Okay, we’ve got an actual official public announcement by Wat Pah Pong, posted on the Forest Sangha website! This is a first: never before has WPP made such an address to ‘Buddhist Societies Throughout the World’. If nothing else, we’ve already changed the rules of the game. You can read the article on the forest Sangha website, but I’ll upload a copy here, too, just in case the URL changes later. Please have a read, I’ll assume you’ve done so when I continue below.
I have already been contacted by Ajahn Brahm about this, and he states that he disagrees with the statements on ‘secrecy’ and ‘thorough planning’, so I won’t go into these, you can follow up on the BSWA website.
In a subsequent email to the Ajahns, Ajahn Brahm states that the actual reason the WPP Sangha finally agreed to expell him was that he refused to say that the newly ordained bhikkhuni were mae chis. In other words, they would have accepted him if he had deliberately lied in the midst of the Sangha.
I will comment on several mistakes in the WPP letter.
The letter states that WPP and branches (actually it was just a meeting of Thai monks, with few if any Western branches represented) had restated many times that ordaining bhikkhunis is ‘void’. This is completely untrue. The relevant statements say, firstly, that WPP forbids bhikkhuni ordination and secondly that it ‘disagrees’. There is nothing about it being invalid.
The letter then states that the ordination ‘contradicts the law of the Mahatherasamakhom’. Of course, Thai law can never apply overseas, as Ajahn Brahm was told by Somdet Buddhajahn. In addition, the Thai Sangha Act only concerns bhikkhus and samaneras and has no jurisdiction over bhikkhunis. I have discussed the legal situation in more detail here.
The letter goes on to claim that Ajahn Brahm’s actions contravene the ‘principles of Dhamma-Vinaya practiced by the Theravada Sangha of Thailand’. It doesn’t occur to them that Dhamma-Vinaya and the position of the Thai Sangha are two quite different things. When Ajahn Brahm asked them whether they could point to a flaw in the Vinaya, they were completely unable to find anything, so this is sheer rhetoric.
The letter concludes by saying that the acts of Ajahn Brahm and Bodhinyana should not be seen to reflect on WPP, a position that is agreeable to all. It was signed by a long list of Thai Ajahns, and the Australian monk Ajahn Nyanadhammo.