"The Broken Buddha" by Ven.Dhammika and other scandals

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Re: "The Broken Buddha" by Ven. S. Dhammika

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Oct 09, 2011 8:13 am

Zom wrote:
He wrote his book in hopes that it would inspire progressive change, which would have been a pointless effort if there weren't good Buddhists in Asia.


I think the intention was somehow different. It seems like he felt hurt by tradition and circumstances and decided to "make a revenge".
Otherwise he whould have mentioned positive sides of Theravada - but he didn't.
I haven't a clue what his motivations are for writing this book. Certainly a lot what he says is true and should be said, but as Zom points there is no balance in how he presented it, which could be very corrosive for some people's confidence in the Dhamma, and for that reason I think it is a very sadly horrible book.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: "The Broken Buddha" by Ven. S. Dhammika

Postby Dan74 » Sun Oct 09, 2011 10:45 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Zom wrote:
He wrote his book in hopes that it would inspire progressive change, which would have been a pointless effort if there weren't good Buddhists in Asia.


I think the intention was somehow different. It seems like he felt hurt by tradition and circumstances and decided to "make a revenge".
Otherwise he whould have mentioned positive sides of Theravada - but he didn't.
I haven't a clue what his motivations are for writing this book. Certainly a lot what he says is true and should be said, but as Zom points there is no balance in how he presented it, which could be very corrosive for some people's confidence in the Dhamma, and for that reason I think it is a very sadly horrible book.


I think Ven Dhammica has actually said that he never intended to have it openly available for these very reasons but circulated it privately after writing it.
_/|\_
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Re: "The Broken Buddha" by Ven. S. Dhammika

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Oct 09, 2011 11:05 am

Dan74 wrote:I think Ven Dhammica has actually said that he never intended to have it openly available for these very reasons but circulated it privately after writing it.

Image
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: "The Broken Buddha" by Ven. S. Dhammika

Postby Dan74 » Sun Oct 09, 2011 11:49 am

Indeed. Read at your own risk.

Having traveled a little through Theravada countries and being close friends with Theravada practitioners (as well as having seen the problems and excesses of Mahayana), the book didn't put me off Theravada. I think a perspective is important, as always.
_/|\_
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Re: "The Broken Buddha" by Ven. S. Dhammika

Postby Jhana4 » Sun Oct 09, 2011 12:08 pm

Zom wrote:
He wrote his book in hopes that it would inspire progressive change, which would have been a pointless effort if there weren't good Buddhists in Asia.


I think the intention was somehow different. It seems like he felt hurt by tradition and circumstances and decided to "make a revenge".
Otherwise he whould have mentioned positive sides of Theravada - but he didn't.


His intentions might have been different, but he wrote in his book that his intentions where to inspire positive change by making people aware of a side of Buddhism that they weren't aware of. I think his written statement of his intentions published in his book takes priority as far as trying to decide what his intentions in writing the book were.

He also wrote in his book that he didn't emphasize the positive because that was emphasized everywhere else and his book was about showing people a prominent reality that wasn't covered.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: "The Broken Buddha" by Ven. S. Dhammika

Postby Zom » Sun Oct 09, 2011 4:29 pm

He also wrote in his book that he didn't emphasize the positive because that was emphasized everywhere else and his book was about showing people a prominent reality that wasn't covered.


And together with that he emphasizes mayahana and especially vajrayana as a pure and inspiring example - though I can say - from my own knowledge (since here in Russia we've got only vajrayana and a bit of zen) - the situation in tibetan tradition is worse than in asian theravada; and the same is true for such authentic territories as Nepal, Butan, Tibet :shrug:

PS> By the way, I liked the book, some moments are quite funny :reading: :tongue:
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Re: "The Broken Buddha" by Ven. S. Dhammika

Postby manas » Mon Oct 10, 2011 12:31 am

After I read 'The Broken Buddha' my relationship with the Theravada as an institution / religious organization was changed. My formerly rose-coloured glasses were well and truly broken. I found myself unable to attend Theravadan religious gatherings for quite a while, but I did not ever consider giving up meditation practice or accepting guidance from the pali canon. So it actually strengthened my conviction in the Teachings by making me see that they (Buddha's Teachings) are far greater than any one sect that might claim to best embody them (and does not every sect claim this?).

I have met Ven. Dhammika a few times when he visited Melbourne. I don't think he wrote TBB out of bitterness, he is just what is termed a 'whistleblower' and every organization needs one, even Theravada Buddhism (the institution).
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Re: "The Broken Buddha" by Ven. S. Dhammika

Postby manas » Mon Oct 10, 2011 12:49 am

Zom wrote:And together with that he emphasizes mayahana and especially vajrayana as a pure and inspiring example -


Hi Zom,
nice to meet you, and sorry to have to challenge you straight out, but 'pure and inspiring example - ...' of what? You didn't complete what he thinks they are a 'pure and inspiring example' of (?).

:namaste:
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Re: "The Broken Buddha" by Ven. S. Dhammika

Postby Zom » Mon Oct 10, 2011 7:51 am

but 'pure and inspiring example - ...' of what?


Of "how it should be" of course. There are numerous references and hints like "look at Mayahana, look at Vajrayana [in contrast to Theravada]".
When I was reading that I asked myself several times - "If you are speaking that way, why don't you disrobe and reordain in tibetan buddhism?" ,)
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Re: "The Broken Buddha" by Ven. S. Dhammika

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Oct 10, 2011 8:35 am

Jhana4 wrote:His intentions might have been different, but he wrote in his book that his intentions where to inspire positive change by making people aware of a side of Buddhism that they weren't aware of. I think his written statement of his intentions published in his book takes priority as far as trying to decide what his intentions in writing the book were.
I don't give a rat's tookus what his intentions were or were not. It is simply an unskilful and somewhat destructive effort.

It is one thing to offer a criticism of the Theravada as is manifests in a cultural context, but this bit is really way out of hand:
Even Buddhaghosa did not really believe that Theravada practice could lead to Nirvana. His Visuddhimagga is supposed to be a detailed, step by step guide to enlightenment. And yet in the postscript he says he hopes that the
merit he has earned by writing the Visuddhimagga will allow him to be reborn in heaven, abide there until Metteyya appears, hear his teaching and then attain enlightenment.
It shows a significant lack on his part.

One often hears Theravadins say that they don’t like Mahayana because it has too much ritual. I
would contend that ritual is more integral to Theravada and more prevalent in it than in Mahayana.
Huh?

For ancient Mahayana monks the alms round wasn’t a ritual, it was a way of getting sustenance and
yet another opportunity to develop compassion. The Ratnarasi Sutra says a monk going on
pindapata should think like this. ‘ “Those people are busy, they are not obliged to give me anything.
There are plenty of example within the Theravada of how a monk should regard the food offered to him and the sense of gratitude, etc towards the laity. Also, it is one thing what a sutra says and it is another how the reality of is played out, and in this the Mahayana is no different from the Theravada. Taking a statement of an ideal from the Mahayana text and using that to bash the Theravada leaves something to be desired. This essay is full of crap like that.

Mahayana arose in part as a protest against exactly this type of mean-spirited egoism and
pettifogging.
Maybe. That is certainly debatable as to why the Mahayana arose, but then the Mahayana turns around and gives Buddhism its ugliest sectarian polemical division -- Mahayana/Hinayana -- that is still playing itself out to this day.

Mahayana sutras often refer to what they call ‘all the proud arahats’ and centuries later many
Theravadin monks still give the impression of being just slightly haughty and conceited. This
incident occurred just recently in a small Buddhist group in Europe. A certain visiting monk who
shall remain nameless was giving a talk to an audience of about thirty people which included a
woman who had a hat on. The monk noticed this and apparently felt that it was a serious enough
threat to his dignity to be eluded to in his talk. He deviated from the gist of his sermon and
mentioned how important it is to render proper respect to the Sangha and how rude it would be to
wear a hat, for example, while a monk was teaching the Dhamma. Everyone in the room turned to
the embarrassed woman and a few minuets later she crept quietly from the room and burst into
tears. It later emerged that this woman had terminal cancer and had lost all her hair while
undergoing chemotherapy. She wore a hat to hide her disfigurement. In Sri Lanka I once attended a
talk by a well-known meditation teacher. When he entered the hall several people failed to stand up.
Visibly annoyed at not getting the respect he believed was his due, he walked to the front of the
hall, harangued the organizers of the talk and the audience and then stormed out. I have witnessed
similar performances on several other occasions.
And? One draws a serious generalization from these stories to the whole of the Theravada bhikkhu sangha? And the reference to the Mahayana here, what is the point? They are more compassionate, more open/liberal? That has no reality in reality. The history of the Mahayana, in its various guises, is not pleasant, and there are enough stories of modern day Mahayana teachers' abuses of a very wide variety of sorts that would make those stories look very insignificant.

The problem with this essay is that that is is unbalanced and corrosive.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: "The Broken Buddha" by Ven. S. Dhammika

Postby Cilla » Mon Oct 10, 2011 8:42 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:
Cilla wrote:Batchelor and his book have been discussed extensively here. If a site search doesn't give you useful results, try a Google search limited to http://www.dhammawheel.com
I have read Coleman's book and agree, it's good. Not so much discussed here, IIRC. Not so negative as Batchelor or Dhammika, and that's nice.
I don't think you'll get a lot from Dhammika's book having read Coleman and Batchelor, so there are probably better books for you at this stage.
Two other books that are relevant to the discussion are both, oddly, called 'The Naked Buddha'.
One is a useful, positive, back-to-the-basics look at Buddhism by Howley. The other is more along the lines of Batchelor - see http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1227156.The_Naked_Buddha_The_Man_and_His_Teaching_Without_Ritual_or_Religion (it's just the first site that popped up - there are probably better reviews of it if you search).

:namaste:
Kim


hey thanks kim and also jhana for the link. That's a really helpful assessment kim since you've read the books i've read. I shall try to do the searches you recommend.
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Re: "The Broken Buddha" by Ven. S. Dhammika

Postby manas » Tue Oct 11, 2011 12:09 am

Zom wrote:
but 'pure and inspiring example - ...' of what?


Of "how it should be" of course. There are numerous references and hints like "look at Mayahana, look at Vajrayana [in contrast to Theravada]".
When I was reading that I asked myself several times - "If you are speaking that way, why don't you disrobe and reordain in tibetan buddhism?" ,)


I can remember his saying two things that you may be referring to. One is that oftentimes monks in the Tibetan tradition can be somewhat more approachable and 'easygoing' to be around than monks in the Theravadan tradition. The other was that Mahayana monks are more likely to be engaged in social service activities than Theravadan monks. But neither of these statements amount to saying that 'Mahayana or Tibetan Buddhism are superior to Theravada'.

Anyway, peace, and 'privyet'!

:namaste:
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Re: "The Broken Buddha" by Ven. S. Dhammika

Postby Jhana4 » Thu Oct 13, 2011 2:05 pm

Zom wrote:
He also wrote in his book that he didn't emphasize the positive because that was emphasized everywhere else and his book was about showing people a prominent reality that wasn't covered.


And together with that he emphasizes mayahana and especially vajrayana as a pure and inspiring example



Venerable Dhammika never wrote that the Mahayana traditions better. He quoted things they do as examples of how other Buddhists have done *some* things better.

- though I can say - from my own knowledge (since here in Russia we've got only vajrayana and a bit of zen) - the situation in tibetan tradition is worse than in asian theravada; and the same is true for such authentic territories as Nepal, Butan, Tibet :shrug:


Interesting! Though I guess it should not be surprising given human nature. With any system there will be a few who will be ready to rise to it and the rest will pull the system down to the level they are on. It is just the way people as a group roll.

PS> By the way, I liked the book, some moments are quite funny :reading: :tongue:


I found the book engrossing, but I can't recall finding humor in it. What struck you as funny?
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: "The Broken Buddha" by Ven. S. Dhammika

Postby Jhana4 » Thu Oct 13, 2011 2:06 pm

manasikara wrote:After I read 'The Broken Buddha' my relationship with the Theravada as an institution / religious organization was changed. My formerly rose-coloured glasses were well and truly broken. I found myself unable to attend Theravadan religious gatherings for quite a while, but I did not ever consider giving up meditation practice or accepting guidance from the pali canon. So it actually strengthened my conviction in the Teachings by making me see that they (Buddha's Teachings) are far greater than any one sect that might claim to best embody them (and does not every sect claim this?).

I have met Ven. Dhammika a few times when he visited Melbourne. I don't think he wrote TBB out of bitterness, he is just what is termed a 'whistleblower' and every organization needs one, even Theravada Buddhism (the institution).


:goodpost:
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Location: U.S.A., Northeast

Re: "The Broken Buddha" by Ven. S. Dhammika

Postby Jhana4 » Thu Oct 13, 2011 2:13 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Jhana4 wrote:His intentions might have been different, but he wrote in his book that his intentions where to inspire positive change by making people aware of a side of Buddhism that they weren't aware of. I think his written statement of his intentions published in his book takes priority as far as trying to decide what his intentions in writing the book were.
I don't give a rat's tookus what his intentions were or were not. It is simply an unskilful and somewhat destructive effort.



I disagree. A problem will not get fixed unless people are made aware of the problem and communicate about it.

As with many things in life, hearing about a problem will make people feel uncomfortable. Some will take a positive approach and push forward. Other people will try to make their discomfort go away by trying to shut down communication about the issue. One way of doing that is by labeling/censuring people who speak up. I think *that* is unskillful as it encourages a problem to continue to exist.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: "The Broken Buddha" by Ven. S. Dhammika

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Oct 13, 2011 6:39 pm

Jhana4 wrote:I disagree. A problem will not get fixed unless people are made aware of the problem and communicate about it.

As with many things in life, hearing about a problem will make people feel uncomfortable.

That's a rather irrelevant strawman.

The point several of us have made is that there's nothing remotely surprising in that book for anyone who has spent any time with real-life Buddhists. And the solutions offered don't sound particularly interesting. I know people have different inclinations, so if you find this book helpful, that's fine. But in my experience are many monks, nuns, and lay people in Asia and elsewhere that are simply getting on with living and teaching the Dhamma properly, which I think has much more impact.

:anjali:
Mike
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Re: "The Broken Buddha" by Ven. S. Dhammika

Postby Viscid » Thu Oct 13, 2011 8:45 pm

Love this book.

It really shouldn't offend you. If it does, then it's just the pride you have for a flawed institution which is being hurt.

Westerners have not been exposed to a lot of the dirt in the Theravadin sangha, and because of this Dhammika does not have to present a "fair and balanced" evaluation of it. This book is allowing naive Westerners who do not have much first-hand experience dealing with the sangha to have that balanced view. If Dhammika forced himself to write about the positive qualities of the Theravadin Sangha just to seem balanced, it would have dulled the point of this earnest expression of genuine concern.
"What holds attention determines action." - William James
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Re: "The Broken Buddha" by Ven. S. Dhammika

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Oct 13, 2011 9:11 pm

Viscid wrote:Love this book.

It really shouldn't offend you. If it does, then it's just the pride you have for a flawed institution which is being hurt.
Very smelly bovine coproforms. It is a badly done book, badly reasoned, and poorly balanced.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: "The Broken Buddha" by Ven. S. Dhammika

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Oct 13, 2011 9:18 pm

Jhana4 wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Jhana4 wrote:His intentions might have been different, but he wrote in his book that his intentions where to inspire positive change by making people aware of a side of Buddhism that they weren't aware of. I think his written statement of his intentions published in his book takes priority as far as trying to decide what his intentions in writing the book were.
I don't give a rat's tookus what his intentions were or were not. It is simply an unskilful and somewhat destructive effort.



I disagree. A problem will not get fixed unless people are made aware of the problem and communicate about it.
The book stinks, in that it poorly reasoned. I have no problem with talking about the many and serious problems found in Theravadin countries. Having spent a brief time in Thailand in robes, I saw plenty of it. There is nothing surprising in what he says about all that. The problem is, as I pointed out above (taking random references in that stupid book to the Mahayana), that his thesis is very poorly reasoned and has no balance.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: "The Broken Buddha" by Ven. S. Dhammika

Postby Viscid » Thu Oct 13, 2011 9:32 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Viscid wrote:Love this book.

It really shouldn't offend you. If it does, then it's just the pride you have for a flawed institution which is being hurt.
Very smelly bovine coproforms. It is a badly done book, badly reasoned, and poorly balanced.


Regardless of its poor reasoning and balance, it was due. Even if to incite this discussion, to make people question their imagined stainless image of the Theravada, it was due. It is a book which seems to have incited some controvercy, and is worth respecting in that regard. If the accusations and concerns expressed were either baseless or already well-documented, this book wouldn't have made a blip. But it seems to have!
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