As you come back to this point that a Sangha can seemingly only be ruled by a national council and that their monolithic decision is the only applicable one, might you point me to a source in the Suttas to it?thang wrote: ↑Thu Sep 20, 2018 5:17 pmWhat outsiders says as vinaya is not considered as the vinaya by sangha councils. Only the vinaya decided by the council members are considered valid in making council decisions.
I think you have not yet understood the decision making procedure of Sangha. It is true that different people or monks have different opinions in this regard. But they are not taken into consideration.
The big figures you(/many people) see on the internet or in non-theravada countries are not big figures in Sangha counsils. They are not even members of Sangha counsils.
To my understanding, a Sangha is *any* congregation of monks, unified by their practice and lineage of teachers. It would befit those monks to be wise and careful in their interpretation of the Dhamma and it would surely befit them to listen to the most enlightened monks there are on how scripture must be interpreted.
A Sangha, additionally, works through the respect it has earned from the laiety, because without their support, they will go hungry and without robes.
[To strenghten my assertion before, so it is not overshadowed by this point I make: I do respect the Theras in the Thai Sangha council very much and I am sure they have made the right decision under their circumstances.]
As you seem to be knowledgeable mainly in Sri Lankan Buddhism, a good example would be the creation of the Amarapura Nikaya who rejected certain bikkhu ordination practices of the Siyam Nikaya: they were created on instigation by wealthy laymen -- not government officials or kings -- who opposed that Siyam Nikaya only accepted members of a certain caste. Additonally the Amarapura Nikaya changed certain rituals to be observed during ordination... so this is not without precedence
So I ask you those questions:
- do either the Siyam Nikaya or the Amarapura Nikaya need the blessing of the Sri Lankan state or would they have been Sanghas alone on the merit of monks agreeing on their interpretation of Vinaya?
- would any opinion of the Thai Sangha council be binding to any of those two Sri Lankan nikayas and why?
- as both nikayas changed the ordination practices according to very different interpretations of the Vinaya, does that mean that even within a national Sangha there can be severely opposed positions on what the Vinaya entails? Can it even be said with surety that there is a Vinaya interpretation that is truly Right View in our contemporary world and who would be the arbiter of such?
- why was the opinion of the Sri Lankan government of the time, that the Amarapura Nikaya did not follow the 'correct' Vinaya, not binding and how was it possible that such a decision was later overcome? Might the interpretation of Vinaya change with time and circumstances within a Sangha, not bound to the opinion of those who went as teachers in the same lineage before them?
- lastly, would any national structure combining local Sangha lineages under their roof not be considered a Sangha council; so why would Australia be unable to have one or maybe even two or three?
As you see, I struggle with the words "illegal" and "un-official". Notwithstanding if the decision of Ahajn Brahm to go ahead with bikkhuni ordination was right according to the Vinaya, I think your views on this untenable.
You might well wish to follow decisions of the Thai Sangha council, or the Burmese one, or the Sri Lankan one, because you understand these monks are wise, well-versed and right. But I would hope you do not follow them because they carry a certain passport or are gaining authority through patronage of a certain monarch.
The teachers lineages split, so Ajahn Brahm left the Sangha of Wat Pah Pong. He is now member of a different Sangha untouched by any legalities of the decision making process in his former one. He is now solely assailable by argument based on the Vinaya itself and by potentially loosing the respect of his fellow monks and laiety, if his views would become to be seen as Wrong View by them over time.
That is all there is to it in my opinion.