Sunday, 11 July 2010

Sister Thitamedha to Disrobe because of the "Five Points"

I have just come across the following sad news, Ajahn Thitamedha is to disrobe as a Siladhara because of the Five Points. In the following letter she explains why..........

Warmest greetings from Thitamedha.

I would like to inform you about my new changes.

The last letter I sent you with my plans to be a tudong (wandering) nun is now out of date, unfortunately.

Being in California for the last 3 months, as part of the Saranaloka project, and living with the sisters in Aloka vihara has been deeply nurturing and nourishing, and also revealing for me.

I have been very touched and moved to be part of this project and to help even a bit with establishing the independent nuns' community in the US.

As some of you might know, the events of last year and in particular the introduction of the 5-points agreement to the sisters, was the most challenging and painful time in my monastic life.

My heart has been breaking after I agreed to it. The result of this painful process was shocking for me. While here in California, I realised I cannot any more continue to be a Theravada Buddhist nun.

I need to leave monastic life, and I will disrobe on 2nd of August at CBM and leave on the 4th.

I went through deep emotional trauma, which I have been able to attend to and be with during my stay in California, in the nourishing and nurturing environment where the Feminine is valued. I experienced a ground which deeply appreciates and welcomes women samanas.

I have been a monastic for almost 16 years and a siladhara for 14 years. It was the most transformative and wonderful part of my life. It enabled me to be who I am now and I am deeply grateful for having had this opportunity.

But, in this hierarchical structure one has to really be alert and align the Heart with Love and Compassion so as to relate to each individual, not in accordance with hierarchy, but as a fellow human Being, trying to resonate with the pains of others and cultivate ahimsa. Otherwise, one can easily get conditioned to relate to the world and fellow human beings from this position of hierarchy.

After living in monastic mixed communities for almost 16 years I have come to the understanding that in order to flourish and grow, monastic women have to live separately. This is mainly because of the lack of equality for the female samanas in the mixed communities.

Even though the majority of the monks on the personal level could be friendly and supportive - being real brothers - the Theravada monastic system itself, which is based on hierarchy and patriarchy (in its essence) is very undermining, and lacking in respect for the Feminine or female samana. I share this based on my personal experience.

The longer one is living in this system being a female samana the more one faces these challenges. On the individual level, one could practice with it for a while and keep letting go and keep releasing the pain/dukkha of it, but in the long term , in order to grow and unfold to our true beautiful human potential, we all need an environment which is nourishing and caring, based on mutual respect, Love and equality -- despite gender, years of monastic life, and the number of precepts one keeps.

My previous plans and letter about the tudong/pilgrimge was very uplifting for me as it was for many of you. Almost every one of you were very kind and supportive and encouraging when I announced my plans in January to go and be a tudong nun. And now I've realized how deeply I was affected by the 5 points and events of the last few years, resulting in my decision.

It is strange, but despite the pain of last year, I am basically very well - clear and strong and steady. Deeply well in the core of my Being. I am fully committed to The Path Of Awakening through Cultivation of the Heart, through Love and Compassion. And I will continue my Spiritual Path as a lay practitioner.

In regards to my future plans, I would still like to be a wandering yogi-practitioner, a pilgrim for a couple of years. And after that I do not know. The Path is wide Open.

Well, my dear Sisters and Brothers on The Path, I want to thank you all of from the depth of my heart for all your love, support and encouragement all these years. I will keep you all in my heart and prayers,

Much love and an ocean of blessings,



  1. dear sister Tithameda,

    my best of intentions and wishes are with you. May you be well in whichever next step you will be taking.

    with deepest love and gratitude for meeting you,

  2. Dear Sister Tithameda,

    May the light of Dhamma always shine on your path. Your bright energy, kindness and your small gifts of chocolate in the shape of stupas were much appreciated in ABM :)

    With Metta,

    (former Anagarika) Seth

  3. Dear sister Tithameda, although you may not be known by this name now. It is Liz writing to you and I would be glad to hear from you. If you read this and want to get in touch, - you have my email address. Otherwise I wish you well in whatever endeavour you undertake and may you be always blessed with peace and full of the loving kindness which you once extended to me.

    Much Love,


  4. Dear Sister Thitamedha I think you are now known as Irena. The comment above is a real coincidence as I also wanted to contact you to wish you well in all you do.
    metta, Veronica