Filthy, Filthy Buddhist Women!

Just Kidding!  I love you ladies!

From the Buddhist Channel:

Bangkok, Thailand — The forest monks of Wat Nong Pah Pong want the Council of Elders and the Office of National Buddhism to impose stricter controls on Western monks to stop them from ordaining women.

They also want the properties of Thai temples in the West to come under the ownership of the Thai Sangha to ensure complete control.

The monks are seeking the changes after the recent ordination of two women at Bodhinyana Temple, a branch of Wat Nong Pah Pong in Perth, Australia.

The Ecclesiastic Council is opposed to female ordination. The Wat Nong Pah Pong clergy have excommunicated the dharma teacher Phra Brahmavamso, popularly known as Ajahn Brahm, for sponsoring the ordination.

His temple has also been stripped of its status as a Nong Pah Pong branch monastery.

They council says it “wants the temple back”. It claims Bodhinyana Temple was built primarily with money donated by the Thai disciples of the late Luang Por Chah.

I’ve largely kept my mouth shut about the ordination of women.  Mostly because I have no real background in the Theravadan tradition and I know that they take the monastic code very seriously.  However, since I have 10 minutes, I would like to bring your attention to this line…

Office of National Buddhism to impose stricter controls on Western monks to stop them from ordaining women.

The Office of National Buddhism.  I think I speak for many practitioners when we say that we have very little concern over what “The Office of National Buddhism” has to say.  In fact, I could absolutely care less about their opinion especially if it keeps the monastic life as sexist as it is in most other religious traditions.

Temples in the West should operate as Temples in the West wish to operate and not at the whim of an organization halfway across the globe.  “Stricter control” means less freedom allowed to Buddhist practitioners as well as progressive Buddhist clergy.  Maybe it is time to break free from some of the more archaic Buddhist traditions…

It would be difficult for the Thai public and the clergy to accept the Siladhara order, he said, because the presence of women creates unnecessary problems for the monks’ vow of chastity.

Maybe for the Thai public and clergy but the Australians seem OK with it.  Break it off!  I’m sick of women being blamed for the a monk’s inability to keep monastic vows. 

Cheers,

John

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22 thoughts on “Filthy, Filthy Buddhist Women!

  1. Right on John, in fact, my original teacher was ordained in a Thai forest monastery and I know he has said he would love to build a nun’s building for the monastery he is at in Michigan, but I’m sure he’s very reluctant to venture into that because all this stinking politics in Thailand.

    If the Theravadans don’t want to be denigrated with the perjorative term Hinayana, then they need to build a bigger wagon, and ordaining nuns would be a good start.

  2. Preach on brother John. We’re all responsible for our own actions. To blame a woman for a broken vow is like blaming a woman for being raped (although not as serious, don’t get me wrong). “I didn’t mean to cheat on you it was an accident” … heard it too many times to count. Personal responsibility is key. Its personal choices that will either free us, or chain us, to Samsara. If a woman is able to teach me and help me understand Dharma then by all means, let me listen and practise.

  3. Well said about a topic that is really difficult to comprehend. Trying to reconcile the Thai monastic tradition with the full intent of the Buddha’s teaching is mind boggling! Wasn’t it the Buddha who first taught women equally while other faiths treated them as inferior? WTF…

  4. That whole WNPP event was a shit-storm. I see both sides of this issue.

    The Thai Sangha was alaredy trending towards Bhikkuni ordination, or so we are led to believe, and Ajahn Brahm jumped the gun. Who knows if this is true. We do know that Ajahn Brahm could have left the lineage and had the Bhikkunis ordained as an independent Bhikku. OF course the repercussions would still have been bad, just different.

    As far as WNPP demanding the return of the temple facility in Serpentine, W. Aus. It will never happen. The Thai monastery has no legal standing in Australia. This is like the Catholic church demanding return of all the Anglican churches as those churches were built by funds from the Vatican. It’s crap.

  5. I have to agree with Richard “If the Theravadans don’t want to be denigrated with the perjorative term Hinayana, then they need to build a bigger wagon, and ordaining nuns would be a good start.”

    This whole business is nonsense. The monks that are so wrapped up in this “no nuns can be ordained” business obviously can`t see the forest for the trees. They are focusing on something archaic and outdated, not to mention Nella Lou’s post that kind of proved their logic wrong (http://enlightenmentward.wordpress.com/2009/12/16/ven-tenzin-palmo-makes-a-statement-regarding-bhikkuni-ordination-controversy/).

    Where’s the compassion?

    • When you said “can`t see the forest for the trees…”
      It reminded me that when I was in Thailand
      some monks were formally ordaining trees.
      This ceremony involved putting a robe on a tree.
      Apparently as a response to illegal logging.
      But as for women, they agreed w/ the Catholics….

      • Yes, I heard that as well. I understand the ordaining the trees thing, and don’t want to devalue their intention behind that act, but when you put it in that context with their not ordaining women, they look utterly ridiculous, backwards, sexist and delusional (as far as this topic is concerned). Good point Al

        • “As for the women, though we scorn and flout ’em,
          We may live with, but cannot live without ’em.”

          —————————F. Reynolds, ‘THE WILL’

        • I guess the trees don’t tempt them from their sacred precepts. Well most of them anyway. Are you sure you didn’t catch one dryhumping a knothole while you were out there, Al?

  6. Tradition dictates that tea should be drunk from a porcelain cup. But tea that is drunk from a glass is still the same tea, and offers the same refreshment.

    Surely all beings may attain enlightenment, regardless of their species or sex.

  7. Nice one, John.

    Such a tempest… 🙂 Wat’s (sic) wrong with being temptresses? How else are the monks going to attain arhantship if we don’t make it a challenge? Sheesh!

    Anyway, Ayya Medhanandi up in our neck of the woods established her monastery (nunnery) and intends to ordain nuns. The local monastery is led by Ajhan Viradhammo who used to run a monastery in New Zealand. Ajhan V is pretty open-minded but I can’t vouch for his perspective. Sooo…. there may be a thermo-nuclear meltdown up North. Get your galoshes out…

    http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=66,8818,0,0,1,0

    • From the article you quoted:

      Some countries, like Sri Lanka, recognize Theravada bhikkhunis, but others don’t. Burmese authorities arrested a woman who dared to undergo the higher ordination.

      “dared” to undergo higher ordination?! Its just institutional sexism hiding behind religion. So lame.

      I’ve heard several times that women are attracted to Buddhist practice because their is a balancing of the sexes. Its embarassing that I have to correct that assumption and explain that Buddhists are prone to the same amount of shit.

      Leave it to freakin’ Canada to go starting trouble.

      Cheers,

      John

  8. Pingback: We Can Blame Women For Our Temptation? « Buddha Does

  9. Leave it to freakin’ Canada to go starting trouble.

    after 1812 someone has to do it… (GDR)

    just a wee point though, lineage is likely more important in Thereavdin traditions than Westernized perspective may understand or care for. Monastics are revered and pretty much dictate / minister to lay people’s lives. So the decision could be devastating but not likely to be opposed.

    Still and all… it will change. It did in Zen. It always does.

    • Oh yes. Lineage is a concept that many in the West don’t get or care about. I am rather uninterested in it generally except as a gesture of respect to those that taught in the past and to keep a connection present. But it doesn’t “dictate” anything for me.

      The concept was also abused quite a bit in the Zen tradition as well in the West which is why many people look upon “lineage” with suspicion.

      Cheers,

      John

  10. It really has got up the Thai’s nose hasn’t it? Fo Guang Shan (Taiwan) monks are a minority. There is currently about 1000 nuns in this order worldwide and I understand about up to 100 monks. The venerable master Hsin Hyun has said one day that even a nun will be running FGS. In Australia FGS has temples in Wollongong, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth. There is also support branches in the cities of Melbourne and Sydney

  11. what if a mother of a monk ask for nun ordination , non can stand before the right to practise Buddhism he who does do not follow Buddhism , if monk could not engage in eight sutras then only lord can save the principle of co-existence

    • Indeed he did! But sometimes a schism is needed to be proactive, progressive and compassionate.

      Providing an opportunity for women to walk a path of contemplation equal to that of men was a needed step for the Forest Tradition even if it did lead to a negative reaction from some of the more conservative monks in his community. I hope he continues in his work.

      Thanks for your comment and point of view. It is needed to hear a conservative voice in the midst of all these crazy progressives.

      Cheers,

      John

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