I’ve just received the fax that was sent from the senior monks and some nuns of the Amaravati circle of monasteries to Ajahn Brahm before the bhikkhuni ordination.
The fax says that they’ve heard that Ajahn Brahm is to proceed with bhikkhuni ordination irrespective of and independent of consultative processes with his Sangha peers in this communion.
The use of the word communion (saṁvāsa) here derives from modern Thai usage, where it effectively means ‘our group.’ In Vinaya, all bhikkhus are saṁvāsa with all other bhikkhus (and bhikkhunis with bhikkhunis) unless they have been formally suspended by the Sangha or they have declared themselves to be of a different communion. Here the term reinforces the felt sense of the WPP Sangha that they constitute a separate, special group.
The letter goes on to say that the Ajahns cannot back any action Ajahn Brahm undertakes in this way in such a major and sensitive topic. reminding him of their long-held friendship and respect, they strongly recommend that Ajahn Brahm desists. To continue, the letter says, is so contrary to the standard of our saṁvāsa that it would in all likelihood prevent them from taking part in the upcoming WAM at Bodhinyana in December.
The letter says nothing of expulsion from WPP, and indeed it seems that at this time the most serious consequence envisaged was the likely cancellation of the WAM. The Ajahns said they could not back the ordination, and recommended desisting, but made no suggestion of further punitive action. There is no objection to bhikkhuni ordination as such, only to going ahead without consultation.