Interviews with Australian Sangha - from 2012

Previously a short extract from these interviews was published in the Enlightened Times, here are the full interviews.

Please forgive the serious neglect I will be giving to this thread in the future - I am not around much. But may these interviews be enjoyable, informative and useful. Here they are:

DSCQuestions posed to Members of the Australian (212.8 KB)

With metta


Thank you, Kay! It’s always nice to “see” you when you are around. :pray:


Thank you for a very informational read.

Wondering if there is a way to have this document surface in search results, I pasted a heading here as a test. Excellent it showed up! OK. I will paste all the headings here:

Is the Theravada tradition really the ‘teaching of the original elders’?

You often refer to ‘the traditions’; what are they? Why shouldn’t we discount ‘the traditions’?

What would you say to people who dismiss other traditions?

What is ‘text critical study’?

Is that related to the purpose of what you’re looking for…when you mean by ‘the particular context’?

Why is it a good idea to study the texts of other traditions?

In brief, how does this impact on the issue of full ordination for nuns in the Theravada tradition?

What are the different ways of defining the word ‘vinaya’?

How does Vinaya differ from pātimokkha?

In one of your books you state that we should look to the original rule for guidance by looking at why it came into being…this tells us how we should apply that rule today…thus we are living the spirit of the rule and in most cases applying it meticulously. You write that the commentaries to the rules, in fact show the ways in which previous communities did exactly this. Please comment on this.

But I suppose the rest of it – the other stuff in the Vinaya, that is not the rules and the procedures…would you call them commentaries…would you call them, as you were saying before, ‘what other people have done’? They’re not what the Buddha did, they’re what other people did…so…?

If the Buddha didn’t necessarily say those things – I’m splitting hairs here – how can you then say, “well let’s try and see what the Buddha said to do” if the rule’s not clear? Why should we trust that?

Where is the best place to come as close as possible to the Buddha in the texts?

Can you give us an example of how a rule is not applied in the letter but in the spirit?

So, can you tell me, if you had to think back on positive stories about nuns, after doing all the study that you’ve done, what would be your favourite incident/story from the texts; where the Buddha is saying nice things about bhikkhunīs or doing positive things supportive of them?

You know what it is to live as a layperson and also as a monastic. What does it mean to you to have had the opportunity to live in a supported, committed community in this way and to keep the bhikkhu Vinaya?

Briefly, what are the most important things that need to be said about the Garudhammas?

About these negative things?

The modern revival of the Theravada bhikkhunī Sangha came about through the preservation of this same Sangha in the Mahayana tradition. Is this correct?

I’ve also heard that it is perfectly acceptable according to the monastic rules, for monks to revive the order on their own? Is this correct and if it is, why is that so?

I’ve also heard that it is perfectly acceptable for the nuns (once the order has been established) to perform their own ordinations, without seeking confirmation from the bhikkhu Sangha. Please comment on this also.

In one of your books you write that the four assemblies are actually inside of us. Would you please talk about this in relation to the notions that we create our own world, that saṁsāra is inside of us and so is our salvation.

It’s like a community consensus?

The experience of most women I imagine, when they first encounter nuns is to notice how that makes them feel. You notice that, ‘oh, this is that absence’, and suddenly it’s full…so it’s like that.

Would you please define your use of the word myth in your book, White Bones, Red Rot, Black Snakes?

In White Bones, Red Rot, Black Snakes you state ‘that myth is the mother of Buddhist culture’. How so?

If myth is so prevalent in Buddhist texts and culture, can we take Buddhist texts seriously at all? Why even bother with text critical studies? Why bother looking at the Garudhammas as you did in your book, Bhikkhunī Vinaya Studies?

You write about myth being a social aspect of saññā (perception). The Dhamma encourages us to be honest with ourselves, about our hidden assumptions and motivations. It teaches that we can select and cultivate positive, useful perceptions. How can these two ways of using saññā help us to become aware of how we live through and believe myths and also move beyond them?

Do you think it’s possible for someone who’s a practicing Buddhist to move beyond that play of myth upon them?

So it can become sort of like a fun, very long, group therapy session?

An inter-generational one!

I’m referring now to the last chapters of White Bones, Red Rot, Black Snakes. What was your intention behind – I call it the ‘reasoned re-interpretation’ - of some of the Buddhist myths in a more positive light?

The materials that I’ve read around these sorts of topics have include your two books (that I’ve already mentioned) and initially of course, Bhikkhu Bodhi’s little booklet, The Revival of Bhikkhuni Ordination in the Theravada Tradition. I also found it really interesting reading the letters that everyone wrote in response to Ajahn Ṭhānissaro’s letter. I’d put all these things under recommended reading for anyone who cares about the Buddha Sāsana, because to me, Buddhism is only going to be stronger for the presence of more, not less, renunciants and Buddhist cultures are only going to become more gracious and beautiful; particularly in the compassion, that would certainly extend in deeper ways, towards their sisters, mothers, daughters (I mean, just as one example, you were talking about spiritual role models before). So for me, reading such material is about educating myself, it is about caring about the direction Buddhism goes in. Can you suggest any other recommended reading?

I also include part of an answer just because it made me laugh.

Oh crikey


What a nice idea! :slight_smile: :pray:t5:

Though, I should mention, these are only the questions/comments made by the interviewer, in relation to the conversation with Bhante Sujato.

2 nuns and 2 other monks were also interviewed. :slight_smile:


In clicking the zip, I was confronted with (and balked/bwwwaaacked :chicken:) at a new EULA. (Just not agreeing with any massive corporate EULAs today.)

Is this available on any website, or other downloadable format? If not, I can access as is on another day.

Huh… that’s mystifying to me…

Sorry, this hasn’t been posted anywhere else.

I wonder if some of the more IT literate folks can explain why this happened…

If it’s a problem…I can just re-post the whole thing as is instead of as a link. I know for a fact (!!) there is no issue with copyright or anything like that…

The device I am using has never used an OpenOffice document; the software has a EULA.

I’ll be able to access those files via another device tomorrow, which I am pretty sure already has used OO software (and agreed with EULA.) It’s not a big deal, I can probably make a pdf for this device, for rereading.

I think I understood most of that :wink:

I keep telling people I’m only barely IT literate!!

:slight_smile: Anyway, enjoy the read when you are able to access it!

1 Like

How … strange!

I see no EULA when clicking the link on Chrome using a Chromebook. :open_mouth: