As a co-founder of Aloka Vihara Forest Monastery and one of the Aloka Vihara nuns who has been teaching from Matty Weingast’s book ‘The First Free Women’, i have issued the following two statements:
- an apology to my German speaking online group on March 2 and
- the following blog post on SuttaCentral’s D&D on June 1:
my name is santacitta b and i am one of the co-founders of aloka vihara forest monastery. i have not contributed to this thread earlier, as all my energy went into supporting an appropriate response from within our aloka vihara bhikkhuni community. the controversy around TFFW has initiated deep discussions and changes in our own group and we have asked shambhala publications to wait with re-issuing TFFW, until there is more clarity & reconciliation within the wider sangha.
TFFW has brought up very important & fundamental issues to clarify, in particular how to strike a skillful balance between protecting the ancient texts, while allowing contemporary creative energy to enliven our inheritance and communicate to those people, for whom the ancient texts don’t resonate (yet). this dichotomy has shown up again and again over the centuries and is not just an issue regarding TFFW.
we are living at a time where diversity is emerging powerfully into the public conversation, simply because we need all of us to put our heads and hearts together to move into a future, which looks so very uncertain in the face of climate change and increasing polarisation. many of the old approaches are falling apart and we need to open up and include more diverse expressions of what it means to be alive at these times. i feel so fortunate to have the Dharma as a guide and it is important to me to find our common ground again – through reconciliation & forgiveness.
here is the english translation of my explanation & apology regarding TFFW to my german speaking online group, which was sent on march 2 (i have added 2 notes for clarity).
with metta & goodwill
i apologize for any confusion or pain that has been caused by my lack of clarity and will take utmost care in such cases in the future. If you have feedback for me regarding this issue, please write to me at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
With much gratitude for the Path and all the support to continue walking it ~