Bhikkhuni Ordination performed - by Ajahn Brahmavamso

Discussion of ordination, the Vinaya and monastic life. How and where to ordain? Bhikkhuni ordination etc.

Re: Bhikkhuni Ordination performed - by Ajahn Brahmavamso

Postby cooran » Sat Jan 02, 2010 6:00 am

bodhabill wrote:I tend to agree with Jack's opinion

The argument that the WPP doesn't need to be involved in a popularity contest imho is not really valid, they did take that approach when booting Ajahn Brahm and Bodhinyana out, thinking that no one really cared, but when ongoing interest in the matter occurred and public opinion was mounting against them they were very quick to create the dhammalight website to put their side of the argument across

With Metta
Bill


This is overstating the case, Bill. Ajahn Brahms is one of the most well-known and popular Theravada monks in the world. He was excommunicated ~ as he would have been in any other organisation, lay or ordained, for blatantly and deliberately breaking the rules and ignoring the clear instructions of his superiors within the Sangha. The aborted conference, in his home town, had one main item on the Agenda which would have been discussed just a few weeks later - Ordination of Women as Bhikkhunis. If he had waited until then, and if there had been no progress, or he hadn't been satisfied with the rate of progress - then he could have resigned from the Forest Sangha and taken the action he did with no repercussions. He made a different choice ~ kammasakata.

The reason for the creation of Dhammalight is:
Ever since the conception of the Dhammalight website, there has been much speculation and guesswork as to who is responsible for its creation. So that the people are not misled into falsely accusing one party or another, we feel that it is appropriate to reveal who is responsible for it. We would like to stress that the reason why the website’s creators were not revealed until now was so as to keep the website an impartial source of information.
Dhammalight has been created not by any individual but the Administrative Committee of the Wat Nong Pah Pong Sangha. This Committee consists of many members that are abbots of key branch monasteries in Thailand and abroad. This Committee acts as a representative in Ajahn Chah’s name and of the broader Wat Nong Pah Pong Sangha.
It is clear that the recent bhikkhuni ordinations by Ajahn Brahmavamso, who at the time was a long time member of Wat Nong Pah Pong, has caused much controversy amongst the greater public. Even after the unanimous decision on the 1st November 2009 by 160 members of the Wat Pah Pong Sangha to remove Ajahn Brahmavamso and Bodhinyana Monastery as a branch monastery of Wat Nong Pah Pong, there has still been considerable debate and much animosity towards Wat Nong Pah Pong and its members.
This website is aimed at releasing documents and letters by reputed Sangha members, of which the public may not have access to, in order to paint a much clearer picture on the events leading up to the bhikkhuni ordination and why its secrecy and the manner it was conducted was unacceptable. Documents and letters that have been put here have been nominated and authorized by members of the Administrative Committee. Also, other documents seen as reputable justifying Ajahn Brahmavamso’s actions have also been put on the website in order for the public to gain understanding at the motives and arguments of both sides.
The Wat Nong Pah Pong Sangha emphasizes that they are not against women taking higher ordination, but on the secretive and improper manner the bhikkhuni ordinations were conducted. We hope that any administrative actions that have been taken towards Ajahn Brahmavamso may be seen in the light of preserving Wat Nong Pah Pong’s reputation and legacy that the Venerable Ajahn Chah has left us and for the benefit of the many that will follow after.

http://www.dhammalight.com/aboutus.html

metta
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Re: Bhikkhuni Ordination performed - by Ajahn Brahmavamso

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sat Jan 02, 2010 6:24 am

Hello Jack :)

BlackBird wrote:
Paññāsikhara wrote:If our default assumption is that others are up to no good,


Hi Bhante.

Speaking as one who has an opinion that there is unskillful actions going on in regards to this Bhikkhuni ordination/WPP scenario, I must express that it is by no means my default assumption, but an opinion that I have formed by weighing up what evidence is available.


Sure, we all have some evidence, that is true.

I myself do not think that other's are up to no good, but perhaps rather I think that they might be out of touch with the real purpose. But this is just an opinion and I do not for the life of me go so far as to declare it to be the truth.


The "real purpose"? hhmmm, so what is the real purpose, then? Maybe this is a case whereby we think that the "real purpose" is such-and-such, but others may have a different idea. So, if we are then to measure somebody in terms of our perception of the real purpose, when they have a different idea, then of course we may think that they are out of touch.

Onto another note:

The purpose of my dialogue Mike, was to arrive at the discussion of an assumption commonly held that because Bhante X is a forest monk, he must be acting in an upright and proper manner. This, I believe is the same assumption which (en mass) has contributed to the troubles that the Mahanikaya in Thailand now faces. I don't however assume that you yourself hold the belief that all monks should be treated with respect and reverence simply because they are monks, but the direction I had hoped to steer this was to find out what your position was, and then go from there.


I don't think that anybody is arguing along the lines of "forest monk" automatically and irrevocably = "upright and proper".

But, actually, I do hold that all monastics (monks and nuns, I know a heck of a lot of ordained nuns, remember? :P ) are worthy of respect and reverence to a fair degree, and likewise too, that anybody who is engaged in practice of the Dharma and other spiritual practices too!

There is a story, can't recall where, that in the latter age of the Dhamma, the so-called monks and nuns would be so terrible, that they would have spouses and children, and their robes would only be a rag tied around their arm. But it is said that at that time, if we can reverence them as representing the entire sangha (not as an individual person), then there is great merit in that. This is wisdom in this idea, if one doesn't take it too far!

To me, this is a case of "relying on the Dharma (or we could say triple gem) and not the individual person". Most monastics also consider any reverence that they receive in this manner, too. It is through the power of the Dharma, not through any particular personal qualities. (If one doesn't so think, pride and arrogance may quickly arise.)

On that note, as I have said in above posts, I think that reverence and homage are objects better borne of reasoned confidence than of an assumption that because someone is a monk, that they are ahuneyyo, pahuneyyo, dakkhineyyo and anjali-karaniyo. Again it's probably best that I reiterate that this doesn't mean I go around with the default assumption that people are up to no good, just that I tend to reserve my reverence until I can be sure the Bhante I am speaking to is the real deal.


I think this is a difference in how we see these things: I don't see "someone" as a monk or nun, I see a member of the Sangha. The Sangha is one of my three objects of refuge. It is the light in the darkness, the ship in stormy seas, the bridge across the river of death, you get the point. :)

The Buddha says in MN 95

"There is the case, Bharadvaja, where a monk lives in dependence on a certain village or town. Then a householder or householder's son goes to him and observes him with regard to three mental qualities — qualities based on greed, qualities based on aversion, qualities based on delusion: 'Are there in this venerable one any such qualities based on greed that, with his mind overcome by these qualities, he might say, "I know," while not knowing, or say, "I see," while not seeing; or that he might urge another to act in a way that was for his/her long-term harm & pain?' As he observes him, he comes to know, 'There are in this venerable one no such qualities based on greed... His bodily behavior & verbal behavior are those of one not greedy. And the Dhamma he teaches is deep, hard to see, hard to realize, tranquil, refined, beyond the scope of conjecture, subtle, to-be-experienced by the wise. This Dhamma can't easily be taught by a person who's greedy.

When, on observing that the monk is purified with regard to qualities based on greed, he next observes him with regard to qualities based on aversion: 'Are there in this venerable one any such qualities based on aversion that, with his mind overcome by these qualities, he might say, "I know," while not knowing, or say, "I see," while not seeing; or that he might urge another to act in a way that was for his/her long-term harm & pain?' As he observes him, he comes to know, 'There are in this venerable one no such qualities based on aversion... His bodily behavior & verbal behavior are those of one not aversive. And the Dhamma he teaches is deep, hard to see, hard to realize, tranquil, refined, beyond the scope of conjecture, subtle, to-be-experienced by the wise. This Dhamma can't easily be taught by a person who's aversive.

When, on observing that the monk is purified with regard to qualities based on aversion, he next observes him with regard to qualities based on delusion: 'Are there in this venerable one any such qualities based on delusion that, with his mind overcome by these qualities, he might say, "I know," while not knowing, or say, "I see," while not seeing; or that he might urge another to act in a way that was for his/her long-term harm & pain?' As he observes him, he comes to know, 'There are in this venerable one no such qualities based on delusion... His bodily behavior & verbal behavior are those of one not deluded. And the Dhamma he teaches is deep, hard to see, hard to realize, tranquil, refined, beyond the scope of conjecture, subtle, to-be-experienced by the wise. This Dhamma can't easily be taught by a person who's deluded.

When, on observing that the monk is purified with regard to qualities based on delusion, he places conviction in him. With the arising of conviction, he visits him & grows close to him. Growing close to him, he lends ear. Lending ear, he hears the Dhamma. Hearing the Dhamma, he remembers it. Remembering it, he penetrates the meaning of those dhammas. Penetrating the meaning, he comes to an agreement through pondering those dhammas. There being an agreement through pondering those dhammas, desire arises. With the arising of desire, he becomes willing. Willing, he contemplates (lit: "weighs," "compares"). Contemplating, he makes an exertion. Exerting himself, he both realizes the ultimate meaning of the truth with his body and sees by penetrating it with discernment.

"To this extent, Bharadvaja, there is an awakening to the truth. To this extent one awakens to the truth. I describe this as an awakening to the truth. But it is not yet the final attainment of the truth.

- http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


This passage begins: "There is the case, Bharadvaja, where a monk lives in dependence on a certain village or town. Then a householder or householder's son goes to him and observes him with regard to three mental qualities — qualities based on greed, qualities based on aversion, qualities based on delusion."

But, have we done that? Have "gone to him and observed him" or her? Or, are we relying on news articles, blogs, and second or third hand reports?

The essence of that I'm trying to say is that it's important to make a thorough investigation, rather than to make assumptions. While my opinions with regard to the WPP/Bhikkhuni ordination saga are in no doubt related to this note about investigation/assumption, I have meant to treat them as separate issues, and some confusion may have arisen out of this oversight, so I'm sorry.

metta, apologies, and thank yous
:bow:

Jack


"Make a thorough investigation" - yes. Go and live in Thai Buddhism for a decade or two, and then live in their monasteries abroad for another decade or two. You'll always find that situations are never as simple as a news story or blogpost. And you'll also see that there are advantages and disadvantages on both sides. Each person is trying to work within those, trying to act through their understanding.

I don't know if you've had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with Elder monastics, particularly those who actually are in a position to make or break issues like this. From what I have seen and experienced, they seldom make these decision lightly, and always have the greater good at heart. They may then come to conclusions that I would not do, but in the end, I must acknowledge that they know the situation much, much clearer than I do.

So, if I disagree, the best thing to do is simply to become a person who can change things. As Gandhi said: "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." Go and become a Theravadin Elder, and ordain bhikkhunis, or stop anyone from ordaining them, or whatever else that you think is best. Then, whatever people may write in news reports, or on blogs, or whatever, you can do the good thing.

haha! That's my :soap: for you in return! haha!
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Re: Bhikkhuni Ordination performed - by Ajahn Brahmavamso

Postby BlackBird » Sat Jan 02, 2010 6:30 am

Thanks Bhante. Really, I mean it. Good post, and a lot for me to absorb there and learn from.

metta
Jack
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Re: Bhikkhuni Ordination performed - by Ajahn Brahmavamso

Postby bodhabill » Sat Jan 02, 2010 8:19 am

Hi Chris

by Chris » Sat Jan 02, 2010 5:00 pm
The reason for the creation of Dhammalight is: ....
This website is aimed at releasing documents and letters by reputed Sangha members, of which the public may not have access to, in order to paint a much clearer picture on the events leading up to the bhikkhuni ordination and why its secrecy and the manner it was conducted was unacceptable. Documents and letters that have been put here have been nominated and authorized by members of the Administrative Committee. Also, other documents seen as reputable justifying Ajahn Brahmavamso’s actions have also been put on the website in order for the public to gain understanding at the motives and arguments of both sides.


The lead up to this press conference has been covered from every angle and a number of us will never see eye to eye on the hows and whys of the Bhikkuni ordination

I am not going to rehash the same debated points again but prefer to look to the future ... sadly the WPP press conference held 28/12/09 as currently reported and the only information available out there to date shows the WPP is not happy with just kicking Ajahn Brahm out of the boys club

As per your quote from the dhammalight website it is clear that it is to be used to release documents ... I am happy to wait and see what they publish regarding the press conference

The Wat Nong Pah Pong Sangha emphasizes that they are not against women taking higher ordination


An interesting statement, I thought WPP had deferred to the Thai Sangha position of not recognising Bhikkhunis

With Metta
Bill
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Re: Bhikkhuni Ordination performed - by Ajahn Brahmavamso

Postby cooran » Sat Jan 02, 2010 8:29 am

Hello Bill,

I wonder could you clarify for us ... Do you practise within the Forest Tradition? And, if so, through which Monastery, and under which Abbot?

I'm assuming that you must because of your blunt outspokenness and certainty about motives.

I practise within the Forest Tradition, and under the tutelage of Ajahn Dhammasiha who was at the WAM.

with metta
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Re: Bhikkhuni Ordination performed - by Ajahn Brahmavamso

Postby bodhabill » Sat Jan 02, 2010 9:28 am

by Chris » Sat Jan 02, 2010 7:29 pm
Hello Bill,

I wonder could you clarify for us ... Do you practise within the Forest Tradition? And, if so, through which Monastery, and under which Abbot?

I'm assuming that you must because of your blunt outspokenness and certainty about motives.


Hi Chris

sadly the WPP press conference held 28/12/09 as currently reported and the only information available out there to date shows the WPP is not happy with just kicking Ajahn Brahm out of the boys club

I am happy to wait and see what they publish regarding the press conference
... this is blunt?

Why do you need to know my personal details, have you asked this of any other member of the Dhamma Wheel forum?

Unless you can clarify why you need to know I think what I do in my life, the monastery and the abbot I practise with are not for public comment and are totally off topic !!

With Metta
Bill
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Re: Bhikkhuni Ordination performed - by Ajahn Brahmavamso

Postby cooran » Sat Jan 02, 2010 9:38 am

Hello Bill,

Please disregard my previous post, which wasn't meant to be offensive to you.
My apologies for any discomfort or irritation you have experienced.

metta
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Re: Bhikkhuni Ordination performed - by Ajahn Brahmavamso

Postby bodhabill » Sat Jan 02, 2010 9:49 am

Hello Bill,

Please disregard my previous post, which wasn't meant to be offensive to you.
My apologies for any discomfort or irritation you have experienced.


Hi Chris

No problems ... this is why I like this forum, we can debate, sometimes overstep the mark, but each and every time we can and do show respect to each other

With Metta
Bill
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Re: Bhikkhuni Ordination performed - by Ajahn Brahmavamso

Postby Bankei » Sat Jan 02, 2010 11:03 am

I have comer across the Korwat manual from WPN which outlines the so-called monastic etiquette of Wat Pah Nanachat. Interestingly they have a little section on who visiting Bhikkhuni and other nuns should be treated. it is dated from 2003 and written by Ajahn Chandako.

see http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Books ... quette.pdf

(it is also interesting on how they treat visiting monks, both Theravada and non-Theravada)
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Re: Bhikkhuni Ordination performed - by Ajahn Brahmavamso

Postby Bankei » Sat Jan 02, 2010 11:42 am

Here is a WPP response to that recent press conference,
taken from http://dhammalight.com/official/pdf/Res ... -01-10.pdf

A Response to the 30th December 2009 Article, “Monks Target Western Clergy”
On 28th December 2009, a representative delegation of senior monks from the Wat
Nong Pah Pong Sangha held a press conference in response to various articles in the
major Thai newspapers released earlier between the 20th to 24th December. These
articles effectively stated that the Council of Elders and the Office of National
Buddhism had done everything in their power in regards to Ajahn Brahmavamso and
the bhikkhuni ordinations and that the future status of Ajahn Brahmavamso as abbot
of Bodhinyana Monastery and the ownership of that monastery was left up to Wat
Nong Pah Pong’s decision. The articles effectively left the responsibility of this issue
back on Wat Nong Pah Pong to proceed with. In order to make clear Wat Nong Pah
Pong’s stance, it was decided by Luang Por Liem and other governing committee
members to make a statement to the Thai media. A very unprecendented move in Wat
Nong Pah Pong’s history.
Although this matter has been cleared up within the Thai press, it seems that the
article in English has stirred up and agitated Western readers. This has been caused
by some misrepresentations of the events of the press conference and the editorial
language used in the article. Wat Nong Pah Pong feels that it is best to clear up these
misunderstandings.
The article says that the Thai Sangha “want the properties of Thai temples in the West
to come under the ownership of the Thai Sangha to ensure complete control.” In
reality, Wat Nong Pah Pong stated in the press conference that it had no power in
which to retake ownership of Bodhinyana Monastery, even if the land on which it
was built on was initially offered to Ajahn Chah (Bodhinyana Thera) and Wat Nong
Pah Pong. Wat Nong Pah Pong requested the Office of National Buddhism to reevaluate
the way that monasteries in the West are governed so that confusion and
division such as with the present situation would be avoided in the future.
The most misleading section is where it is written that “If action is not taken, the
council fears that more women could be ordained in the West,” and quotes Phra Kru
Opaswuthikorn saying that "Sooner or later, we'll see female monks everywhere."
Although this is a sensational statement in the eyes of a Western reader, a more
accurate translation would be, “If we (Wat Nong Pah Pong) had not taken any action,
it would open the doors in the future for women to ordain as bhikkhunis within the
Wat Nong Pah Pong western sangha, running into the same problem we have at the
moment (breaking Thai law)”. The issue is not that Wat Nong Pah Pong is against
women ordaining, but rather due to Wat Nong Pah Pong’s status as a member of the
Thai Sangha and its obligation to follow Thai Sangha Laws.
Further, this article’s portrayal of facts is to be questioned. It cites that “two women”
were ordained, instead of the four women which were actually ordained.
In conclusion, we would like readers of this article to be wary of the editorial
sensationalism and misrepresentations that have been given to this press release. It
was originally intended to reply to the questions the Thai media had on Wat Nong
Pah Pong’s stance in relation to the present situation with Ajahn Brahmavamso and
Bodhinyana Monastery’s status, not a gender equality and power-seizing issue that it
has been made into.
The Administrative Committee of Wat Nong Pah Pong
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Re: Bhikkhuni Ordination performed - by Ajahn Brahmavamso

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Jan 02, 2010 11:43 am

Bankei wrote:I have comer across the Korwat manual from WPN which outlines the so-called monastic etiquette of Wat Pah Nanachat. Interestingly they have a little section on who visiting Bhikkhuni and other nuns should be treated. it is dated from 2003 and written by Ajahn Chandako.

see http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Books ... quette.pdf

(it is also interesting on how they treat visiting monks, both Theravada and non-Theravada)


I have had this for a while, and did refer to it earlier in the thread but didn'#t know a link to it, here is the section on Bhikkhunis, Siladharas, and Mae-chees.
6.5 Female monastics
At WPN, we do at times have ordained female guests from within our tradition (Sīladharas and Anagarikas from the west; mae-chees from
Thailand), as well as women ordained in the Tibetan and Mahayana traditions. As with any guest it is our responsibility to be courteous and hospitable, while at the same time not doing anything which compromises our Vinaya standards. However, the situation here is not suitable for women monastics to stay and train long-term.
Women monastics may often have had experiences in the past where they have felt unfairly treated, and may have a certain anxiety in coming to stay here. A welcoming reception from us can do much to make their stay a smooth one, and enhance the good reputation of WPN as a place where one’s spiritual aspirations are respected, regardless of one’s gender.
On the other hand, visitors should try to fit in with the way we do things here. Anyone who is not happy with the situation is free to leave. Bearing these principles in mind, the following standards should be maintained when relating to female monastics:

6.5.1 Bhikkhunis
A bhikkhu may not bow down to, rise up to greet, make añjali to, or perform any other forms of respect (i.e. the korwat usually done for monks and ajahns) towards a woman, even if she is a bhikkhuni. To do so is an offense of dukkata. (Cv. X.5) A monk or novice should not go to greet a nun, but should wait for her to approach. Male monastics cannot carry her borikahn. This is the responsibility of the resident laywomen or other nuns. Even pahkows shouldn’t make añjali to a nun.
However a male monastic may suggest to a pahkow that he go to greet her, especially if she is not sure what to do or has no lay supporters with her. The pahkow or layman should get her a glass of water from the kitchen. The same glasses should not be used for both monks and nuns. Since WPN doesn’t have a nun’s training section, the senior monk must make decisions concerning permission to stay on a case by case basis.
If a bhikkhuni is staying here, a separate wooden āsana should be set up for her in front of the pahkows. The āsana should be set up at sala set-up time by the pahkows or laypeople, not by monks or novices. Out of respect for the nun though, the male monastics should maintain an appropriate distance. When getting the food the bhikkhuni should follow a few meters behind the novices but before the pahkows, who should then follow at least one table-length behind her. Even if a bhikkhuni has a bowl, it is not appropriate for her to go on almsround here. If she is wearing brown robes then Thais will often assume she is a feminine-looking monk, and this can lead to many misunderstandings.

6.5.2 Ten-Precept Sīladharas
One should follow the same procedure as for bhikkhunis. Sīladharas sit after bhikkhunis but before the pahkows.

6.5.3 Eight-Precept Mae-chees
If a mae-chee arrives, politely direct her to the senior monk. It is not appropriate for male monastics to do any korwat services for her, but we should encourage any women staying in the monastery to look after her well. In the sala at meal time she should sit on a separate mat, behind the pahkows. During any chanting and meditation periods where the whole community is present, she should sit at the head of a line of laywomen.

6.6 Laypeople
. . . .
6.6.2 Laywomen
As with any guests, Sangha members should be courteous in receiving female visitors, but should avoid getting into conversations with them, either on arrival or during their stay. If a laywoman arrives in the morning, then one should direct her to speak with the abbot or the guest monk. If a laywoman arrives later in the day and she wishes to stay, then ask her to wait until tea-time when she can meet the other women. If the guest monk is not available, then ask the resident laywomen to look after her for one night and in the morning she can meet the guest monk.
Even if one is a pahkow or layman, getting into private conversations with women should be avoided. If one does find oneself alone with one or more women, then give them whatever information they are looking for and then excuse oneself and leave. If you see another male monastic caught alone in a conversation with a women, then go over and join him.
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Re: Bhikkhuni Ordination performed - by Ajahn Brahmavamso

Postby Bankei » Sat Jan 02, 2010 11:44 am

Here is a translation of the minutes of the meeting at WPP where Ajahn Brahm was kicked out of the organisation.
taken from Sujato's blog http://sujato.wordpress.com/

Minutes of the WPP Meeting Regarding Ajahn Brahmavamso, Bodhinyana Monastery & Bhikkhuni Ordination
From the Thai transcription at http://www.alittlebuddha.com
English translation: Supatra Chowchuvech

Title: Summery of the Meeting of the Sangha Committee of Wat Nong Pah Pong and its Branches Regarding Bhikkhunis – Nov 1, 2552 BE (2009 CE)

Chairman (Loung Por Liem):
“Everyone, this is the 1st of November, the 14th night of the 12th month full moon Festival of Kalatthana. We are gathered here at Wat Nong Pah Pong related to this activity and this culture and these traditions that have been practiced for a long, long time. However today we also have a meeting about the Sangha Committee in order to increase and improve our understanding of our duty and conduct. We will be speaking about the conduct of a monk, our monk. On this occassion it is the responsibility of the Secretary to propose this issue into the Meeting, in order to clarify our responsibilities and duties. I am taking the role of the Chairman of the Meeting, and the Meeting is now open.”

Secretary:
“May i have the opportunity, Chairman. The issue that we are Meeting over today is related to Ven Chaokhun (Bishop) Brahm giving bhikkhuni ordination at Bodhinyana Forest Monastery in Perth. All of you Ajahns have the document in front of you, so i would like to invite the Ven Chaokhun [Brahm] to explain the ordination, so that the other Ajahns can ask questions, item by item.”

Ven Brahmavamso:
“I was not the Upajjhaya (Preceptor). There was a bhikkhu[ni] who was the Upajjhaya of the bhikkhunis; it was not me. The ritual was done at the forest monastery in Perth. It was an ordination for bhikkhunis. There was no Upajjhaya; the Pavattini was a bhikkhuni. A bhikkhuni was Pavattini (Upajjhaya). Tathaaloka has been to Thailand long ago. She has 12 Pansa (Vassas/Years since full ordination). She was ordained in the Mahayana in a sect in the United States. In the meeting there were eight bhikkhunis, and we ordained four samaneris into bhikkhunis. In the Bhikkhuni Sangha who gave the ordination there was Tathaaloka Bhikkhuni – Tathaaloka was the Pavattini. After that it was the duty of the Venerable Bhikkhu Sangha to give a joint action [to complete the dual ordination]; to receive the Sanghakamma that was done before (that of the Bhikkhuni Sangha) in the second Sanghakamma (by the Bhikkhu Sangha). For the Bhikkhu Sangha, I was one of the Kammavacaryas… [Explaining the principle behind the ordination] (@ 10:38 on the recording) …It is the strict law of that country (Australia), if we are going to have inequality for women and men, it is against the law… Some people want it in Australia; it doesn’t impact Thailand. But in Australia, we do it per Australian law. If we can have bhikkhunis, then it is a way to keep the faith of Buddhists abroad…”

Rebuttal of the Elder Theras of Wat Pah Pong (@ 44.35 min)

Thera:
“The Australian law, as far as i know, and i have studied this – it does not interfere with religion. Each religious has its rules and proceedures; it is controlled by the power of the law; they (religions) are exempted.”

Thera:
“You claim that you have the support of the Buddhist Society of Western Australian and that over a thousand people agree with the ordination of bhikkhunis. This is not true. You did not ask them. You did not study from them. You kept this as a secret from the Buddhist Society. I have checked on the internet already. Even the vote of the meeting was still a secret. When you kept things secret from our monks, how could it be possible that we could be discussing it? When you kept things secret from your own Society, except for a few individuals on the Board/Committee, only about 14 people knew about this, and then you went ahead and made the decision on your own…”

3rd Thera:
“All of the branches abroad are in communication. We all felt that you made this decision unilaterally. You did not consult anyone. We we learned that we were about to go to your monastery, as those that will go to discuss at the WAM in December, then you became anxious. I have asked the monks at your monastery why you have kept this as a secret. That monk who is a caretaker of the monastery, Ven Brahmali, said that he (Ajahn Brahmavamso) is afraid that the Meeting that Loung Por Liem is going to be having is going to end of forbidding giving ordination to bhikkhunis, therefore he hastily moved ahead, and got it done in secret…”

Thera (@ 60.00 min)
“Ajahn Brahm is the force behind spearheading the ordination of bhikkhunis. He was the supporter of them ordaining at his monastery, even inside the sacred sima of his monastery. The other monks that joined [in the ordination] where also monks of his monastery, and when there were monks who felt uncomfortable and did not want to join he asked them to leave the sima so that they would not object. This is according to what a monk told me. I have communication with monks over there and this is what they said.”

Thera:
“Even those nuns, they foresaw that there might be a problem between the Sangha and Ajahn Brahm, so they discussed this problem and came to the decision that they did not want him to be the Kammavacacarya. So then they travelled to his temple, while Ajahn Brahm was still abroad. The nun asked him not to be Kammavacacarya, but he refused and insisted he had to be. I have talked to the nun. She said that she foresaw a crack, a problem and a division in the monk’s community at Wat Pah Pong…”

Chairman (Loung Por Liem) (@ min 77.00):
“In honor of all the Venerable Theras in this meeting about ordination: I have been living at Wat Nong Pah Pong; i have devoted my body and my high respect to Loung Por Chah since the year 2512 BE. When i came here i did my duty and i respected the Rule of Conduct of Wat Nong Pah Pong, which is not that difficult. When Loung Por Chah ordered me to go stay here and there, i followed his order. When i went to the branch in Laos — that time it was not a branch yet, it was just a jackfruit orchard — then i came back and stayed here; i didn’t get to go anywhere. He didn’t send me anywhere, therefore i got the chance to take my responsibility in helping with practice. I didn’t think there there is so much of a big deal – he (Loung Por Chah) was given the position of Upajjhaya, but he never talked about the ordination of bhikkhunis – only maechees. Maechees were like the giver of his life, so he had given the ordination to maechees, and had them come to live at Wat Nong Pah Pong. Even myself – i did the same. In 2519 BE, my mother who has borne me, came to ordain at Wat Nong Pah Pong; all the way to my younger sister who has come and ordained here. Noone said that they have to be bhikkhunis, because it would create an intimacy in a way that is not good. It is about feelings. If there is a close relationship then there is an opportunity for innapropriate emotions. When Ven Ajahn [Brahm] went to do his duty over there, where this action occured, i did not have any reaction at the time, because it did not happen in the principle of conduct in Thailand. In Thailand, i have been given the position of Upajjhaya. When i went to training, noone told me about this type of ordination, only about the ordination of men. If there are women it is called the ordination of maechee. The issue of being enlightened is not related to this title [of bhikkhuni], it is about the practice. Therefore, when we bring such senstitive issues to discussion like this, it is as if we create a problem in the field, resulting in a reaction which is judgementally critical, creating a feeling of distrust in the behavior. I don’t have much reaction, because on the Thai Theravada side, there is no such thing [as bhikkhuni ordination], therefore i am not in agreement with this action. That is all.”

Another Thera (@83.30 min)
“…Is it possible for you, Ven Chaokhun Brahm, for you to stop everything? Stop everything, and stop ordaining bhikkhunis ever again. I want to hear from you: can you stop? If you can stop, they we may ask for loving kindness from our teachers. We can go forwards with the anusavana chanting. If you have made a mistake for the first time, can you understand the consequences? If not, still we will not cut you off. We can have a second Kammavaca, and chant the samanupassana. Or whatever. Which is to bring up that conduct, to say that it is unbeneficial. This second time is for the changing or dispelling of ditthi (views). If that still does not work then we can give another punishment from dukkhata to thullacaya. This third time, will you, Venerable, be able to accept abandoning this conduct? Then all of the Sangha will rejoice and bless you…”

Thera:
“Can you say yourself, can you promise in front of the Sangha Committe that you will stop? That you will accept the decision of the Sangha Committee before you do something which has such wide impact, such enormous impact? Sometimes we look at things from only one aspect. I would like to ask you, Venerable Chaokhun Brahm, if you would admit that what you have done is wrong and that you are willing to change? Our group will accept your words. Please give the opportunity to Ven Ajahn Brahm to say something to those Sangha members assembled here.”

Ajahn Brahmavamso (@91.15 min)
“I would like to thank you, Venerable Ajahn, for your kindness. I do not want the Sangha to divide. I have lived here for nine years, although i was born in a foreign country. I still see the monks here as my brothers, and i really love them; therefore, as in a family, we have to listen to our brothers. Therefore, i accept. I am not looking for followers. I will not chant in the bhikkhunis affairs, unless the Venerable Sangha of Wat Pah Pong allows me to. In the future, if the Sangha at Wat Pah Pong changes, ten years from now, a 100 years from now, a 1000 years from now — in the future i will ask for the Sangha decision of Wat Nong Pah Pong? Is that right?”

Elder Thera (@93.18 min)
(After Ven Brahmavamso answered the question about bhikkhunis and his role in it and explained the ordination) “May I, a listener, have a chance to say this: This is like you are saying ‘I am not stealing; i only carry the rope, but the buffulo somehow got trapped in the rope and followed it.’ Do you understand this? This is his meaning. This is no small matter. This is a matter of all the Sangha all over the Kingdom of Thailand. If we make a decision that is unclear, we can be criticised by Sangha all over the Kingdom. Our Monastic Committee must consider this carefully.”

Elder Thera:
“May the power of the Monastic Committee consider another point: is this action appropriate or not? The Sanghakamma needs to be discussed. Those who have been ordained are another story. But our teachers have told us: Is it possible? May i say again, is it possible that the ordination of a Sangha member may be nullified?”

Secretary of the Meeting:
“Those that have gone to pay homage to Venerable Somdet Phra Buddhajahn (the Acting Sangharaja) at Wat Saket [will know]: he said that this is a Mahayana practice, not Theravadan.”

Thera:
“…I asked the Most Venerable Somdet Buddhajahn: ‘What about the fact that Ven Ajahn Brahmavamso has ordained bhikkhunis? If we look from that point of view, what happens to those bhikkhunis?’ The Somdet answered: ‘They are upasikas (lay women) who hold precepts. It (the ordination) must be considered nullified.’

Thera:
“About nullification: what do all of the Elders sitting here together think about this? And Ven Ajahn Brahm, how do you feel that you have given the ordination, if they do not accept it? If they (those women ordained) come to Wat Nong Pah Pong, they will not be considered bhikkhunis who have gone through the natthi (ordination rite) chanting. [Their ordination] will be considered null and void. The documents and certification that you can give as an Upajjhaya relating to this entire ordination – you will not be able to issue. You will not be able to issue any of these. Can you accept this?

Ven Brahmavamso:
“After the ordination was completed, Ayya Tathaaloka, who was the Upajjhaya asked me to sign [the certificate] as a Chanting Acarya. I had to sign as the chanting Acarya. But i did not certify [the ordination as Upajjhaya]. I only signed as the Chanting Acarya. As for certifying, then who is going to certify it? Maybe the bhikkhunis in America… maybe their Upajjhayas. I did not issue the certification.”

Thera:
“Venerable Ajahn, if you regard this whole thing (the ordinations) as nullified, will you take this as you being pressured by the Sangha Committee?”

Ven Brahmavamso:
“I admit that the Thai Sangha cannot except this. But, for the United States Sangha – I am not able to come up against them.”

Thera:
“…in ordination, these are not considered full bhikkhunis, because the Theravada sect does not accept it, the Thai Sangha and the teachers and monks at Wat Pah Pong do not accept it. Therefore these cannot be regarded as full bhikkhunis. All they can be accepted as is laywomen with eight precepts, being maechees. So now, we want you to know that from now on, the Monastic Committee wants to grant you kindness. But you should not continue this, and you will stop. But in regards to them, you should not pressure them to resign [from monastic life]. They can stay and practice as maechees. That is not a problem. The Monastic Committee just wants to hear from you that you will not do this again; that you will not continue. Or, if you will continue, and want to stay with us, then this Committee cannot agree with you. If you want to stay with us, to honor your debt of gratitude to your Upajjhaya, then you must repent of your mistake and ask forgiveness from your Upajjhaya, and he will grant this to you when you ask for forgiveness. I want to hear from you – what do you have to say?”

Ven Brahmavamso:
“…I have said this for the second time now, that i will stop unless i have permission from the Committee of Wat Nong Pah Pong. In the future I will follow the decision of the Sangha of Wat Nong Pah Pong. Whatever is the decision of the Sangha at Wat Nong Pah Pong; i will always follow that. I am saying that i will stop; I will not give ordination to bhikkhunis again, unless the Committee of Wat Nong Pah Pong changes their mind. If the Mahathera Samakhom in the future –10 years from now or 20 years from now — considers that they want to allow bhikkhunis in the Thai Theravada sect, then the Monastic Committee of Wat Nong Pah Pong will then follow, then I will ask for permission to do it again. Apart from that, i will not do it.”

Another Thera:
“May i bring this to the main point? The Sangha Committee is asking you, Venerable Ajahn, whether you see the ordination that you have done as nullified, which means that those nuns are not bhikkhunis? Can you accept and can you admit that or not? This is what we are asking. We are not asking whether you will do it again or not.”

Ven Brahmavamso:
“This is very difficult because this is an issue of Vinaya. Because…”

A Thera:
“Now, now. We must take the decision of the Monastic Community, which is about unity, and which is about a united mind. If you still want to be one of our branch monasteries, you do not need to go so far as to speak about Vinaya. All of us here are senior monks and we all know the Vinaya well. So, just stay with this point.”

(@ 107.30 mins)
Ven Brahmavamso:
“If what has been done is vipatti, then it was wrong. But if it is not vipatti, then the bhikkhunis are not vipatti. I acknowledge that the Thai Monastic Committee does not accept bhikkhunis. But if i go to the United States, or if i speak to my disciples in Australia or to my disciples in Singapore, i cannot force them. If they want to regard them as bhikkhunis or maechees, then i can do nothing about that.”

Thera:
“That is your business, but if you don’t have the ability to control them, can you consider yourself their Ajahn, or not? As we are [part of the] administrative hierarchy [of this] lineage, we must excercise the chain of command…”

Ven Brahmavamso:
“If you are in doubt then you have to consult your Upajjhaya, Somdet Phra Buddhajahn. What i can promise about the ordination of bhikkhunis, is that I won’t do it again, unless…”

Thera:
“Yes, but what is vipatti? I want to point out here that the vipatti is ditthi vipatti. We do not agree with you. But are we holding the Vinaya vipatti or not? Or opinion is that your ditthi is vipatti. Can you accept this or not? This is about ditthi vipatti. Since the majority of the Sangha in our lineage do not…”


[Part II of translation]

Another Thera:
“Please, please – we are quarrelling here. Right now, Venerable Ajahn [former speaker] or Venerable Chaokhun [Brahm], you are both Thai [tradition] monks and you are in Thailand. All the hierarchical governing chain of command is entirely within Thailand, and Thailand cannot except this situation. Neither can the Monastic Administrative Committee of Wat Nong Pah Pong. They are currently being scritinized as ‘What are they doing there at Wat Nong Pah Pong? What about 150 Patimokkha? What about that bhikkhuni ordination?’ If each goes off on their own like this, then what will happen to the Monastic Administrative Committee at Wat Nong Pah Pong? Ven Ajahn, if you want to do it, go ahead; we won’t say anything; but you have to leave the network of Wat Nong Pah Pong. You have to leave Thailand. Or, in other words, you do not have to be a Thai [tradition] monk. You can be any kind of monk you want to be. We can avoid all problems by cutting off each other. But if you still want to be part of Wat Nong Pah Pong, then you have to humble yourself. You have to stop. You have to quit doing this. If you agree to quit doing this, then the Monastic Committee at Wat Nong Pah Pong will accept you entirely. But if you continue to do as before, you will have no benefits from Wat Pah Pong, and the Thai Monastic Committee cannot accept that either. I say this sincerely, from my heart. We, in our Committee that have gone through thick and think with the Most Venerable Loung Por Chah – we have enough knowledge and ability to do good for the Buddha Sasana. This time you did this unilaterally, without consulting the Elder Theras. Once you did that, it harmed the entire Sangha Committee. Here, in the Thai Monastic Committee, for so many hundreds of years, when we gave ordination, we had to have the Monastic Committee’s [approval]. Say, how many Sangharajas have we had so far? Whatever we do, we have to consult them. Wat Nong Pah Pong is just a small part [of the greater Sangha]. If i go and do this, and you go and do that, and everybody does what they want, then what will happen? This plot [of yours] was a ten year plan; a plan to destroy the Buddhist religion. I have been to many spots and I can tell one from another. And i can tell tell what you are doing fits right into the plot. You have been roused through many different methods to destoy Buddhism. You actually have good principles, but you have applied them in a way that is, (excuse me for saying this), corrupted by gain and corrupted by fame, or corrupted by whatever. Being in the world, if it turns out this way, i’m telling you that the Thai Monastic Committee cannot accept it. Neither can Wat Nong Pah Pong. If you think you can do whatever you were planning by yourself, then you can do it alone. Even the Ajahns in other countries will not accept it. Therefore, please understand that you must go by the majority, that is, the majority of the views of the Thai monks, which right now also includes [the majority of the] Sri Lankan, Burmese and Thais. And we will not mention China and Japan. This is the principle to uphold. If we do not uphold this principle there will be nothing left. Loung Por Chah will have no meaning. Please consider this for the sake of our Loung Pu Chah and all of our Elder monastic teachers sitting here, discussing something you did which shouldn’t have happened. Can you make a commitment that you will not do it every again? Then the Monastic Committee will bless you with their ‘Anumodana Sadhu’ again…”

Thera:
“May i speak, Ajahn? Right now, the gist of this discussion is that all of the teachers and monks in Thailand, and all of the monastic disciples of Loung Por Chah will not accept the bhikkhunis who have been ordained. Meanwhile, Ajahn Brahm says if they are accepted in other places, then it is their business. And the fact that the Sangha here does not accept, does not matter, because you will not accept in any case. Our Thai Monastic Committee and WNPP’s Committee in our Theravadan sect do not accept bhikkhunis because we understand that bhikkhunis have gone extinct from Thailand from 300 years after the Lord Buddha has reached his Parinibbana [that is, that the Bhikkhuni Sangha ended with Sanghamitta]. All of these recent supposed ordinations are fake (made up). It is not that difficult. You can get any four people together and give them [the candidates] ordination; but it is wrong. So here i want to ask Venerable Chaokhun Brahmavamso, are you going to give any more ordinations? Or are you going to quit doing this per the wish of your teachers? “

Ven Brahmavamso:
“Well, i guess i can quit… OK, i can (with a firmer voice).”

Another Thera:
“May I speak, Teachers? Here is how it went. It started from you formulating a plan to give ordination to bhikkhunis quite a while ago. And then, Sujato, your right hand man, has used very aggressive language to protest the Thai Monastic Committee including the Elders at Wat Nong Pah Pong. This is very serious. It [has come] through an email. And then you want to complete this project successfully. But you know that the international Abbots were coming to the Western [or World] Abbots’ Meeting on the 8th of December. So you went ahead and completed this project before the meeting, because you were afraid that the Community abroad will not accept this. You have gone to consult Ajahn Sumedho, and Ajahn Sumedho did not agree. Since he did not agree, you decided to go ahead and do it discreetly, so that word does not get around. The Buddhist Society [of Western Australia] was suspicious, so some of them did not attend. They were suspicious about why you did it this way, discreetly. But you went ahead and plowed through it until it was successful. Although you received documents from the Elders of Wat Nong Pah Pong warning you that if you went ahead you would be disaffiliated as a branch. This was very clear. Even Chaokhun Sumedho sent you a very clear letter, but you did not consider and obey it or the Rule of Wat Nong Pah Pong or anything. You just gave the ordination. So here it is. You are successful. You have given ordination to bhikkhunis in the Theravada sect. Bhikkhunis have been born in the Theravada sect. It is done. In addition, they were ordained in a branch of Wat Nong Pah Pong abroad in Australia. You have acheived your goal. Now that you have acheived your goal, then you soften your position and you say that you will stop doing this. But what you have done has been done, that is, the ordination of bhikkhunis complete and full. So here is the problem: now there are bhikkhunis. And so if we do not implement any measures to punish you or excommunicate you, then this is going to create future problems in the foreign branches, because people will say: ‘How is that he can give ordination and there is not consequence?’ So in other branches they will say, ‘I will do it too! And after i do it i will repent and promise not to do it again.’ This is how the problem will expand and grow larger. This is very dangerous for other foreign countries. Why is that? Because the siladharas in England or anywhere else have now evolved into an unequal situation, such that now that there are bhikkhunis, even when she [a siladhara] has been ordained for 20 years, when she comes to meet a bhikkhuni, then she is lower in the heirarchy than a bhikkhuni who has just been ordained. This is going to create a problem in our hierarchical governance in our branches in other countries, which will be damaged by this in their efforts to propogate [Buddhism].

(All of the Elders discussed what to do until 122.05 mins)

Representative From Europe:
“May I speak? I want to add that the Sangha Committee in Europe, that is, those of Loung Por Sumedho, have given the opinion that, if you will not yield or will not agree with the Monastic Committee, then we must disaffiliate you. But if you still love and miss being a disciple of this lineage, then we ask you to start your branch again from the beginning, from Level One. These are the options that you have. Whether you want to consider these options or not, it is up to you, Venerable Chaokhun [Brahmavamso].”

Thera:
“May I speak? I think we should let Venerable Ajahn Brahm make his own decision whether he wants to stay with us and stop doing all those things or whether he wants to continue to do it. Let him make that decision, and the Monastic Committee will hear you out.”

Another Thera:
“According to the Vinaya, when a bhikkhu has ditthi or is stubbornly attached to a wrong view, then the Monastic Committee should summon him. And then, the first sentence to tell him is that he will be cut off and not allowed to stay together. But then he [Ajahn Brahm] replies, ‘If I no longer wanted to be Loung Por Chah’s disciple, or if I didn’t want to be a branch of this lineage, then I wouldn’t have come all the way here.’ He came here for the purpose of explaining himself and hearing the opinion of the other monks. When the other monks asked him to stop, he said that he would stop and not do it again. And as far as the ordination that has occurred, it is not correct per Dhamma-Vinaya, therefore it is to be nullified. We have told him that. And the bhikkhunis that have been ordained, since they are not accepted by the monks, their ordination is nullified. They are simply upasikas [devoted lay women], just like they were before. Ven Chaokhun [Brahm] promised to stop. We should ask him again whether he is really going to stop for real. This is per the Vinaya. Not to just cut him off like that, and say come back in 5 years or 10 years. That is not right. We have to follow the Dhamma-vinaya.”

Another Thera:
“Wait a minute! The Monastic Committee has originally notified him fully, but he would not back down. He continued to give the ordination. We notified him; we told him in all possible ways many, many times. But he was not afraid. He just went ahead and continued with the ordination until it was completed, until he produced a Theravada bhikkhuni. How are we going to solve this problem? This is going to spread all over the world. The Most Venerable Somdet Phra Buddhajahn has said that, ‘If he wants to give ordination, then alright. Let him be Mahayana.’ Then he [Ajahn Brahmavamso] replied, ‘We are not splitting from you, but you are splitting from us into Mahayana.’ This is what he said.”

(@ 126.17 min – The Elders Explain About the Request to Phra Ajahn Brahmavamso to Wait Until the Meeting in December to Give Ordination)

(@ 130.55 min ) Another Thera:
“May I speak? So far as I have heard, I think that this is a deliberate wrongdoing, in defiance of the Monastic Committee. We have heard about the issue of bhikkhunis many times. Many of us have heard about it. Yet he stubbornly took action as he wished. This means that he has won; he was successful. The best thing to do is to let him win. Let him go to another sect. But in our Theravada sect, counting from [the Acting Sangharaja] Chao Phrakhun Somdet [Buddhajahn] all the way down [through the monastic rankings and hierarchy], I am sure that no one will accept; no one in this entire country. He knows that these are bhikkhunis, and he had a part in it. It is not an accidental, momentary mistake. It has been know for many years that there is a movement to want to give ordination to bhikkhunis. Thus, he willfully committed wrongdoing. In my opinion, the best thing to do is to ask him to leave the Theravadan sect. This is my opinon.”

Another Thera:
“We invite you, Venerable Chaokhun [Brahmavamso], to make your decision now. It is up to you. There is no one who can control you.”

Another Thera:
“I request that Venerable Chaokhun [Brahamavamso] sign a concession and the Secretary will make a document to notify Somdet [Phra Buddhajahn] and send it to all – that says that what you have done is to be nullified. Can you accept that – that what you have done is to be nullified? Will you be willing to sign that document which will be prepared by the Secretary? If it has not been signed, then it hasn’t been corrected. Can you do that? I mean signing the document which is a notification to Chaokhun Somdet [Phra Buddhajahn]. Do you agree to it, that what you have done is to be nullified? This action is important. It is easy to say with words that you agree, but we must have documentation with your signature on it. I will be brief. Is there anyone else who has any other opinion? Please express your opinion. Or Loung Por [Liem], will you please summerize?

Another Thera:
“But if we have already excommunicated him, whether he agrees to sign or not is his business now. We shouldn’t have anything more to do with it now.”

Loung Por Liem:
“Our meeting has been going on for two hours now, and we are still unclear in this matter. As for myself, I do not agree with this action, [that is, the ordination]. This is because we have notified you [Ajahn Brahm] ahead of time, in writing. This is my feeling. If there are any other monks here who agree to that, I bless them with my ‘Anumodana’. I do not agree with the ordination of bhikkhunis, which means that I do not accept it. Is there anyone in this group who agrees or disagrees? If he asks, I am asking him to say if he is going to stop doing this anymore? That is all. Do you understand.”

Another Thera:
“Ven Chaokhun Brahm, do you understand? Please express yourself which direction you want to go.”

Venerable Brahmavamso:
“I don’t understand. I already explained myself. I don’t understand what the problem is. I already said that I will stop.”

Thera:
“Will you follow the resolution of the Monastic Committee?”

Venerable Brahmavamso:
“I will follow the resolution of the Monastic Committee.”

Thera:
“OK. So you will follow the Committee of Wat Nong Pah Pong as before, but from now on you will also follow the Monastic Committee [of the Mahathera Samakhom]?”

Another Thera:
“But wait a minute! When you said you follow the Monastic Committee, it means that you must issue a document that the ordination of bhikkhunis transgressed the Dhamma-vinaya, that is, the Vinaya that Loung Por Chah and the branches of his lineage have practiced with for long. You must admit that you have committed a wrongdoing, and then this document will be distributed all over the world. Alright?”

Ven Brahmavamso:
“But I cannot issue this letter.”

Thera:
“If you cannot do it, then it means that you still hold that your conduct is correct. You only admit guilt after you have completed the [Sangha]kamma. This is really up to the Committee now. I think it doesn’t hold at all. It really shows that he does not truly admit that what he has done is wrong.”

Another Thera:
“Yes, if he does not accept Dhamma-Vinaya, because he thinks that it is merely an opinion of the majority of the monks, this is a case of ditthi (holding a view). This is the ditthi: he regards himself as knowing everything about Dhamma-Vinaya, therefore he will not yield. He said that it is not doable. He said, this is the ditthi of the majority of the monks who do not agree with him. But since the majority does not agree — he is the only person that agrees — thus it is he who has ditthi, [that is, he who is clingling to his own view].

Another Thera:
“This is similar to the case of [ex-monk and Prime Minister] Phra Kugrit Pramot who said that he wanted to chant 150 as opposed to the 227 [precepts of the Bhikkhu Patimokkha]. He insisted on 150. Therefore we excommunicated him.

Another Thera:
“But ditthi is the view of the majority of the Monastic Committee. This is for the purpose of unity and harmony. I think we should call a halt to it, that is, not allowing it [bhikkhuni ordination] to happen, not allowing it to be born. We must halt it by nullifying the ordination, by recognizing that they are not bhikkhunis. And you, Ven Chaokhun [Brahm] must admit everything. And the Sangha will consider to have you start again, per the opinion of the European Sangha, that is, to start as a new brach, starting from one. Ven Chaokhun, can you accept this or not?

Ven Brahmavamso:
“I still do not understand why. What evidence do you have that this is transgressing the Vinaya?”

Thera:
“[To Ajahn Brahm]: So, that is it. You do not accept. So as of now you do not accept that you are wrong and that you will change. [To the Committee:] I ask the Committee what judgement will you have?”

(The Committee discussed until 143.32 min)

Thera:
“OK, you will not be in the Theravada sect. Are you going to go to the Mahayana sect?”

Ven Brahmavamso:
“I am not Mahayana. But as far as I know, as you all have explained – what is the reason for saying that this is not a real ordination? If Somdet Buddhajahn who is my Upajjhaya is able to me that it is really wrong, then I will admit it. But it has to have reason. I have not heard a reason. I don’t understand. And also…

(monks explain the reason and there is debate up till 145.32 mins)

Ven Brahmavamso:
“I am speaking the truth. In brief, I do not want to step on the toes of other monks. If i have to say that the ordination is not real, then I cannot say that. But if the Monastic Committee thinks that I have to disaffiliate from being a branch, then I will accept that, because this is the truth. The truth is the truth. [This next sentence is broken Thai and difficult to translate so may be incorrect]: I see many disciples, and those that will be my disciples can be either monastics or lay people, and there are those amongst them that are experts in the monastic Vinaya… Then let’s make it simple. Cut Bodhinyana off as a branch; I accept that.

Thera:
“So are you still a branch of Wat Nong Pah Pong at this time?”

Ven Brahmavamso:
“I can accept disaffiliation, so that this will not be a problem for the monks. It is a very heavy decision, because I still love all of my teachers, but I don’t want to be a problem anymore. So if there are monks, even 2 or 3 who are unhappy, then I accept that. And then being a little distant, I want you to reconsider that. But what has been done has been done, and was done according to the monastic Vinaya. And from what I have heard from the Venerable Somdet [Phra Buddhajahn] of Wat Saket, it [such ordination] is according to Vinaya but it is not accepted in Thailand, but it is accepted in Australia.”

(some commotion)

Thera:
“This is the situation, in the Theravada sect, in the Thai sect, wherever Thai Theravada Buddhism is over the entire world: we do not accept the ordination of bhikkhunis is accordance with Dhamma-Vinaya. Before coming to this meeting, I had a telephone conversation with Ven Chaokhun Panna who is the Secretary of Somdet [Phra Buddhajahn], who said that Chaokhun Somdet [Phra Buddhajahn] gave you this policy [that was just stated prior]. So whatever the decision is of the Monastic Committee today, we will follow that.”

Ven Brahmavamso:
“I am ready to follow the resolution of the Wat Nong Pah Pong monks. If you want me to disaffilate the branch, I will. If you want me to start the branch over from one; OK, I am ready to do that.

(discussion about disaffiliation/excommunication amongst the monks until 160.25 mins)

Thera:
“I have asked for the resolution, and it keeps going on and on endlessly. Why don’t we do this: I heard that the Loung Por Chairmen [Ajahn Liem] said that if it is so much trouble then just ‘cut it off;’ so then this is the resolution: I ask the Committee, do you agree or disagree? If anyone disagrees please say so.

Another Thera:
“May I speak? I feel confused, but now I am pretty clear. Loung Por Liem said, ‘cut the monastery out.’ Please, all temple Chairmen and Abbots here, what do you think, do you bless this decision or not?”

(Alot of monks said ‘Sadhu’ [after 3 tries].)

Loung Por Liem:
“So our meeting here has reached an agreement of the governance of the group. It has taken almost three hours and we have finally agreed in the form of divorce. You can go ahead and do your job over there, and over here we will continue to not agree with it. Therefore, this resolution is backed by the majority of the monastic community here. This meeting can adjourn and we can all go back to our duties. Let us all close the meeting by paying homage to the Buddha.”


As reported by http://www.alittlebuddha.com
Dec 21, 2552 BE [2009 CE]
English translation by Supatra Chowchuvech
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Re: Bhikkhuni Ordination performed - by Ajahn Brahmavamso

Postby Bankei » Sat Jan 02, 2010 11:48 am

Notice how the WPP committee members did not give a reason why the ordination was invalid.

Also note their misunderstandings of history and how they use the term 'Mahayana'.
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Re: Bhikkhuni Ordination performed - by Ajahn Brahmavamso

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Jan 02, 2010 11:59 am

Before I make any proper comment I am going to compare the two in detail!
Thanks for sharing I was going to look there later on for a response.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Bhikkhuni Ordination performed - by Ajahn Brahmavamso

Postby pilgrim » Sat Jan 02, 2010 2:18 pm

Note that the Dhammalight response to the Press report did not make any comment on Pra Kru Opas statement on the non-recognition of the Siladhara order.
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Re: Bhikkhuni Ordination performed - by Ajahn Brahmavamso

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Jan 02, 2010 3:43 pm

Bankei wrote:Notice how the WPP committee members did not give a reason why the ordination was invalid.

The reason was given but not transcribed
Ven Brahmavamso:
“I am not Mahayana. But as far as I know, as you all have explained – what is the reason for saying that this is not a real ordination? If Somdet Buddhajahn who is my Upajjhaya is able to me that it is really wrong, then I will admit it. But it has to have reason. I have not heard a reason. I don’t understand. And also…

(monks explain the reason and there is debate up till 145.32 mins)


Bankei wrote:Also note their misunderstandings of history and how they use the term 'Mahayana'.

In order of appearance
Ven Brahmavamso:
“I was not the Upajjhaya (Preceptor). There was a bhikkhu[ni] who was the Upajjhaya of the bhikkhunis; it was not me. The ritual was done at the forest monastery in Perth. It was an ordination for bhikkhunis. There was no Upajjhaya; the Pavattini was a bhikkhuni. A bhikkhuni was Pavattini (Upajjhaya). Tathaaloka has been to Thailand long ago. She has 12 Pansa (Vassas/Years since full ordination). She was ordained in the Mahayana in a sect in the United States.

They may of opted to use Mahayana instead of dharmagupta as it would save confussion as to who was being refered to i.e, the lineage of ordination of Bhikkhunis which is uncut and found only in the Mahayana teaching lineage?
Secretary of the Meeting:
“Those that have gone to pay homage to Venerable Somdet Phra Buddhajahn (the Acting Sangharaja) at Wat Saket [will know]: he said that this is a Mahayana practice, not Theravadan.”

In one respect he is correct, this vinaya practice is unbroken in the Dhammagupta line which the Mahayana follow. Whether it is literarily correct is another matter but the meaning is clear.
Thera:
The Most Venerable Somdet Phra Buddhajahn has said that, ‘If he wants to give ordination, then alright. Let him be Mahayana.’ Then he [Ajahn Brahmavamso] replied, ‘We are not splitting from you, but you are splitting from us into Mahayana.’ This is what he said.”

As it is a Mahayana teaching lineage that still has the Bhikkhuni ordination from the dharmagupta vinaya lineage within it, this may appear confused, although it is relatively clear what they were meaning, or at least discernable.
Thera:
“OK, you will not be in the Theravada sect. Are you going to go to the Mahayana sect?”

Meaning the ordination line of the Dharmagupta.

It would be interesting to see what someone experienced in vinaya has to say about the transcript, but feel that may possibly not be seen as appropriate to do by those who are experienced to explain the vinaya acts in this manner, although it would be nice to be incorrect about that feeling.
Last edited by Cittasanto on Sat Jan 02, 2010 3:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Bhikkhuni Ordination performed - by Ajahn Brahmavamso

Postby bodom » Sat Jan 02, 2010 3:48 pm

Bankei wrote:Also note their misunderstandings of history and how they use the term 'Mahayana'.


Yes, notice it sounds the way Hinayana is used within the Mahayana sect.

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Bhikkhuni Ordination performed - by Ajahn Brahmavamso

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Jan 02, 2010 5:43 pm

Hi All,
the WNPP statement regarding the press conference.
Looks like they were sorting out the cause of the problem, instead of dealing with the effect of the problem first, and stating their stance on the ownership rather than trying work out how to take ownership, as the initial article suggests.
As pilgrim notes that the statement did not make any comment on the stated non-recognition of the Siladhara order, and it doesn’t, but it does mention ordination of women, as the Siladhara line is recognised as an aspect of the Western Thai Sangha by the authorities in Thailand at the very least, or as an aspect of the Thai Sangha at best, the comment may have been an aspect of the sensationalism (as WNPP describe it), borrowed from elsewhere, either by someone who is apart of the WNPP group or outside? Considering that some of the facts, at least, are inaccurate to the events, and the Korwat comments on how to treat visiting bhikkhunis and Siladharas (as I quoted above,) this, to me, seams a likely reason for the lack of mention.
there is some more in the Korwat PDF I have which I will add to the above quoting post now.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Bhikkhuni Ordination performed - by Ajahn Brahmavamso

Postby cooran » Sat Jan 02, 2010 6:19 pm

Hello all,

I posted this in another thread ~ but it's worth the read:

Abstract
"The present article critically reviews four theories regarding the foundation of the order of nuns: (I) the suggestion that the account of the foundation of the nuns' order was devised only after the division between the Sthavira and the Mahasamghika schools; (II) the assumption that an alternative account of this event can be found in the Maitrisimit; (III) the conjecture that nuns were in existence before Mahaprajapati Gautami went forth; and (IV) the hypothesis that the order of nuns came into being only after the Buddha had passed away."

Theories on the Foundation of the Nuns' Order – A Critical Evaluation by Bhikkhu Analayo
http://www.buddhanet.net/budsas/ebud/ebdha356.htm

metta
Chris
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Re: Bhikkhuni Ordination performed - by Ajahn Brahmavamso

Postby Bankei » Sat Jan 02, 2010 10:15 pm

For those that have never been to Thailand I think I should also point out how different Thai society is to the West.

Thailand is still a third world country, underdeveloped in both facilities and social systems.

Thailand is an extremely Hierarchical society with the feeling of senior/junior arising in many situations. The language reflects this too. The Sangha is more hierarchical that the average society. When monks meet they often ask each other early on how many 'rains' they have so they can work out who is senior. This will determine sitting order, walking order, language used, priorities etc. It seems WPP monks are more extreme in this area than the average monk too.

Monks are generally not criticised openly. Behind there backs people will complain. In my Temple the Abbott purchased a luxury 4WD car for his driver to taken him from meeting to meeting. Many complained that he should have spent the money on a new Sala, but no one would tell him directly. Some people also refuse to say anything they consider bad behind their backs in private.

Women in Thailand have much less opportunities to the men. It is rare for a woman to hold a high level job or to have power. To put it bluntly women are there for sex and cleaning.

Education levels are very low. The average Thai knows nothing of the world. General knowledge of news from other countries is very lacking. Even at the top universities the levels are not comparable to the West. Cheating on exams is rife too.

Even knowledge of Buddhism, Pali Buddhism is extemely low. The average monk would never have read a sutta or even a general book on Buddhism. Some may read popular books on fortune telling, monks with powers, supernatural stuff etc. Ask a monk about the theory of anatta.

Academic studies on Buddhism in Thailand are of low quality, usually, with proper referencing lacking. There would be little written objectively on the history of Buddhism in Thai. They may have heard about the word Mahayana but have no concept of what it is. Most don't care anyway. They view Thai Theravada as pristine and pure, but ask them about all the problems and they will start squirming in their seats. The preceptors who have sex (many have been caught, how many haven't?)- does that mean the Thai Buddhist lineage is broken?
Even in that transcript above the monks claim to know the vinaya, but they probably have not even read the Bhikkhuni vinaya. Some did not know about the structure of the ordination ceremony for Bhikkhuni. They would have no reason to read or study about the Bhikkhuni anyway.

There is also a big city/country divide in Thailand. A big difference with things in the countryside much worse than in Bangkok. Less opportunities for women in the countryside, less eduction in general, less international news, more 'traditional' thinking. This is especially so in the Northeast Isarn region.

Now take the WPP senior monks. Most are from Isarn. Most have been monks since childhood. Most would have never had a girlfriend or married, never been around women. Most cannot speak English, maybe some even cannot speak standard Thai. Reading is discouraged in this group - even the study of Buddhism is discouraged. Most have never been overseas, some never even to the city of Bangkok.

There are also nationalistic feelings. Thailand is special, with a benevolent Buddhist King etc. Thailand has taken over as the caretaker of Buddhism now that Sri Lanka is openly corrupt.

Also remember that the Western monks of WPP are only a small minority of the group. They have little control or influence and many of these monks have lived there so long they begin to think like Thais.

So taking all of that into account it is understandable that they hold wrong views. (doesn't make it acceptable though)

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