Tuesday, 20 July 2010

A Visit to Chithurst & a Letter from Perth

I have just come across this letter from Ajahn Brahm to Thanissara which she has kindly forwarded and posted on the "Women and the Forest Sangha" group. The mention of Ajahn Sucitto is an interesting coincidence as this past Sunday the West Wight Sangha again joined forces with the Newport Soto Zen group to travel over to Chithurst where, for the first time, the lay forum was lead by Ajahn Sucitto himself, a real privilege and joy (more to follow on that).

Dear Thanissara, I have just read your excellent article in "Present", but would like to correct a couple of minor points. Bodhinyana Monastery in Perth was never a member of the "Elders Council", I was never invited to any of their meetings, nor was I ever informed of what they discussed or agreed upon. This council was made up of senior monks from Amaravati, Chithurst, Harnham, Devon Vihara, the Swiss monastery, the Italian monastery, Abhayagiri and Bodhinyanarama in New Zealand. This was because Bodhinyana Monastery in Perth began when Ajahn Chah sent Ajahn Jagaro to Australia. It was a direct offshoot of Wat Pah Pong. It did not originate as an offshoot of Amaravati/Chithurst, and so was never under Ajahn Sumedho. This was why we were never part of the "Amaravati Group". For this reason, the Sangha in Perth felt no obligation to consult with this council prior to the Perth Bhikkhuni Ordinations last year. That I did personally inform Ajahn Sumedho and Vajiro about the ordinations about 10 days' beforehand was out of courtesy, not obligation. However, I did consult the Thai Elders Council (Mahatherasamakom) through its leader, Somdej Pootajarn. He famously told me three times in response to my direct question on Bhikkhuni ordination in Australia that "Thai Sangha Law does not extend to the West". I also consulted with Phra Prom Gunaporn (Phra Payutto), probably the most esteemed scholar currently in Thailand, and he advised to act compassionately. A copy of his letter is posted on Ajahn Sujato's Blog. I also consulted with the head of Mahachulalongkorn Buddhist University, Phra Dhammakosajarn, but he declined to reply.The oft repeated charge against the Perth Sangha of non consultation is a myth. Lastly. I was organising the 2009 WAM. When I asked for subjects to discuss, only Ajahn Sucitto gave any suggestions. All the other Theras supplied nothing. It was myself who suggested that we discuss Bhikkhuni Ordination at the WAM. No-one else showed any interest. Once I discovered in November about the Five Points, I realised why none of these monks were interested in discussing Bhikkhuni Ordination. All is well in Perth. The Sanghas are thriving, the lay supporters are growing in numbers, and tonight I give my first talk in Bangkok since the Perth Bhikkhuni Ordinations. With Mega Metta, Ajahn Brahm

1 comment:

  1. What a pity, that Ajahn Brahmm likes to openly discredit Ajahn Sumedho and other great monks. I find this very peculiar. I prefer to trust in Ajahn Sumedho's wisdom. It seems much more in tune with the peaceful and the wholesome.