An announcement

Dear friends,

I’ve got some difficult news for you all, I’m afraid. After much soul-searching I’ve decided to resign as abbot of Santi Forest Monastery, effective from the start of the coming rains retreat (3 August).

The decision is entirely a personal one. When I returned to Australia prior to setting up Santi in 2003, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I did know I wanted to find a way to live as Sangha in Australia that would be relevant and allow me to express a contemporary Buddhist voice. Santi was the place I could do that, and I was full of ideas and enthusiasm as to what we could do here. All these years later, many of those things have been done wonderfully, while there is still much to be improved.

What has changed is my inspiration. I simply don’t want to do it any more. I don’t want to run a community or to look after a large property. Now, my heart leaps forward at the thought of having nothing and making no plans.

I have made arrangements to spend the rains retreat with my father in Coffs Harbor. After that I have no plan, and will just see where life takes me. I like Sydney, and I like most of the things I am doing here, so there is every chance that I will stay in the area.

Ever since I’ve been a monk, my basic motivation has been the same: to discover the essence of the Buddha’s teaching, and find a way to manifest that as best as possible here & now. That quest remains the same. I just don’t want to be an abbot, that’s all.

I will also be resigning from all my other committees, teaching responsibilities and the like. In time, I may take some or all of these back again, but for now it is time for me to step back and clear the plate.

Obviously this will mean a radical change for everyone involved in Santi. We have many supporters and friends. It’s worth remembering how much good will and support there is for what we are doing here, both locally and internationally.

I would love Santi to remain as a residence for bhikkhunis. It has always been my intention that the building work we have done here will, in the long term, be for the bhikkhunis. I have been open to the idea that there may be a continuing presence of monks here, but this has been very much secondary.

Santi has a number of bhikkhunis at the moment, and has already been in discussions about encouraging a strong bhikkhuni presence here on an ongoing basis.

One point I would make is, we should not look for a replacement for me. I have done my thing, and whoever comes next will have a different set of strengths. The important thing is not that someone will do my job, but that someone, or some group, will find a way of living here as bhikkhunis that is fruitful.

Everything is very much open at the moment, and clearly there will be a need for discussions and decisions in the coming months.

I’d like to take this chance to acknowledge all your support and encouragement. Without you this monastery could not exist. Not a day goes by when I don’t think with gratitude and astonishment at all that has been freely given to enable us to surivive. With all my heart, I thank you.

I ask that you continue to support Santi. It’s is an amazing place, and it deserves someone who is completely dedicated to making it work as a place of contemplation and Dhamma. It’s a place for Sangha, not for any one individual. This will be a time of uncertainty, and it will not be easy for anyone. But I am convinced that this is the best course for the long term.

If I have done anything to offend or cause you any suffering, by what I had said here or at any other time, please forgive me. It has been a blessing and a privilege to serve at Santi, and I will always treasure this as one of the most amazing times of my life.

(I should note for those of you who read my blog that this has nothing to do with my recent prolonged absence from blogspace. Several people have asked whether I’m okay, and yes, there’s nothing wrong. Actually, we’ve been having an intensive study period here at Santi, and with that and my other teaching engagements, I’ve been teaching more than I ever have been. This takes up a lot of time, but more important, at the end of the day, I welcome the silence and don’t have a lot of words left inside…. I do hope to catch up sometime soon.

Yours in the Dhamma always

Bhante Sujato

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105 thoughts on “An announcement

  1. Whilst I am sure that the sangha will be in much distress, you also need to do what you need to do.

    Personally, I hope you will do a lot more writing, sharing your knowledge, insight and understanding of the Buddhadhamma.

    I want to wish you well and, I hope, you will keep in touch through the Blog or another Blog or some means.

    You have been a valuable resource. I hope you will continue to be a resource for me, for all of us.

  2. Nothing is permanent. Move forward in changes. May the Holy Triple Gem be with you and guide you. Showing you the Way.
    Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!

  3. Bhante Sujato

    I will keep an eye out for you when I am in Coffs!

    I am sure that you will be sorely missed at Santi, but I can understand your motivations. Everything does rise and fall away… Santi is a special place I hope it remains and gets stronger.

    For a long time I have read and listened to the works of Joseph Goldstein and Jack Kornfield and their respective meditation centres at Spirit Rock and Insight Meditation. My wish for you is that you can develop a voice in the world like theirs….The world needs these voices !

    All the best

  4. Oh! All the best. Thank you for writing this post. There is a little bit of restlessness displayed which I have never seen exhibited by a monk. Its noice to see you are human. : )

    Look after yourself. Repair, refresh, regrow.

  5. i guess everything changes bhante…….a jump into the unknown……….take care, and best wishes
    andy

  6. If at first you dont succeed try again..(2nd try at posting)

    Bhante Sujato

    I am sure that everyone at Santi is very sad… it is a special place and your presence will be missed.

    Thank you for always making me feel welcome during my retreats at Santi and thank you for your contribution to my spiritual growth and understanding over the years.

    Everything does end …and it ends when it ends..I will keep a lookout for you when I am in Coffs!

    I have read and listened to Joseph Goldstein and Jack Kornfield over the years and have always wanted to visit the Spirit Rock Meditation Centre in California and the Insight Meditation Society in Barre. The reason I bring this up is that these two men are inspirational and insightful and represent strong voices for the message of the Dharma.. My view is that we lack people like this in Australia and I hope that your future treads a similar path to these great teachers.

    All the Best

  7. Bhante, sadhu to a wise decision and a very brave one, too. (The sadhu is not about the resignation, but for the courage to deep within and ahead.) Knowing you and general Buddhist and sangha situations today, your decision is very understandable. Like many others, we wish you all our metta and may nirvana be just a few steps for you in this life itself.
    Piya

  8. Another lesson in impermanence… Thank you for having been such an inspiration in my life since I first met you in 2004.

  9. You have done a tremendous job in bringing Santi to a stage where it will continue doing well without the need for someone to devote lots of time taking care of it. From a very humble beginning just about a decade ago, now it has become a great place for training of monks, nuns and lay people in the path of the Buddha.

    I think you deserve a well earned break from the chores of an abbot and wish you all the best with whatever you plan to do next. Glad to hear that you will stay around in Sydney and not settle down in the ‘Wild West’, Perth!

  10. Thank you Bhante for everything you have done as a dhamma teacher and for the bhikkhunis. We will miss you a lot. I will do everything I can to continue to support the Santi community and my very best wishes to everyone there. Much metta!

  11. Ajahn Sujato Thank you for everything that you have done, you have been a true inspiration, but more than that you have been a great friend . Best of luck in the future mate !!

  12. Unstartled, like a lion at sounds.
    Unsnared, like the wind in a net.
    Unsmeared, like a lotus in water:
    wander alone like a rhinoceros.
    Sn, 71

    Best wishes moving forward.

  13. If it’s time for a change then it is.

    I feel that you have made the right decision.
    Thank you for much for nurturing Santi to the present state and I will continue do my part whenever it fit in to the community.

    May you find the path you are looking for…

  14. I’ve been learning a lot from Bhante since arriving at Santi in mid-February, an excellent experience that I had fully expected to continue. A lesson in Anicca wasn’t on the list of what I wanted to learn from Bhante, but here it is.

    Thank you Beatrice and all who intend to continue to support Santi Forest Monastery; your words are encouraging. Peter, awesome comment. All the comments thus far are thoughtful and give a good feeling to read.

    Today Bhante and a group of us from Santi went on a roadtrip to Melbourne to attend the All Sangha Association conference tomorrow. Bhante forgot to bring his phone, which he usually uses to check emails during long car rides. That was great, since it gave us nuns the chance to pepper him with endless questions on Dhamma & Vinaya for 8 hours straight. But if anyone close to him is trying to reach him personally and wondering why he doesn’t respond, that may be why. (He will gain access to his phone again only after this Melbourne trip & weekend teachings in Sydney.)

  15. Dear Bhante

    I’ve only just heard…

    Sometimes it’s just time to turn another way…

    And it always seems to come unexpectedly.

    May peace and happiness be your signposts.

    Truth the field you cultivate and the fruit you reap.

    Compassion, kindness be all around you on all sides.

    Well done on your amazing, radical and inspirational journey so far…

    For putting everything out here and giving and giving.

    May the giving continue in this giving away and giving to yourself.

    With metta, anjali and saddha.

  16. Ouch! I was hanging on to you as a (permanent) ray of sunshine. That’ll teach me!

    Thankyou for everything you have done, and all my very best wishes for the future.

  17. All the best to you, Bhante! I hope you will find your path fruitful, both present and future!
    With metta,
    Ace

  18. Dear Bhante

    Whoopee! Sadhu! It looks like your conditions have ripened and there’s absolutely nothing you can do or should do to impede the leaping forward. It’s time to let “cittaṃ pakkhandati pasīdati santiṭṭhati adhimuccati” play out, all the way to the end.

    Mucho metta

  19. All the very best Banthe, and hope you will continue to blog when time permits. Hope to see you in Sydney sometime . May your attain nirvana in this lifetime. With metta ,KA

  20. Hi Bhante,

    Best of luck for the future! Thank you very much for all the teachings that I have been fortunate enough to receive from you here in Adelaide, and especially from coming to teach at my daughter’s school, the kids still talk about that day the monk came to see them. If you are ever in Adelaide again please let me know.

    With much mētta

    Ben

  21. Dear Bhante, we all came into this World with nothing, and it’s interesting how our deep-rooted delusion drives within us so much greed and sufferings to oneself and others. Sometimes, it’ll indeed refreshing to be saddled with no obligations and having no expectations, save for establishing beneficial and meaningful relationships with others wherever and whenever present conditions permit. So, Bhante, wherever and whatever you do, please be well and happy, and spread the Buddha’s beautiful and noble teachings, cos what else more would we rightly want than for others to be so?….

  22. Dear Bhante Sujato ,

    Thank you for the Dhamma which helps me open myself up to more giving and sharing and to be more humble . My life has changed a great deal since that eventful day when you delivered your wise advice .

    All of us , whose lives you have touched and impacted , will miss you . Please keep blogging so that you can continue to inspire us and to stay in touch .

    For your unconditional giving and sharing , this will definitely inspire more to give and share . I wish you good health and boundless happiness as you embark on your next fruitful phase of your life .

    WIth mega metta ,

    Helen / Singapore

  23. Dear Bhante, whatever decision(s) you make, or the path you take, I sincerely wish you all the very, very best. I truly enjoy reading your posts, your comments, your books, as well as listen to your talks. You give me the impression of someone who is always true to his heart and mind; as well as someone who “thinks different(ly).” Also, from the sensing of your energy/aura when I had the good fortune of meeting you in Kuala Lumpur during the seminar on OOBE/NDE, it gave me the impression of someone who is very well balanced in mind-heart-spirit – as well as confidence. Unfortunately, I have not been able to meet you again after that, even though I had hoped that I will be able to do so in Australia. However, I do wish that we will be able to hear/read your thoughts again from time to time after your ‘retirement.’ All the very best again in your continuous spiritual/religious journey. Sukhi hotu!

  24. Bhante,

    I’m sure that Santi will miss you greatly. If you’re ever up for an adventure, we could sure use you here in the USA!

  25. Bhante,

    I have married into a culture (Burmese) where there is a tradition of people getting into positions of power and then staying for ever. In the worst cases, this makes much-needed change difficult. But even in good situations where the person in charge is well-intentioned, it can mean everyone depends on the person at the top. And when the person at the top dies of old age, everything falls over.

    When someone as much-loved as yourself leaves, it is very difficult and painful, but is good for the growth of the organisation, and means the organisation cannot depend on one person.

    So I admire you for making a tough decision, but one that is will be good for the sangha and for Santi.

    With metta,

    Martin

  26. Dear Bhante,

    Definitely, the most inspiring news I have read in a while, the deep essence of letting go of things.

    “Aquel que medita constantemente y persevera, se libera de las ataduras y obtiene el supremo Nibbana.” Dhammapada

    With Metta from Mexico.

    Aaron.

  27. Dear Ajahn Sujato,

    I would just like to say thank you very much for all your teachings and invaluable information transmitted on this blog.

    Now that you will be free of all responsibilities, after a break I think it would be great if you set up another (smaller?) monastery/nunnery in the Blue Mountains, with say Ajahn Brahm and Ajahn Brahmali and some nuns.

    It is not too far from Sydney.

    OK – what do you think?

    With much metta

  28. … but know doubt you all have bigger or smaller, better or worse fish to fry, here there and in far distant places … whatever! and best wishes:)

  29. So a guy reaches a senior position in an international organisation, gets burnt out, has a midlife crisis and starts looking for a career change.

    Sounds very similar to a worldling like me.

    Looks like your career options are wide open: either you can become a recluse (continue to carry the drinks as 12th man) or to becoming Australia’s answer to Jack Kornfield. (Although if you decide to take the latter route I suggest you might want to have your teeth looked at.)

    Who knows – there might even be some little Sujatos one day?

    As Jerry Garcia would say: keep on truckin’

    I hope you keep this blog going – it’s been a lot of fun

    Cheers

    Geoff

  30. Bhante,

    Your teachings have made such a valuable contribution to my practice, and I’m so deeply thankful to you for that. I personally find your decision inspiring & hope that you don’t feel bad about what you’re doing… you have contributed a great deal to a great many people and you have earned your right to practice in silence. May you realize Nibbana in this lifetime.

    Sadhu Sadhu Sadhu

  31. Bhante,

    Your ‘letting go’ means you have one baggage less towards Nirvana.

    I salute your sacrifice, dedication, and significant contribution to the growth of the Buddha Dharma (not Buddh’ism’) in Australia in particular and in South East Asia (Singapore and Malaysia mainly) in general. Annie and I are always hopeful that you will continue to advance the cause of Australian Buddhism in a living and contemporary format suited to the modern world and the younger generation. You have been an inspiration for many young Australian Buddhists in the way you spoke up on contemporary issues and courageously advocated much needed reform in the practice of the Dharma in Australia (moving away from ethnic Buddhism) and I hope you will continue to be their mentor and teacher.

    Your suggestion that Santi should be a place for Bhikkhuni training is an excellent one.

  32. Dear Ajahn Sujato

    You have done a fantastic job as Abbott of the Santi Monastery and have been inspirational to many of us. I wish you all the best and thank you for everything. Hope to see you around.

    Simon

  33. Bante, myself & everyone at Magnetic Buddha Dharma wishes you all best possible fortune in your future. You have given so much to so many, it is fortuitous for you now to follow your heart and mind into this new time of your life. You are always welcome at Magnetic Buddha Dharma and there are many who would be honored to offer you hospitality on Magnetic Island, should you decide a sojourn in the tropics would be beneficial.
    With the greatest thanks & appreciation for all of your good works!
    Boundless Metta!
    Helene & Magnetic Buddha Dharma

  34. Dear Bhante,

    May you be well, peaceful and happy without enemies, worries, or troubles by the power of the incomparable Triple Gem. Should you be visit Sri Lanka we would be delighted to offer you hospitality.

    In the Dhamma,
    Visakha and Ken

  35. Dear Ajahn Sujato,

    It’is such a fortunate that I have chance to attend retreat conducted by Bhante . Your instructions and guidance would be remembered ,,your guidance and dhammadesana are like a rain upon parched desert.Thank you for being such an Invaluable resource, sharing knowledge, insight of dhamma to all of us.

    I sincerely hope Bhante will continue writing on blog,sharing your valuable knowledge insight and advices to all of us .

    With Metta
    DD

    Shall always remember your advice before leaving Jakarta, Thank you Bhante,

  36. Dear Ajahn
    May you be Happy
    May you be at Ease
    May you be at Peace
    All the best to you

  37. Dear Bhante Sujato,

    “Now, my heart leaps forward at the thought of having nothing and making no plans.”
    That sounds beautiful :)

    I wish you all the best for this stage of your holy life.
    May you be well and happy, always.

    Max (Austria)

  38. Hi Helene,

    Great to hear from you – I think of maggie often! Actually, one of the guests here came through contact with Sharn, so we are not too far apart.

  39. Dear Bhante,
    I just visited the Oxford centre for Buddhist Studies. Although it may not be in keeping with your wish to wind down and recluse, I see a very timely and excellent match. Give them 2 years please, then you can disappear into selcusion, OK?
    (BTW Going to Cardiff U next week to hear Charles Allen on his new book on King Ashoka – this weekend they’re hosting a 3 day conference on XuanZang! Visited Bristol Uni a few weeks ago and may do the Pali intensive this summer with Gombrich in Hungary).
    They could all use your support, skill and passion – not to mention it would be awesome to have you in the UK – there’s a lot of interest in the Dharma- Thay’s community is well organized and I feel they would like more crossover with monastics in other traditions.
    Will email you.
    Lisa – still healing – but ground is foliate with miracles again _/\_
    (PS- well, the heart does ache knowing Santi will be different, but good things lie ahead, of this I have no doubt!)

  40. (PS – I have gotten from some of the comments above that some may have misunderstood you to be disrobing – I understand you are not disroabing but leaving Santi. That may be good to clarify!)
    _/\_

  41. Dear Bhante, you have been a fresh breeze that has blown away some cobwebs in the our minds. Please continue to blog and offer us your insights. Wishing you every success in your endeavours.

  42. Echoing this post. You’ll continue to be a teacher because you’re awesome at it and people learn well from you. Aussie Kornfield sounds about right.

    Keep blogging. You have great insight and are a pleasure to read.

  43. Dear Bhante,

    I would like to thank you for having cared and fought for bhikkhuni’s. I am a woman myself, but until the Perth ordination, I had not been fully aware of the lack of opportunities for women on this spiritual path. It was through the Perth ordination, I got to know your blog and then you. I was impressed by your energy and openness, and touched by your care and concern for social issues. I have to confess that I am not someone who cares deeply about social issues. I had come to your blog because I wanted to know what was happening to Ajahn Brahm :) But in the process, through your blog, I had a very thorough education on the bhikkhuni issue. Up till that time, ordaining was not something I wanted to do and even now the probability is small. Nevertheless, as I look around, I can see how limited our options are compared to men. So thanks, thanks for having brought this issue to our awareness, and thanks for your tireless work on this issue.

    Now it’s left for us to make some contributions too. Personally, I am motivated more than ever to practice as completely as possible. Because I feel that I am practicing not only for the benefit of myself, but for many women (and men) out there. In particular, if only we have more bhikkhuni’s like Ayya Khema, the opportunity for women (and men) will be vastly different. In no way am I equating myself to Ayya Khema, but I am inspired by the example. I am also inspired by your work on bringing these issues to our awareness. Please accept my best wishes and deepest gratitude.

    Jun

  44. Good point Lisa. I am not sure if Bhante is disrobing or just not wanting to be the Abbot of Santi anymore…..

  45. Dear Bhante: Just wanted to say THANK YOU for the most AMAZING & FANTASTIC Dhamma talk I have ever been privileged to hear in my entire life, namely the skype talk you gave to just a few friends in Tampa, Florida, USA a few months ago–YOU ARE THE VERY BEST SPEAKER/TEACHER ever–and I wish I had known about you ages ago! At any rate, just hope you know how much we all appreciated your most sincere & brilliant investigation of the Dhamma! Truly loved your thoughts, wit, and funny comments! :-) Hope we can hear you again!! Would love to hear you someday in person. Hey I am at a similar stage in life–ready to completely drop everything–no other comment.
    Buddha be with you always!
    Love your energy, enthusiasm & JOY!
    Have a great summer!
    best wishes always!! :-)

    P.S. Who knows–maybe I will someday be a bhikunni!

  46. I am sure he is not disrobing but I see in comments that maybe others are not sure. _/\_

  47. Dear Marion, and all my friends on this thread,

    Thanks so much for your kind words! I would love to respond to each of you individually, but time is a harsh master.

    It makes a big difference for me, to know that what I have done has meaning.

    Marion, you join such a long list of people who, when they learn of what I am doing, say that they feel the same way. It seems that somehow, without thinking about it, I’ve tapped into some wider thing. Perhaps it’s simply that many of us who come to Buddhism are yearning for a more radical change. Perhaps… well, who knows? I don’t. But I’m looking forward to the next period in my life when I just might find out…

  48. Dear Bhante and ALL …. I wonder if it’s pertinent to comment here, as an “Energy
    Worker”, that IMHO, we (and the world) are going through a period of change, ‘restlessness,’ and challenges, where old/current model/structure/mindset/paradigm, etc are being challenged, broken down even. Some even allude or associate this with part and parcel of “raising the human consciousness;” and the 2012 current (the latter is not the end of the world as we know it, of course). Again, fare thee well, Bhante, and (still) forward to listening to your talks and reading your articles/books.

    Sukhi hotu!

  49. Dear Bhante;

    Time wait for no one. Every second pasted is pasted.
    Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!
    Let’s all meet the Buddhas by practicing the Dharma in our day to day activities…

    NaMetta
    WeeCk

  50. Thank you for all your hard work Bhante.

    However you redirect your energies along the Path I wish you every success.

    Onward!

  51. Dearest Sujato,

    As ever an inspiration to us all. Those who know you in the ‘Wild West’ wish you every blessing on this new path

    Debs

  52. Yes, Bhante–You are 100% right–you & some of us have tapped into or are aware of some “wider” or even more appropriately–“wilder” “thing”–and sadly, it’s not part of the Buddha’s path. Dare we discuss it?

  53. Is there some kind of hiden code going on here? What is the wider/wilder/enrergy/new path thing? Pray tell.

  54. Wow, and congratulations!

    I would guess, going away for an indefinitely long retreat/ retirement from admin and leadership responsibilities, is a really good way of not burning out and getting so fed up with the whole thing that you might end up giving up. Becoming an abbot is sometimes called the monk’s graveyard.

    Monastic life is about a lot more than being an abbot and running a good monastery, that is not the final end and goal. A lot of abbots forget this…. Sadhu for not forgetting it!

    respect and metta
    Kester

  55. Excellent! Excellent! Excellent! (Sadhu, Sadhu, Sadhu)
    Thank you, Kester–You are so right!!

  56. Dear Bhante,

    It was actually at my house that your skype talk took place, sadly i had to work. We have a new Mahamevnawa Sri-lankan forest temple that just developed in Tampa. Im sure The bhikkhu’s there would be happy to have you come to visit :-) I have been a huge fan of your work ever since your initial article on the bhikkhunis, on meditation and the early suttas as well. I hope you get more time to practice and write. sadhu sadhu sadhu.

  57. Dear Bhante,

    Much gratitude & respect for all you have done, all you have given, and no doubt will continue to do in whatever form it next takes. And most of all for continuing to live the Dhamma and following the path to it’s end.

    With much mettā,
    Linda

    (hope you will continue to let us know what you are up to, and make any future(?!) talks/classes available as audio files when/if possible)

  58. Dear Bhante

    Thanks for making Santi a place where we always felt welcome, a place of serenity, a place housing a caring community, a retreat for seekers the world over. Best wishes for your new life of freedom. Use it to find your own personal freedom. You deserve that, having looked after so many lives until now. – With love, David and Ann, Katoomba

  59. Hi Sister,

    I am presuming you are a Buddhist nun and was wondering if I could ask you a question.

    While I can understand women wanting to ordain I find it hard to understand, and I don’t mean to be rude but just how grown women at least put up with the sort of “pub” mentality of men calling themselves buddhists towards women.

    It kind of defeats the purpose of going to a Buddhist place for me if they are just full of men whose mentality is that of 14 year old boys and while there is plenty of hidden sexism in the West and in the world it is at least controlled by I guess social policies, but it seems to be derogary towards women, the way men seem to think of women in Theravarden Buddhism is to me really almost “sick”.

    In “the world” I have even experienced one Buddhist male with this attitude being reported twice for his attitude towards women.

    The way they talk about women or for them as if they don’t exist, or in the third person or are dismissive of them is really bizzare personally I have never come across this sort of ridiculous attitude like they
    seem to indulge in some kind of belief of superioty over women, like they enjoy it and exploit it, but yet they are suppose to be Buddhists.

    I find it dissapointing but also wonder how nuns cope with it…

    So how do you tolerate it – do you an the other nuns basically just not have anything to do with the them or are you all just enlightened so it just doesn’t bother you or don’t you come across it much, maybe I am just picking up on it for some reason?

  60. Good question about coping with the sexism. I too experience it like a kick in the stomach. I started visiting a monastery whose abbot seemed good and wise and whose age and background were similar to mine – so I thought it wound be ideal to learn from him. And went to the monastery expecting this to be a place where all superficial stuff would be left out , where gender, race, class etc would be irrelevant and where the focus would be on meditation and understanding of the Buddhist way. I was stunned to find that the focus was firmly on gender. The central human being in me, genuinely reaching out to a spiritual path, was not seen. It was the only place where I have had the experience of being made painfully aware of being a woman , definitely not seen as just a human being, and of being completely rejected and shut out because of it. Apart from being disappointing in that the spiritual companionship I had been seeking was not there, it also made me feel somehow almost dirty, as of I really were the awful creature they seemed to be fearing. In the end, when I had to accept that this is the way it is, I stopped going there or supporting them in any way. But i feel very sad about it. And without the Internet would be a very lonely Buddhist.

  61. Hi Kim,

    It would be great to hear how the nuns cope, if this doesn’t mean they break any vows of course.

    I don’t bother going to Buddhist groups either – the internet is a good resourse.

    I know the issue of “desire” is central to Buddhism and overcoming it the way to enlightenment but how does degenerating the opposite sex help with this (not that I am not guilty of that too at times but not all the time… he he)

    Like I work with men alone and it is hardly as if once we are alone we can’t control ourselves, I mean even thinking of that is amusing, no actually it is really really funny. I have even slept in the same bed and rooms with men out of necessity when travelling when I was younger and nothing “untoward” happened.

    Surely if women are the “dirty” creatures they think we are – don’t they have to have the corresponding “dirtyness” for anything to happen- and I would have thought senior monks would have overcome desire by then so they should be able to handle it and they should not have hatred anyway to women or anyone- especially if the women is seeking a spiritual path and they should be able to deal with women on a “human being” level not “as a female” if not what hope is there?

    So don’t worry you are not the only one to be treated like that I think it seems quite normal on the Buddhist path for some reason; yet in the world at least in the West that kind of attitude is the exception not the rule on the surface at least.

    Anyway I think we are lucky that at least there are now some women ordaining and Monks like Ajahn Sujato and Brahm etc are being supportive in that area – I mean it seems obvious that if the monks don’t want (or can’t) deal with women then have nuns around – that is not brain surgery – they cannot just ignore half the population.

    So hope to hear what Sister Dipa has to say, maybe it is not so bad in other places and it is just some places and hopefully it is just some stupid cave man cultural attitude that will die out like the dinasur it is (no insult to dinasaurs intended)

  62. I have to say though while the issue of sexism is it seems a big problem in Theravarden Buddhism the issue of ageism is as bad in Mahayana Buddhism and other forms of Buddhism.

    While it is great to have young people around and that they find Buddhism at an early age, it seems normally these young people are happy nice well adjusted people – I have met some amazing young people but they are still nice, caring people and they don’t think that because they have achieved something that gives them a right to be rude, obnoxious controlling beings that think they are superior to everyone else. – I mean who created the means for them to achieve what they have – stolen …..the very people they treat like dirt.

    What sort of person wants to control other people twice there age – surely there must be some underlying pyschotic tendency for any young person to want to do that – why can’t they just be happy and kind; why the desparate need to control others, organisations, older women – what are they trying to prove and why?

    There are apparently no leaders, no Abbots etc in real Buddhism so what right do these pyschos have to think in a democratic country people are going to be their slaves. This is a free and democratic country and we do not have to be subserviant to controlling out of contrl pschopathic children who claim to care about others but just want power!

    Who ordains these psychos! and if they do then don’t send them to this country it is not out culture – keep them in your own country and culture! Young peole in this country are relatively sane – and most don’t need have the tendency to be dictators!

    Mahayana Buddhism literally ruins your self esteem, forces you into slavery to its cold-hearted hierachy, takes everything from you, treats you like a piece of shit as punishment if you are not some reborn wonderkid enlightened by the age of 7, some sort of buddha by the age of 15 and if you haven’t saved the world by 24 and then they get rid of you by 35 and shove you out of sight by age 40 (if you are female) – and this they call compassionate, yeh right equal only to the most ruthless of corporate money making schemes…but apparently it is alright if you are a Tibetan Buddhist? ……….p l e a s e! how to you spell cult….. c u l t!

    There is so much pressure on people these days especially kids, so much power and control given to young people and such a focus of youth that it is hard to see how the leaders find this a good thing;I know I was given alot when I was young but all it did was screw me up – patience and kindness they teach… but winning, controlling and forcing others to respect you – is what they practise.

    and this is what the Buddha taught?

    What page is that on exactly?

    And if you ordaind them in your country and under your culture then keep them in your country to live under your cultureally demented (paedophic? values)!

  63. oh just one more thing….

    I would like to say a big thanks to all the hard working women, social workers, mothers, carers, nurses etc who work tirelessly and often selflessly to support and help others,and their own families for a meagre wage without recognition for it…..or for that matter websites dedicaded to themselves or what more 3 – 4 grown great “spiritual” men supporting them and teahcing them and who don’t expect to be thought of as great Bodhissatvas for doing so.

  64. Hurray!! Now we are talking!! So glad the ongoing sexism issue has been brought up, and MOST ESPECIALLY the issue & reality of SERIOUS AGE DISCRIMINATION, especially directed towards women, even by other women & nuns! Yes, can you believe that? Marj, I completely agree with you and have pretty much noticed exactly the same problems, which is why I quickly exited the Tibetan Mahayana Buddhist scene, and went back to the Theravadan Sangha. And now, the biggest problem is finding a decent place to practice without all the stultifying BS you discussed in your last entry. Thanks to anyone who can recommend any decent Theravadan monastic centers where “older” female devotees can practice fulltime.

  65. Hi Marion,

    I was really relieved that the Dhammaloka Nuns Monesty seems to be non-ageist sexist. I have never been there but they have live stream videos and the nuns make an appearance too.

    Their is actually a nun in her late 40 – 50’s who seems like the sort of person any women could relate to and not the self-righteous 20-30 something you find in Tibetan Monestries, I think they have a forum and some sort of chat room too but unfortunealty it doesn’t seem like there are any nuns on it and women it seems get treated a bit dismissively but still it does seem good – would be good if they had their own forum maybe.

    Did you know they actually go around targetting young people, it is not a coincidence.

    I would have thought anyone who turns up to a centre seeking a spiritual path would be treated the same way but from what I have heard some centres even possibly theravarden ones go in search for young people.

    Maybe there is good reason for this? What it is I have no idea!

    Could some one please tell me if they know

    It is an aging population and there are a far highter percentage of over 40’s than under, so why go around targetting young people to puposefully put them in positions of authority over older people it seems unnatural and slightly paedophilic in some way.

    Like I said maybe there is a good reason for this and also it is great that young people no matter how young go to the Dhamma but why actively pursue young people and possibly even try to get rid of older people or be really dismissive over older people (or should I say older women)

    I know years ago Tibetan centres attracted alot of mature women, so what! is this to get women under the control of men again by getting young girls who are completely attached and under the control of their older male mentors to dominate and subbordinate women, isn’t it just bout people seeking a spiritual path and isn’t one of the worst sins discouraging people from that – how many mature women stick around with some santimonitous young kid ordering you around – like haven’t women already been through that at that age?

    And it is not just that – like I thought maybe monks find women their own age too risky – due to vows and rumours etc but one place I was in after being treated like shit by some monk he proudly showed off his “teacher pleasing student” as always stereotypically it is some young half starved blonde (usually yoga teacher fanatic ) in tight jeans… so what is he story.

    Being around a women your own age is too risky, I am a dirty whore… but some young girl half his age in tight jeans that spends half her life on getting a great body is something to be respected? urr what and that has happened numerous times not just once –

    Or is this saying they don’t beleive women can follow the spiritual path and just support women in Buddhism to be good breeders or something.

    Anyway I was at my wits end with all this but was relieved to see at Dhammaloka they have nuns that are “cool” not “hot” but I have actually never been there so I don’t really know for sure. Yes I think a couple of them still follow those weird rules but as one of the monks explained that is hopefully just some sort nod to a cultural dinasaur that will hopefully become extinct.

    I have never been to Santi Monestry so don’t know if the nuns themselves are sexist or not there.

    And I do agree it can be the nuns that are just as bad if not worse.

  66. Also from the other side, I had a young kid complaining and quite destressed about alot of things a few weeks age, especially all the responsibility she has, she is an amazing girl from a worldly achieving point of view but seem really confused that older people where asking her for advice and she was saying I am just a kid I don’t feel like I have had a chance to be a kid – why are these people asking me I am the one suppose to be asking them for advice, like she was having problem but no one to look up to or to ask advcie from because at her age she is considered so wonderful.. hope that makes sense.

    But because she has achieved so much she wouldn’t really listen to me about trying maybe mediation or buddhism because being so much older than her and as she has achieved so much and all the older people respect her and go to advice to her she probably just sees me as a looser so wouldn’t trust me and wouldn’t listen to me – I hope she hasn’t had a break down or anything as i haven’t seen her since but it was sad to see this kid and she is really caring as well is such a state of confusion – but then I can understand why she is!

  67. I know this is old Bhante but I gained a great deal of clarity by listening to your insights at TEhe Good life. You cleared up one sticky problem in particular for me, which was ‘how something that is impermanent recieve the fruits of kamma’. You explained it so simply and drew me more into accepting the Buddhist way as a fulfilling path in life.
    Peace:)
    Pete

  68. Dear Bhante

    Wow! Never short on courage, Bhante.
    Thank you most sincerely, for your every inspiration, your kindness of heart & total sharing of wisdom. Thank you for the peace & spirituality of Santi. Is it the clinging still present in us, that so likes to hope, to continue to hear you? But let it not be your burden. May you be blessed in this further step of letting go. Very best wishes for your onward path,
    With gratitude for touching our lives & Metta
    Nilmini, Chandana, Skanda & Sriya

  69. Dear Bhante,

    Thank you for your kind, thoughtful, and inspiring teachings. I are deeply grateful for your generosity and commitment to the Dhamma.

    Metta,
    Brian

  70. Bhante,

    Also BTW….

    If ever I’m feeling old, I only need to recall some of the things you have said to me and I feel like I’m back at school again.

    Cheers

    All the best

    Geoff

  71. Hey Sujato, Thisbe here, just found out the news, give me a call when you finish your retreat… if you feel like it that is. Maybe I can take you out to the desert and leave you there a while, Ive found a few good spots over the years, otherwise head up here and check out my place. Thought you might need a break eventually from all the hard work. Im currently having a few months off myself to watch my garden grow. lots of love/metta whatever you want to call it.
    Thisbe

  72. Dear Bhante Sujato,

    I’ve just learned of your departure from Santi. At first I felt sad. I associate you with Santi, where I spent the 2011 rains retreat, my first retreat at a monastery, where I learned and “grew up” so much. It was an important landmark of my life, and so I’m deeply grateful to you and Santi.

    But I’m happy for you, Bhante. What you are doing is true Theravadan spirit.

    You have inspired and touched the lives of many, within and without the Sanga. Please continue to share your insight and wisdom.

    With metta,

    Jackie

  73. I too have just learned of your departure. In fact, we have met only once and that was some two years ago at the Sri Lankan wat in Canberra. You were speaking, I was listening and afterwards shared some questions with you. Some months thereafter I went on retreat to Santi and perchance was given your kuti while you were away. The winds and rain blew over and around the kuti. They were like whistling phantoms in the night, a silence so loud it awoke the fears within. I do not think I have ever faced such whirling fears…something that the dark forest elicits.

    I have always wanted to return and in fact had just returned to Santi’s website where I discovered your “new” walk. Given the bhikkhunis are now establishing themselves (and that is such a beautiful gift of your legacy at Santi!!!) where would you suggest I could go on a long retreat? I am in Melbourne. Thank you Bhante.

    Saluti,

    Jeremias

  74. hi Jeremias,

    Thanks for sharing you memories.

    As for retreats, you could try Bodhivana near Melbourne; Santi also, I believe still has space. There is also Wat Buddhadhamma near Sydney.

  75. Ciao Bhante,
    Given I am on my uni break I was thinking of perhaps going to Myanmar or Thailand or anywhere. Could you possibly suggest something that is small, basic and where I could take the 8 precepts and receive good instruction on meditation practice? Thanks again.
    Jeremias

  76. Would you know if Sanghaloka Forest Hermitage in the Dandenong Hills outside of Melbourne is still a place one can go on retreat?

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