Friday, 23 June 2017
Phra Visuddhisamvarathera, known as Ajahn Brahmavamso, or simply Ajahn Brahm (born Peter Betts on 7 August 1951), is a British Theravada Buddhist monk. Currently Brahm is the Abbot of Bodhinyana Monastery, in Serpentine, Western Australia, the Spiritual Director of the Buddhist Society of Western Australia, Spiritual Adviser to the Buddhist Society of Victoria, Spiritual Adviser to the Buddhist Society of South Australia, Spiritual Patron of the Buddhist Fellowship in Singapore, Patron of the Brahm Centre in Singapore, Spiritual Patron of the Bodhikusuma Centre in Sydney, and most recently, Spiritual Adviser to the Anukampa Bhikkhuni Project in the UK.
On 22 October 2009 Brahm along with Bhante Sujato facilitated an ordination ceremony for bhikkhunis where four female Buddhists, Venerable Ajahn Vayama, and Venerables Nirodha, Seri and Hasapanna, were ordained into the Western Theravada bhikkhuni sangha.
The ordination ceremony took place at Ajahn Brahm's Bodhinyana Monastery at Serpentine (near Perth, WA), Australia. There is no consensus in the wider tradition that bhikkhuni ordinations could be valid, having last been performed in Theravada communities over 1,000 years ago, though the matter has been under active discussion for some time. Brahm claims that there is no valid historical basis for denying ordination to bhikkunis.
I thought too when I was a young monk in Thailand that the problem was a legal problem, that the bhikkhuni order couldn’t be revived. But having investigated and studied, I’ve found out that many of the obstacles we thought were there aren’t there at all. Someone like Bhikkhu Bodhi [a respected Theravada scholar-monk] has researched the Pali Vinaya and his paper is one of the most eloquent I’ve seen – fair, balanced, comes out on the side of “It’s possible, why don’t we do this?”
For his actions of 22 October 2009, on 1 November 2009, at a meeting of senior members of the Thai monastic sangha, held at Wat Pah Pong, Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand, Brahm was removed from the Ajahn Chah Forest Sangha lineage and is no longer associated with the main monastery in Thailand, Wat Pah Pong, nor with any of the other Western Forest Sangha branch monasteries of the Ajahn Chah tradition.
Whilst still a junior monk, Brahm was asked to undertake the compilation of an English-language guide to the Buddhist monastic code - the vinaya - which later became the basis for monastic discipline in many Theravadan monasteries in Western countries.