Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Amaravati Monk Leaves in Protest Over the "Five Points"

I have just come across this from the Women and the Forest Sangha Facebook group. It's particularly poignant as we are preparing to join the Newport Soto Zen group for another visit to Chithurst Monastery, the affiliate of Amaravati Monastery.

Letter from Aloka Bhikkhu Thera

Respectful Greetings To You All, I would like to inform the fourfold Sangha that I have decided to leave the community. I will leave Amaravati Monastery on Friday, 16 July 2010. The main reason for leaving is the fact that I do not agree with the Five Points that were... drawn up as a condition for Siladhara ordination to resume again. I also do not agree with the way Ajahn Brahmavamso was treated as a result of the four bhikkhuni ordinations carried out in Perth. Consequently, as this is the way the Forest Sangha tradition is currently being held I have chosen to leave the Forest Sangha. My earnest wish is for all Buddhist traditions, indeed all religious traditions, to fully endorse Bhikkhuni ordination. In addition, over the past three years my interest in the Vajrayana practices have become central to my daily practice. I have therefore decided to pursue my monastic career in the Tibetan tradition. I am sure that for some people there may be mixed feelings regarding my decision to leave but I want to assure everyone that my intention was never to hurt or offend anyone. My decision comes from a sincere effort to live my truth as I see it at this stage of my life. It remains for me to express my sincere appreciation and gratitude for all the teaching and support that I have received from Luang Por Sumedho, all the monks and nuns, and many members of the lay community during the past five years at Amaravati. I am sure that for the rest of my life I will often be reminded, and realise anew, all the blessings that I have received whilst living at Amaravati. Most importantly I would like to express my deep gratitude to all my special Dhamma friends whose friendship and support I will always cherish in my heart. Your friendship will be one of the greatest treasures that I will take with me as I leave. Please do keep in touch. Please feel free to forward my letter to whoever you want. May you have a long and happy life, May you see the beauty in your life, May you have the energy to pursue your practice until you can accept your own Enlightenment. Blessings to you all, Aloka Bhikkhu. 

Aloka Bhikkhu (Petrus Willemse) was born in Masvingo, Zimbabwe on Sunday 9th December 1956. He went to primary school in Gadoma and secondary school in Harare.
In 1977 he completed the Licentiate Diplomas of the Royal Schools of Music in piano teaching and performing at the Zimbabwe College of Music. He furthered his music studies at the University of Cape Town, graduating in 1985 after which he taught at the Zimbabwe College of Music.

In 1990 he changed career and became the subject librarian for Musicology at the University of South Africa (UNISA) studying part time for a degree in library and information science (BBibl) at the University of Pretoria. Whilst working at the UNISA Library, he attended a talk at the Department of Religious Studies on vipassana given by a Buddhist monk from Australia. It was during this talk that he realised that he had found a way to understanding how things really are. He did several vipassana retreats and then decided to ordain.
In February 2000, he ordained as a samanera at the Dhammodaya Myanmar Vihara in Pietermartizburg, South Africa. This is a branch monastery of Chanmyay Yeiktha Meditation Centre in Yangon, Myanmar (Burma). Later he went to Burma where he took bhikkhu ordination on 15 August 2000, with Sayadaw U Janaka as his preceptor. He joined the Amaravati Sangha in December 2004.

1 comment:

  1. Your post was focused and easy to read. How refreshing! Thanks!