The Buddhist Society of Western Australia (BSWA) has announced that Ajahn Brahm (or Ajahn Brahmavamso) has resigned from his post as the spiritual director of the organization with immediate effect.
The news release, posted on the BSWA website and signed by Drew Bellamy, immediate past president* of the body, reads:
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 organizational 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.
Ajahn Brahm clarified his resignation in a personal letter published on the BSWA website:
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 BSWA, established in 1973, is a non-profit organization providing information and resources to those interested in Buddhist teachings and practices. Ajahn Brahm has served as the spiritual director of the organization since 1995.
Ajahn Brahm is the abbot of Bodhinyana Monastery, in Serpentine, near the Australian city of Perth, in addition to now fulfilling the role of assistant spiritual director of the BSWA and several other leadership positions. Born in London in 1951, Ajahn Brahm completed a degree in theoretical physics at Cambridge University. After graduation, he went on to teach at a British high school for a year, before traveling to Thailand to ordain as a Theravada monk under the renowned Thai teacher Ajahn Chah. He is the author of several bestselling books on mindfulness and meditation, and has given talks at the United Nations as well as at the headquarters of Google and Facebook.
* Drew Bellamy had already announced that he would step down as BSWA president. He has handed over his duties to the new BSWA president Dennis Shepherd.
Ajahn Brahm Resigns (Buddhist Society of Western Australia)
Letter from Ajahn Brahm on his resignation as Spiritual Director of BSWA (Buddhist Society of Western Australia)