Letter To Perth Thai Community

by Dennis Shepard, BSWA, The Buddhist Channel, Jan 15, 2010

My name is Dennis Sheppard. I am President of the Western Australia Buddhist Society. You will be aware of the controversy that has surrounded the full ordination of our four Nuns in Perth and your coverage of the Wat Pah Pong elders press conference recently.

We have found it neccessary to write an open letter (attached) to our Thai community here in Perth following what I have called some mischief that has been perpetrated by a couple of the WPP elders. The letter itself is self explaining so I wont go over it now. I have attached the letter for your convenience

You may not be aware that the ordination had and has the full support of our membership. There have been many confusing and misleading things written and spoken about our Abbott Ajahn Brahmawamso. We have tried to keep the debate respectful and even, however there are some things now being said and done that are unacceptable to us.
Since the controversy started, I have been at pains to emphasise that the ordination was not driven by Ajahn Brahm. Having said that, it is true to say that our membership and our bhikkuni's are extremely grateful to Ajahn Brahm for his support and the for participation that he did have.

Our Nuns monastery started in 1998 as an autonomous monastery. We have always intended it to be this way. We have been working towards full ordination of our Nuns for some time. The ordination in October 2009 seemed to be the right time. We new it would be controversial, but we had no idea the fallout would be so severe.

I attended the meeting at Wat Pah Pong where Ajahn Brahm was summoned to explain himself. I must admit I was shocked and surprised at what happened. There was much misunderstanding and I do not believe Ajahn Brahm received a fair hearing.

The Buddhist Society of WA and Ajahn Brahm accepted the expulsion. We do, however believe that what we have done is right and stand by our actions completely. Different countries do have different ways of seeing things, and we believe the world is big enough for all these differences.

We were not ready for and did not expect the actions that some senior elders at Wat Pah Pong have engaged in since the expulsion. As mentioned I have attached a letter that we have now distributed amongst the members of our Thai community in Perth. The letter is designed to tell the truth of our history relating to some very serious allegations that have been made. The letter I believe is balanced and truthful. The gist of what is being alleged by the mischievious monks can be assertained from the way I have structured the letter.

We do not wish to exacerbate the situation. We in Perth would like to see things settle and good relations prevail again. We trust that some time in the future (hopefully sooner that later) we can all be friends again. We feel a lot of goodwill to Wat Pah Pong. To have had Ajahn Chah's disciples come and head our monastery's has be the greatest of blessings.

I don't know what you will do with the letter, but do hope if it is useful, for it to be used to try and promote harmony.