Ajahn Brahm, Monk Under Fire

It seems that the monks from Wat Nong Pah Pong in Thailand want the Council of Elders as well as the Office of National Buddhism to force the western sangha to stop ordaining woman after monk Ajahn Brahm ordains 10 woman into the monastic order. So much for progress eh?

The great thing about being here in the West is that, I can honestly say, we will not listen. As Buddhism ages, moves across the globe and gains followers, silly old Buddhist “blue laws” like not allowing woman to ordain, will disappear.

It is believed that the first Buddhist nun was Prajapati, the Buddha’s aunt who raised him after his mother passing. She asked the Buddha about ordaining and her interest in doing so, he flat out refused her. Back in those days, during his life as a prince, he was taught that woman were inferior, and that minds couldn’t understand things the way men could. You can’t blame someone for conditioning, and he did eventually change his mind on the subject when he ordained the order of bhikunnis. But, although he started the order, there were still many rules a nun had to follow, more so than monks. There were 250 rules a monk was to follow and 348 for a nun, you can find them by reading the Vinaya-pitaka.

The most lenient of traditions is Tibetan Buddhism which has really broken the mold on ordaining woman in the 1980’s, thanks to the work of Karma Lekshe Tsomo and Tenzin Palmo.  We now can learn from such great teachers as Ani Pema Chodron, Thubten Chodron, Robina Courtin and more.

Anyway, kudos to Ajahn Brahm for ordaining the woman he has so far and I wish him the best of luck going forward. It seems he may be in for quite a fight and possible smear campaign on his character as a Buddhist monk. There is no room for this kind of belief of inequality in todays age and he should be commended not ostracized.

Original article from the Bangkok post found here.

Buddhist monks plan peaceful protests during G-20

From The Tribune-Review via Phayul

Dozens of Buddhist monks are coming to Pittsburgh for a week of peaceful protests during the Group of 20 summit.

When “Uprising” anarchists and other activists take to the streets for an unpermitted march toward the David L. Lawrence Convention Center on Thursday, monks and laypeople from Burma and Tibet will be strolling Downtown, in the North Side and in Oakland, to draw attention to the suffering of people living under dictators.

“We will pray,” said Ashin Nayaka, a monk in the International Burmese Monks Organization. “We will pray for the people in Burma. We will sit in meditation. We will march peacefully, and we will ask the leaders to help us change Burma.”

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Burmese Authorities Ban Chanting of Metta Sutta

From The Irrawaddy

Buddhist monks at the Myat Saw Nyi Naung Pagoda in Yenangyaung, Magway Divison, were warned on Wednesday not to hold a ceremony to chant the Metta Sutta—the Buddha’s discourse on loving-kindness.

The monks originally planned a 12-hour-long recitation, scheduled to start at 6 p.m. Wednesday, to mark the full moon day of the fifth month of the Burmese calendar, traditionally celebrated as “Metta Sutta Day” by Burmese Buddhists.

“We only intended to recite Buddhist sutras, including the Metta Sutta, to wish for all sentient beings to be peaceful and free from anxiety. But the authorities told us to call off our plans,” a monk from Yenangyaung told The Irrawaddy on Thursday.

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Monks ‘march against prayer ban’

From EIRCom

Defiant Buddhist monks banned from marking a key Tibetan new year prayer festival have marched in protest in south-west China.

The march was the latest resistance to Chinese rule before sensitive anniversaries in Tibet.

Tensions are high over harsh security measures set up before the new year, which began on February 25. The Monlam prayer festival started on Saturday and ends on March 11.

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Security forces patrol Tibetan town in NW China

From Reuters

Security forces put on a show of force in the important Tibetan monastery town of Xiahe in the foothills of the Tibetan plateau before a sensitive Tibetan anniversary.

March will mark the 50th anniversary of the exile of the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s highest religious leader, and the one-year anniversary of protests against Chinese rule in Lhasa and in Tibetan communities across the plateau.

Riot police marched through Xiahe’s tense main street at regular intervals on Saturday morning, while vehicles were stopped and checked at military road blocks about 200 km (120 miles) from Lanzhou, the capital of Gansu province.

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Beckhams upset monks

From Yahoo

David and Victoria Beckham have upset Buddhist monks in Thailand.

The monks are upset about a state-of-the-art mosquito exterminator installed at the couple’s recently renovated new home on the Thai island of Koh Samui.

The religious men – who believe all animals, no matter how small, are equal – have reportedly suggested the former Spice Girl and her soccer star husband find a non-harmful solution to the blood-sucking insects

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