I’ve been striving to stay out of all this as I didn’t want to muddy the waters or bring my limited information or emotions into play. I don’t know all the ins and outs, all the people involved, all of their motivations. I don’t know that it was because of a lack of care for Ajahn, or a massive fear, or apathy or whatever… I could speculate, assume and perhaps some of this would be correct - but I don’t know the full story. Nobody could I daresay. Which is why, though we need to make time to listen to each other’s stories/sides, it’s not the story that’s important, but the fact that we can listen nicely.
Moreover, for some time now I have felt that the depth and breadth of (actual and potential) misunderstandings in this and related matters has left no one untouched - including myself. So I decided to minimise my involvement in every possible way. I wasn’t even going to attend the SGM - this is how disillusioned I was feeling and have been feeling for about the past 12 months. (And yes, perhaps ironically, the fact that almost everyone involved has been tired, over worked and busy - wouldn’t have helped matters.)
However, I did watch the recent interview and want to say that I feel heartened and even proud of the BSWA.
Regardless of the outcome of the SGM - which I think will be a far more transparent and democratic process - I think many good things came out of and have the potential to come out of the interview/meeting.
- People got a chance to listen and acknowledge that they were heard and did hear others. I hope this is the start of a trend in this general direction. I hope there will be a reduction in the popular reaction of assuming we know another, assuming we know what’s going on and judging based on these assumptions. And I’m pretty much referring to everyone I know of who was involved in this - I’m not picking on any one person here. And this isn’t a judgement. We’re all human.
Good on them for doing this. It’s open, it’s not squashing anyone’s views. It’s making clearer, more explicit those things that needed to be made clearer/more explicit. Most of us, most of the time need that. Most of us are going to operate on assumptions because, well, we’re unawakened, we’re busy, we’re tired.
I don’t think that interview was a small moment in BSWA history - not that anyone is saying it is. It was significant. It was a community coming together openly.
I particularly liked how Ajahn Brahm said it wasn’t about Thai Buddhism or Sri Lankan Buddhism or Chinese Buddhism or Australian Buddhism. It was about Buddhism.
- I was relieved and delighted to hear that Ajahn Brahmali had spent a lot of time talking with those who had opposed the motion.
A lack of listening/communication and acknowledgement was, I felt, looking from the outside, a major contributing factor to the entire situation.
I was glad to see that those who opposed the situation were treated with respect, kindness and not as if they were uncaring and “evil”. Rather their love and commitment was also acknowledged. Ajahn Brahmali clearly worked hard to bridge any gaps between people/ideas.
I can’t help observing that perhaps he, coming from a place of far less busy-ness and perhaps less tiredness, was well placed to do this. He wouldn’t have been as busy as Ajahn Brahm would have been lately, or as tired - I imagine. Thus, whoever our Spiritual Director will be and of course, I hope Ajahn Brahm returns; I hope we do move in the direction of encouraging more volunteers, more dana/service, less burdens on each other, more love, kindness, cooperation and Practice. So I support the current motion - let’s have these subcommittees.
- It was so nice to hear Dennis’ comments towards the end, recognising the love and commitment of people like Don, and also lovingly recognising that they were on opposing sides - this felt both okay and normal. It was a healing moment to observe and listen to.
Essentially, I’m truly glad that there was a movement towards harmony, communication and forgiveness. Division, contempt for others - not listening and tenaciously holding to our views - of course these are going to lead to fear and mistrust. Much of the tone/content of the interview/meeting was a movement towards reconciliation and goodwill.
So I’m still happy staying in the fringes and helping out in quieter ways when I can. However, as I look in from my position on the outside, I am feeling much happier in my heart about what I’ve observed and heard recently.