peter,

      Peter wrote: ” Meditation, In my opinion that kind of statement is not conducive to reconciliation.”

      I am aware that this is not something that the other party would want to hear ( that to issue a ban on a group of monks from associating with other monks is to create a schism that doesn’t yield wholesome kamma) , but please don’t interpret that to mean that I am saying that out of anger. It is true that we shouldn’t use name calling and labeling if we want to work toward reconciliation, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be honest with each other. I also feel that whoever is the person that continues to prevent the two groups from mending their friendship should reconsider .

  46. I’m calling this off. Diogenes, iMeditation, I have graciously and patiently allowed you to fill these comments with your comments, including all the name-calling, conspiracy theories, and ad hominem attacks. No more. You’ve had your say, now let it go. Any further comments you make on this thread will be deleted.

    Let me make one thing clear. As long as Wat Pa Pong continues to pursue its policies of discriminating against women and insisting on submission to the central power of the Ajahns, I will continue to criticize these policies. Not out of lust for vengeance, or ingratitude, or because I’m anyone’s ‘minion’, or any of the other motives that people on this thread have invented for me.

    I do it because these policies are wrong. They are harmful, unethical, and contrary to the letter and spirit of the Dhamma-Vinaya. The Buddha said one should criticize what is deserving of criticism, so that’s what I do.

    I’ve never wished any harm to anyone from Wat Pa Pong – they are still, in my heart, my brothers and my friends. That’s why it hurts so much. You criticize those you love, even speak harshly to them, when you believe they are on a wrong course, and gentler methods have failed. I would love to think that there is hope, that the monks of WPP will one day be willing to speak out against discrimination; but I have been disappointed again and again to see this not happening at all. If I saw any sign of progress, I would like nothing better than to step aside and toss this whole silly, ugly mess in the trash. But as long as the defenders of Wat Pa Pong do as you have done – avoid the issues by attacking the critics – then the issues will remain unaddressed and unresolved.

    • Dear Bhante Sujato,

      If discrimination and the centralization of authority in institutions are your causes, then why single out WPP? Of course, I’m not sure that your practice or your cause would bear much fruit if you were to try to take it all on in a broader sense by means of harsh criticism for all who are flawed in these ways.

      Yes, I am aware that you have taken a broader perspective when addressing these issues, one that goes beyond WPP.

      But please consider a different type of broader perspective, one that is based on the cultivation of lovingkindness as a means to effect change in the world.

      I think that such an approach may reflect the Buddha’s teaching better than ranting and raving publicly, no matter how well intentioned it may be.

      Metta.

  47. With respect Ratina Dhammo

    Making valid statements is not ranting and raving .

    You need to learn your teachings better and you will understand the Buddha.

    You may have read books but from your posts it seems you have no understanding of the Buddha and what he taught. You are very ignornant although also seem full of your own self importance

    He required people speak truth – please you need to do more study you are very ill-informed regarding Buddhas teachings.

    metta

    • You may have read books but from your posts it seems you have no understanding of the Buddha and what he taught.

      You may be largely correct, but to say that I have no understanding at all might be going a little too far.

      Please reread my comment that led you to write this response and think about why you felt it was necessary to attack me personally and why you thought this response makes a positive contribution to the discussion.

    • Dhamma,

      “He required people speak truth – please you need to do more study you are very ill-informed regarding Buddhas teachings.” Well that is depend on which version of the truth, right? I believe there are many that clings to this issue. So, sift. And one more thing many keep mentioning Buddha’s teaching and unlike some who has not. I wonder which one knows better about the teaching of the Buddha?

  48. Wow. This is such an awesome/intense read (everyone’s comments and the article). I was randomly surfing the web and realised the petition for the bhikkhuni ordination issue was closed in 2009. Anything else, people can still do? Sorry, if there is and I didn’t see it: I just learnt of it yesterday.

    • If I may suggest, support a Bhikkhuni! Please visit the Alliance for Bhikkhunis website http://www.bhikkhuni.net/ which will connect you with the world wide Bhikkhuni Sangha – who need material support and good friendship. There may be a Bhikkhuni Sangha near you. I hope so! _/\_

    • Awesome! There is, I go to the one in Western Australia. :)

      By the way, thanks guys, I’ve got anxiety disorder; nice to know I’m unwholesome.

  49. Bhante,

    May I ask why did you silently censured and deleted Easycompany’s post. What is so objectionable in the content of that post that made you feel that it is necessary to ” excommunicate” the person or delete their post ?

    With Respect,

    • Thank you Bhante sujato. Some of the post following Easycompany’s post were also deleted and people were silently blocked . May I ask what was on those post that made you feel that they deserve to be deleted and censored ?

    • Bhante sujato,

      Thank you Bhante sujato. Some of the post following Easycompany’s post were also deleted and people were silently blocked . May I ask what was on those post that made you feel that they deserve to be deleted and censored ?

      With respect,

    • Ice

      If people come to a Buddhist blog with intentions to harm (like EasyCompany), and are not, or do not have the intelligence to reason but just want to forceable push their views onto others that is probably why they get moderated; I am not certain on that but think that is the case.

      Also people not wanting women to get ordained are obviously sexist so I don’t think sexist views like racist views are permitted on a Buddhist website; you can check that if you like but I think that is the case.

      Maybe you and Easy Company could check some of the low grade pornography sites where denigration of women is considered normal – there are probably some blogsites on there were they allow for denigration of people based on physicality such as sex and asian or western bodies if that is what you are looking for; I would check first that these are legal.

      Metta

    • Nooo, I meant the really long one that was addressed to Diogenes and iMeditation. (Obviously, I don’t speak for Bhante Sujato because I’ve never talked to him in my life! But I thought it was a bit applicable.) Anyway, it’s his blog, he can do whatever he wants on it.

  50. S Sukha is also right on the money too, unless you all have tunel vision, and a one track mind. I get it, someone commented a while back about ,”what is the rush.” I think they have to get this done soon because the world might end in 2011!! “Oh I feel I am in a VORTEX!”

  51. If I apply for a job but they only required female for candidates, would that considered to be discrimination?
    Would it be discriminating, if women would not be able to play in the same league as men (in any sport).

  52. I some countries, women are prohibited to work, let alone go outside on their own. For the locals, they would view this as a means for protecting women, but not in countries where women are free to go outside of home and to work. Religiously, it could mean more than trying to protect women but also other reasons concerning human behavior (both sex).

    • Easycompany,

      Then are you saying we should let all the prisoners in jail who are a threat to society out on the streets to run socieity and lock up everyone else (including yourself)?

      What is the difference between that and what you say in your post above.

  53. I read someone comments earlier and was very interested in getting that material. The comment said something about attending Dalai Lama’s conference on Bhikkhuni’s ordination and the history of it etc… and on legalities of reestablishing Bhikkhuni order if it had died out.

    But I can not relocate that comment so I don’t know who it was. I would love to get that CD or whatever.

    The reason: I would like to know why Theravada in Thailand and, possibly, Burma is still hung up on immposibilities of reestablishing a bhikkhuni order after it had died out.

  54. Would it be possible to realize high truth by not following any of Buddha’s teaching. I mean if one has not come accross the Canon. To realized ultimate truth on your own I mean. (of course if perfection qualities are present).

    In association to women inequality, I realized that if one still segregates external objects, then one’s mind would also be insegregation. I think in orger to realized enlightenment, your mind would have to be in singular state. In this case, if I was a Bhikkhu with this issue (resistance to Bhikkhu ordination) in my mind, I don’t think I would not be able to realized any of the higher state wisdom. The nature would have to be embrace totally. ( i am not making sense..)

    As much as the Buddhist Monastic Codes are important and sacred, would I go to hell if I don’t follow it, change it or even omit some? This question is associated with the first paragraph. I mean Buddha is not here anymore. Do I have the authority or the right to alter any part of the Tipitaka ( let say The Vinaya)? Surely he left us some guidelines on how to go about it. But these are just guidelines like any other guidelines in everyday life. I guess the only way to know is to try it out.

  55. I wonder what the Thailand’s side is up to. I had a feeling that this issue is going to pass very soon. Sooner than I think.
    One thing I do know, it will never be the same again. Scars will be left. Even if (big if) Western Bhikkhus recconciled, would they be able to look at each others eyes with trust? And if the result went to Australia, what would be the consequences for the rest of Western Bhikkhus of Ajahn Chah’s group both domestic and abroad? What would relationship among Thai Bhikkhus and Western Bhikkhus( Ajahn Chah’s only) be like? If these questions are not the concerns of what happened, then I can safely say that we all know what this is about.

    Just wondering what is the cultural costumes of Australia or U.S.?

    • Easy Company,

      I don’t think you or I need to worry too much about and should just let it go as they say.

      I think if these monks (and nuns) after years and years and years of practise and study cant “get over it” reconcile or go their own ways when all this is sorted – then there is nothing we can do ….the only thing that could be done for them then would be for them to go get their mummies to kiss it better!

    • dhamma, you don’t seem to take them seriously (Bhikkhunis and Bhikkhus). Is it because it does not concern you much, so you try to mock them a little?

    • Slurs and not taking ordained seriously?

      I don’t consider the phase “their mummies can kiss it better” a slur – it is sarcasm – not a slur – a slur would have been saying something derogatory about someone and it not being true.

      The comment was meant to convey irony such as – surely people who are ordained, people who practise peace and buddhism for years and years can overcome this “issue’ … in time – or what is the use of “all this Buddhist stuff”. Or is it lay people that need to overcome their attitudes and views on women – anyway I am not too sure.

      Having said that it might take TIME – time heals all wounds as they say.

      I also meant to say that possibly apart from following and understanding what the Buddha taught (that the Sangha included nuns as well as monks) we as lay people should have our say and views but maybe leave the rest up to them; I don’t know.

      As for not taking the ordained seriously – no it is not that – of course I take them seriously; they are the noblest of beings – people of good karma, right views and noble aspirations – they teach and instill the Dharma in others and only a fool would not appreciate that or even worse want to suffer the karma of not appreciating that.

      - I just don’t have any other expectations from them and I don’t think it is wise to expect any thing else from them – even the ones who claim to be Bodhissatvas or help others – it is not that I don’t take them seriously – I just don’t expect them to be the be the be all and end all, they can’t do it for you ….it is learning and putting into practise the dharma that is that… that is what i meant.

      To put it another way who is the Buddha to me – who do I learn from day to day …a great holy being who holds my hand through the perils of life, guiding me skillfully with wisdom and compassion through the merky depths of samsara until suddenly I i see the light …and with great heartfelt love and appreciation turn and bow to that great wise and compassionate being..

      (insert here that thing that they do in the movies where the film sort of stops and winds back) … all that it sound great in the books – in the talks…. alas… it seems the Buddha or my karma has assigned me a somewhat perverted penis devoid of brain, mind and heart as “oh great teacher” where tolerance of abject voidness is the “oh great teaching”… and if really lucky and a really good girl possibly a perfect barbie doll or if really bad and in need of an authority an ex-smack addict with a few kids ..to sort it all out..take the ordained seriously umm….seriously why wouldn’t I?

    • what I am trying to say in the last paragraph is ….seriously I do take ordained seriously and if one is lucky enough to find good teachers; (imeditation TAKE NOTE especially men who are not sexist then I would seriously suggest taking them seriously – because there is NOTHING and I mean NOTHING enlightening about having a man as a teacher (whether he wears robes or not) who thinks with the lower regions of his skinny little body, not an enlightened mind.

    • Hi Dhamma,
      “I don’t consider the phase “their mummies can kiss it better” a slur” and that was my point. How about my “moderated” comments? What is the implication of your comment? ;)

      I think the original post could be seen as a slur on Ajahn Tiradhammo,

    • A slur is defined as “a slighting remark intended to damage one’s reputation”.
      A “fact” is defined as a truth that can be proved from experience or observation or a piece of information; “a truth” a proven or verified fact.

      I think you bring up a good point in that I find this a difficult area in Buddhism and I know where I live when people at Buddhist centres first learnt about right speech, not gossiping etc everyone just stopped communicating – it was like you had better say nice things about everyone no matter what or else you are at fault. No one dared speak!

      So I don’t no and admit I find this really difficult we all see things differently and through our own karma but at the same time is there a “Truth” about a situation?

      I mean if everything we say about people is “glowing and nice” and it is considered a slur to say anthing negative then what happens to rapist or child abusers – OK I saw that guy abuse that child but it is a slur to state this fact?

      In a court of law will lawyers be sacked for “slurring” a murderer who has been proven as the person holding a gun and shooting a person.

      i remember once saying something about someone who I thought seemed really unwell and getting into “trouble” from a Buddhist for being “negative” that person later died; could some thing more have been done for that person if others had seen it too, or maybe it was that person time??

      Maybe Ahjahn Sujato or Bhikkhu Brahmali could shed more light and info on this point because it is one I have trouble understanding – where are the boundaries between truth and slander, lies and honesty – is it in intention maybe?

      To me if what you are referring to is below it sounds like a fact – the truth of what is happening in a situation – but you make up your own mind.

      __________________________

      “Ajahn Tiradhammo, the current abbot, wishes to change the legal basis of the organization. He wishes to change the constitution of the charitable association, with its open membership and democratically elected committee, and replace it with a model under which the stewards are appointed by the sangha and the abbot is appointed from Wat Pa Pong and Amaravati, and the WPP monks who make up the ‘resident Sangha’ will appoint a committee of lay trustees to handle the financials. All control is taken away from the locals, and the WPP Sangha can effectively insulate itself.

      As I have shown at length in previous posts, such an arrangement is neither Vinaya nor Thai custom.

      There are no abbots in the Vinaya – there is not even a word for ‘abbot’. The Sangha is, not a self-defined organization that excludes others, but the universal Sangha of the ‘Four Quarters’. Short of schism, there are no grounds in Vinaya for a group of monks to set themselves up in this sort of exclusive way.

    • Hi Dhamma,
      It sounds like a fact but we haven’t really been presented with any evidence so that’s why it “could” be seen as a slur. I would also say that fact and slur are not mutually exclusive – some of the best slurs are based on fact.

  56. Dear all,

    As always, I appreciate the efforts you are making in contributing to this blog. But the discussion has gone way off topic and I am pulling it back into line. I’m sorry if I wasn’t clear enough in my previous comment on this.

    The topic is the recent actions of the WPP Ajahns in cancelling the forgiveness ceremony and attempting to take control of the NZ monastery from the democratically elected lay committee. Off-topic comments will be moderated, in line with the moderation guidelines on the ‘About’ page. http://sujato.wordpress.com/about/

    Those whose comments are moderated are quick to criticize the moderation: you can see this on any discussion forum. But it is up you to read and respect the rules of the community that I have set up and developed, and to which I have invited you to participate.

    As always, reasoned criticism is welcome, name-calling and random slurs are not. If you feel a compelling need to keep on repeating how I am wrong or Ajahn Brahm was wrong for supporting bhikkhuni ordination or whatever, then maybe you’d like to go over to Diogenes’ blog and continue there.

    http://songsoftheill.wordpress.com/

  57. Peter
    What Bhante Sujat said and did is a responsible and appropriate action. I cannot see how you can label him childish for being responsible.

    Bhante Sujato

    Maybe we need some kind of definition of what is a slur and what is a valid criticism; do people no the difference.? Are there Buddhist guidelines for debate maybe or something? Or mabe the moderation guidelines need to be more visible.

    Metta

    • Hi Dhamma,
      Do you think my moderated comment was any worse than your “go get their mummies to kiss it better!” comment? Would the original post constitute a slur on Ajahn Tiradhammo? Now there is a slur on Peter but that remains. It seems that discussion of the moderation is also not tolerated. It’s all turned rather Orwellian.

  58. If, in the future, Theravada ( Apple Co.) could transformed to be more flexible and practical, in my opinion, it would be a great thing. I prefer Andriod more than iphones because of alternatives offered by Andriod and it is an open source (will be anyway).

    But I still doubt if cutural values or religious values are tranferrable between cultural and ethnic groups.

  59. In general, we humans never like to adapt or change to suit the environment. We have tendencies to change things, things that we view as not in line with our survival habbits. We don’t want to adapt to it. So, we destroy something to make something else for the comfort we crave for.

    Can we always pick and choose like a set of meals at a buffet table? We believe that we do have rights to do whatever we feel like doing. Is that a delusion? Does nature allow us to exercise that right? Or does she require our submission? As much as we like to set things straight, somewhere along the line it would be crooked again by something, somehow. Are we supposed to just accept situation as the way it is. Both women and men, we would never be satisfied. Today it is this, tomorrow will be something else. I believe that the “even-ness” ( if there is such a vocab) can never be achieved. I would be deluding myself to try to set things straight in nature in hope to end my suffering or to plug that emptiness that was cause by something from the past. When that suffering has nothing to do with the external source or the environment we are born in.

    I guess, to make a progress, it would and always will sustained some casualties along with it, no matter if it is right or wrong. Come to think of it, there has never been a zero count of casualties in any historical movement to pave the way for a brighter future. I guess it costs.

    In this case I wonder how much of pennies is WPP willing to loose for a greater advancement, if they are willing.

    Not even a Buddha can please everyone, had he chosen the other choice a long time ago. Had he chosen the other choice and not Ananda’s, today he would have been called as something in a negative sense, no matter the degree of his attainment.

  60. Something happened to me today, a warning. Even though it was not a heavy punishment for an offense, it was enough for me to recollect. As I was going to have a shower I cut myself with a doubled-edge shaving blades (it was Gillette too – “the best a man can get”). For me this was fortunate warning.
    There are times I would discuss these matters to my fellow Thais, they would refrained themselves from engaging in these matters no matter what is at stake. Any matters concerning Bhikkhus. They would look at me in a friendly way and quietly smile and said nothing. This method is very popular among the Western Bhikkhus (in Thailand) and super senior Western Venerables abroad. I get this reaction quite a lot. It took me sometime to realize that the quiet response means my speech is about to do an over steer (when a car slide and skit out of control during turn) on someone’s matter.
    As I have been informed sometimes that the “Samana-Sacca” in the west between lay Buddhists and the Bhikkhu Sangha are not properly maintained as strickly as in Thailand (in this case). [You can counter argue me on this one] Therefore, it is as if they are on the same level of respect, which is on the contrary in Thailand. Why else would the Bhikkhu has to be raised a seat up (a sitting cloth or a cushion) when sit with a lay person whether on the floor (at the same level) or else where. And this also goes with a very senior Ajahns giving a dhamma talk to junior Bhikkhus, by inserting extra cushion under his sitting cloth. For people who are really into “non-self” would feel that this is unnecessary as it is a mere convention. In a form state where conventions and self is still an important part, hierarchy is necessary, in order to be able to distinguish.
    Before I loose my track again, I had better state my piece. I would like to apologize to Tan Ajahn Brahmavamso and Tan Ajahn Sujato as I have heavily committed wrong speeches on your part and your character. No matter what happens, whether stuffs have been revoked from you or not, whether it was revoked now or in the future, for me a Bhikkhu, once had gone forth with an oath, is still a Bhikkhu. Because my friend said “bisutti” (ordination certificate) is only part of Thai law and it is not stipulated in the Buddhist Canon. [unsure]
    In support to that paragraph, in my opinion, lay supporters should not get involve with Sangha matters, because I am very sure the lord of kamma will make note of it whether the violation was heavy or light. The matter is left to the Bhikkhu Sangha to handle it themselves. But of course listen and learn from it would be ok. As we can see what would and will happen if lay persons get involved.
    In my opinion, whether they are eastern religions or western religions, there attributes are different from that of lay world governing codes (i.e. a democratic institution) in that their purpose to function in a society is not of the same goal.
    Last but not least, Tan Ajahn Brahmavamso, a while ago somewhere on this planet, as I was walking on a pebble filled path towards a building. I saw you approached me with an “Upathak”. I quickly got off the path in showing my respect to you and to let you pass first. And as you walked by me, you utter, “What are you doing? Go on, what are you waiting for get on the path!” I reluctantly obeyed due to that I would like to let you pass first. After I got on the path something came to me out of the blue. Something that I did not paid full attention to at first. Your encouragement to me to stop doubting and start practicing the Buddha the 8th Fold path. Somethings in life are true whether one believes in it or not. In addition, many might not believe in the Lord of Kamma, but they believe in you!
    Next year is 2012, before it arrives this is the start of my laundry. Who knows I might not live to see the light of the next day. So, should that becomes a reality, I know that I have confessed my offenses already (some of it anyway). As for the rest, what you do is up to you, the good thing about kamma is that you own it, reborn with it, inherit it yourself, and best of all pay it off yourself ( with interest ).
    It is safe to say that I am going back to being deluded in the tech world again, following new gadgets news. But at least I will be committing offenses to a non being – zeros and ones.
    “Hail Android Club Sandwich 4.0!! and the USB host” 

    • Hello Easycompany

      What an interesting post! It shows the differences in thinking between a Thai person and ‘westerners’.

      There are many differences in thinking and customs. Height of one’s seat, lords of karma, the working of karma even – although your comments were lighthearted perhaps.

      And, the Buddha certainly did not issue ordination certificates! These were probably invented in China around the 10th century (where they could be bought too).

      CB

    • Right, if we are different, do you think we would ever be able to come to terms? Certainly Buddha did not issue ordination certificates, maybe you should not need personal identification card or a passport when you are travelling.

      I think Lord of karma is not biased.

  61. Hello, I’m surprised at this blog and also all the comments. Is not one of the 8 precepts of Buddhism – Right Speech- to abstain from wron speech, gossiping, saying hateful words? I am resident in Wellington and have had some involvement with Bodhiyanarama Monastery and from where I stand and see things, what you have depicted in your blog is very inaccurate and misleading.

    If people have a big problem with Theravada Buddhism and perceive it to be sexist, then feel free to explore Secular Buddhism or the Western Tradition of Insight Buddhism as a tradition to follow or belong to. There is no need to change or attack a previous tradition if you do not agree with it. There is enough room and followers in the world for various strands of Buddhism to exist.

    Remember to look into why you are holding a view so strongly? Is there any ‘attachment’ there? any clinging or grasping to ego?

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