Critical Reflections on Theravada and a Plea for a New Buddhism
by the Venerable S. Dhammika
In a nutshell, the book is by a western born monk and is about criticisms of Theravada Buddhism as he saw it practiced in Asia ( Sri Lanka, Thailand and Burma primarily). Venerable S Dhammika is still a monk. I was thinking about this book the other day. First, I was recalling what he wrote ( and what I have observed in ethnic Buddhist communities in the US ) that very few monks are interested in meditation. Some even dismiss it as napping, an activity for old people and discourage it. In his book Venerable Dhammika describes what he thinks a reformed order of Buddhist monks might look like. He includes many pie in the sky rules on his wish list ( if there was such an order, I would support it ). One thing he doesn't mention is meditation.
The way I see it the whole point of being a monk is to get increased time in meditation to do the work of unbinding. Additionally, it is my belief that "the dhamma", the Buddhist spirit, is rooted in and flows out of meditation.
What do you think? If a bunch of people got together to assemble a reformed order of Buddhism and monastics do you think one of the rules should be a minimum weekly amount of time spent in meditation?
How about at least 14 hours a week ( 1 hour in the morning, 1 hour in the evening ) if you want to stay in the order?
Many devoted lay people can and do that much, so it isn't beyond a monk who wants to be a scholar or some kind of community organizer.
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.