Citing Ethical Concerns, Ajahn Brahm Resigns as Spiritual Director of the Buddhist Society of Western Australia

Acclaimed Buddhist monk Ajahn Brahm (or Ajahn Brahmavamso) has resigned from his position as the Spiritual Director of the Buddhist Society of Western Australia. The Buddhist Society of Western Australia has existed since 1973 and Ajahn Brahm has acted as the Spiritual Director since 1995. He is still the Abbot of Bodhinyana Monastery, in Serpentine, Western Australia and manages several other leadership positions.

Ajahn Brahm (image via Wikimedia Commons)

The news release, in full, reads:

Dear Member

I wish to inform you that at tonight’s Society Annual General Meeting, Ajahn Brahmavamso resigned, without notice, from his post as Spiritual Director of the Buddhist Society of Western Australia.

The 2015-2018 Committee has for some time been examining and trying to implement more support (paid or unpaid) and a more efficient organisational structure at the Society in order to reduce the workload of Ajahn Brahm and the Volunteer Committee. Again at this year’s AGM, due to certain members forming a blocking party with proxy votes, we were unable to get changes through to support this aim.

At the end of the AGM, Ajahn Brahm considering his workload and lack of support by members on this issue informed the meeting he felt he had no choice but to resign from the Society.

Again I urge members and supporters to re-consider the path of resistance to change we have been taking and how it has lead us to this unfortunate circumstance.

After 3 years on the Executive and at close of the AGM, I now hand over to the New BSWA President, Dennis Shepherd

with metta

Drew Bellamy
Immediate Past President

Drew Bellamy had previously announced his plans to step down as President.

In a follow-up letter, Ajahn Brahm clarified his reasons for resigning:

The committee had agreed on a proposal to amend the Constitution of the BSWA to allow the committee to appoint a subcommittee consisting of members of BSWA. At present, the Constitution of the BSWA only allows a subcommittee to be made up of serving committee members. In Ajahn Brahm’s opinion, this increases the workload of existing committee members by excluding non-committee members from helping on a subcommittee. It also increases my own workload, and stops us to tapping the expertise of our current members.

Despite me showing strong support for this amendment and advising the members at the AGM how this will reduce my workload, this proposal was blocked by a small group using proxies which, though legal, was unethical in my opinion. Proxies were, apparently, solicited without giving a balanced explanation of the background to this proposal.

As such, I have decided to step down as the Spiritual Director of BSWA. In practice, this means Venerable Hasapanna will be the Spiritual Director and I will be the Assistant Spiritual Director.

When the Buddha was not heard at Kosambi, He went to the Parileyya Forest for three months. I doubt that the lay members of the BSWA will wait that long to settle this matter.

The sutta that Ajahn Brahm is referencing is the Kosambiya Sutta (MN48). Below you can listen to a talk given by Ajahn Brahm on this sutta in 2012:

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