Parliament of World Religions

Dear & beloved readers & commenters,

For the next week I’m down in Melbourne for the Parliament of World Religions. I’ll be mostly taking the well-earned chance to just sit and listen for a while, although I am doing one workshop on metta meditation. I’m staying with the BSV, who have kindly allowed me to be with them for these few days. I doubt if I’ll have much chance to blog, so don’t worry if you don’t hear from me for a while.

95 thoughts on “Parliament of World Religions

  1. Dear Bhante, Have a well deserved rest – if you can. I bow in respect x 3. The work your doing certainly pulls at peoples boundaries, tugging for a Letting go. Sadhu. I much respect your work, and your dedication to the other half of the human species – the females.
    Funnily though, by this support, I sense that the other half of the population, the male of the species, is also learning about themselves, and the delusion of concepts that are held in regard to gender. My understanding of the Dhamma, clearley points to the illusory nature of conceptualisation, and the pain this causes all of us.
    So the work your doing is for the waking up of all humanity, through compassion and equanimity.
    May you always be safte and peacefull. Much Metta.

  2. I found your article about Reform very interesting, most interesting is to find out that what I have been, at times, practicing is part of a personal development of the particular teacher ( my first teacher being Christopher Titmuss and my present one being Ven.Thich Nhat Hanh ), both “vehicles” and approaches are quite different and emphasize at times very different aspects of the , would spiritual life fit in the Buddhist context?. Another issue is that it seems that the teacher is also conditioned by the way he or she awakened, and/or the practice that lead him or her in that direction. Some teachers emphasize a particular way of practice and will interpret the Buddha’s teachings according to their experience. Ajahn Brahm’s book ( which I’m really enjoying and trying to put in to practice ) on points out the Jhana is really the proper way to Enlightenment, but our teacher doens’t hardly speak of Jhana, and he does seem quite enlightened to me, at least I have experienced this quality in him several times. Maybe we have to, at times, suspend all thought and thinking and just and see what happens, and that there are areas where words cannot reach, and there is just the silent smile of a Buddha. And through this , or realization, comes a new way of implementing the Dharma and this may lead to a reform.
    I’m also thinking of the reforms or changes brought about through our own European Christian monks, like Saint Francis of Assisi, or even Saint Benedict, or Saint Therese of Avila and Saint John of the Cross, which also had to go through major hardships in order to create a new movement. Well, I don’t know if this is of any great value, I just enjoy your post, thank you Bhante Sujato,
    Thich Chan Phap Son.

  3. Bhante Sujato,
    You represent spiritual practitioners everywhere very well…
    Glad too to see Dharma friends from other traditions joining in! Hope to see more of you!
    …though we discover differences in teachers and teachings along the way…we are with them because something about them and the way they teach resonates with us… I think that resonance is the most important thing…if you found something that is working…and a Sangha you feel nurtured by and you nurture too…what a great blessing! Sadhu, Brother Michael.

  4. PS – I appreciate Thay’s loving way of teaching and emphasis on mindfulness. The smile is a wonderful route directly to Metta, Karuna, Mudita, Upekka – sidestepping thought- as you suggest… and a very useful method to induce Mindfulness…I believe we can access Jhana through the Brahmavihara…I think I have read it or heard it somewhere…so don’t think you or Thay do not necessarily practice Jhana… I believe also, through Christian prayer and meditation we can reach Jhana…I would not venture to start arguing about whether that is 1st 2nd 3rd or 4th Jhana, but I am certain (as much as I can say that I am certain😉 I believe Thay’s way incorporates both. If he does not speak of Jhana – I think that is a good thing. When Jhana is spoken of, it is often in the context of levels of attainment, and all of the problems that get bound around the notion of attaining something. Speculation around the attainments of great ones arise, while individual students may feel discouraged by stories of how difficult it is to attain these states. I don’t think either of these side-effects is beneficial to practice. Practitioners must never be made to believe it is out of their grasp…

  5. Buddhism is a peaceful spiritual science for self-practice towards liberation (Nibbana), not a religion. We hope monks/nuns do not drag Buddhism into the Parliament/politics to change the world (Buddhism has nothing to do with world business). Change ourselves first before we try to change others.
    If everyone could change ourselves then, we do not have to change the world.

    THE BUDDHA TAUGHT WHAT HE PRACTICED AND PRACTICED WHAT HE TAUGHT.

    If monks/nuns do not practice what they taught, then please do not teach others.
    It is embarrassing and an insult to Buddhism.

  6. Religions divide the world and the people.
    Because of religions, people and countries
    fight and quarrel.

    Buddhism is a spiritual self-development practice
    in harmony with the law of existence,to achieve the
    ultimate goal of “Nibbana”(a state/world absence of
    the 6 senses).

    “He who wears the yellow robe,
    without being freed from impurity,
    who is devoid of self-control and truth,
    is not worthy of it”. V:9 – Lord Buddha

  7. People want to be free of suffering – become monks etc – Places like santi
    actually make this hope available and give them hope of such – Then when you get
    there you find the same problems as the outside world – prejudice – ego –
    discrimination (although the popular assumption is that practitioners are
    Benevolent – and Kind and Compassionate ……
    The defects of life exist in monasteries and amongst monastics – And EVEN
    – DARE i say it among Lay people – visitors and guests – Its called Dukkha – but
    some Predjudiced monks seem to OVERLOOK the Harshness of life of those Less
    fortunate ………….. a well known issue hmmmm

  8. Recently, Buddhist Fellowship in Singapore organised 2 public talks by Ajahn Brahm and celebrated our 21st Anniversary. To our dismay, we found out that Wat Pah Pong tried to disrupt the public talks by sending an email (from watpahpong@gmail.com) to our venue host, Buddhist Lodge, to discredit Ajahn Brahm with respect to his involvement in the bhikkhuni ordination. I saw a copy of the email personallly.

    The Thai embassy in Singapore received a similar email, the purpose was to discourage them to attend our 21st Anniversary dinner. They may be happy to know that they were successful on this count.

    Aren’t such actions be vindictive in nature, am sure Ajahn Chah would not have approved of such actions. Why not go after monks who don’t behave like monks? What Ajahn Brahm did was what the Buddha had done, i.e. approving and supporting the ordination of bhikkhunis.

    Perhaps Ajahn Brahm’s popularity has irked some less enlightened monks and therefore this is an exercise of running him down? Sad that one may shave his head and wear the robes, but the defilements remain deeply rooted.

    • This is so sad and pathetic. But it should also cease to be a surprise to us.

      In the past 2 months since the bhikkhuni ordinations in Western Australia, the WPP orthodoxy have failed to present a single argument against the ordinations based on sound Dhamma-Vinaya grounds. People, whether women or men, are to be considered Buddhist monastics when they behave in accordance with the Dhamma-Vinaya.

      When people shave their heads, undergo ‘acceptable’ ordination ceremonies, don the robes and make a livelihood out of the alms of the faithful, and yet fail to educate themselves as to what is Dhamma and what is Vinaya, fail to behave in accordance with what is Dhamma and what is Vinaya, and furthermore, seek to discredit those who do, they are not to be considered followers of the Buddha.

      How many robe-wearers today are shams of this sort? It is difficult to say. But this recent controversy has revealed the need for all members of the four-fold assembly to be more vigilant and less naive in this regard.

      Whether in robes or lay-clothing, bullies will be bullies.

      >j<

    • Shame on you Jason…! I have been following this lame story since the beginning and have had about enough. I’ll I have to say is westerners suck and seem like a bunch disrespectful spoiled children,gimme,gimme,gimme. When this all started I was for the bhikkhunis, but now Im not so sure. The woman on here and facebook seem more interested in burning their bras then the dhamma. If it wasnt for the FATHERS, yes you heard me, the “FATHERS” of the Thai forest tradition you would have nothing but dhamma lite. I have a strong feeling from what I have seen of western buddhists thats what they want, watered down dhamma,less filling tastes great. Like a so called monk from the Fo Guang Shan group said to me one time, the master gives dhamma to the westerners like candy so they will eat it,and we dont need the vinaya in these modern times. I said back to him if you eat to much candy you will get sick and your teeth will rot, and dhamma vinaya is exactly what we need in these so called modern times, So Jason like the song goes, you better check youself before you wreak yourself…!!! I would like to see any of these people on here or face book live in the forests of Thailand like Ajahn Mun, Ajahn Maha Boowa, or any of the great teachers did. I dont think many would last a week. Have fun destroying, I mean westernizing Buddhism…!

    • Very DISSAPOINTED with these Western monks!. These Western monks went to the Forest Sangha to learn and practice Dhamma & meditation from their Dhamma teachers & meditation masters and when they have learned a little, they started to go back to their homeland or to the West to teach and also to spill the beans on what they experience there, but they failed to look at their own behaviors or mistakes.The West like to change everything under the sun, even gender!Sucks.

    • Angie,

      That was terrible and unwholesome! If Wat Pah Pong really did that, they had to work mcuh harder to understand what the Buddha taught!

      However, since email addresses can be concocted by practically anyone, I wonder if ‘a third party’ is involved…

    • Good point Dheerayupa. It’s great to see a practitioner with a level head and able to give the benefit of the doubt.

      A fellow resident at Santi has pointed out to me that my remark was a bit OTT. After some reflection and remorse, I must say that I think she was right.

      I have to admit, each time I hear of recalcitrant Sangha behaviour (if indeed the email came from a Sangha member/s) I feel dismayed, upset and reactive – something for me to work on. I ask all commentators and readers for forgiveness in this respect.

      My experience in the shifts in my mind since the bhikkhuni controversy began have revealed to me how difficult it is to work with the habitual associations of the mind. I first came to Santi with a negative bias against monastics, and I thought I had gotten over that. But alas!…

      How difficult it must be for those with negative perceptions of women and the feminine to overcome these. Or for those who have been conditioned to believe that Dhamma-Vinaya is one thing to retrain themselves to understand that it may be something quite different.

      >j<

    • Dear Angie,

      Sorry to say that you are not of any help and it is definitely not very nice to expose an official correspondence without permission.

      Your intention was to try to garner more support to discredit the other party from our own judgement.

      Do not see the fault of others.

    • hi Angie – we’re just wondering if this is an authentic email -it’s been pointed out that anyone can set up a Gmail account with that address. Do you have any indication whether it is a hoax or not, for example, who signed off on it? Thanks Thanissara

    • Angie,
      This is an infrigement of privacy and protocol.
      You should be ashamed of yourself and now to
      publicly posted it is MALICIOUS!

      Knowing the sensitivity of this, your intention
      is to PROVOKE OTHERS, IF what you said it true
      and if the email is BONA FIDE!

    • Bewildered1 is right to remind me to check myself. Indeed, I did feel deep shame which felt like I was being torn apart for my first comment. I was wrong to speak so harshly. My sense of shame (aka my conscience) caused me to come out of meditation, and take the 30 minute walk from the forest cave, where I have been living for more than a week, to the main building of Santi and write my post of apology, which occurred 9 hours before the post of admonishment from Bewildered1.

      However, acknowledging that Bewildered1 is legimately upset with the tone of some, but not all, of the discussion that has occurred on this blog and other places, and may not have seen my post of apology, I would like to ask Bewildered1’s forgiveness as well.

      He is absolutely right in the sense that we all need to take more care in seeing how our blindspots and prejudices can cause us to speak rashly and more harshly than we intend, myself included.

      This is especially the case on the internet. For while the internet has the excellent advantage of allowing the world-wide community of the four-fold assembly to come together on a level playing field to dialogue and debate; this characteristic of easy accessibility to practitioners on all sides of each multi-faceted issue also brings the severe disadvantage of allowing rashness and harshness of speech – rashness and harshness which is less likely to occur on face-to-face forums where anonymous communication over long distances is not possible.

      In the spirit of this, I should also point out that as a male Anagarika, I have no bras, let alone any underwear to burn. Also, I am saddened and hurt whenever people forget that every father of every great tradition has had a mother.

      >j<

      As to whether we all want to burn bras, I'm afraid I don't have any bras to burn.

      As to living in forests, I live in a cave, deep in a forest and I have lasted for more than a week. There is no mutual exclusivity between living deep in forests and engaging in discussion with our international family of Dhamma practitioners by way of the internet.

      And finally – very gentle reminder😉 – every father of any tradition came into this world and developed into greatness because he had a mother.

    • Crikey! Talk about the advantages and disadvantages of the internet.

      I just noticed that I accidentally left the first draft of the above post undeleted after my signoff. As everyone will see, it was of a completely different tone – much more reactive and from a place of one-upmanship rather than understanding, listening and conciliation.

      Egg on my face. I ask everyone’s forgiveness, but Bewildered1’s especially – once again – for this.

      I guess that after I ordain, I be the monk with a long list of confessions to make at Patimokkha.

      >j<

    • Dear Jason, dear Bewildered1
      Thank you Jason for your courage to leave the first comment posted. If we practice truthfully, we accept all of ourselves and our reactions with a large and loving heart. It is like this that we must embrace the ups and downs of this dialogue and learning as well, if we are to grow in a truthful way as a community.
      Bewildered1, your reactions are harsh and judging as well. But you are still looking. And posting. The heart tries to be open enough to accept all reactions in this dialogue. Please look more deeply.

    • There is a great sutra study audio about guarding the internal conditioned reactions by Sister Vayama that I found to be very helpful during this tense situation.

      This sutra points out that the ear is not the fetter. Nor is the sound the fetter. But whatever desire/aversion or passion that arise between the two is the fetter. There is no need to blame ourselves for the arising conditioned feelings and reactions, or blame the other person. It is the conditioned feeling/ habitual reaction arise within that we want to watch .

      When keeping an eye on the conditioned internal reaction while contact between the senses and objects occur without identification or acting on it, we don’t feed / strengthen this conditioned reaction . Instead, it gradually weakens over time with practice. No one is an expert at this on day one. The good thing is that we make the right effort to. So don’t be too hard on yourself.

      http://www.bswa.org/modules/mydownloads/visit.php?cid=3&lid=596

    • Hi Anagarika

      With due respect, i wonder how you could meditate with peace when you blog so much with all these worldly concerns.

      You seem to be “gone forth” deep in the forest physically, but mentally you have not “gone forth” as your body is in the forest your mind in front of the PC. You probably have a lot of chattering in your mind while meditating. Poor thing, it is a torture for you both physically and mentally.Beware of MARA!

    • Jason my brother, no need to ask “me” for forgiveness, but maybe the sangha you bash. I did see your other post but felt the need to say what I did anyway. Im sure your wise enough to realize that most of my post was not aimed at you. Also the ” couldn’t last a week in the forest” was not towards you. I have a very,very strong feeling that many of the posters on this site and facebook are what where I come from we call “posers”. Call me harsh for that but Im from the other side of the tracks, not some cushy upper middle class college education with a political correctness. The bra comment was also not directed at you, that is unless Santi is going for that anything goes vibe. Believe me, I have been to many many Buddhist centers,temples and monasteries and its always the same thing, westerners trying to “fix it”. If we take a hard look at say America, do we real want to shape Buddhism in “our image”. Im sure we can commercialize it package it and sell it as a fast food. Maybe McDonalds could do a Buddha burger. As far as you bringing up mothers Im quite aware that no one enters this realm without a mother. I too have a mother and sisters and am very fond of women. So if your going to make a point try harder. I do think Ajahn Punndhammo had it right when he said that buddhism in the west is in its infancy. What 30 years maybe, which is a very short time. I really have heard very little postivewords from any of these so called western buddhists for the amazing progress that has been made by the Ajahns in the Uk and other western temples. All I have being trying to say in all my posts here is show some damn respect. Western lay Buddhist, for me are a bunch of blow hards that want to shape everything to give them the most comfort and that warm and fuzzy feeling. Hell,if you dont like it join the Mahayanas or the Vajrayanas they go for almost anything. I lived at Fo Guang Shan and their so called monks and nuns get “Paid” and drive cars even go see rock concerts. I watched the movie Ghost with like 20 nuns, now tell me thats a dhamma lesson. So to wrap this up, there is a lot of wack fake bull out there so lets be careful what we maybe trying to destroy or was that westernize. So again to you or anyone else that may read this, if it wasn’t for the “fathers” of this great tradition you wouldn’t have much.

    • Hi Lisa,

      We can delete our posts? You give me way too much credit. I simply assumed that I couldn’t.

      Anyway, cat’s out of the bag now – despite being a Buddhist, I also happen to be a human being, full of faults, but working on it ;D

    • Dear Angie,

      Singaporeans and Malaysians are highly stressed people.
      They love to listen to jokes as it is an antidote to relief
      their stressful lives.

      AB is a renowned speaker who is good and love telling jokes,
      story-telling, dramatic ghost stories besides promoting himself.
      Very dramatic, guess his nature & passion in dramas and theatres.
      Sometimes very theatrical in his tone to conjure the audiences.
      Audiences love entertainments, so AB is their entertainer & they
      love it.

      A better way to relieve your stress is to meditate (but it is no
      fun as it is silencing and not entertaining).That’s the trouble,
      we are the ones to be blamed and we are the audiences.No wonder
      the original true Dhamma will dissappear in future.

    • Dear Angie,

      Thanks for posting this. It’s crucial that we stay informed as to what’s going on behind the scenes. You and I have both been criticized for ‘stirring the pot’, and it should be understood that while our actions are public and open for criticism and scrutiny, moves like this from WPP – or whoever claims to represent them – are stirring the pot from underneath, hidden from sight. As we know, this is not the only such act. They will continue until those who are doing them realize that they cannot escape public accountability. I am disappointed that the recent statement from the WAM contained no acknowledgement of the persistence of such backroom powerplays, and no disavowal of them.

  9. Dear Sis Angie

    What you are doing is not at all helping the situation but making matter worse.
    This is concerning the Thai protocol and you should stay out of it.

    It is irresponsible of you and this blog to publicise and expose an internal private email, with an unhealthy intention tocause slandering which is against the Buddha’s true Dhamma (in the Sutta & Vinaya).

    If you are responsible enough, you would play down this matter as it concerns the Thai Sangha and the Thai Government.

    Your subtle intention is to get viewers’ sympathy for AB. To me your intention is
    irresponsible AND an intrusion of privacy.

    Feel sorry for you.

    • Dear Precept,

      Angie is just just providing the information that she knows. There is no fault in that.

    • Dear Precept,

      It there is nothing wrong with sending that email to sabotage someone’s gathering, then why be so concern when someone is mentioning about it.

  10. There are always positive spin offs from negative events such as this. Few monks/siladharas inclding Ajahn Sumedho, sister Chandasiri are visiting Australia – something that probably would not have happened if not for this issue!

    Hopefully, they will have the honesty and courage to tell Australian buddhists where they stand on the issue of Bhikkhuni ordinations without going through elaborate and intricate expositions on vinaya and the history of the Thai buddhist traditions – or in lay person’s words, without beating around bush.

    Two basic questions remain unanswered – firstly, do they (English Sangha and Sangha of WPP) agree that women should be able received full ordination and secondly, do the vinaya rules preclude women being ordained. Hopefully, Ajahn Sumedho will provide direct answers to these questions.

  11. Hi Jason

    I’m currently reading The Broken Buddha by Shravasti Dhammika

    A link is included

    http://www.buddhistische-gesellschaft-berlin.de/downloads/brokenbuddhanew.pdf

    It’s certainly an eye opener and most probably goes some way to understanding certain negative responses to the Bhikkhuni ordination

    My am currently listening to an Ajahn Brahm Dhamma talk entitled This Too Will Pass

    Its available on the BSWA site (although a number of people are saying the download is very slow)

    This talk is helping me with all facets of understanding life

    With Metta
    Bill

    • Thanks for the Broken Buddha link, Bill.
      It was an interesting read indeed – and yes, it would explain the response from the Thai side and the silence of the Western side, if they are financially bound to one or the other culture.

      I am hoping for AB that he is indeed sufficiently independent in this matter …

  12. Hi all,

    Has anyone seen Ajahn Punnadhammo’s blog? You can access it through google.

    One of AB’s teachings when we get cross with each other is to stop and let the ‘lawyer for the defence’ have a go too…not just to be the angry prosecutor. Reading AP’s blog gives us an idea of how moderate voices on the ‘other’ side may be viewing the situation. It may help to see how they are seeing things. I also found it very useful to read the post by Anders. I copy it here (I hope you don’t mind Anders, but I thought you made a very good point about dialogue):

    November 22, 2009 at 10:36 pm | #62 Reply | Quote

    This is a belated comment, but I’d like to offer it anyway.

    I would like to suggest against what could be perceived as derisive and divisive speech. I think a useful guiding line in writing would be to offer one’s viewpoints as platforms for dialogue (which I here don’t equate with debate) with proponents of opposing viewpoints.

    lest we forget, if Bhikkhunis are to gain widespread acceptance in the forest tradition (and the Theravadin tradition at large), then it is the very people that are the targets of your… ‘incisive’ rethoric that will need convincing to change their views. I believe an aggressive / straightforward rethoric will have the effect of alienating the oppponent viewholders moreso than softening their stance.

    best wishes
    Anders

  13. I understand there was a sense that ‘they’ weren’t listening before all this happened. Perhaps the playing field has changed/is changing now and perhaps there will be those with whom there can be dialogue. Maybe Ajahn Punnadhammo is one such person. Maybe there are others.

    Metta to us all; may we all feel peace.

  14. In all fairness, this is one of the most difficult dialogues that could possibly take place. We have no appointed moderators or even experts in this type of social dialogue. Perhaps we could find a few and invite them to guide us through the process? I have seen and heard of other such dialogues that are extremely explosive and precarious – WITH professional facilitators on hand.
    Of course we need to keep words and reactions in check. But let is not rail against what is totally uncharted and unguided precarious territory, fuelled by visceral emotions of all ranges and a lack of experience in this kind of dialogue. All things considered I don’t think we are doing so badly and we are capable of forgiveness…

    • I am finding it most difficult in this dialogue and I make no such claim about myself! However, we simply must maintain that this is not an intellectual practice but a practice of the heart. We must keep the goal in sight, which is liberation and to support one another in that. I wish a few facilitators/Bhikkhus/Bhikkhunis or otherwise would step in and help facilitate this process. (Not that Bhante Sujato is not – but that burden should be shared – it requires a few voices, to help steer the conversation, protect the “rules” of dialogue and keep us focussed on the goal.)

  15. Ven. Sujato, you should at least give both sides of the story instead of trumping up your own moral purity:

    “I am not qualified to be a spokesman for the English Sangha, and my information is also just second-hand, so I would wait for the relevant document to be made public first of all.
    But one thing should be borne in mind by those who write about the situation in England: Ajahn Sumedho did something quite revolutionary when he ordained the first Siladhara (brown) nuns about 25 years ago. From what I heard from him, he tried to ask the senior Thai monks for their opinion first but never got a clear Yes/No answer from them (very much Thai style). So he just took it as a hint that he could go ahead with it if things were kept under control and there were no major issues arising from that. Remember, at that time this was probably regarded as being very radical, similar to Ajahn Brahm ordaining bhikkhunis now. Ajahn Sumedho also said that he can be inspired by great ideals and wants to do what it noble and right. Since then, he has lived with nuns pretty much all the time in England and that relationship has not been easy to say the least. There were many tensions and problems (I will omit the details here) for which not just the monks are to blame, so there is some sense of frustration. It is in this light that the above mentioned “5 points” have to be seen, there is a lot of history behind them, which the Australian monks never experienced first-hand.”

    http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=2545&start=60

    • Benjie :
      Hi Anagarika
      With due respect, i wonder how you could meditate with peace when you blog so much with all these worldly concerns.
      You seem to be “gone forth” deep in the forest physically, but mentally you have not “gone forth” as your body is in the forest your mind in front of the PC. You probably have a lot of chattering in your mind while meditating. Poor thing, it is a torture for you both physically and mentally.Beware of MARA!

      Benjie, that’s a very good point as it raises a common misunderstanding about the nature of pratice.

      I can say from my personal experience it is possible, and that the assumption that it is not possible to contribute to the world intellectually and socially, and live a deep meditative life and the same time is incorrect. In fact, when done skillfully, rich intellectual and social engagement can deepen samadhi because these can help clear up doubts through investigation, sharpen insight as to the mechanisms of the mind, and highlight blindspots of delusion that are difficult to see in seclusion.

      Besides which, 30 minutes engaging in Dhamma conversation with spiritual companions is, I think, no so different to the same done face-to-face. Although I do think opinions expressed online tend to be more in-your-face than what you get face-to-face, ironically enough. It’s hard to know what is happening in other people’s minds. Nobody who knows me as a real person has criticised me for how secluded my practice is mentally.

      I would also invoke scriptural support on this one. There are many different styles of practitioners, some emphasising seclusion, some emphasising engagement, some emphasising both and they all received the Buddha’s praise (see the Mahagosinga Sutta MN 32). Importantly also, is they all received equal praise from theh Buddha.

      I hope this helps.

      >j<

  16. Dear Bros & Sis in the Dhamma,

    After being a Buddhist for 20 years, can’t help observing and concluding my observations.

    There are many types of monkhoods nowadays in our competitive materialistic world.

    During the Buddha’s time, there was only one type of monkhood i.e. the forest austerity Bhikkus & Bhikkunis (even Bhikkunis had to go alms round and live in austerity) for the sole purpose of attaining Nibbana/desireless & non becoming state.

    Nowadays, there are many types of monkhood or nunhood, namely:

    1. Those that are scholars but no meditation practice;
    2. Those that practice meditation but not scholars;
    3. Those that do a lot of humanitarian and social works only ;
    4. Those that travel widely to give talks and print CDs/MP3/books etc;
    5. Those that join monkhood during their chilhood and have not tasted worldly lives
    6. Those that have personal crisis and join monkhood as an escapism;
    7. Those that love nature,adventures and expedition;
    8. Those that experience and see the Dhamma and wish to get out of Samsara by following the 8 fold Noble Path.
    9. Those that enjoy popularity, reputation and worldly power with many lay supporters and still attach to worldly materials;
    10. Those that are active in building monasteries, retreat centres etc.

    In my opinion, the purpose of wearing the robe is to follow #8 or the Buddha’s austherity practice for the sole purpose of liberating oneself and others.

  17. I wish Ajahn Sumedho would publicly and directly answers the questions posted by Guptila de Silva.

    With high respect for Ajahn Sumedho.

    • The situation could do with some clarity from the ‘other’ side, or in Ajahn Sumedho’s case the middle side. This current wall of silence leaves too much speculation and now with this email thing which may or may not have been WPP…It seems to be causing more strife and confusion, not less, with the pro-Bhikkhuni group hardening its hearts towards the WPP and the monks involved over their intransigence and silence since the Where Are We Now? article that was no answer at all. The fact they seem to be refusing to meet in the middle or even engage is disheartening. Just hope those trying to heal the rift don’t fall into the same trap.

  18. Bewildered1 – Is this the “respect” you are encouraging others to cultivate?

    “Western lay Buddhist, for me are a bunch of blow hards that want to shape everything to give them the most comfort and that warm and fuzzy feeling. Hell,if you dont like it join the Mahayanas or the Vajrayanas they go for almost anything. I lived at Fo Guang Shan and their so called monks and nuns” etc.

  19. Im sorry if you dont like what I said. But if I remember, I think I saw some of your blazing disrepectful posts. So I guess you would take offense. You should have quoted the end of the post where I talked about monks and nuns that may as well wear lay clothes. That I dont respect and will not respect, sorry its not pc enough for you. I do have compassion for them which is a start, is it not ?

    • No dislike, no offense, no disrespect, no pc or non-pc – etc etc. Just a question. Perhaps a retake on the question, based on your response:
      What is this distinction you make between respect and compassion? Not respect, but yes compassion…

    • Lisa, Im done with all this blog mania, so good luck and like Obi-Wan Kenobi said, may the force be with you. Peace…!

    • Bewildered, you are such a tosser. Your posts are friggin’ hilarious. What an arrogance you possess indeed.

  20. Hi bewildered1

    bewildered1 :
    Believe me, I have been to many many Buddhist centers,temples and monasteries and its always the same thing, westerners trying to “fix it”. If we take a hard look at say America, do we real want to shape Buddhism in “our image”. Im sure we can commercialize it package it and sell it as a fast food. Maybe McDonalds could do a Buddha burger.

    Perhaps you do not understand what drives Western Buddhism

    I can speak for myself but others may have differing opinions so mine should not be thought of as speaking for the group at large

    Western Buddhists are forever grateful for both Theravada and Mahayana teachers, including monks, nuns, and lay teachers coming to the west and introducing Buddhism to us

    Some westerners even went to various countries including Thailand and Sri Lanka to learn and become monks themselves

    Whilst being thankful a number of us have found that there is a veneer of cultural influence surrounding the Buddha’s teachings with these teachers

    Whilst being accepting and certainly not denying the rights of those Buddhists it needs to be understood that the temple for these communities is not only the place to go to listen to Dhamma and give Dana to the Sangha but also it is the cultural and social centre

    Whilst our initial introduction to Buddhism has been at these temples and again we are very appreciative that these communities want to share it is felt that there are barriers that do not allow further advancement

    This cultural veneer for a westerner causes consternation as we cannot be Thai or Laotian or Sri Lankan, we are Westerners

    As a good Laotian friend once said “you westerners aren’t interested in our culture you only want to learn about Buddhist philosophy”

    In principle I had to agree with that

    It follows that when reading and listening to Buddha Dhamma from other sources that a lot of this cultural veneer is not related to the Buddha’s teachings

    It’s a bit like Christmas, the focus of the world seems to be on Santa instead of the real reason for Christians to celebrate

    So we come to my thoughts as to what western Buddhism is about

    We are not trying to shape Buddhism in to our image, we are actual wanting to go back to the pure unadulterated teachings of the Buddha

    When discussing with other westeners the consensus is we want to learn and understand Buddha Dhamma, not to take commentaries or what others have added to or modified which may skew the teachings to a personal bias

    This can then be related to the current Bhikkhuni ordination debate

    We look to the Pali Canon eg the Buddha’s words to guide us that Bhikkuni ordinations in the Therevada tradition are allowed, morally right, and complete the Buddha’s fourfold Sangha

    It is to the Buddha’s teaching we go, not to councils or governments or any other group

    With Metta
    Bill

    • Thanks Bill,but I have no need to become Thai or lao and that is not what I was getting at. I also was talking about the Buddha Dhamma and Vinaya ,maybe I wasnt clear. The way I see the west shaping Buddhism has nothing to do with a so called veneer. As far as lay teathers go, all I can say is milk toast…! I never liked the Vimalakirti sutra myself. I respect the one that can truly renounce the things of the world to do what is truly hard. To me wisdom is easy lets see someone take control of their mind and body. I’ve known a lot of wise lay people but they lived just like me, big deal. I think my posting days are over on here so good luck with your struggle. May we all find our why out. Peace…!

    • Man, your lack of wisdom and compassion is astounding. What an entertainment you provide for us debauched Westerners. I love it!

    • Bill, I’m a Thai and have seen how Buddhism is degrading in our society. I wholeheartedly agree with you. Sadhu.

    • Bill, I’m a Thai and have seen how ‘genuine’ Buddhist practices are degrading in our society. I wholeheartedly agree with you. Sadhu.

    • Thanks for your excellent post bill. Though you make no claim to speak for others, I can say I whole-heartedly agree.

      I should say, also, that reading comments on this post feels like different aspects of me – Bewildered1 included – talking to each other. Each of those aspects having been more prominent in my heart-mind (citta) during different stages of practice.

      I first came to Buddhism through Mahayana, got burnt-out and disillusioned, stopped practicising for 2 years, only came back to Buddhism – albeit Theravada – because I was burnt-out and disillusioned with lay life and was lucky enough to stumble into In The Words of The Buddha by Bhikkhu Bodhi, which was the first time I had ever read a translation of bits of the Pali Canon.

      The moderation, kindness and straight-forwardness of the historical Buddha words had me hooked.

      Then I rediscovered Santi. Of course, as Bhante Sujato probably remembers, I was very much given to the occasional tirade against Mayahana during my first few months. But then, I started to digest a central feature of what Bhante tries to teach at Santi: when we get a good foot-hold in what the historical Buddha actual taught,inside its own historical context as far as we can gather from the Pali Canon and other sources such as the Chinese Agamas, then we are in a position to understand the slightly skewered stance of later teachings. In some cases, they were simply trying to rebalance what was out of balance in their own historical situation. In some cases they simply got it wrong.

      Having become much more forgiving towards Mahayana, I guess I need to learn to be more forgiving of traditional-modern Theravada.

      I hope Bewildered1 doesn’t go away forever. If it weren’t for him, and indeed all the male elders of the Thai Forest Tradition that he is seeking to be a voice for, I would not have seen how much work I personally need to do in this area. Having taken a break from blog commenting for a day and a bit, contemplated how things have gone, and gotten a bit of space through meditation, I feel I’ve already made a bit of progress. My thanks to Bhante Sujato and to all commentators in this space for helping me in this regard.

      >j<

  21. why wait one to two years to be a monk – that WASN’T the practice of Buddha
    – some people aren’t in to waiting…..

    • Synchronicity or a Jedi mind trick…?
      The Jedi Code is a code of conduct that establishes rules and modes of behavior for the Jedi. There are different versions of it in the expanded universe. The code was as follows:

      Jedi are the guardians of peace in the galaxy.
      Jedi use their powers to defend and protect, never to attack others.
      Jedi respect all life, in any form.
      Jedi serve others rather than rule over them, for the good of the galaxy.
      Jedi seek to improve themselves through knowledge and training.

      I guess Im not the only one who feels bewildered by this realm.

    • Oh my friggin’ godfather! – there are 2 Bewilders on his spouting this crap. I love it….keep going number 1 and number 2.

  22. Does anyone know what the outcomes of the WAM were?

    I understand that Ajahn Sumedho is currently at Bodhivana Monastery in Warburton, which is in the state of Victoria in Australia. This is in the Yarra Valley. If you are in that area, this may be a good chance to ask some respectful questions.

  23. Hello bewildered1, I don’t think its about how you live – it’s what you do with your head. The mendicant lifestyle that the western monasteries (monks and siladhara) claim to live does not begin to compare to the poverty of life for most people in the developing world. With two very healthy meals a day – an army of helpers to cook, clean, garden, serve and drive around and generally wait on hand and foot. I hope that we can go back to what the buddha originally intended to aid enlightenment – but who will show us the true way. In deep sadness and respect to all.

    • Dear Florentyna,

      Thanks for your comment. May I add my reinforcement to the notion that the lifestyle of modern forest sangha should not be compared with that of poor people. We live a comfortable life, are well fed, and often too well looked after. It is so important to maintain a commitment to simplicity in the face of such abundance. But how much should we, with our mild gestures towards simplicity, look with compassion on the billions of our fellow-humans who lack even basic necessities, not out of choice, but because of human greed and foolishness.

  24. Hi all,

    The West should not try to change the world but change themselves first.

    Look at what the West had introduced to the world? Fast food (junk food), pornography,drugs,Coke & caffein, beef (meat from cows regarded as sacred animal in some part of Asia),chemicals in food, cloning,same sex marriage,human rights,democracy,gender equality etc.

    Poor Asians countries that want to maintain its moral values and culture inheritance & traditional ways of living and traditional food & natural food have been influenced and pressured to keep up with the Westerners otherwise scorned as inferior, outdated and not up to current trends. Morally we are deteriorating and according to Buddhism, all will be reborn in the 3 woeful states (Hell realm,Ghost realm and Animal realms).Those who are highly indulging in excessive sensual pleasures would be reborn in the animals world i.e the next era, there would be more and more animals and less and less humans.

    Thailand became a sex haven because of influence from the West and demand from the Westerners for unquenchable sex and pleasures.

    Yoga which was once originated from India and became popular in Asia & West, was also being “westernized” to pilate etc in the name of yoga. Luckily, the Indians still preserve the original yoga which can still be found in some parts of the world albiet became a minority now. Other than the original yoga practised by the yogis in India, all other modified exercises in the name of yoga are not correctly practized and could be harmful to the body. Even they introduced children yoga to make profits.According to the original yogis, yoga is not suitable for young children as children’s bones are still growing,soft and it is more harmful, but because it became commercialized, they introduced it.

    Now Buddhism too has also been commercialized in all parts of the world!
    Eventually, the original Buddhism would become a minority wheras the commercial Buddhism would become the majority.

  25. Hello all,
    I found this interesting short talk on scripture and modern interpretation
    by Traleg Rinpoche. Thought i would share it here in case of interest…

  26. From the “Women & Forest Sangha” facebook forum, posted by Thanissara:

    The gathering of elders, Dec. 2009
    The latest gathering of Western elders of the Ajahn Chah Sangha (referred to informally as
    WAM) took place from the 7-9th December 2009 at Wat Pah Nanachat, in Ubon, Northeast
    Thailand. The gathering was attended by some twenty-eight elders, including Ven. Ajahn
    Sumedho, abbot of Amaravati Buddhist Monastery in England, the senior Western disciple of
    Ajahn Chah. Luang Por Liem, the abbot of Wat Pah Pong, (Ajahn Chah’s monastery) kindly
    gave an opening address.
    The gathering this year was dominated by discussion of the unfortunate events
    surrounding the delisting of Bodhinyana Monastery in Perth, Western Australia from the
    Ajahn Chah Sangha, and the estrangement of an old friend and erstwhile member of the
    group, Ajahn Brahmavamso.
    The events of the last two months have caused an unprecedented storm in our
    communities, both monastic and lay, and feelings of division have run high throughout the
    wider Buddhist world. Evidence of this was clear in a petition and various letters presented to
    the gathering. Several elders noted how many familiar names appeared in the documents.
    Sympathy with the feelings expressed in them was mixed with a regret that they were often
    based on an interpretation of events that differed markedly from our own. There was a sense
    of frustration that we had not as yet been able to adequately transmit our understanding of
    the various issues raised, accompanied by an acknowledgment that it was hard to see how it
    could have been any other way. Our commitment to the principle of consultation and
    consensus meant that we had no choice but to delay crafting a coherent response until we
    could come together as a group and discuss the matter face to face.
    It might be worthwhile at this point to give a brief overview of the nature of our
    Sangha. The first thing that must be said is that the Ajahn Chah Sangha is far from being the
    monolithic Vatican-like entity that some have portrayed it as. It is in most senses a noticeably
    loose and flexible association of monastics. It currently consists of well over 300 monasteries,
    with perhaps 2200 Thai monks and nuns and some 170 of various other nationalities, 40 of
    whom reside in Thailand with the remainder living in branch monasteries throughout the
    world.
    Membership of the Ajahn Chah Sangha is voluntary and contingent on accepting
    certain basic standards and principles. The Western Sangha is a subset of the whole,
    1
    autonomous in the running of all its own affairs overseas – except in cases whereby they
    directly oppose the wishes of the larger group. In turn the Ajahn Chah Sangha in Thailand
    operates within constraints overseen by the Thai Sangha governing council (Maha-thera
    Samakom) and, through respecting those, is able to maintain its own distinct character.
    Ajahn Chah is one of the most loved and revered figures in the Buddhist world.
    Association with his name confers privileges and responsibilities, both spiritual and material.
    It is no surprise then that the elders of the Ajahn Chah Sangha consider it their duty to care
    for the integrity of the lineage. For the Ajahn Chah Sangha the crux of the problems leading
    up to Ajahn Brahmavamso’s delisting was his determination to follow his own highly
    controversial agenda, without consultation and contrary to the wishes of the elders. The
    particular topic on his agenda – the ceremony performed in Perth on the 22nd of October – was
    an important but not the crucial element.
    One of the reasons that we have found it difficult to respond to matters surrounding
    that ceremony has been our feeling that the issue has been framed in a seriously misleading
    way. It seems to us that a number of factors have been conflated that need to be dealt with
    separately. In addition, the delisting of Bodhinyana monastery by the Ajahn Chah Sangha has
    been presented on the web as a patriarchal knee-jerk. The situation of the siladharas in
    England has been cited as a proof of our unwillingness to give the appropriate respect to
    women’s spiritual aspirations. We do not see things in this way.
    Here we will offer an explanation on what we see as three related but separate topics:
    1. The event in Perth and its repercussions
    2. Bhikkhuni ordination
    3. The Siladhara Order
    1. The event in Perth and its repercussions
    In mid-October Ajahn Brahmavamso informed Ven. Ajahn Sumedho that he would
    conduct a bhikkhuni ordination in Perth before the end of the month. When the news reached
    the larger Sangha the reaction was one of surprise and a deep dismay. The source of these
    feelings was not outright opposition to bhikkhuni ordination as such (in fact a number
    of our Western elders consider the arguments supporting its legitimacy to be well-founded),
    but the sense that the way the ordination had been arranged constituted a serious betrayal of
    trust.
    What made us feel that way? Well, a meeting of the Western elders of the Ajahn Chah
    2
    Sangha had been planned for December, and one of the main items on the agenda was to be
    the topic of bhikkhuni ordination. This meeting was to be hosted by Ajahn Brahmavamso and
    his Sangha in Perth. Given the importance the elders attached to the coming discussion, we
    could not understand why the ordination should be rushed through before our meeting.
    Why, we wondered, could it not have been performed after our meeting? Why despite a long
    period of preparation were we given so little notice? And why should the preparations have
    been deliberately concealed? We were to be presented with a fait accompli. A major and
    controversial innovation, considered illegitimate by the Thai Sangha, would be performed
    unilaterally. The message to us seemed to be that this ordination was none of our business.
    Our part was merely to get used to it.
    We still feel that we have not received any satisfactory answers to these questions. We
    do not understand why Ajahn Brahmavamso should have felt able to act in this manner,
    given that both verbally and in writing he had affirmed that he would not do so. In fact as
    recently as last year, in a written response to one of our elders, he had stated that he felt hurt
    that anyone could believe that he would consider such a move. We have been told that Ajahn
    Brahmavamso subsequently changed his mind and that we ‘should move on.’ But, given the
    emphasis we as bhikkhus place on keeping our word, we do not consider this to be an
    adequate response.
    To the Ajahn Chah Sangha elders the issue was thus primarily one of a disregard for
    the agreed standard of seeking and gaining consent for actions that affect the whole group. In
    June 2009 the Ajahn Chah Sangha at Wat Pa Pong reaffirmed its willingness to conform with
    the Thai Sangha governing council’s current position: that bhikkhuni ordination has ceased to
    exist and cannot be legitimately revived. It was taken as given that continued membership of
    the group would be contingent on upholding that resolution. In our monastic culture, the
    disrespect perceived in Ajahn Brahmavamso’s actions is, in other words, profound. It is
    comparable to a slap in the face.
    Having decided to go ahead with his plan come what may, Ajahn Brahmavamso did so
    without informing either his preceptor, Somdet Buddhajahn, (currently also the acting head
    of the Thai Sangha), or Luang Por Liem, the head of the Ajahn Chah Sangha. The reason that
    that is significant is that he was performing a ceremony considered highly controversial by
    the Thai Sangha, and one bound to fail to receive their acceptance.
    Ajahn Brahmavamso had, over the years, received permission to act as a preceptor and
    had been granted a royal ecclesiastical title – these are no small things for a Western monk to
    be honoured with. These signify tremendous recognition, trust and responsibility. In acting as
    3
    he did Ajahn Brahmavamso seemed to render them meaningless. It was widely perceived as
    gross ingratitude, particularly amongst the Thai Sangha.
    At the November 1st meeting at Wat Pah Pong, Ajahn Brahmavamso was given the
    opportunity to reconcile himself with the Sangha of Wat Pah Pong, and by extension the Thai
    Sangha at large, by acknowledging the invalidity of the ordination ceremony. Having been
    formally presented with the option three times, he still felt unable to do so. The Sangha felt in
    turn that it had no alternative but to delist his monastery. As can be heard clearly on the
    recording of the meeting the resolution was by no means a matter of ‘a few grunts,’ as it has
    been widely represented, but rather it was a rousing agreement on the part of the 160 strong
    monastic assembly, with Ajahn Brahmavamso himself providing the solitary voice of dissent.1
    The resolution was not intended as a punishment but as a formal recognition of a parting of
    ways. From this point on Ajahn Brahmavamso could no longer consider himself to be
    representing the Ajahn Chah community.
    2. Bhikkhuni ordination
    There are reasonable arguments in favor of bhikkhuni ordination, and reasonable
    arguments against it. Within our community opinions on the matter vary. In the light of this,
    the situation we currently find ourselves in is a balancing act of daunting proportions; on the
    one side there is the need to be faithful to our origins, and on the other the need to be faithful
    to the time and societies we live in.
    As part of a larger tradition rooted in Thailand, any changes of this magnitude which
    we might wish to initiate would require the consent of the wider Sangha. In order not to
    become ripped apart, all the members of the Sangha body must proceed in the same
    direction. Since our lineage does not, at least at present, formally accept the legitimacy of
    Theravada bhikkhuni ordination, we do not have the authority to carry it out on our own
    initiative, without breaking that connection with our roots. This view is not just restricted to
    the Ajahn Chah Sangha. For example, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, at the conference he
    called on bhikshuni ordination in 2007, said he could not go ahead with reinstating the
    bhikshuni order without the full consent of the Tibetan Sangha, despite the unanimous
    agreement of the conference that it should be.
    1 To hear the recording of this, please visit http://www.forestsangha.org
    4
    The way we see it is that, in order to effect significant change in the status of practice
    opportunities for women in the Theravada world, it is not just a matter of going our own way
    with sanctioning bhikkhuni ordinations and hoping, let alone expecting, that the wider
    Sangha will just go along with that. Rather the effect of such a move would be to drive a
    wedge between the Western branches of our community and the other 300 or so based in
    Thailand. From our point of view it seems that there would be very little positive result from
    this orphaning of ourselves from the roots of our community. We realize that this is probably
    not the view of many Buddhists in the West, however, this kind of severance is something we
    see as being a damaging wound that would compromise the spiritual welfare of all women
    and men, lay and monastic, that are a part of this lineage of Dhamma practice.
    The Sangha is an ancient institution; it is the longest surviving organization that still
    operates under its original bylaws. It is also almost 1000 years since the last recorded
    Theravada bhikkhunis of the classical era lived in Sri Lanka. For such a huge change as this to
    take place, to reinstate this venerable and rich lineage of Dhamma practice with the full
    approval and sanction of the wider Sangha, it seems reasonable to take the time to gain a
    broad consensus.
    Even though changes in such an ancient organism must necessarily occur slowly, it is
    also the case that change can come. There are high-ranking and esteemed elders of the Thai
    Sangha, notably the acting supreme patriarch, Somdet Buddhajahn, who have made it their
    business to investigate the status and training of bhikkhunis. It is also the intention for some
    of those who attended this meeting of Western abbots of the Wat Pah Pong lineage to consult
    with members of the governing body of the Thai Sangha in order to discuss further research
    on the topic of the bhikkhuni lineage and opportunities for renunciant practice of women in
    Theravada Buddhism.
    The Theravada tradition is like a gnarled and deeply rooted oak, yet one that still bears
    abundant and fertile seeds. The depth of its roots and the thickness of its branches are some
    of the reasons why it has lasted for so long. If it was a flimsy sapling, to change and mold it
    would be easy but its ability to withstand the vagaries of weather and disease would be
    significantly less. It is our concern to treat this venerable entity with the respect that it
    deserves and to tend its seeds so that they too may flourish and their potential be fulfilled.
    5
    3. The Siladhara Order
    A shared goal, a specific opportunity
    In the case of the Siladhara and the ‘five points’ our sense is that there has been a
    miscommunication regarding the overall perspective of how the established Bhikkhu Sangha
    seeks to support a modern nuns’ order, as well as misinformation regarding the ‘five points.’
    However we do feel that we share the concerns of the petition in that we are aware of the
    limited opportunities that there are for women to train in Dhamma-Vinaya, and also have a
    wish to support women’s aspirations towards liberation.
    The Bhikkhu Sangha has preserved and sustained the Buddha’s dispensation for more
    than two thousand years and we acknowledge that it is its responsibility to pass it on. As in
    Theravada there is no consensus on the re-establishment of the bhikkhuni training, and no
    lineage or present company of great Theravada bhikkhuni teachers to instruct newcomers,
    what we can offer at this time has to operate within the Sangha vehicle as it is working in this
    day and age.
    Of course anyone can practise morality, meditation and renunciation; but to belong to
    an order of Buddhist nuns means being accepted into the larger monastic Sangha, of which
    the only element that remains universally recognized is the Bhikkhu Sangha. Through being
    connected to such a body, one has access to the resources of monastic teachers, and the trust
    and welcome of lay people who have faith in the established Sangha, as well to the material
    requisites and infrastructure of monasteries. This set of opportunities underpins the vehicle
    that has come to be known as the ‘Siladhara’ (= those who uphold virtue) training.
    History of the Siladhara Order
    In 1983, Ven. Ajahn Sumedho, having received the permission of the Thai Sangha that
    had authorised him as Preceptor, gave the Ten Precepts to a small group of women who had
    already trained under the Eight Precepts for more than three years at Cittaviveka Monastery
    in England. Ajahn Sumedho’s aim was to provide an opportunity for women to train as almsmendicants
    within the conventions that were held by the Bhikkhu Sangha. Subsequently, he
    asked that a training be developed that would flesh out the basic moral structure that the Ten
    Precepts represent with details that could support the nuns as an autonomous Order. So a
    training was developed that drew from the Bhikkhuni-Vinaya in order to cover issues that
    might occur for women, as well as protocols that would enable them to manage their own
    affairs. Through the ensuing years the training evolved through discussions with the nuns,
    consultations with Ven. Ajahn Sumedho and the elders of his community, and presentations
    to Thai and Sri Lankan elders.
    6
    There was no intention or authorisation however to establish a Bhikkhuni Order, or
    any new independent Sangha. Therefore the relationship between the Siladhara Order and
    the Bhikkhu Sangha was held to be one in which the siladhara would receive ordination from
    an authorised bhikkhu preceptor. Moreover the convention of ‘seniority’ would apply as a
    relational guide. This is the case in the Bhikkhu and Bhikkhuni Vinaya, and also defines the
    relationship between the Bhikkhu and Bhikkhuni Sanghas as set up in the Vinaya. Such an
    understanding is basic to the monastic form; it was there at the beginning and was not a new
    structure imposed upon the nuns.
    Seniority isn’t a power structure
    The convention of seniority in Theravada Buddhism acknowledges that the Bhikkhu
    Sangha preceded that of the nuns. In daily life it covers matters of courtesy, like who sits
    where in a formal group gathering, who stands where in a queue for the meal, and who pays
    respects to whom in the act of formal greeting. Seniority also implies that the senior person in
    the relationship is expected to look after, encourage and otherwise offer support to the junior.
    However, the nuns may occupy positions of authority both in terms of teaching
    Dhamma, and of training members of their nuns’ community. They are shareholders of the
    charitable Trust that owns and is legally responsible for Amaravati and Cittaviveka. They also
    occupy positions on the Council of Elders that oversee ‘Sangha business’ in the group of
    monasteries that were established in the name of Ven. Ajahn Sumedho.
    It also has to be borne in mind that the aims and structures of Buddhist monastic life
    are not designed to implement power over each other, or power in terms of management,
    rather they are intended to establish the authority and inner strength to combat the fires of
    ignorance in one’s own mind. In this respect there is full equality of opportunity for women
    and men. That said, as unenlightened beings, we recognize that there also need to be
    safeguards against the abuses of position that may occur in the course of community life.
    The ‘five points’ and the future
    In the last few years, there has been growing divergence between the Bhikkhu Sangha
    and the Siladhara in terms of the understanding of the relationship between these two
    communities at Amaravati and Cittaviveka. At the same time, Ajahn Sumedho’s recent
    concern has been to firm up the understanding of the terms under which the Siladhara Order
    receives its authorisation from the Bhikkhu Sangha. Recognizing that he will pass away in
    due course of time, Ajahn Sumedho’s intention is that the Bhikkhu Sangha within these
    monasteries should act as guarantors of the Siladhara Order in the future, and that steps
    7
    should be taken now to carry this through. This is the origin of the ‘five points.’ Please bear in
    mind that these are not a manifesto of a global vision for all women who aspire to liberation,
    but a memo that outlines what these particular monasteries can offer. It seemed important to
    get these clearly laid down so that interested parties would know from the outset what they
    were committing to in terms of the relationship to the Bhikkhu Sangha. Then any aspirant
    could make an informed choice as to whether to get on board, or to look for another vehicle.
    We acknowledge that there may have been failings in the way that these five points
    were presented to the nuns, and some of us sense that this point will need to be addressed in
    the future. One agency that has been implemented to improve the process of feedback and
    consultation is that of a ‘liaison bhikkhu’ who should be acceptable and respected by the nuns
    and act as a channel of communication whenever dissonances arise in each dual-gender
    community. The intention is to continue to develop ways of improvement, this being the
    principle whereby the Buddha established the Vinaya.
    One of Ven. Ajahn Chah’s phrases about the mode and environment of Dhammapractice
    was that it should be ‘good enough’ for enlightenment. Whatever the feelings and
    views that may be aroused when a conservative Asian contemplative tradition meets the
    psychological zeitgeist of the modern West, our intention has always been to offer something
    ‘good enough’ – something both immediate and workable. Still this is no small matter. The
    Siladhara Order depends on the commitment of women of integrity to make it a lived-in
    reality, and we feel that the efforts and results of the nuns’ practice has been seriously
    understated in the articles that have been generated around this topic. This is unjust,
    particularly in the light of the rigor with which they apply themselves to their training.
    Meanwhile, the Siladhara Order is currently sending out a branch to America at the
    same time as it is receiving positive comments from the renowned bhikkhu-scholar P. A.
    Payutto2 and the acting head of the Thai Sangha, Somdet Buddhajahn. We hope that, modest
    as the origins of the Order have been, it may yet spread wherever there is interest in the
    Buddha’s teachings and be a source of light for both East and West.
    4. How to move on?
    Respect is an important quality in Buddhism. In its widest sense it means respect for
    Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha. It also means the quality of mutual respect between people
    and it was reiterated, specifically in terms of respect for elders, as a foundational principle by
    2 Tan Chao Khun Brahmagunaporn
    8
    the Buddha in his last days. Herein he defined it as one the seven causes of the long-lasting
    welfare of his dispensation.
    Respect for elders is signified in the very name for this tradition. ‘Theravada’ means ‘the
    way of the elders’ and the defining spirit of this way of Dhamma practice is one that can
    accurately be referred to as ‘conservative.’ It aims to conserve the way the teachings and the
    monastic discipline were formulated in the earliest days as a path to liberation. The
    movement to the West was not initiated in order to develop and modify Buddhism, but to
    continue the practice of Dhamma-Vinaya wherever lay people had made invitation and
    offered to support it. Nevertheless, if this meeting of timeless aspiration and contemporary
    contexts is conducted in harmony, the fine-tuning of how Dhamma-Vinaya is applied in the
    present is a natural consequence.
    Disharmony is an obstacle to this, and we wish that all of us who have concern in this
    area take steps to avoid the danger of polarization in the Buddhist world. Meanwhile, we
    hope that this preceding article has helped to generate the kind of understanding that can be
    a step in the right direction.
    9

    • Dear Bro Roni, with anjali

      With appreciation for your well-said sharing.

      Buddhism or more accurately, Buddha’s Dhamma/teachings IS TIMELESS,
      even applicable in our modern age and future age.

      WE NEED NOT CHANGE ANYTHING THAT IS TIMELESS.

      What we need to change is OURSELVES, OUR MORAL VALUES &
      OUR DISCIPLINES according to the Buddha’s teachings
      (it is not so much a teaching but it is DHAMMA,
      the true nature of our existence discovered
      by our Buddha)that cannot be taught or
      learned without experiencing it.

      We have no right to change the Dhamma,
      Dhamma changes by ITSELF.

      From my own reflection and comtemplation.
      Seek your forgiveness. Peace upon you and me.

    • Reflections after reading the WAM Statement of December 12.
      I hope the bhikkhuni sangha may thrive, in a wholesome relationship to the bhikkhu sangha, that there will be opportunities for men and women to train together and opportunities for them to practice in their own spaces.

      I hope the bhikkhunis and siladharas will… not remain as strangers, but will have frequent meetings, and opportunities for cross-training. May each siladhara nun obtain her ideal practice situation, in whatever form is optimal.

      I hope that lay persons will have the full spectrum of practice places, from being fully engaged in the world to full seclusion — without necessarily taking on the traditional forms, and without being alienated from the ordained sangha.

      In the Theravada, we put our faith in the early texts and grant them great authority, as if every chapter were really the word of the Buddha. By and large, this works for the harmony, fairness, and dignity of individuals and communities. That is part of the brilliance of the early texts.

      So I pray that monastic communities will thrive, which respect Dhamma-Vinaya as stated in the earliest text. And those monastic communities that have drifted away will leave us alone.

      I do not yet wish for multi-traditional monastic forms, but rather for friendship and frequent visitation among the traditions.

      p.s. The training situations for bhikkhunis are still far from perfect. We really could use your talents and energy to make it happen. The perks are: lots of work, lunch every day, and hope.

  27. Just what I expected. I am very grateful to the Thai Forest tradition to have opened their teachings and practise to Western disciples. But for me, it is time to move on now, wishing all the best to Ajahn Brahm and other innovators who hopefully will continue to bring a good and ancient teaching in line with modern conditions.

    Did I mention that this is a densely packed dhamma lesson to all of us?

  28. For those of us without Skype and/or unable to participate, could anyone give us a report of the meeting in Vancouver with Ajahn Sona? Many thanks to you Bhante Sujato and Anagarika Jason Chan and everyone else as well who has participated in one way or another in these forums and discussions, petitions and letters, for all your efforts, dialogue, research, reflections, openness and for keeping us informed.

    • Dear Linda and all,

      We tried to listen, but the skype connection was very poor sound and it kept dropping out, so we gave up. Anyone else have better luck?

    • Skype had bandwith problems due to the large number of people who were interested in participating in the call. This was probably because I posted the details on this thread, but did not foresee that unregistered persons would join or the bandwith problems.

      A mp3 will be out soon.

      >j<

  29. About the ” Bhikkhuni lineage died out” excuse:

    1. Didn’t a bhikkhuni from Sri Lanka named Sara traveled to China and ordained the bhikkhunis in China ? So can we really say that the bhikkhuni lineage died out?

    2. If we want to be technical about it, does it say in the Vinaya that the petavini ( preceptor bhikkhuni) has to Theraveda in particular, or is it a personal preference of later groups? We cannot say that this trivial rule that the preceptor bhikkhuni has to be Theravedan comes from the vinaya. The term Theraveda and Mahayana only came long after the parinibbana of the Buddha. It is an added preference of later group used to create unnecessary complications and obstructions for others on the spiritual path.

    3. According to the vinaya, it is possible for bhikkhus to ordain bhikkhuni even without a bhikkhuni preceptor. The Buddha established the dual ordination procedure to reduce any feelings of awkwardness the new bhikkhuni may have during the ceremony. Other than that, there is nothing wrong about ordination by bhikkhus only. So the Buddha didn’t revoked this original procedure, nor did he forbid the bhikkhus from ordaining bhikkhunis without a bhikkhuni sangha. If there is a bhikkhuni sangha available, then it is best to use the dual ordination procedure to avoid any feelings of discomfort the bhikkhuni may have. But when there is no bhikkhunis available , then it makes perfect sense to use the original ordination procedure , with bhikkhus only.

    About the ingratitude accusation:

    To go against one’s conscience in the name of gratitude is not much better. Besides, it is possible for Ajahn Brahm to follow his conscience and do what is needed to be done, while carry deep gratitude for the WPP monks in his heart. Others may say that AB is not grateful, but can we really get inside his heart and read it? To say that ordaining bhikkhunis means that he is ungrateful in his heart is inaccurate. It is more acurate to say that he didn’t blindly obey unjust discriminations. If being part of a group requires you to blindly obey wrong orders, then it is better off to not be a part of it.

    Let’s say you are part of a troup attacking a village, and they are ordered to rape innocent women. Everyone obeys, but you. Are you the one that is wrong or are the ones that obey wrong? You may be punish for not obeying orders, but morally, you are not wrong. When in this situation is it better to obey wrong orders or to follow your conscience? The ones that follow their conscience instead of wrong orders are rare and noble, unfortunately they are often punished for their noble decisions.

    • With all due respect, iMeditator, I think your example about a village attack and raping women is stretching the issue at hand.

      Personally speaking – and I am saying this with sympathy to all parties involved – all I can see is there is a number of highly respected people acting unenlightened on either side of the fence😉 Which is not per se a bad thing, it just is. If I needed any indication before that a long monastic career does NOT necessarily lead to full attainment, both parties have provided sufficient indication for this.
      But as they to my knowledge have never posed such a notion, this is nothing to be held against either of them.

      For me, the debate has become futile – what matters now imo is to create and support the structures that we – both from the lay and the monastic side – want to create. In my case, I know I will support the emerging bhikkhuni sangha. If they are allowed to call Forest tradition, Ajahn Chah tradition, Theravada tradition or what else or not, I don’t particularly care. It is all labels and about as meaningful as any other view.

      So, let the Elders of the WPP follow their path; whoever wants to choose different paths, make your own choices. At the end of the day, this is also Buddha’s teaching: no blind faith and believe, but experience through practice.

      Plenty opportunities are there … 🙂 So, for everyone now it is just a matter of putting one’s money where the mouth is …😉

      with metta,
      Ace

    • Dear Ace,

      The example was was meant to illustrate the issue of obeying wrong orders / giving in to peer pressure vs. following your heart ,conscience and truth. I don’t mean to say that the situation of obstructing women in the Noble Eightfold Path is as serious as attacking villages or raping women.

      The good thing about this issue is that both side agree that we should improve the practicing condition for women in the sangha. That is the important thing.

      With metta,

    • Dear iMeditation,

      Thanks for your remarks, all very pertinent – you’ve summed up a lot of the most commonly expressed opinions in a nutshell and given a sensible opinion on all of them.

      As far as the ‘lack of gratitude’ argument goes, many people seem to forget that Ajahn Brahm and myself, and many other western monks, have lived in Thailand, for many years. While we were there, we dedicated ourselves with utmost effort, anxiously making sure that we conformed to every tiny little expectation and custom, and bending over to the greatest extent possible to learn and practice the language and the ways of the people. In my case, this was taken so far that within a couple of years of sitting almost exclusively on the hard floor, my knees were shot; I ended up back in Perh to be able to look after them and since then have had two operations. We really did everything we could – and why? Because we truly believed that the Forest tradition was a wonderful thing, that it enabled us to live as close as we could to the Buddha’s own way of life, and the Vinaya that he prescribed for his followers.

      And that is why, when we returned to the West, we have dedicated many years to building forest monasteries, training students, speaking in praise of the forest tradition, spreading and establishing this spiritual order in a difficult and alien environment.

      When we do so, we begin to notice that there are some things about the forest tradition that are problematic – primarily, the hierarchical power structures and the exclusion of women. We notice that these areas fall down in several aspects: they are contrary to the ethics of the society in which we live; they are contrary to the Vinaya; and they, quite demonstrably, cause harm and suffering. So we try to reform these things, using the models offered in the Vinaya as a guideline. This is exactly what every generation of Sangha has done in its own way, including Ajahn Mun and Ajahn Chah. When Ajahn Chah changed some of the ways of practice that were done in the Ajahn Mun circles, was this from lack of gratitude? Of course not. It has nothing to do with it.

      The gratitude lies in the massive, lifetime effort, which is the very substance of our every day, to make this lifestyle possible in such an environment. In trying to ordain women, we are saying that we have so much gratitude for being able to live this life that we cannot, in all conscience, exclude 50% of humanity from this opportunity, simply on the basis of gender discrimination.

    • Dear Bhante Sujato,
      Thankyou for sharing from the heart and from an intelligent mind your experience and motivations… again.
      And everytime you do so, it is a blessing.
      In gratitude,
      belle

  30. This belongs down here …

    Anagarika Jason Chan :

    Benjie :
    Hi Anagarika
    With due respect, i wonder how you could meditate with peace when you blog so much with all these worldly concerns.
    You seem to be “gone forth” deep in the forest physically, but mentally you have not “gone forth” as your body is in the forest your mind in front of the PC. You probably have a lot of chattering in your mind while meditating. Poor thing, it is a torture for you both physically and mentally.Beware of MARA!

    Benjie, that’s a very good point as it raises a common misunderstanding about the nature of pratice.
    I can say from my personal experience it is possible, and that the assumption that it is not possible to contribute to the world intellectually and socially, and live a deep meditative life and the same time is incorrect. In fact, when done skillfully, rich intellectual and social engagement can deepen samadhi because these can help clear up doubts through investigation, sharpen insight as to the mechanisms of the mind, and highlight blindspots of delusion that are difficult to see in seclusion.
    Besides which, 30 minutes engaging in Dhamma conversation with spiritual companions is, I think, no so different to the same done face-to-face. Although I do think opinions expressed online tend to be more in-your-face than what you get face-to-face, ironically enough. It’s hard to know what is happening in other people’s minds. Nobody who knows me as a real person has criticised me for how secluded my practice is mentally.
    I would also invoke scriptural support on this one. There are many different styles of practitioners, some emphasising seclusion, some emphasising engagement, some emphasising both and they all received the Buddha’s praise (see the Mahagosinga Sutta MN 32). Importantly also, is they all received equal praise from theh Buddha.
    I hope this helps.
    >j<

  31. It is a pity that this discussion is now turning into a fault finding exercise..there are so many posts on Ven. Brahm’s, Bhante Sujato’s, Jason’s and even Ajahn Sumedho’s conduct and what they did wrong.

    Let me remind that the question remains ‘DOES THE ENGLISH AND WPP SANGA SUPPORT BHIKKHUNI ORDINATIONS AND IF SO WHAT STOPS THEM FROM MAKING IT HAPPEN’

    If they do not support bhikkhuni ordinations then we need to respect that position and move on without their support. If they do let’s iron out the sticky issues.

    Everything else about what someone said or did or did not do is irrelevant, non-productive and generates a lot of unskillful speech and actions.

    • Dear Guptila,
      I found the statement cited quite clear in that regard, reiterating the position already given before: Even though the Western Abbots sympathise with the arguments in favor of bhikkhuni ordination, they also appreciate the arguments against it and feel either way, this issue can only be resolved by approval of the “whole sangha” (obviously here meaning the whole Thai sangha as well).

      So they cannot accept bhikkhuni ordination as valid at present on this account and promote the siladhara movement as a suitable step forward to be successfully implemented as role model.

      There isn’t anything unambiguous in their statement imo, so from here I feel a clear separation of paths – one moving along the Bhikkhuni promotion, one with the siladhara movement.

      I fully respect any woman’s wish to follow either path and wish them full success in their endeavours. As I feel that my position is clear, it’s time for me to leave this debate, so may you all be well and fi d your right path to attain enlightenment🙂

    • Hi Ace,
      Unfortunately, I have not seen a single statement from either the English or the WPP Sangha stating that they fully support bhikkhuni ordinations. You are right they have made many ambiguous statements to the effect that they like the idea but at the same time they are unable to hurt the feelings of the Thai Sangha hierarchy. Unless they can provide clear evidence in the vinaya as to why women should not be ordained, this is simply a lack of courage to stand by what the Buddha himself endorsed and acted upon. I appreciate their loyalty to the Thai Sangha but disappointed at the lack of loyalty to the Buddha and the vinaya. I see the Siladhara program as mechanism to keep both the women and the Thai Sangha hierarchy happy. Unfortunately, people who compromise their beliefs in order to keep everyone else happy usually pay a big price – the loss of respect from everyone who they tried to keep happy in the first place. If I were a gambler, I would bet on the Siladhara scheme becoming irrelevant in the very near future.

      Thanks for putting your ideas across and I am sad to see you leaving this forum. I wish you happiness.

  32. The Buddha was the greatest teacher who could teach nearly all sorts of human and heavenly beings. Ordinary beings have limited abilities. Not all beings can teach.

    Is it possible that some of those who said they supported the revival of the Bhikkhuni Sangha do actually support it with their heart BUT they themselves know their limitations: they don’t have the ability to teach Bhikkhunis or even deal with Bhikkhunis?

    If it’s the case, then we should try to empathise with their limitations. After all, they are not Buddhas.

    Just my two cents.

    • Hi,

      I found the link to this on Ajahn Punnadhammo’s blog. I am posting it here because it gives us another piece of the puzzle and I think that is useful.

      http://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/Writings/CrossIndexed/Uncollected/MiscEssays/The%20Traditions%20Of%20The%20Noble%20Ones.pdf

      Whether this essay offers an accurate explanation of even some of the motivations behind the most current WAM statement, well, of course I cannot say…

      But perhaps it may help us to hold them in our minds with more compassion; more compassion can only be good for all of us who wish to support both Sanghas.

    • I agree when Ajahn Punnadhammo wrote that “Dhammavinaya is about transcending this conditioned realm, not trying to make everything perfect here, which can never be.” And I would like to add that what we are doing is helping the the other 50 % of the population do just that by trying to provide the necessary conditions so that they can have hope of actually transcending the conditioned realm. The dhamma is mainly about trancending the conditioned realm and helping others do the same.

      The chances of actually transcending the conditioned realm are greatly reduced when the proper practicing conditions prescibed by the Buddha are not available them. Many monks would agree that even with the proper practicing conditions available, transcending this realm is not a piece of cake. How much harder would it be without it. Here we are not just talking about transcending the conditioned realm, but we are actually making the effort to do so, and it is extremely necessary to be practical in our approach if we are to succeed in this endeavor.

  33. I really can’t get my head around this whole matter.

    Reading Ajahn Mun’s life, it seems he went against the grain, stirred up the authorities and the Sangha, but if he hadn’t we might not have the Thai Forest Tradition today. It just feels like the WPP monks are preserving a tradition without actually acknowledging what had to happen in order for that tradition to come about, the threat of schism, the ‘ingratitude’ to other teachers, the disrespect to the Thai State etc. Everything which they have accused dear Ajahn Brahm with!

    The early schisms in Buddhism as I’ve been told came about through disagreements on how strictly to keep to the Vinaya. If there is a case in the Vinaya for women to be ordained, then surely it is those opposing this for reasons of their loyalty to the Thai state who are not following the Theravada tradition and not holding to the rules conservatively or strictly enough due to their situation.

    Trying to look on the positive side, I was ignorant of this whole prejudice in the English Sangha, I know now if I ever become worthy enough to ordain, it won’t be here. And in the almost symbiotic relationship of monk/nun and laywoman/layman of course my support will go to those who would support me. Very sad when genorosity stops being spontaneous and instead becomes conditional.

    • With due respect, i think what all of us are pointing at is on the technicality of the Vinaya (AB major in metaphysic, like a scientist). IMO, there is much more than just the technical aspect of the Vinaya. Technically, it may be correct but more important than that is also other aspects in terms of the right timing, the right approach, the right people and the right situation. It is like IQ vs EQ.

      IQ + EQ = WISDOM. In this case there is lot of IQ but no EQ.

      The best thing to do now is let the dust settle otherwise we cannot “see things” clearly.Just like, when the water is boiling we cannot see what is in the bottom of the kettle until it is cooled down.

      We must NOT always use our heads but we must use more of our hearts too in dealing with this issue.

      We analyse too much until we become paralysed. BE COOL, Babe.

  34. sujato :

    We notice that these areas fall down in several aspects: they are contrary to the ethics of the society in which we live; they are contrary to the Vinaya; and they, quite demonstrably, cause harm and suffering. So we try to reform these things, using the models offered in the Vinaya as a guideline. …

    Dear Ajahn Sujato,

    Sorry to hear about your knees. May you be healthy and contented.

    Many are drawn to the Forest Tradition because it was known to abide closely to the Buddha’s teachings. Personally, I really appreciate the Forest Tradition for this. But I agree that “the contemporary (non)ordination situation for women has been seen by many as a stain on an otherwise Bright Picture”. Upon closer examination, there is no valid Vinaya reason to oppose bhikkhuni ordination. Sadly the practice of forbidding women was allowed to go on for many centuries. I don’t feel that the recent ordination is 2 weeks early. It is 1000 years late. And no one is responsible for it. And here AB is being chewed up just for 2 weeks early.

    I feel that gratitude doesn’t necessarily means blind obedience. It is possible to not agree with something your parents do/ believe, and still feel deep gratitude towards them for bringing you up.

    • Wonderful interview, absolutely wonderful.

      It echoes many of the reasons people and myself turned to Buddhism, to find another choice other than fundamental dogmatism in their religions, to be able to ask and question and investigate and be offered real answers.

      The last paragraph echoes my feelings over the ordination issue, that it is threatening to move some of these monks out of their happy, comfort zones and into less charted territories. It must be scary and it reminds me of the worm in the dungpile story. Sometimes people will cling to what is safe, known, comfortable to the end if need be and go to extreme lengths to protect their situations.

      I hope the dedication, compassion and wisdom of all involved can reach out and show anyone who is frightened that there is nothing to be afraid of here.

  35. Dear Bhikkhu Sujato, I have only recently started reading this blog because your honesty and sincerety and fearlessness is so refreshing. I feel better and hopeful when I know this. I also learn so much from you and the other contributors about so much e.g. the history of the vinaya – the diferent points of view – it’s wonderful. Today I read this piece below by Ajahn Thanasanti, who also seems to be honest and sincere and fearless in her aspiration to really get to the bottom of what is going wrong here. Because all good hearted people want to know what is going wrong – so that we can get back to what the Buddha taught to guide us to freedom. We all often speak as if the siladhara becoming bhikkhuni would be the end of the problem – we would all celebrate – everyone would be happy and freedom bound. But I’ve often thought not – because as much as some of the monks have wrong view – so do some of the nuns. As as a lay woman, particularly asian, the nuns can already be very superior and treat us like servants. Ajahn Thanasanti raises additional question about bhikkhuni vinaya and nuns below. We have said lots of honest and hard things about the senior monks – so can we look at the nuns too – not for the sake of judgement – but so that when we make decisions, we make them to a true and honest end that frees us all – monks and nuns and laymen and laywomen as equal human beings with same aspiration, but different circumstances. With deepest respect Bhante and all friends. Comment from Ajahn Thanasanti. The Bhikkuni vinaya has matters of controversy laced with in it: the garudhammas, the restriction on ordaining more than one candidate every 2 years, the extra 4 parajika offenses 2 of them are related to sexual behaviour that I understand as implicit with the assumption that women are lustful and have power over men, the change of fundamental principles in vinaya with the sanghadisesa offense for a nun to travel alone- in the other sanghadisesa offenses it is related to intention of the person not the possible consequences others that the action would result…. to name a few. So as I see it the prejudice towards women is embedded in the Bhikhuni vinaya and will need to be carefully considered in order that we don’t just move a mess into another box. But as has been stated and certainly anyone living in a community of nuns would know from direct experience, sometimes the biggest obstacle to change is not in finding platforms for discussion with the authorities and making those changes, but the painful work of seeing how some nuns are so invested in the dysfunctional relationship with the monks and the imbalance of power that creates, that they fight withl all their force to defend it and don’t mind betraying or undermining other nuns in the process . This work, is no small or insignificant work. Untill there are nuns who are willing AND able to do this work, no amount of structural changes are gong to have significant and lasting effect, because a serious contributing factor is what we carry in ourselves.


    Metta,
    Thanasanti

  36. About the Vinaya, we need to look into what the reasons behind each rules: safety of women when travel, limitation of living quarters,indian tradition in those time,etc.

    There are women who want to be fully ordain, but still have many attachments, status, securities,etc., they often raise these kind of issues. So, let’s get beyone them!

    As we know, the Buddha did not write the Vinaya himself, so whoever wrote them-bhikkhus, may have some influences on the out come. Let’s praise the Budddha for allowing women to be his disciples and women who are inspired have faith in the three jewels!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s