Ajahn Brahm

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Template:Qual 3 Template:Infobox religious biography Ajahn Brahm, also known as Ajahn Brahmavamso or Phra Visuddhisamvarathera (born Peter Betts[1] on 7 August 1951), is a British Theravada Buddhist monk. Born in London, he was ordained in the Thai Theravada tradition at the age of twenty-three. He currently resides in Australia, where he is the abbot of the Bodhinyana Monastery. He is the author of sereral books on Buddhism and meditation.

Ajahn Brahm is also 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.

Early life

Peter Betts was born in London.[1] He came from a working-class background and went to Latymer Upper School. He won a scholarship to study theoretical physics[2] at Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge in the late 1960s.[3] After graduating from Cambridge, he taught in high school for one year before traveling to Thailand to become a monk and train with the Ajahn Chah Bodhinyana Mahathera.[1] Ajahn Brahm was ordained in Bangkok at the age of twenty-three by Somdet Kiaw, the late Abbot of Wat Saket. He subsequently spent nine years studying and training in the forest meditation tradition under Ajahn Chah.

Bhikkhuni ordination

Template:SectionVetted On 22 October 2009, Ajahn Brahm along with Bhante Sujato facilitated an ordination ceremony for bhikkhunis where four female Buddhists were ordained into the Western Theravada Bhikkhuni Sangha.[4] The names of the four ordained woman are: Venerable Ajahn Vayama, and Venerables Nirodha, Seri, and Hasapañña.[4] The ordination ceremony took place at Ajahn Brahm's Bodhinyana Monastery at Serpentine (near Perth, WA), Australia.

Although bhikkhuni ordinations had previously been held in California USA and Sri Lanka,[5] this was the first modern bhikkhuni ordination in the Thai Forest Tradition and it proved highly controversial. There is no consensus in the wider tradition that bhikkhuni ordinations could be valid, having last been performed in Thailand over 1,000 years ago, though the matter has been under active discussion for some time. Ajahn Brahm claims that there is no valid historical basis for denying ordination to bhikkunis.

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Thailand has a system of state-approved preceptors that was introduced in the twentieth century. In this system, all preceptors who preform monastic ordinations must be officially approved by the Thai government, and the ordination of female monasitcs (bhikkhunis) is illegal. After performing the ordination for female monastics in Australia, Ajahn Brahm had his preceptor status revoked by the Thai government.[6]

In addition, for his actions of 22 October 2009, on 1 November 2009, at a meeting of senior members of the Thai forest monastic Sangha in the Ajahn Chah lineage, 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.[7]

They did this after he was asked to say that the four nuns he ordained were not bhikhinnis and he stayed silent. Ajahn Brahm stated at the time:

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He continues as a Bhikkhu preceptor under the Vinaya which makes no provision for need for state approval.[6]

The statement from Wat Pa Nanachat, explaining their reasons for the expulsion of Ajahn Brahmavamso from the Wat Pa Phong Sangha ends: [8] Template:Quote

Projects

Anukampa Bhikkhuni Project

In October 2015 Ajahn Brahm asked Venerable Candā of Dhammasara Nun's Monastery, Perth, Australia, to take steps towards establishing a monastery in the UK. In response to this, Anukampa Bhikkhuni Project was born. Anukampa Bhikkhuni Project aims to promote the teachings and practices of Early Buddhism, through establishing a Bhikkhuni presence in the UK. Its long term aspiration is to develop a monastery with a harmonious and meditative atmosphere, for women who wish to train towards full ordination. [9] [10]

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LGBTIQ support

Ajahn Brahm openly spoke about his support towards same sex marriages and at a conference in Singapore in 2014 said he was very proud to have been able to perform a same-sex marriage blessing for a couple in Norway, and stressed that Buddhist teachings don’t discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.[11] [12]

Kindfulness

In an effort to reclaim the "mindfulness" practice from being overrun by secular industries and a recent claim that it is not owned by Buddhism, Ajahn Brahm clarifies that mindfulness is a practice within the rest of the supporting factors of Buddhism (the Noble Eightfold Path: right view, right motivation, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right endeavor, right mindfulness, and right stillness). Mindfulness is part of a great training which is called Buddhism, and to actually take away mindfulness from Buddhism is unhelpful, inaccurate, and deceiving — mindfulness is a cultural heritage of Buddhism. Practicing mindfulness without wisdom and compassing is not enough. Therefore, drawing from the Pāli Suttas [13], Ajahn Brahm created the term "Kindfulness", meaning mindfulness combined with wisdom and compassion — mindfulness with also knowing the ethical and moral compassionate consequences of the reactions to what is happening (a.k.a. satisampajañña). [14]

Monastic code (vinaya)

Whilst still a junior monk, Ajahn Brahm was asked to undertake the compilation of an English-language guide to the Buddhist monastic code - the vinaya [15] - which later became the basis for monastic discipline in many Theravadan monasteries in Western countries.

Current activities

Currently Brahm is the Abbot of Bodhinyana Monastery, in Serpentine, Western Australia,[16] 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, Spiritual Patron of the Bodhikusuma Centre in Sydney and most recently, Spiritual Adviser to the Anukampa Bhikkhuni Project in the UK.

Honors and titles

In October 2004, Ajahn Brahm was awarded the John Curtin Medal for his vision, leadership and service to the Australian community by Curtin University. He is currently working with monks and nuns of all Buddhist traditions in the Australian Sangha Association.

Under the auspices of the Diamond Jubilee of King Rama IX, Bhumibol Adulyadej, in June 2006, Ajahn Brahm was given the title of Phra Visuddhisamvarathera,[17] a Royal Grade Thai ecclesiastical title once held by Ajahn Liem, the current abbot of Wat Nong Pah Pong.

Publications


External links

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Videos

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References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Template:Cite web
  2. Template:Cite web
  3. Template:Cite book
  4. 4.0 4.1 Template:Cite web
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  6. 6.0 6.1 Ajahn Brahm’s preceptor status, Sujato’s Blog
  7. Template:Cite web
  8. Why Ajahn Brahmavamso was excluded from the Wat Pa Phong Sangha statement from Wat Pa Nanachat, explaining their reasons for the expulsion of Ajahn Brahmavamso from the Wat Pa Phong Sangha
  9. Anukampa Bhikkuni Project [1]
  10. Buddhistdoor Article [2]
  11. Template:Cite web
  12. Religion has been Cruel to LGBTIQ[3]
  13. Maṇibaddha Sutta, Saṃyutta Nikāya (SN) 10.4 [4]
  14. Interview with Ajahn Brahm 6 Nov 2017 Tough Questions to Ajahn Brahm
  15. [5] "Pāli/Theravada Vinaya"
  16. Template:Cite web
  17. Template:Cite web

Further reading

Venerable Ajahn Brahmavamso

Living people list

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Page is sourced from

www.encyclopediaofbuddhism.org Ajahn Brahm