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Report from Sanitsuda ...
Phra Kru Opaswuthikorn presided at the press conference today to urge the Office of National Buddhism and the Council of Elders to issue rules and regulations to empower the Thai Sangha to punish monks overseas who violate the Sangha's mandates.
Phra Kru Opas spoke on behalf of the Wat Pah Pong executive board which made this decision last week.... See More
Rough summary of press releases:
The Perth ordination is against the Vinaya-Dharma of Thai Theravada Buddhism as well as violating the Wat Pah Pong's prohibition against female ordination. Aj Brahm was summoned to admit his mistake which refused to do, resulting in the excommunication. This decision was later approved by Somdet Phra Puttajarn who said Aj Brahm's preceptorship was therefore automatically revoked.
Apart from ordaining women, Aj Brahm was also accused of temple mismanagement. The Bodhinyana Temple came into being through the faith and donations of Thai Buddhists in Perth. After the first abbot left monkhood, Aj Brahm was appointed as abbot and he later changed the temple bylaws and change the temple committee members for "his own interest" despite disagreement from the Bodhinyana Sangha.
Given that the Bhikkhuni ordination and temple ownership problems have greatly troubled the Thai Buddhists in Australia, a committee should be set up to investigate land ownership and temple mismanagement at Bodhinyana in order to return the land and temple to the Thai Buddhists and to ensure that the temple management is in line with Dhamma Vinaya.
To prevent future problems, rules and regulations should be issued so the Thai Sangha can punish the monks overseas who violate th laws and the clergy's mandates.
On temple ownership overseas, this poses a problem of control because temples are owned by associations not the Thai Sangha like temples in Thailand. Should the abbots err, they still can stay if the temple committee support them. Or, when the abbots are in the right, they cannot stay if they don't have support of the committee. The management of temples in Thailand, however, is under Thai Sangha's administrative structure. When problems occur like in the case of Bodhinyana, it is then difficult to move due to lack of uniform rules which effectively govern temples in Thailand. To prevent similar problems, there should be a state agency to enforce the Thai Sangha law and to cover temples overseas.
I asked whether WPP sent emails to the Thai embasy and Sinporean organisers of Aj Brahm's talks, the answer is no, WPP did not do that.
Asked if this control effort have been approved by the Western clergy since it would affect the Western monks' relative autonomy which is useful to their dharma work, the answer that it is the decision of the WPP board consisting of 12 senior monks. That it was approved by LP Liam. But the answer was not clear if the Western Sangha was fully consulted or not.
Phra Kru Sudhamprachote said many Thai Buddhists in Perth are unhappy with Aj Brahm and are trying to find way to get him out the temple. But this is up to the people, WPP cannot do anything to support this action.
I asked if WPP has an alternative to Bhikkhuni. Aj Kevali is in favour of the Siladhara order. But Phra Kru Opas outrightly dismissed it, saying it it would be difficult for the order to be accepted in Thailand. He described Bhikkhuni ordination as against the Dhamma Vinaya. That the Buddha advised monks to stay away from women, because women and monks are like fire and fuel.
I asked what is the real issue concerning Aj Brahm, Bhikkhuni ordination or Aj Brahm's secrecy and failure to consult the WPP clergy. Phra Kru Opas said the main issue is Bhikkhuni ordination. That there is no way that Thai Theravada Buddhism to have Bhikkhuni. And as far WPP concerns, Aj Brahm is no longer a Thai Theravada monk, but a Mahayana monk.
My hunch : This might be part of the existing problems of internal politics between Thai and Western monks in the WPP order. Luang Por Chah wanted the Western clergy to oversee the Western monks. Consequently, Thai monks have no say on temples overseas. But the Perth ordination shows Aj Sumedho's failure to keep the monks under his supervision in line so the Thai monks have the reason to step in to control the Western monks and the temple properties abroad.