The Buddha said in the Vinaya Pitaka (Cullavagga VII 3.16) that bringing together the Sangha that has been divided is an act of such supreme merit that it results in a heavenly rebirth for a whole aeon, at the very least.
The Sangha in Australia, Vajrayana and Mahayana and Theravada, both female and male, are now coming together under the fellowship of the Australian Sangha Association (ASA). The purpose of the ASA is to serve the needs of all Buddhist monks and nuns resident in Australia, without interfering in the internal affairs of any temple or monastery. It aims to promote the well-being of the Sangha, nurture its growth, and protect its interests.
The ASA does this through two main avenues. First is through liason with government, media, and other Buddhist and interfaith organizations. And the second is through bringing the Sangha together in conferences, seminars, and forums that give us the opportunity to discuss and learn from each other.
The ASA is not a supreme authority over any monk or nun in Australia, for as the Buddha declared in the Mahaparinibbana Sutra: ‘After I am gone, the Dharma and Vinaya that I have proclaimed will be your only authority’!
As the ASA develops, it will discover new ways to meet the changing needs of the Sangha in Australia. Moreover, through working together as brothers and sisters in the Dhamma, in the spirit of sincere friendship, mutual respect, and selfless service, we will show by example how the Buddha-Dhamma brings harmony, prosperity, and peace to our world.
Ajahn Brahm, October 2005