Why was Ajahn Brahm expelled from the Wat Pa Phong Sangha?

brahmGo beyond words, the Wisdom Publications blog, currently features “History in the Making,” a guest post by editor David Kittelstrom regarding (in part) the expulsion of bhikku Ajahn Brahmavamso (a.k.a. Ajahn Brahm) from the Wat Pa Phong Sangha. Some excerpts:

The first Theravada bhikkhuni (nun) ordination in Australia, and the first in the Thai Forest Tradition anywhere in the world, was performed in Bodhinyana Monastery in Western Australia on October 22nd. Four nuns from the nearby Dhammasara Nuns Monastery took ordination: Vayama, Nirodha, Seri, and Hassapañña. The second half of the ordination ceremony was performed by Wisdom author Ajahn Brahm—the abbot of Bodhinyana—along with other monks from the monastery.

[...] The historic event drew a severe reaction from conservative lineage holders in Thailand. The monks of the Ajahn Chah tradition headed at Wat Pa Pong complained that they had not been consulted and called Ajahn Brahm to a meeting in Northeast Thailand this past Sunday, November 1st, where they voted to expel him from the Wat Pa Pong community.

The Buddhist Channel reports on a statement from Wat Pa Nanachat, a Buddhist monastery in Thailand, explaining their reasons for the expulsion of Ajahn Brahm from the Wat Pa Phong Sangha. According to the statement, “Ajahn Brahmavamso reneged on commitments implicit in his ownership of a Thai monastic passport, his role as abbot of a Wat Pa Phong branch monastery, his position as an officially sanctioned preceptor, and his acceptance of the Jow Khun title (formalizing his membership in the elite strata of the Thai monastic order).” See the full report here.

78 Comments

  1. Posted November 5, 2009 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    This was not an excommunication. It would be in Shambhala Sun's interest of journalistic integrity to avoid such sensationalist language, perhaps even changing the wording of this post and/or providing a retraction. Words such as expulsion, ejection or even ostracism are also quite forceful without carrying the serious religious connotations of excommunication.

  2. Posted November 5, 2009 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    Fair enough, arunlikhati. done.

  3. diane
    Posted November 7, 2009 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    It 's good to know that someone like Ajahn Brahm is practicing what he is preaching- non-clinging to conventions as oppsoed to many other in th Ajahn Chah's tradition in the U.S who keep talking about non clinging and annaat, but they seem to hold on to this egoic self out of self inetrest to make sure the support they receive from the Thai folks will continue. They aren't silent because of desire for harmony, they are silent because they have a lot to lose by openly supporting Ajahn Brahm and the other hals of humanity -women

  4. the zen mind
    Posted November 11, 2009 at 5:41 am | Permalink

    It seems like the main issue is the way that Ajahn Brahm went about conducting the ordinations.

    There are some new letters from the parties involved on this site:
    http://www.dhammalight.org

  5. Posted November 14, 2009 at 1:50 am | Permalink

    Actually, Ajahn Brahm himself refers to what happened to his monastery as excommunication, see here:
    http://sujato.wordpress.com/2009/11/07/ajahn-brah

    However, the Thai Forest Tradition governing body in it's official statement does not refer to it as such, putting it as having "revoked it's status as a branch monastary", here:
    http://www.dhammalight.com/WPP_Letter_on_Bhikkhun

    So, I guess one could go either way on the language.

  6. Tom
    Posted November 16, 2009 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

    Well according to Wat Pah Pong- excommunicated

  7. Tom
    Posted November 16, 2009 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

    What support from Thai folks?

  8. Buddhist
    Posted November 17, 2009 at 1:31 am | Permalink

    We love you, Ajahn, but if what Bikku Bodhi said its true, then it is not cool..we do not know the real truth behind all this ordination, what is the motive but from the Buddhist point of view, the monks belong to the Sangha as a holy family unit and any amendments,policy,ideas,change must rightfully be referred to the international Sangha unit, in particular if you come from the Theravada tradition, then approval from the Theravada Sangha as we view that any decision made by one Theravada monastry or monk or group of monks would affect the other majority.

    The problem was not so much the ordination of the bikkunis as we could see there are many women bikkunis from other traditions, but in this case, the ordination was made discreetly and was "bulldozed" so to make a precedant in the Theravada tradition.
    As Ajahn Chah from WPP was the teacher of Ajahn B, in our opinion, at least the WPP should be informed, as a mark of respect and not after the ordination.We can understand the frustration of Ajahn B in this issue but, a rule is a rule and any decision to discard any rule had to be unanimous, to prolong harmony in the tradition, otherwise, if not, every monk can set their own rules to override or supersede one another citing theirs is more superior.

    In this case, the Bikkunis are to be blamed too when they were fully aware that this has yet been approved by the Theravada tradition Council (it goes to show disrespect and inobedience). If these Bikkunis really passionately wanted to be ordained for self progress spiritually, they could be ordained in other traditions other than the Theravada, who has successfully ordained so many Bikkunis, if they were serious, but in this case they were going against the tradition that they perceived as old-fashion or not up todate (surely the Theravada monks had a reason for not ordaining bikkunis).

    As a layperson, we kind of "worship" & respect monks not as an individual or personality but as a Sangha community. With much due respect, we feel that the Sangha should practice holiness and aloofness and not indulge in fame, politics and power but solely to propagate the Dhamma of our Lord Buddha and not themselves or their own teachings. The Sangha is supposed to be the Messenger of Lord Buddha and His Teachings or His spiritual discovery and not otherwise. Seek forgiveness if any of the comment is too harsh.

  9. Sam DeWitt
    Posted November 17, 2009 at 2:33 am | Permalink

    "(surely the Theravada monks had a reason for not ordaining bikkunis). "

    such as?

  10. Budhists Laywomen
    Posted November 17, 2009 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    Hi all, It is no use talking so much and defending or offending so much. Now, what is the next course of action to prevent schism in the theravada tradition?Our suggestion, if permission be granted for us to voice out is that, since this issue was caused by the 4 Bikkunis who wanted to be ordained (& their Preceptors )that caused Ajahn Brahm alone to be expelled from WPP, it now lies in the hands of the 4 Bikkunis & Preceptors to mend the split.It is in the interest of the 4 Bikkunis, Preceptors and all Buddhist community, to voluntarily denounce their ordination so that Ajahn Brahm & the two monastries can be reinstated back to WPP international tradition or theravada tradition (not only Thai but other countries as well).Ajahn Brahm could have acted out of his mega metta and mega compassion to accomodate everybody in the world, knowing him for his unselfish boundless love for all, regardless of creed race or religion (universal love).

  11. Reply:Sam
    Posted November 17, 2009 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Some Bikkus predicted or speculated that the Dhamma would dwindle or diminished. Pls. ask directly the Thai theravada council or be a monk to find the truth (do not hearsay).

  12. Posted November 17, 2009 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    Anyone relying on dhammalight.org for information is clearly not informed of the strictly Vinaya ordination of the first Thai Forest bhikkhunis in the world. Clearly not informed of the decades of scholarship endorsing this ordination. Nor apparently interested in the Dhamma Vinaya as established by the Fully Enlightened One. "Buddhist laywoman" you are obviously in drag.

  13. Valerie
    Posted November 17, 2009 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    The Dharmagupta ordination for Bhikkhunis in the Mahayana tradition, with some exceptions toward the end of the precepts, is the original ordination given to Bhikkhunis in the Theravadan tradition. It was culture, not Buddhism, which kept women out. Ajahn Brahm should be honoured for bringing Theravadan Buddhism into the 21st Century.

  14. Buddhist
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 3:13 am | Permalink

    Namo Buddayo,

    Let's not take sides. Let's be rationale.Leave books aside (use our purity & go by love in our hearts with no defilements).

    Just put WPP in Ajarn B's shoes.

    In future, if one of Ajarn B's disciples were to branch out eg in Middle East, and they ordained Bikkunis /Bikkus there without even the courtesy to inform or consult or invite Ajarn B or his monatery where they had training & shelter from, and instead consult the Middle East Buddhist Community, how would Ajarn B and his monastery react and felt? It is the same for WPP.

    It is a matter of courtesy and approval,that's all it takes to do, openly (all this not in the Vinaya, that doesn't mean one can ignore and just follow blindly the book & not procedures/heirarchy).

    If the Dhammasara Bikkunis wanted to establish their own Bikkunis Order or Australian Buddhist tradition, they should be open about it by asking permission from their lineage/tradition/parent monastery to relinquish them to be an independant tradition first before the ordination(surely WPP would be happy to allow that if it meant good for the Dhamma and relevant to the Aussie Buddhist community).WPP has no right to go against that if you want to break-off from the WPP/FST banners. By bypassing WPP & FST, the Bikkunis had by default established their own Order or Australian Tradition without any lineage/tradition/parent monastery, and by default, they should not use Ajahn Chah as their fore-teacher to propagate their teachings /gain popularity / trust.

    This is my personal feelings & perception not to be taken conclusive (blogs are meant for discussions, no heart feelings, be open minded).
    Calmness leads to Wisdom.
    Metta to all.

  15. putujanna
    Posted November 19, 2009 at 1:18 am | Permalink

    Dear Bikkunis,

    (in Ajarn sujato’s blog on Bikinnis Ordination)

    No joke, the gate of Bikkunis is open to all!

    The whole issue is not about the ordination of Bikkunis or the Vinaya, but the principles of the Bikkunis & Ajarns in the secretive manner the ordination of Bikkunis was held.

    ITS A CONSPIRACY!.

    The motive:

    The Bodhiyana Monastry & Ajarn B is alleged to start their own lineage – the Bodhiyana lineage with Ajahn B as the Abbot in place of Ajarn Chah. Cool…. Western lineage IS BORN.

    All Bikkunis aspirants who want to be ordained now can go to Ajarn B for official ordination in Bodhiyana (now openly, no need secretly) – the official monastery for Bikkunis ordination regardless of your original lineage or traditions (transcended all forms), the first in history.Applications open to all preceptors.

    Pondering…..Who is the new “Buddha” (thought only our Lord Buddha could ordain Bikkunis during his aeon as only Buddha is enlightened to know who is fit to be ordained). Do we have a new Buddha? Wow, we are so lucky.

  16. Sam DeWitt
    Posted November 20, 2009 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

    asking a question with 2 words, "such as", hardly results in hearsay.

  17. Panna
    Posted November 23, 2009 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    Hi,
    The Dharmagupta can be interpreted & perceived differently by different people. In this case, there are too many intellectual views but totally no wisdom. A wise monk would not cause such disparity & diversity in the community & Sangha, and ill-will,hatred and disharmony amongst Buddhists.

    Buddhism has been commercialized and the Dhamma has been contaminated.

    Some monks gained popularity through cracking jokes and telling stories which most lay people are interested in as it gave some kind of entertainment and relief from their stressful lives, but they are still ignorant and the purpose of the Dhamma is to ultimately liberate us from Samsara and not indulge more into Samsara by uplifting our senses & pleasures of our minds. The true path is not for the many but for those few who can appreciate it and follow & practise the path without any deviations or contaminations.

    The Dhammas are not for putujannas (still with desires, clingings & cravings) but for the wise ones.

  18. Posted November 26, 2009 at 1:13 am | Permalink

    Celebrating the recent Bhikkhui ordinations
    By Jacqueline Kramer-Vice President of Alliance for Bhikkhunis

    By now many of us have heard a number of arguments related to the issue of the bhikkhuni ordination in Perth. Was Ajahn Brahm out of line? Was this an act of civil disobedience? Should he have followed a different procedure than the one he followed? The answers to these questions will unfold as time goes on. To make the current discussion be about how the ordinations happened misses a historic opportunity to support this delicate blossoming of the four- fold sangha. Is the birthing awkward? Uncomfortable? Unorthodox? Perhaps. But to focus on this point misses the underlying, deeper and more interesting issue. Given how fragile the bhikkhuni order is at this time it would be more enlightened and kinder to celebrate and support these brave women than to spend time arguing about how their ordination came about.

    What is left? The ordinations have happened. Although they did not adhere to Thai law and procedure they were in alignment with the Dhamma-Vinaya. The Alliance for Bhikkhunis is in agreement with the position and argument made by the German society of Buddhistisches WAldkloster e. V. http://www.theravadablog.de/2009/11/19/statement-… If the laws of any Buddhist organization are in conflict with the Dhamma-Vinaya it is our responsibility to reestablish the true dhamma.

    Where do we go from here? Rather than discredit and blame a respectable teacher who has done much good for Buddhism, whether he acted wisely or not, we can choose to celebrate the women who courageously stepped into the light of spiritual leadership The Buddha said, “I will not take final Nibbana till I have monks and nuns and laymen-followers and lay-women-followers who are accomplished, trained, skilled, learned, knowers of the Dharma, correctly trained and walking the path of the Dhamma.” Given this directive from the Buddha it would be wise to support his wish that there be both bhikkhus and bhikkhunnis in all parts of the world.

  19. Ben Triefus
    Posted November 28, 2009 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    I thank Ajahn Brahm for giving us all the opportunity to witness wisdom in action, and see true courage to act in accordance with the dharma. If the concrete thinking of the theravada failed to ordain women for all this time, their mysogeny is the true cause of this issue not the act of breaking the dicipline. When something is wrong it needs fixing not ignoring. AB has fixed it good on him.

  20. newton
    Posted November 29, 2009 at 1:23 am | Permalink

    if refusal to ordain were based on race, ethnicity, ability or other personal category, would people be defending it? i submit that it is solely gender discrimination that Thais expect others to tolerate openly as "tradition" at this point

  21. buddhagirl
    Posted November 29, 2009 at 1:48 am | Permalink

    Thankyou, Jacqueline Kramer, for an instructive, illuminating post. It’s disappointing that so many of the others above are blaming the women, the bhikkunis. Oh well, i guess centuries of patriachal behaviour has to be upheld! Perhaps the monk/abbot in question is better to be cut loose from a monastic order which interprets the vinaya in such a fundamentalist manner.

    Also, excommunication or expulsion, i can’t see much difference – both mean to be kicked out of an institution.

  22. Albert Mah
    Posted December 2, 2009 at 12:10 am | Permalink

    Great news for the Theravadin tradition. Finally someone brave enough like Ajahn Brahm makes a break from Thai Forest tradition and participates in the ceremony of bhikkhuni ordination. He has the overwhelming support from his supporters and so do the bhikkhunis from their supporters. If it means that Bodhinyana Monastery is no more part of the Wat Pah Pong community then so be it. Better to be independent than continue to deny the hopes and aspirations of the other half of humanity.

  23. Devotees
    Posted December 8, 2009 at 3:56 am | Permalink

    Dear Albert

    Perhaps this is exactly what AB wanted – to break-off from the Thai Theravada Sangha,Forest Sangha & Aj Chah lineage/wpp as he does not respect them and criticized the behaviour of monks there and insult their knowledge of the Vinaya by putting them down as less learned as him in the Vinaya.

    Aj B knew and expected this would happen and was forewarned by the West Elders but he chosed to do it and maybe he wanted this to happen so the only way was to go against their rule by ordaining the ladies.It could be his long term plan.The Thai Sangha denounced him not only on the ordination but also the mistrust and integrity point of view. Just a point of view and understanding, we are still oblivious of the actual purpose and motive in this. Sorry, if you don’t agree.This is how i see it.I may be wrong (forgive if wrong, hope i was wrong)

  24. Cindy Phillip
    Posted December 10, 2009 at 3:35 am | Permalink

    Saw it interesting from other bloggers, so cut & paste it for sharing and reflections or for any comment or clarification:-

    —–Here is a sutta from the Bhikkhuni-Samyutta (Samyutta Nikayas -Thanissaro):-

    “”"At Savatthi. Then, early in the morning, Alavika the nun put on her robes and, taking her bowl & outer robe, went into Savatthi for alms. When she had gone for alms in Savatthi and had returned from her alms round, after her meal she went to the Grove of the Blind to spend the day. Having gone deep into the Grove of the Blind, she sat down at the foot of a tree for the day’s abiding.
    Then Mara the Evil One, wanting to arouse fear, horripilation, & terror in her, wanting to make her fall away from seclusion, approached her & addressed her in verse:
    There’s no
    escape
    in the world,
    so what are you trying to do
    with solitude?
    Enjoy sensual delights.
    Don’t be someone
    who later regrets.
    Then the thought occurred to Alavika the nun: “Now who has recited this verse — a human being or a non-human one?” Then it occurred to her: “This is Mara the Evil One, who has recited this verse wanting to arouse fear, horripilation, & terror in me, wanting to make me fall away from seclusion.”
    Then, having understood that “This is Mara the Evil One,” she replied to him in verses:
    There is
    an escape in the world,
    well touched by me
    with discernment —
    something that you,
    you Evil One,
    kinsman of the heedless,
    don’t know.
    Sensual pleasures
    are like swords & spears;
    the aggregates,
    their executioner’s block.
    What you call sensual delight
    is no delight for me.
    Then Mara the Evil One — sad & dejected at realizing, “Alavika the nun knows me” — vanished right there.”"”

    The above shows that the Bhikkunis have “gone forth” during Buddha’s time.

    So, have the 4 Bhikkunis ordained in Perth “gone forth”? As Bhikkunis, they are now equal to Bhikkhus in “gone forth” i.e. they too have to go alms round with their bowl and “gone forth” deep in the forest for the days abiding as in the Bhikkunis-Samyutta. If they have not “gone forth”, can they be called Bhikkhunis? If they stay comfortably in the nunnery, being fed by laypeople with comfortable dwelling and just sprinkle some chanted water and tie talisman on laypeople, are they not just nuns(siladaras) in the nunnery?

    Are the 4 Bhikkhunis able to “gone forth” due to 2 of them are already in their granny’s age (too old to stay in the forest alone and go alms round) and the other two are in their blooming age (too dangerous to stay in the forest alone and go alms round).

    The argument is have they “gone forth” and if not, are they valid Bhikkunis? Or just siladaras in Bhikkunis’ robes.
    (Seek forgiveness for any mistakes and ignorance in the Dhamma). Sokhihotu.

    ^_^^_^

  25. Posted December 17, 2009 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    All that I see in this situation is attachment. Attachment to tradition. Attachment to have their feelings hurt. Seeking revenge. Dashed with some old fashioned attachment to status quo.

  26. yogi
    Posted December 30, 2009 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    It is sad that this thing happens. But then all things are forever changing. I hope there is no hatred , anger , all those unhappy moods resulting from this occurring. If monks involved have reached high state of spiritual practice, then the incidence would come to pass . As compassion and metta will save the days. With great respects for both monks

  27. Dhammaruci
    Posted January 11, 2010 at 3:40 am | Permalink

    The Lord Buddha himself is not out of the ill effect for establishing the order of Nun.
    But we should not forget the Kalama Sutta taught by Our Lord.
    And the fact he has go against the masses to ordain Nun.
    The Good for the Action far exceed the ill of Human Perceptions….

    My full support for Ajham B for the benefit of many..
    He has taken the ill himself to break the lock of Traditions….

    The least the WPP shanga (being the enlightens who practice the true
    and Higher Dhamma of the Forest) is to support him to break these lock
    for the Happiness of the many…
    NON-SELF practice for Others.

    Metta

  28. dhammaruci
    Posted January 11, 2010 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    Well say Brother, well say !!
    Hope to learn more from you sir.

  29. C K Cheong
    Posted January 11, 2010 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Dear Brother Panna in the Dhamma, I am sure even Ven. Ajham Cha did crack joke during dhamma talk. Hope this should not be view otherwise, One of the rare ven.
    is the ability to teach the Dhamma.
    Ajham B is unique in seminating the truth & the gist of the subject albeit hidden within
    joke for only those who has eyes with little dust to see.
    personally I have benefited greatly from his talks.

    May you be well & happy always,
    with Metta,
    Dhammaruci

  30. ajahnchah disciple
    Posted January 15, 2010 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Dear All,

    On 16/1/10 is Ajahn Chah’s remembrance Day! If Ajahn Chah was still alive, he would not like this “fire” going on and would be dissapointed and his advice would be “Go with your pure heart & mind” & “live in harmony with Nature””Be at peace with the world” & not be slaves to books.

    Pls. have some respect for the late Ajahn Chah.

    Nuns need not become female monks to get to arahantship as confirmed by our Buddha. In the West, the females want equal rights as the male monks, but can the female monks live up to the standard of the male monks in practising austherity in the forest,caves,cemetary,dense forest like our Ajahn Chah & his disciples monks? If not, by being equal in monkhood and not going forth would be indirectly and eventually bring down the standard of forest monkhood and their tradition of practice objectively. Can the female monks live with tigers and snakes in the forest alone? That was the obvious reason why the Bhikkhunis Sangha died off a thousand years ago. Do we want to revive it to later have it died off because it was near impossible for female monks to live in austherity (it was Buddha’s wisdom to object Mahapati to “gone forth” but encouraged them with the 8 rules for life).

    Please reflect and contemplate before the female ask for monkhood for equal status.(not anti Bhikkhunis, but please be real & practical).Buddhism has survived 2,600 years todate and hope it would go on another 2,600 years for the future generations by preserving the rules that the Elders and fore-Sangha had left to us to protect, follow and practice as inheritance.

    Happy Peaceful Remembrance Day, in honour of our late Ajahn Chah!Metta to the agreeable and the disagreeable.

  31. Joseph
    Posted January 31, 2010 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

    Female ordination died off 10 centuries ago because the men couldn’t handle it. Despite being buddhists and supposedly adhering to the precepts, monastics of that time and the men in particular, were integral parts of an increasingly patriarchal society and power structure. What kind of real Buddhism supports allowing women to be treated as second class citizens? That’s not real Buddhism and Ajahn Brahm knows it. 26 centuries ago Buddha himself ordained women. If it was good enough for the Buddha, it is good enough for us.

  32. Mimi
    Posted March 1, 2010 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    Why did Buddha hesitated to ordain women?
    What was his comment when he agreed to ordain
    women?
    What was his advice to Ananda before his Parinibbanna?
    Are these indication that out of compassion
    the Lord ordained women but there are consequences
    that will affect Buddhism?

  33. jean
    Posted April 5, 2010 at 4:27 am | Permalink

    The Buddha, while enlightened was also a product of his times. It was revolutionary of him to ordain nuns, yet in making sure they also observed the garudharma, whereby a nun of 100 years must bow to a novice monk of just one day, he insured their subservience to monks. Thus nuns have not been able to garner the support they need to prosper and enjoy an dedicate themselves to spiritual life. Furthermore the Buddha makes it very clear that the sangha is constituted of 4 groups, monks, nuns, laymen and laywomen. Thai minks seem to have forgotten this in their decision making.

  34. Becca
    Posted April 6, 2010 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    I am a woman. I would choose Ajahn Brahm to be my teacher. Fundamentalism, and the letter, destroys the spirit, always, in every religion.
    I would choose my teacher from my deepest, most awake heart. The heart has little trouble distinguishing spirit and letter. Ajahn Cha is in the true tradition.

    Fundamentalism is always, finally, cruel, quarrelsome and blind. What does your enlightened heart say about this?

    Thank you for allowing this discussion.

  35. JSDuke
    Posted April 11, 2010 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Indeed, I agree with you. Dhammasara has nothing to do with Thai Sangha, due to their elevation to bhikkuni, now part of the Sri Lankan Bhikkuni Sangha. Their preceptor is of Sri Lankan Lineage.

    In the first place, Ajahn B shouldnt have stuff things up by having the ordination at Bodhinyana. Secondly, as this has nothing to do with Thai Sangha, they should have done it at a Sri Lankan Vihara orelse take a flight to Sri Lanka.

    Nothing wrong with the Bhikkuni Ordination but it takes time for it to be fully established. currently I don't see it as fully established.

    Metta.

  36. Theresa
    Posted April 11, 2010 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    I support Ajahn Brahm 100% he has a pure heart and does everything with the best intension, I choose Ajahn Brahm to be my teacher and shall always follow his wise words of wisdom.

    P.S
    This is for those who is narrow minded open your heart and soul and try to understand as the buddist way have thought us to be.

  37. mike
    Posted April 11, 2010 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    I support Ajahn Brahm 100% he knew when he did it that there would be problems. But he went ahead and did it because it was the right thing to do. Doing the right thing is not always the easy path and it takes someone with courage, wisdom and compassion to do this. It is a shame that all teachers do not do what is right.

  38. Eric
    Posted April 18, 2010 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    In response to ajahnchah discipl’s comments, I spent several months living in the enlish forest monasteries and didn’t meet any monks that spent time in caves with tigers (perhaps some of the older monks might have if they got lost on their way back from alms rounds in Thailand!) In any event, neither man Noe woman is going to survive an encounter with a tiger unless they are arahats with supernatural animal-calming powers). In the All the time I was in England (at chithurst, amaravati, the forest hermitage and the one near Devon- can’t remember it’s name but it was my favorite) I never saw any of the monks take trips to local cemeteries either- unless ” speak at a conference” is monk- code for “put ourselves through scary trials in the english jungle,” and “go to the dentist” was their way of saying “find a cemetery and [have an anagarika] bribe the undertaker to leave a few corpses lying around so we cam sit and meditate on the transiency of human beauty.”
    The reality is that in most of the world today bhikkus can’t do their alms rounds the way they did back in the buddha’s day. People come and donate money and food for them and they go on an alms round once in a while to keep up the tradition. Their Kutis may be in the woods, but they’re always a few minutes from running water and electricity. The bottom line is that the nuns and bhikkus at chithurst and amaravati live under identical conditions, albeit under different roofs. Life in the forest monasteries in Thailand is pretty harsh even today, but that is incidental- ajahn mun, just like the Buddha himself, went off into the forests of Thailand to get away from civilization, not to make life difficult foe himself. There’s nothing in the vinaya about having to withstand dangerous conditions to be a “real” bhikku. Going forth, to my knowledge, refers to leaving one’s family, posessions and former life to dedicate onself to Practicing
    the Dhamma. I’m not an expert in the vinaya, but many of the ideas expressed in this thread about what constitutes “going forth” and what defines a bhikku just dont fit with anything Ive seen or hears or read. If those ideas are true, then I feel duped because all those monks I met in England mist have been imposters.

  39. dharshana
    Posted May 3, 2010 at 5:26 am | Permalink

    this is nothing but an outcome of absorbing of Buddhism (as a religion) to the Western Christian Culture (modernism). what we see is a clash of cultures. Thail Buddhist Culture and Western Christian culture.

  40. Jayantha Wijethunga
    Posted October 14, 2010 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    in buddhist way we have to let it go. i always follow Achan Cha & Achan Brahm with respect

  41. LDSS
    Posted November 14, 2010 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    All this blogs and comments -what they are going to do to support anyone who is determined to go ahead with their practice and purification of their minds. If a woman goes ahead with or without robe bravely and straight forward in practice she can achieve the nibbana. Robe is not essential to a woman or a man if they want to make sure that they are determined to reach the path to nibbana, become a non-returner reach any of the states of purification of mind fro sothapaththi to arahanth status. Seela is essential to reach the path. There is no one capable of preventing a woman having the highest seela that is essential to reaching the four noble states of mind mentioned before. None of the men – bhikkus or anyone can stop that.

  42. LDSS
    Posted November 14, 2010 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    All this ha ho is about not one reaching the path and nibbana but one having and getting approval of those who (perhaps many those not reached path at all yet but…) believe that they have a tradition, lineage, culture, approval of the history etc…. Just to put on a robe and enjoy the same privilege that those men have. Who wants that approval if one is committed to the final goal and practices relentlessly, not bothered about the gains one can have by being a bhikku or bhikkuni. It is all about the constructed ideas (sankharas) about the being, I, my, mine and about the world, etc. What a big noise over something small – something that would create problems to those who are subjected to their thoughts and those who cannot gain control over their own minds. Both those who talk about this and committed the actions leading to this ha ho- all equally lost – not focussing on their own purification and their own progress on the path.

  43. LDSS
    Posted November 14, 2010 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    Dhamma is there to guide all men and women equally. For anyone who can read, listen, understand and follow the instructions carefully, there are many capable teachers around the world today. They can guide them through the dhamma and help them to reach the path. All these words, actions and thoughts are waste of time-utter waste of time by all those involved in creating this ha ho–
    Please be quiet and focus on your own development, purification of your own mind. Please understand that Lord Buddha had said that the Dhamma is the only teacher for all after he departed. No one else has the authority. Dhamma is not what a tradition is. If Ajahn Cha was here, he would not have uttered a word on this at all…. He is over and above all these words and actions. Please follow him quietly!

  44. Yona
    Posted January 15, 2011 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    Guys, have you meditated today? ^_^

  45. Nurse Force
    Posted January 15, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Are you asking if they have been meditated today?

    *Meditation time! Meditation time!*

  46. Malina
    Posted February 13, 2011 at 3:25 am | Permalink

    Many monks have not gone forth,so why pick on the Bikkunis? I wonder if The Bhudda wanted the Sangha to go on compulsory alms round. I am glad that there is a Bhuddist Nunnery in WA. As usual, there is difficulty for the female human beings to move forward. If we all agree to work out together, there is nothing impossible. May all beings be well and happy.

  47. anonymous
    Posted February 24, 2011 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    a woman wrote those paragraphs dhammaruci

  48. anonymous
    Posted February 24, 2011 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    I'd say "always" is almost "never" true

  49. Juin
    Posted March 7, 2011 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    I also support Ajahn Brahm 100% and cannot believe in this time and country this argument even needs to happen, maybe though it is doing some good and will help the Thai people overcome their ridiculous discrimination.

    Buddhism is not cultural and the Thai Buddhists need to accept that if people in their country have to follow their laws and culture then in Australia our culture and laws need to be respected.

    Discrimation against women in this countries is against our constitution, our laws and our culture.To expect any Buddhist Abbot to go against the culture of this country and its laws is also wrong – Ajahn Brahm lives in Australia – not Thailand and to expect Ajahn Brahm to igore this is immoral and shows they have no consideration for him – they are basically asking him to break the law of this country – what sort of *&^^ would do that.

    It is time Asian people stopped disrespecting our laws and culture – how dare these people expect Ahjanm Brahm to break our laws and disrespect our culture by openly discriminating against women. oh and by the way ….. there is nothing wrong with vegemite either!

  50. respect our culture
    Posted March 31, 2011 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    Since when should the west have to abide by sexual discrimination of the East, what rot you spew forth.

    Do what is right in this culture and country or go to Thailand or back to where you cam from and take your sexist rubbish with you – stop bringing it here.

    It is their culture not our to discriminate against women, Ahahn Brahm or whoever he is apparently lives in this country then he and othe religions should not bring the cultural mistakes of sexual discrimination to this country. The Buddha never said women could not or should not have rights to ordaining – and never encouraged all this hierachy nonense get some self respect!

  51. xxx
    Posted March 31, 2011 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    Nuns are not ever subserviant to Monks this is misinterpretation or cultural overtones.

    It is their culture not our to discriminate against women, Ahahn Brahm or whoever he is apparently lives in this country then he and othe religions should not bring the cultural mistakes of sexual discrimination to this country. The Buddha never said women could not or should not have rights to ordaining – and never encouraged all this hierachy nonense

  52. xxxx
    Posted March 31, 2011 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

    It will not be the Dharma or nuns that die off but hopefully it will be dinosaurs like you!

    The Buddha never said women could not ordain and they are far stronger than men and their is not need for them to live with tigers and lions these days .

    Live in the present moment or take you sexist attitudes and go live in the forest with tigers and lion, I am sure the lioness would love to make a meal out of you.

  53. xxx
    Posted March 31, 2011 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

    Joseph you speak the truth

  54. guest
    Posted April 1, 2011 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Ajahn Brahm and the bhikkunis didn't "cause" any schism. Long term sexism and fear of power sharing with women caused those who feel they have something to lose to freak out.

  55. Melissa
    Posted April 21, 2011 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    I too fully support Ajahn Brahm with whatever endeavours he undertake to do along his passage towards Nibbana. Attended his Dharma Talk and believe me, he is truly profound. His simplicity in his action and words has humbled me. He is one the THE BEST among The Best. Non that I have ever come across. Ajahn Brahm is like a living Buddha, a great teacher of our time. If you love Buddha you would love Ajahn Brahm too!

    As Buddhist, we should all practise respect among living beings. Do not open your mouth with critics unless you have something good to say or phrase your words with wisdom to avoid causing pain and ill feeling. We should all contemplate, cultivate and walk the path of Buddha's teaching with wisdom, compassion, loving kindness, peace and harmony.

    Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!
    With Metta,

  56. Posted April 26, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

    The Buddha faced a lot of opposition from traditionalists, who probably thought they were doing the right thing. Probably the authorities in Thailand genuinely believe they're doing the right thing too, so let's be tolerant of them doing *their* right thing, while we in Australia do *our* right thing :)
    There's more than enough support in the spirit and the letter of Theravada for Bhikkhuni ordination; that should be enough. Like the Buddha (and other people with new ideas), sometimes we are right to do something that not everyone else is ready to accept (yet).

  57. Yreke
    Posted June 9, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    The facts are an ordination did not occur in the Thai Forest Tradition. Thailand is a sovereign nation & under Thai law women cannot be ordained. That this may not accord with the Buddha's intent has no relevence whatsoever because Buddhism is not the state religion of Thailand. Ajahn Brahm & collegues are now just Theravada monks. They are no longer part of the Thai Forest Tradition because the Thai Forest Tradition cannot ordain women. The reality of what occurred was a Theravada bhikkhuni (nun) ordination in Australia.

  58. Beginner
    Posted June 17, 2011 at 3:38 am | Permalink

    Wow! excellent! you give me a light. Thank

  59. hmmm
    Posted November 18, 2011 at 2:42 am | Permalink

    The Buddha ordained Bhikkhunis

  60. ben
    Posted November 22, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    I practice buddhism and I used to be conservative (old calendar) eastern orthodox christian where the code of holy law (canon) must be obeyed or god throws you into a pit of smelly demon fire lust. This is an extreme view but all this "expulsion from a tradition" smells an awful lot like the same bull$H!t I'm used to. So, NO NO! buddhists, don't ruin buddhism for me too.

  61. uncle
    Posted November 22, 2011 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    late to the party?

  62. Lorenzo da Costa
    Posted January 14, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    I support Ajahn Brahm 100% . He is a wonderful, pure hearted and inspiring teacher.
    The issue of schisms in the Thai Monastic structures do not affect us in the west at all.
    I frequently listen to his dhamma talks on youtube . He hastouched and changed so many lives

  63. Posted March 15, 2012 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

    Even if Ajahn Brahm is expelled, his wisdom and loving kindness will always be respected. I totally support him on this decision.

  64. Becca
    Posted March 26, 2012 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

    I would respond that this is an evasive answer, friend.

  65. Nomad
    Posted July 15, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    Humbly I think the heart of AB is meritorious. I am akin to believe the wisdom from the lineage that AB had acquired had it's reasoning behind not ordaining women. Perhaps in the dangerous jungle where the lineage do meditation, the women monthly menstrual cycle might put them in danger to the animals or whatever ( just an example ). It would be another noble decision.

    It could be a different mindset or culture between the east and west in this instant, Asian or Chinese have strict discipline and respect on lineages and teachers. If this ordination was communicated to be carried out, it could have win more hearts.

    Things had happened, I think we should now focus on the good 'thought' behind all the event that happen than what is right or who is right.

    May all be well and happy!

  66. Arya
    Posted August 7, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Sidharta itself ordained his mother as bikkhuni.
    so why thai forest monastery didn't see that as an allowance??
    what do they practice about equalism & compassion??
    stop making any branch of buddhism.
    stick to the root!!

  67. Posted August 17, 2012 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    Female ordination died off 10 centuries ago because the men couldn't handle it. Despite being buddhists and supposedly adhering to the precepts, monastics of that time and the men in particular, were integral parts of an increasingly patriarchal society and power structure. What kind of real Buddhism supports allowing women to be treated as second class citizens? That's not real Buddhism and Ajahn Brahm knows it. 26 centuries ago Buddha himself ordained women. If it was good enough for the Buddha, it is good enough for us. khach san gia re http://www.khachsan24gio.vn/

  68. Posted August 21, 2012 at 3:58 am | Permalink

    Female ordination died off 10 centuries ago because the men couldn't handle it. Despite being buddhists and supposedly adhering to the precepts, monastics of that time and the men in particular, were integral parts of an increasingly patriarchal society and power structure. What kind of real Buddhism supports allowing women to be treated as second class citizens? That's not real Buddhism and Ajahn Brahm knows it. 26 centuries ago Buddha himself ordained women. If it was good enough for the Buddha, it is good enough for us. khach san gia re

  69. Posted August 21, 2012 at 4:12 am | Permalink

    Female ordination died off 10 centuries ago because the men couldn't handle it. Despite being buddhists and supposedly adhering to the precepts, monastics of that time and the men in particular, were integral parts of an increasingly patriarchal society and power structure. What kind of real Buddhism supports allowing women to be treated as second class citizens? That's not real Buddhism and Ajahn Brahm knows it. 26 centuries ago Buddha himself ordained women. khach san gia re

  70. Posted August 22, 2012 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    Many monks have not gone forth,so why pick on the Bikkunis? I wonder if The Bhudda wanted the Sangha to go on compulsory alms round. I am glad that there is a Bhuddist Nunnery in WA. As usual, there is difficulty for the female human beings to move forward. If we all agree to work out together, there is nothing impossible. May all beings be well and happy. khach san gia re

  71. Posted October 17, 2012 at 2:57 am | Permalink

    We love you, Ajahn, but if what Bikku Bodhi said its true, then it is not cool..we do not know the real truth behind all this ordination, what is the motive but from the Buddhist point of view, the monks belong to the Sangha as a holy family unit and any amendments,policy,ideas,change must rightfully be referred to the international Sangha unit, in particular if you come from the Theravada tradition, then approval from the Theravada Sangha as we view that any decision made by one Theravada monastry or monk or group of monks would affect the other majority.thiết kế website

  72. Guest
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    I have heard Ajahn Brahm speak on innumerable occasions. He has the greatest respect for Ajahn Chah, and frequently mentions his teacher, always with great affection also.
    He only trying to raise the women's monastery's and their respect to the same level as that for male monks.
    It would be good for all who criticise Ajahn Brahm to listen to his talks, and get to know first hand his commitment to Buddhism, and his great integrity.

  73. Guest
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    "Going forth" is the going into homelessness, the monastic life. You seem to be confusing this with "tudong" which is wandering, a small part of being a monastic, and not done until some years into the training.
    Ajahn Chah spent his life in a monastery. Please be fair to the nuns, and do not expect them to live outside a monastery – the Buddha established the sangha for both sexes to obtain full liberation, not just men.

  74. Posted July 25, 2013 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    Wow, wonderful blog layout! How long have you been blogging for?
    you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your web site is fantastic,
    let alone the content!

  75. Guest
    Posted November 19, 2013 at 2:47 am | Permalink

    And you are considering yourself on the path of a Buddhist?

  76. Guest
    Posted November 19, 2013 at 3:03 am | Permalink

    You are all so totally wrong. However, it is ok to make a mistake. Don't worry. There is no one to blame. A forest tradition is one thing, Buddhism and woman are others. So no problem. Just that ordination of nuns has never been in the forest tradition. So if a monk does it, he can not claim forest tradition. This was clarified accordingly. That is all that happened. No one to blame. No need for all your hungry and greedy oxes to discuss laws, discrimination, fundamentals of buddhism etc… It is not important.

  77. Posted February 8, 2014 at 3:58 am | Permalink

    Sidharta itself ordained his mother as bikkhuni.
    so why thai forest monastery didn't see that as an allowance??
    what do they practice about equalism & compassion??
    stop making any branch of buddhism.
    stick to the root!!

  78. Posted February 8, 2014 at 3:59 am | Permalink

    The historic event drew a severe reaction from conservative lineage holders in Thailand. The monks of the Ajahn Chah tradition headed at Wat Pa Pong complained that they had not been consulted and called Ajahn Brahm to a meeting in Northeast Thailand this past Sunday, November 1st, where they voted to expel him from the Wat Pa Pong community.

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