FOREST SANGHA:

Interim message regards Wat Pah Pong community dynamics

Posted on Sat, 31 Oct 2009

Some of you will have caught wind of a recent disruption in the Wat Pah Pong community of monasteries. This has come about because of a perceived breach of trust in the process of decision making. More specifically, the manner a decision was taken in Australia to proceed with Bhikkhuni ordination even though the process of suitable consultation and agreement within the wider Sangha was very far from complete. The ordination in question actually took place on Thursday 22nd October. It has left many members of both the monastic and lay communities feeling challenged by its suddenness. There is now considerable concern about finding our way through the far reaching consequences of this significant occurrence and a recognition that this will not be easy. For now, the willingness to remember our practice of goodwill and careful restraint, rather than allowing our minds to fall into exuberant, unskilful thoughts and speech that can further a sense of divison and confusion, is what will be most helpful.

This complex matter calls for sincere, sensitive and patient attention. A large number of our senior monks and nuns had planned for a long time to meet in Perth in December to discuss Sangha activity, including the right way to address the matter of Bhikkhuni ordination. Some of our supporters and friends will undoubtedly feel discouraged and disappointed that most of the leaders in our communities have now changed their plans and will not attend that proposed meeting. It is gladdening however that at least the majority of these have accepted an invitation to meet with Luang Por Liam, abbot of Wat Nong Pah Pong, and Luang Por Sumedho at Wat Pah Nanachat in Thailand. Although ideally it would be good if we could say more about the details of this process, we are not there yet. We sincerely hope we will be able to give a thorough report before the end of the year. Meanwhile we can trust in the power of our commitment to right practice and our shared aspiration for concord and understanding.