Why not have a progressive ‘Buddhist Council’ and the formation of a progressive monastic alliance (post discrimination)?

A progressive monastic alliance could modernise the codes of discipline and sexist forms of etiquette and, organise support for nuns - internationally. Those who identify as progressives whose practice is based on the EBT’s could finish the job of ending sexism. This is the logical next step in the evolution of Buddhism in the modern world.


Would be a schism, though?

One should be extremely careful when altering such things. Remember, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.


When we tell the truth we have nothing to fear! :slight_smile:


Which truth? You know the story of Devadatta, don’t you?


I don’t rely on fear as a guiding principle in life and in Buddhism. I stand for an end to cruelty, indifference and, the abuse of human rights. An unequivocal end to sexism in our practice communities is what I would like to encourage and support completely.


Or just another historically provincial schism? (echoing dzt’s mention)

“Progressive”, “modernize”, “evolution” – the term “provincial” referring to these fashions, conceits, popular in this era.


If I do not subscribe to your point of view am I conceited - am I a fashion-buff? I beg to differ! :slight_smile:

:smirk: …waiting for “gender-neutral pronouns in pali” requests to fall in…

Since the title is “why not”, here’s why not: because it’s too hard.

Because revolutions are bloodbaths. Because getting enough people to support it would take a leader of extraordinary skill to devote themselves to the task for a generation. Because you’d need to create organizations, networks, relationships, and dialogue. Because you need money and infrastructure and real estate. Because at the end of the day you’ll achieve less than you wanted, and more will be left behind.

Most importantly: because it’s not the most effective way to promote healthy change. Make gradual changes. One improvement at a time. Look back to the Buddha, take him as an inspiration. Then see how we can make this one thing a little better. And then the next.


… in this life, i have seen great suffering result when any human is used in such a way that their consent and understanding are irrelevant.

May all beings achieve liberation, which depends on personal right views, right thoughts, etc. May all our striving occur in this solid foundation.

I have been frustrated and impatient at times, perhaps i will be again, but at this moment, these feelings do not guide me, or feed me, or have power over me; where they lead, i have seen, i have been.

May all beings achieve liberation, which depends on their own efforts. This, i now see; i think i see rightly, am i wrong? TY, Buddha Dhamma Sangha, for enabling this journey.

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For the same reason a pheasant walks more than flies!!

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Sorry, I am not sure what you are saying and how it’s related to the proposition.

I would think it would be straightforward with modern communications to float the idea and test the waters. A bloodbath is something violent people do? I am pretty sure there would not be gang warfare or Buddhist assassins on the lose - but it sounds good - for dramatic effect! Taking a generation or a charismatic leader? Well, it would depend on how much interest there is among progressive monastics in making it happen and a bit of support from some senior Buddhist monastics would be needed. I think the problem is mostly imaginary - IMO. Just a willingness to ignore the nay-sayers and, hey presto! A progressive Buddhism in tune with modern sensibilities and human rights is born! Then the traditionalists will hurl their abuse and so what? They have been doing that since the Stone Age! Fortunately, they were ignored at every progressive turn in history. Welcome to the modern world where people have freedom of belief and religious practice. We don’t have inquisitions anymore thank goodness! No doubt there would be many scary monks saying that the progressives have been very naughty - indeed. It makes my knees shake just thinking about it. The problem is all in the mind? Maybe the Earth will open up and we will be roasted in fire and brimstone - like winter chestnuts - for having a concern about the human rights of females, for honouring them and caring for them? It might be a good idea to take a ‘reality check’ every now and then - even if you are an awakened Buddhist? :slight_smile:

Maybe you’re right. What would I know?


I love you Ajahn and you are entitled to your perspective and beliefs about what is possible and impossible. I hope to see you at Dhammaloka on a Friday night sooner rather than later. :slight_smile:

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It’s hard to fly like an eagle when your surrounded by pheasants? :kissing_heart:

There is just the way of trying and seeing, but from the distance (and seeing how people and organizations function) I’d say Ajahn is right that it would be a very hard thing to pull off. People want to know that an immense time investment is worth it.

To give an example (that I know is flawed, but it’s real), sometimes in Israel there are online petitions for peace, with big popularity. But it’s easy, you just click, maybe write a comment. It doesn’t manifest in Israeli politics at all, because social and political structures are very rigid and governed by people who are already invested, e.g. the conservatists.

At some point there is the right moment for change, like the civil rights movement, the me-too movement etc., but it’s difficult to predict. What does it take for enough people to dedicate their life to it? There is no formula…


Its a big problem, very difficult, if you want to look at it that way. There are a number of variables that go to making something like this difficult. If you are a traditionalist you may ‘see’ some giant ominous monster coming to swallow you up, if you understand in principle that human rights are a good thing but, you are intimidated by large and powerful institutions then, you might think, this looks like something sisyphus might try if he gets sick of rolling his boulder! If you think, this is the right thing to do, hey, its just part of the natural process of progressive social change that is part of living in the modern world, you may just see it as a ‘choice’ - am I in or am I out? This is anything you would like to make of it? We are not talking about storming the Bastille or, starting a violent revolution here. At the end of the day its really about ‘making sense’ and aligning Buddhist practice with contemporary values and aspirations. You either believe in human rights - that they should be respected and embedded in our basic codes of practice or, you don’t??? You are either a phoney or a fair-dinkum anti-sexist. If you are unequivocally against sexist discrimination then you need to have the courage of your convictions. Or, just ‘fess up’ and tell the truth - some things are more important to you than the rights of women in your Buddhist practice communities - plain and simple. I have no problem with the fact that most everyone on this site - so far - has taken issue with my point of view. I know I have been ‘honest’ - truthful - about what I believe is of the utmost importance, far more important than age-old traditions that are clearly out of step with basic human rights - as recognised in the modern world. If people find that troubling then, that is most unfortunate, for who?

Oh, I think people nowadays have no big problem with having the courage of conviction (online). It’s a different matter to expect from them to dedicate their ‘life’ to a cause. So where exactly should I go after work, coming home tired - first to the anti-racism group, followed by the gender-awareness group, then to some parents council at school, then maybe jogging for 30 minutes before I (sorry honey) really don’t want to be bothered to talk to my wife. And at the weekend I give food to the poor, and the whole Sunday to organize meetings, make calls, ask for donations for the world-changing cause of reforming Buddhism.

Sorry for the irony, but reforming Buddhism is usually not a topic many people are interested enough in. Bring in the Dalai Lama and Ajahn Brahm and maybe 10.000 people will watch a 10 minute video on youtube.


The answers to your questions have already been provided above. Its up to you how problematic - or not - you choose to make this? You have your priorities and interests and obligations and various issues in your life and good luck! I am not here to take you out of your comfort zone. I have had the audacity to venture a straightforward and reasonable proposition for the consideration of progressive thinkers in our midst - what’s the problem exactly? If it all seems a bit much for you then feel free to occupy your mind with something else. :heart_eyes: