White Bones Red Rot Black Snakes

Finally, it’s ready to publish. This is the book I’ve been working on in the background for several years now: White Bones Red Rot Black Snakes. Now you can get it through Santipada: you can buy it from Lulu in paperback, or download the pdf file for free – I recommend get both versions. I hope to make it available in a variety of other formats, but don’t hold your breath.

White Bones is a massive project, 200 000 words. It’s been a labor of love for me, and I’ve lavished much time and effort to making it just right.

For the rest of the rains retreat, I will be visiting this blog rarely if ever, so this can be something to tide you over till next time. I’d like to engage in a conversation with you about the issues involved in the book. I’m thinking of doing something of a study course with it after the vassa – maybe a chapter per week, with excerpts and discussion.

The book is designed to be read slowly and reflectively. I took my stylistic inspiration from some of the early 20th century writers on mythology, especially James Frazer. I love the way he sets out a simple problem, and then in the course of systematically pursuing the matter at hand, he surveys a vast range of material, all while keeping the original point in mind. Mythology has this wandering, meandering quality, taking everything in as it somehow, despite all appearances, moves towards its inevitable conclusion.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.


56 thoughts on “White Bones Red Rot Black Snakes

  1. 200,000 words I would have thought one word or sentence would cover how men see women wouldn’t it “bodies I like bodies I don’t ” does what I want doesn’t do what I want.??

  2. Just had a quick browse through it. Beautiful work, Banthe! The PDF’s for personal reading on my iPad and I’ll order the Lulu version for the library of the Bhikkhunis at Dhammasara monastery…

  3. I wish you well for a peaceful, insightful and fruitful Vassa. Congratulations on the book. I’ve just ordered it at Lulu. Thank you! Metta.

  4. Hello Bhante, thanks a lot, i look forward to reading the finished product. . .

    also kind of on topic, thought to post this here:

  5. Sâdhu, sâdhu, sâdhu for the obviously dedicated and minute creation of this book. I’d love to download the PDF, but for reasons that are beyond my grasp, Lulu won’t allow this. “Forbidden – You do not have access to the page you requested.”

    Creating an account does not seem to help either. Any solutions?

    • Please try again. I’ve change the upload, so now you will get it from a third party download site. It imposes a short delay in downloading, but otherwise seems to work okay. If anyone has a better suggestion, please let me know.

      Unfortunately I can’t host WBRRBS directly on WordPresss, as it’s over the 8MB limit that WordPress gives me for files, and I can’t reduce it below that limit while maintaining a decent quality for the images.

      Also, there has been some problem with the files on Lulu: I hope this has now been corrected, but please let me know if there’s any future problem.

  6. Bhante Sujato,

    I am sure and hope this book will be fundamental in overcoming the non-existance or misunderstanding of the other half of the human race that are not males ((: “the sex that can fertilize female reproductive cells” that is apparently all that a male is according to the Collins dictionary definition – could not have done better myself – I like it! – just kiddin’)

    It is is very obvioulsy beautifully written and illustrated …..although a few pictures of naked men would maybe have been good for the women too – again seriously just kiddin’ 🙂


  7. Bhante

    Re White Bones

    In all due respects and given I haven’t seen the book, isn’t this a case of using a sledgehammer to crack a nut?

    Observing the recent bhikkhuni ordination issue, it appears to me as just another example of sexism in a male dominated industry. You could have equally looked at the construction industry (but without the unions – now there’s an idea – how cool was Jack Mundey…google him Ratanadhammo). Admittedly the issue of celibacy does give it a kind of unusual psychosexual dynamic.

    I’d start with this before going into mythological study. Surely a straightforward explanation is more practical. As you would know, these power relationships are issues secular society has been grappling with over the last several hundred years.

    Personally, I’m waiting for your next book, “Rebirth Explained: for the Sceptic”. I’ll certainly be ordering that one.

    Hope the rains keeps up for the Rains lol



    • Geoff,

      You haven’t presented enough sincerity or intellectual vigor for me to care enough to google something just because you’ve mentioned it in a comment at this blog.

      Google harping, as harping is about all you keep doing around here.

      Anyway, the link between attachment from moment to moment and becoming from moment to moment, all of which appears to be continuous to the ignoramus, really isn’t all that complicated.

    • Geoff,

      Sorry for butting in here – typical female thing to do oh umm but I would just like to say As a female while sexism does exist there is also alot of progress and alot of positive areas in society whereby sexism is not a problem.

      There is latent sexism which I am sure in my naivety I have missed while growing but I had never even heard of such a thing until I was in my late twenties – my friends and I had opportunies equal to and above males, we did what we want, we were encouraged in careers equal to men (ie at one school I went to if you did not aim to be a top academic or executive or something you were considered pretty much a failure and of no interest to the school – it was an all girls school.

      So it is pretty much a shock to go to a religion like Buddhism and to hit this brick wall or these attitudes towards women. It seems it is religion that needs the attention with regards to equal opportunities for women – not the community so much; religion seems to be the area stuck in this area more than anywhere.


  8. Ratanadhammo

    How much time do you spend blogging?

    I reckon you have too much time on your hands. I reckon you need to get out of the house (monastery?) more and do something useful, like helping people who need it.

    This is all getting a little personal so I’ll leave it at that.

    All the best


    • Geoff,

      I spend my time trying to engage others in understanding profound teachings. Based only on your comments here, it seems like you spend a ridiculous amount of time on the internet taking delight in trying to pull at threads to see if a profound teaching will unravel.

      In all sincerity, I have learned a great deal from these discussions. Your questions have helped me understand the importance of thinking of samsaric existence as a moment to moment reality, such that the point of DO becomes a bit clearer.

      Re helping others, you’re right. The Buddha’s teaching points to the conclusion that nothing truly important can be achieved in isolation. Skillful moral practices and cultivating the brahmaviharas are important to reducing suffering in samsara and penetrating the truth of anatta.


  9. Ratanadhammo


    With all due respects but…

    I haven’t engaged with you in any discussion because I feel I have already seen enough of your views when exchanging with Glenn Wallis et al.

    For your information Bhante knows me as a regular attendee at his Friday night talks in North Sydney for the last 18 months. I’m not just a blow in.

    All the best


  10. Dear dhamma,

    As I have mentioned earlier, coming in on the debate about 18 months ago I was astounded by the Bhikkhuni Ordination issue.

    I couldn’t believe in the 21st century there was such a huge issue over whether men and women should be treated equally.

    These are issues the West started grappling with over 100 years ago when finally women won the right to vote. Incidently Australia was one of the first countries in the late 19th century to give women the right to vote. As you probably know, the women’s movement gained strength pushing for issues such as equal pay and conditions in the workplace from the 1960’s.

    By comparison, from what I can gather, monasticism has a lot of catching up to do. Unfortunately the passivity of women in the Buddhist community gets taken advantage of, just as it does in secular society.

    I don’t understand why Bhante feels the need to develop some elaborate history of Buddhist mythology to explain this. Just as in secular society, it primarily just comes down to unequal power and unfortunately agitation is the only way its likely to change.

    Of course the power elites in Buddhist communities resist change by saying agitation is unbuddhist behaviour, especially in females.



    • HI Geoff,

      I thought I would find Ajahn Sujato’s book abit too confronting and wasn’t actually going to read it (like who cares what men or history say about women anyway – in the end it is their karma anyway) but from the couple of pages I have read it just kinda rings true and the comparison between the lovelyness of what and how womenhood should be and is… when compared to the way certain twisted minds see it through their lust and fear I found to be the perfect antidote to a somewhat fragmented day.

      I sure he won’t let the reader rest for too long in how things should be or really are and the perils of samsara will again rear their ugly head along with the academic challenges of deciphering the meaning of his writing, but I think anything that helps change the demented way people few the female gender is well worth a read – especially for men.

      Being able to vote was I guess a pretty big think in the 1960’s the freedom to choose is something we should all have although I sometimes fail to see the attraction of being a “worker” that most men have had to endure for centuries – having money at the end of the day and hopefully contributing something to society is I suppose the point of being enslaved to the workplace like most men are but I think “women in the home” contribute to society as well.

      It makes men feel important I suppose, but at least women can choose to work or be “women in the home” as the Buddha put it; where as men just seem to have to slave away at the mercy of their employers although sometimes I think they make as good if not better “men in the home” than women.

      I think we only need to look at women like Hilary Clinton to see that whether men like it or not women get their say – is karma not the only real measure of power and justice if so then if what men or society do with regards to racism, sexism or any other ism it will not be the victim that suffers the most, but the perpertator.

    • Dear Geoff,

      I am glad you are sharing your perspective.
      I read the following somewhere – sorry can’t remember, but it goes something like this:

      “The stories that we tell are what propell change in the world.”

      I am not an expert in mythology,
      but our human narratives,
      whether born from the Buddha and his sons and daughters mouths,
      born from the blogoshpere or the pen of an ancient philosopher,
      the spin of a political communications guru
      a Monsanto marketing executive
      Martin Luther King
      Master Lin Ji
      mirror and propell our individual and societal/familial/cultural consciousnesses

      They are part of our every day canvass of mental formations
      Inseparable from “us”
      unless we shine a great big light on them.

      I understand what you are saying and I kind of agree in a way! I too feel sometimes that things are really quite simple. But it can be quite a complex matter to bring simple things ito people’s awareness!

      I also appreciate Bhante’s love and understanding of mythology and I am so looking forward to reading it.

      I know it will inform my own exploration of the human narrative and how it influences my understanding of Atta (Anatta), my own dance with identity, and the dance of the world around us with it.

      I think when we understand the roots of what has grown into a big gnarly mess of wrong view, it will be easier to uproot it and to plant and water different seeds.

      Let’s read it. If just a little.
      And see if we can find a seed or two to water?


    • Karuna,

      You’ve expressed something of what I’ve been sort of feeling while reading WBRRBS!

      I’m up to about page 150 or something and after a bit said to someone that “I feel like I’m about to explode!” Bhante Sujato has begun an exploration of paradigms that are unfamiliar or rather familiar but are being re-conceptualised in a way I’d not been able to come at before. To say I’m finding his approach to be very much akin to a fascinating journey of re-discovering and re-orienting would be accurate at present. I think I may have to re-read the whole thing again at another time – next time including the footnotes as well, which at present I’m ignoring in my eagerness to devour the primary text that is before me!!!

      I certainly recommend it and recommend bearing with him in the direction he takes. I can’t wait to see where I’m taken to next and I can’t wait to observe what meaning I make of it!!

      As far as ‘myth’ goes… I think I’ve moved on (a little bit) from the questions I posed to Bhante in that previous recent thread on the topic. It seems to me, in the style of certain Buddhist categorising, myth is not truth, myth is not untruth, myth is not neither truth or untruth!! It is a quite different creature altogether and to see this requires much telling of tales and pointing out of directions. It cannot be told (to me anyway) what mythi is in a mere few words because our ‘normal’ paradigms do not include this understanding and so cannot point to it. It requires a round about conceptual journey before we come to the point. And for me, it is such a new thing that this is the best I can do to articulate what I’m seeing at present.

      So far I can report that is not a book about ‘woman’ in the sense of this word’s common and varied meanings. It is more about our collective humanity. As a practitioner I’m finding it an amazing read. I’m particularly fascinated by Bhante’s exploration of the 5 aggregates. All in all a great read!

      Metta, K

    • Great post, Karuna. Thanks. Personally I love mythology as it expresses deep ‘truths’ (individual & collective) in ways that are different than other ways of seeing/exploring.
      Opens up/uncovers a different perspectives on the imagination of the world/our worlds, so to speak. And I think therein lies the power in myths of all cultures, fairytales, stories, etc.


    • And Kachana’s… I think I was lumping both of your posts together–sorry. I totally agree:
      “It seems to me, in the style of certain Buddhist categorising, myth is not truth, myth is not untruth, myth is not neither truth or untruth!! It is a quite different creature altogether and to see this requires much telling of tales and pointing out of directions.”
      I am really looking forward to reading Bhante’s new book.

    • Dear Bhante,
      Dear Kanchana and Linda,
      Received my Lulu delivery.
      Oooh! Is it allowed to enjoy a good read as much as this?
      Wonderful contribution Bhante. As with your other contributions, like the Swift Pair of Messengers and Bhikkhuni Vinaya – should be recommended reading in Buddhist (and other) Studies at Unis and great companions for practitioners and Dhamma teachers.

    • I also just got my copy, Karuna, and am so looking forward to reading–have just skimmed very briefly as I couldn’t wait 🙂

      I am really hoping Bhante will start a discussion thread on it when the rains are over (though I have no idea how he finds time to do all he already does anyway

  11. The issue of female ordination and the femine in Buddhism finding a voice is all well and good – but consider the other aspect of it – with so many women coming to Buddhism could it also be a convenient way for male monastic to “get rid of women and women followers” so that the males can get on with the business of Buddhism.

    In alternate traditions after student are attracted to Buddhism with impressive, qualified teachers and lamas they then dump these people onto women monastics – they have got them, in they have served their purpose then they are gotten rid off – except of course maybe the ones that would help their images or possibly even make good wives.

    While on the surface it all seem fair and just – is it just another way of pushing women away by – forcing them under the domination of dominating women and sidelining them into oblivion or survitude to other women who may be no more or less sexist than their male conterparts.

    • Interesting observations! I am keen to know if or how you see any of this reflected in Bhante’s book, the topic of this thread. And now I will stop posting and start reading!

    • Hi Lisa,

      No I think Ajahn Sujato is spot on and realistic in his understandings regarding men and women – although can’t say I have read the book yet and I wasn’t talking about his book.

      I just have this nagging feeling that there is something missing still in the female, male balance – with regards to Buddhism – that all is not right but just don’t know what it is.

      Does anyone else feel this – any thoughts would be appreciated.

      Also I am not blaming men maybe it is women that haven’t got it right any way I am probably just being paranoid and maybe it is just me.


    • If it is fiding it’s voice through men I wouldn’t say that is really finding it’s voice. It will be interesting to see ifm in the future, there will be greater division or unification between the genders within the Buddhist comunity and who will be the facilitators,

    • I see what you mean Peter, but isn’t it great for men to see and understand gender issues – why is it always left up to women?

      Also from a women’s point of view I like to see how men view women and that a man can actually see women in three dimensional view rather than as one dimentional ie mother, look – image, whore etc from what I have read of Bhante’s book he does capture the reality of women as they are and this is exceptionally rare in a man and in fact non-existance in my experience .. except occasionally in men that may have had 6 – 8 sisters and a single mother or something.

      Does AS have eight sisters by any chance?

      Just as I asked teh question above the answer I think came into my head – ultimately I think anyway that until while we see the Buddha as a male and not as a being without gender/ sexuality ie the balance will be wrong! any way just my thoughts.

      .. I will now shut up and get back to reading the book and stop going off topic!

  12. Dear Bhante,
    Hurrah hurrah hurrah! and Lulu is offering big discounts these days too. Hurrah!
    Thank you for your immense dedication, hard work and apparent ability to man the time machine stationed behind Santi.
    Hope this Vassa is one of great friendship, peace and quiet for you.

  13. Right, have got to almost the end of page 296 and feel inspired to say that while this gradual stripping away of potential mythic and even mythic-political layers about the Buddha’s life is quite refreshing…invigorating infact! If someone had said that this is what WBRRBS was about I might have been offended into not reading it!!

    But… It hasn’t been like that at all. I’ve always felt myself to linger more on the side of ‘open’, as opposed to on the side of ‘skeptic’ and so feel no difference in terms of how I view my Practise or this Path.

    What I am finding…perhaps some what oddly…is that *instead* of feeling that the being I had conceptualised in my head as the Buddha was taken further away from me…I felt that he and Ananda were brought closer. They were real. Even odder is the fact that somehow I feel my own real-ness more acutely and more ‘grounded-ly’, ‘present-ly’, as a result.

    Really ‘am loving this book!! Nice job so far Bhante! ‘Am gleefully taking myself back to it now to see where I go to next!

  14. Hi Bhante Sujato, Brahm, Brahmali

    I hope you find this post at some time.

    I live in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney – up here there are alot of different Buddhist and religious groups including nutta’s but hey so what.

    I am sure having a diversity of groups and especially Buddhist groups is a good thing and of course they do alot of good and help alot of people.

    After having read your posts and blogs and listening to the teachings of Ajahn Brahm and yourselves and reading some of the Buddha’s original teaching I feel some concern that some of the groups up here all seem to have the same theme – that is subserviance and/or obediance to a group or guru or particular type of thinking that has diverged considerably from what it seems the Buddha actually taught; although I do believe they are all good and do alot of good – hopefully.

    It annoys me though and I can’t help but think that maybe they are abit misleading and are not allowing the freedom Buddhism should allow and even though I consider myself a Buddhist in many ways I personally no longer go to any of these groups because I am too afraid of getting involved in the power stuctures and am sick of the hierachy of the so called Sangha’s of these groups.

    While I do not believe this is harmful and from what I have read here you and the other monks do agree that there is more to Buddhism than just following the Buddha’swords – and I believe the groups do help people and I have helped me and other people alot – I do feel concern that people have completely lost connection with the actual teachings of the Buddha or do not even no that these exist.

    For me personally I was completely disappointed to find the hierachical nature of Buddhism that is present because I went there thinking and looking for amongst other things freedom – because I though this was what the Buddha taught.

    My family have lived close to this area for many generations and I would like to feel that Buddhism is developing here in the best way possible; but as a (sort of) local of the area I just do feel a little uneasy about these little secretive groups of Buddhist and the way they seem to make people reliant and subserviance to the group rather than understanding the Dharma itself.

    May be I am wrong in asking this; maybe I should just butt out and mind my own business; maybe I would be doing more harm than good – maybe they are doing this for good reason???if you agree then please tell me the truth and I will not make any more request of this nature but …… and I would like to hear your view on this also ……

    I would like to request that either you advertise in the Blue Mountains if you feel this is beneficial or at least not harmful to you or that you direct me to where I can find material so that I can advertise up here on local notice boards to give references to sites and books etc that can give people a chance to actually access the original teachings of the Buddha rather than having to commit themselves to being subserviant to the hierachy of these groups.

    I can be contacted by email: mountains.blue@yahoo.com.au


    Blue Mountains

    • Dear Mountains Blue,
      I find your candid comments refreshing and I may be wading through a similar spiritual space – Bhante’s book certainly adds to the refreshing winds blowing through our Buddha consciousness.
      From what little I understand of Zen, the Zen master regularly endeavours to challenge us in a couple of areas – first – our own compass, our own wisdom, born of our own experience – in order for us to develop the discipline of trusting the heart rather than seeking answers from outside. The second, I guess within the first, to lead us away from conceptual thinking – and into the heartspace – the natural arising of wisdom – tricking, cajoling, challenging us to return to the source.
      The human social structures – including Sanghas – can be so beneficial – necessary – as you say – really helpful on the path – we go to them for refuge – but they have their limitations – and – can in their human-ness lead us away from out hearts and from the truth.
      Bhante’s book unveils a few layers of this dynamic as they unfold around a certain human problem (male female identity consciousness, narratives, social Sangha structures)
      I like to hope we may have conversations around Sangha building – how to build Sangha that embodies inclusiveness – transparency, and makes us feel at ease. How do we build a Sangha like that? Or let’s not talk about it let’s just do it! If we cannot transform the secretive Sanghas, we gravitate to the wiser – or commit to creating a new community that is inclusive. Or, we walk in the forest alone, with the alms bowl…. or….

    • Hi Karuna,

      Thank you for your interesting response Karuan

      I find the it all a dilemma at the moment – the challenges that the secretive sects pose for me at present, having so many other challenges in me life are an extra problem that is un-asked for and pushing me to the breaking point.

      Ideally I would like to do my job which is challanging enough and go and learn about the dharma from people who are well trained, mature and competent in their own practise and then incorporate the challenges when I feel i can and it would be great to have a supportive Sangha.

      Instead the secretive sects some of which I use to belong are always pushing and dominate, constantly harassing and forging and asserting their superiority in all aspects of life – they call this compassion??? Even if you leave it makes no difference they continue with their mantras and powers to try to force and dominate your life.

      While they demand secrecy for themselves their is none for their followers of course and force and demand respect for themselves and even to (men and women and kids) to respect and be obediant to their ordained – and this applys to children – yes you must be obedient to their children (how does that work) because of their karmic inheritance which is all that seem to matter this is apparently why – and it seems for lay people and followers there is no privacy or secrecy allowed – only for them “thesuperior dominators of the universe” who punish and control at their will because they seem to think their superioity is with out question – and they are apparently the Buddhas – and they are so superior that they have managed to attain buddhahood at ages of 10 – 20 therefore the lay people must be the slaves to these apparent Buddhas of 10 – 20 years of age – what fun that is for people in their 40 – 50

      It is not a really a male female issue – because of course being as superior as they like to think they are work this problem out long ago – of course the lamas saw the “use” of women being the enforcers of their dharma and they use them to especially the young girls as the enforcers; it is very convenient to have sweet looking young girls out their forging their superioity – less conspicuous than grown men – it is easy for these coward to hide behind young girls. I was just told the other day by a women she was going to help out a rinpoche but that there is a women with him “who is a real b….” even still she was told she had to do what the women said…. convenient to have women as the hated ones so they can be seem as the loved one.s

      This is more I guess and issue of freedome and rights – that Buddhist cults are using their will power and mantras to forceably dominate and control others and while claiming to be compassionate, they don’t care for anything – it seems asserting their dominance over others because they consider they are the most compassionate people therefore have this right.

      It is a miserable path and their constant mind control techniques have just about done me in – we are slaves to their yeshes and choden their young 30 year old brutes who force their will on us to worship th ground they walk on – with all the lamas and empowerment the yeshes and chodens have with their mothers and nuns supporting them, spoiling them, spending every second building up these girls to be our masters and us their slaves it seem they are winning – I am sure they will even have Ajahn Brahm bowing at their feet being their little slave boy.

      Sorry I am tired – I think they have done me in.

      While this might sound crazy to you I can assure you it is what is happening

      Any responses or views on this situation would be appreciated.

  15. …with regards to my last post …a work of caution; if advertising in the Blue Mountains references to sites, books etc may need to be those that are not hightly or overly academic, intellectual or technical….most people up here like to think they are artist, musical, kind and caring people etc etc and might be put off if Buddhism is offered as a purely intellectual exercise.

    • Dear Blue Mountains,
      In response to your post on August 7,
      What a burden.
      You can do this on yor own for a while.
      And listen to Dhamma talks online that resonate? Apart from Bhante Brahm, may I suggest the plum village online monastery? (love that name 🙂 http://stream.pvweb.org/
      The support of a Sangha is invaluable. But you have your own resources – and you are the source.
      Most people can surely sympathize with what you have gone through. (but mind the posts here on Bhante’s blog are not always friendly and fluffy!)
      It was hard to suspend practice with a particular Sangha that I spent a lot of time with. But it was in the end a very positive step. I feel very strongly that one’s Sangha must be rooted in Right View and if not – as we have both experienced personally, they can do a lot of damage to their own and to the wider Buddhist community both physically and spiritually. As individual Sangha members we can only contribute to change so much. If change is not happening then gravitate to the wise.
      I have to remind myself that the journey for the most part has been one of miracles, and great happiness. And that ultimately, this miracle and this happiness dwells within this being – they were only called up or mirrored or nourished by the good Sanghas I spent time with.
      Truly, may you find good friends as you walk through this life. This world is our temple and Sangha and is full of beauty and nourishment. Especially the Blue Mountains!!!
      Be well, Dear Friend. _/\_

    • Thanks Karuna,

      I agree but feel that Sanghas or groups really are not for me, while they have been benefical I believe that as you say the source comes from within and as one gets older playing around and tolerance without side forces, the ruthlessness and selfishness of the youth that the lamas and teachers love and support so much, all the tests and games and lessons etc that the alternative groups play, etc etc have for me been a lesson and purified alot of karma and as much as my last teacher was a great inspiration I knew in my heart that it would be the last time I ever connected with a buddhist teacher or group in such a way – I have never really liked groups and and although lay sanghas claim to be supportive etc mostly they are really are just people out for there own recognition, place in the hierachy, or to get close to a teacher etc, and to get rid of people.

      I will never ever join another “group” I am over it – maybe they are for the next generation to prove test their authority, power and opinions in – I prefer solitude and the occasional excursion into cyberspace – so am happy to leave the groups and organisations to the those that want that and crave the power and position, security and authority they give them and to stick to solitude …the Buddha said be your own refuge etc.. my belief that sanghas are their to support each other, lay or ordain, long since vanished I am afraid.

      Best Wishes

      Best wishes.

  16. Bhante

    Its not easy to do what you are doing so I just wanted to say thanks. I hope one day I can return to Santi. I will never forget it. Have a good rains.

  17. Bhante

    Thought I would put this under this post as I figure you are more likely to read it….

    You don’t have to be a social researcher to read something from the number of responses to the secular postings compared to others such as this one.

    Not that I would expect it to deter you from launching into your series of postings on your new book on Buddhist mythology (and continue to pay little more than lip service to secular concerns)….

    Concerns such as: “why should anyone give their (hard earned after tax) money to a group of voluntary renunciants when there are involuntary starving people in the world?”

    (eg East Africa is facing the world’s most severe famine. The combination of drought and ongoing conflict has affected more than 12 million people – resulting in an extraordinary crisis.)

    Also other small matters such as: “how does craving ACTUALLY lead to rebirth?” (i.e. can be scientifically verified as you claim Stevenson has done with rebirth per se.)

    By the way I gave my $100 to East Africa rather than Santi. Hope you don’t mind. Hope that’s not a mark against me for my rebirth. Lol



    • I think Ahjahn Sujato is on Rains Retreat until October isn’t he – he won’t be responding to anyones (not just yours as he hasn’t responded to mine either) comments or questions on Dhamma (except for issues regarding the Nepalese Nun) until after the rains retreat didn’t he?

      Possibly that is why there are no comments on the book yet.

      Also I think he said in another post that the book will take time to read and it needs to be read slowly so possibly people are busy reading the book??

  18. I remember asking Bhante Sujato in person several months ago for his explanation on why present day Western born monks can be so strongly against the ordination of women, as I found it incredible.

    Bhante didn’t really answer but said to read his forthcoming book on Buddhist mythology.

    I have to say I haven’t read the book but do I need to wade through several hundred pages to get an answer to my question?

    Isn’t there a fairly simple explanation? Isn’t it just the case of sexism in another male dominated industry? Except unlike women in those industries in countries like Australia, there is no assistance from unions or sex discrimination commissions or legal assistance to present your case etc?

    Protection of women’s rights that we in Australian take for granted and can thank secularism for. Unfortunately the monastic system seems to be many decades (centuries?) behind. It appears to be totally reliant on brave individuals like Ajahns Sujato and Brahm to promote and protect their rights.

    PS: Dear Karuna, Linda et al

    Kanchana says:“It seems to me, in the style of certain Buddhist categorising, myth is not truth, myth is not untruth, myth is not neither truth or untruth!! It is a quite different creature altogether and to see this requires much telling of tales and pointing out of directions.”

    In all due respects, what does that explain? How does that help us live in the 21st century? To me it is just jumbled words made to sound profound, that allows us to space out. Not that there is anything wrong with spacing out but I can do that by listening to my old Procol Harum or Doors records (better still “Tomorrow Never Knows” by the Beatles – what a great song!).

    It certainly doesn’t answer the question I put to Bhante several months ago I refer to above.

    PPS Must check out your old Martha’s Vineyard material Bhante. Is it on itunes?



    • Ah Geoff,

      You make me laugh on many counts! Not least of which all the retro ear worms I have to deal with now! 😉

      May I be so bold as to ask you to find the answer to your own question? I have many theories of my own, but you are the one in male skin who seems to have gone beyond the illusion of false identity that divides and oppresses us. I believe you might have something too share in this regard.

      How is it that you see no problem with being inclusive, while others around you are more comfortable with exclusion? Surely this dilemma has been one you have faced in other areas of yor life. How have you managed to move in social and other circles which tend to be exclusive or steeped in identity illusions and kep your inclusive heart? Maybe therein lies part of the answer as to why others are challnged.

      I think there is only so much we can learn from a teacher’s opinion on this. If I were the teacher, I would invite you to relate back to your understanding the teachings on identity and inclusiveness. It’s too easy to let someone else answer it. And this is a very deep one – we must understand it from experience, from getting inside it, before we can really understand it. And trust me, I am only just barely getting inside it!

      I hope this doesnt sound patronizing! It’s meant as a challenge from one Kalyana to another. _/\_

  19. “Protection of women’s rights that we in Australian take for granted and can thank secularism for. Unfortunately the monastic system seems to be many decades (centuries?) behind. It appears to be totally reliant on brave individuals like Ajahns Sujato and Brahm to promote and protect their rights”

    The support of AS and AB is invaluable with regards to this issue obviously and much of women’s access to equal opportunity may have come from secular society but I think it is women who gained equal access to opportunities in the secular world for women; I have not heard much about men in the secular world or secular Buddhism doing much for equal opportunity for women, infact a few men I have met I in Buddhism (secular or otherwise) seem to enjoy and take advantage of and exploit the patriachical attitude of Buddhism for all its worth.

    I don’t know much about the history of women’s equality of access but I would say in the secular world women of the 50′-60’s that deserve most kudos in this area.

  20. Bhante writes in the preamble above:

    “Mythology has this wandering, meandering quality, taking everything in as it somehow, despite all appearances, moves towards its inevitable conclusion.”

    When I read sentences likes this, why does a certain Australian vernacular starting with ‘w’ come to mind? I suppose it’s what happens when you don’t have a wife to pull you into line (or mortgage and kids. And you can ignore headlines like in today’s SMH: “Industry Poised for Huge Job Cuts”.)

    Personally, I think I’ll stick with “Tomorrow Never Knows” – Bhante doesn’t have George Martin’s arrangements…..

    • Geoff,

      I think your thugish, rude and boring personal insults have sunk to a level of lowness one doens’t expect on a Buddhist website..enough!!

      Are you such a looser that you have nothing better to do with your time than to troll this blogsite insulting and putting down the host especially when you actually have no interest in the topic of the site!

      If you can’t grasp or understand Buddhism or the subltities of AS’s writing possibly you would find more affintiy with “The Simpsons” .. don’t they have website! ..what about Days of our lives; Oprah or Neighbours?

      Seriously I wonder why your personal insults on Ajahn Sutajo have not been moderated off and you banned from this website because they are becoming EXTREMELY BORING!!

      Why don’t you just GO AWAY if you have no reason to be here except to insult!

    • ..Geoff,

      is the reason that you haunt a website to bully harrass and insult the host because you are some sort of psycopath who gets some sort of satisfaction from harrassing and putting down others?

      If so possibly you really need to consider seeking help for your complete and utter inability to be positive and your innate tendency to want to tear down, destroy and abuse.

      There are I am sure many psychotherapist that could help you with your negetivity and destructive tendencies..for the sake of everyone else on the planet… give it a go ..before the karma of you negetivity catches up with you and you destroy yourself.

      if you don’t like Buddhism then find what you do like and just GO AWAY!

  21. Geoff …Although I know AS probably wouldn’t do such a think personaly I think his attendants ought to consider calling the authorities if you turn up at his monestry or classes in North Sydney again..can Monks take out AVO’s .. because I certainly would if someone known to me like you continued to harrass, bully and slander me the way you do! Honestly your personal harrassment and abuse of for God’s sake ..a monk of all things… is deplorable and as I said in my last post bordering on psychotic.

    I think also you would be the first suspect if anything untoward happened with anything to do with AS.

  22. Good news.

    Apparently girls christened with names that mean things like “unwanted” are getting new names in India. How thoughtful.

    They say it is the dowry that is the problem ie it is too expensive to have girls because to marry them off means they have to be able to afford to have a dowry so they are not “wanted”;

    Also it is something to do with men having the responsiblity for burying the parents or family…. this is understandable though you can imagine the temptation for the women who the family named “unwanted” to put something like “go to hell” “on their tombstone.


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