Ajahn Brahm for sale?

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Re: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu May 09, 2013 6:24 pm

Paribbajaka wrote: and hanging around listening to music.
This is obviously in addition to the widespread market of monks selling amulets, selling blessed bracelets, telling fortunes and giving lucky lottery numbers, etc. etc. etc.
Why is no one decrying their vinaya offenses?


Maybe someone should. I might understand why some monks might need to handle some money and drive cars in a modern city, for example to get to the hospital to visit and chant for a sick community member. Or to have a refrigerator since fresh lunch dana may not be available on all days in a modern Western city.

However, hanging around and listening to music? That is totally inappropriate; violation of Vinaya and unseemly for a monk while lay people go off to work and don't even have that luxury in most cases.
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Re: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby Lazy_eye » Thu May 09, 2013 6:42 pm

I believe that addressing questions like these was part of the intent behind Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh's revised pratimoksha.

I realize he's Mahayana and not everyone agrees with the approach he followed. But questions of the sort raised in this thread might demonstrate the need for such an undertaking.
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Re: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby Anagarika » Thu May 09, 2013 9:34 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
James the Giant wrote:Maybe if someone is going to post where the auction is at, the name of the bidder could be removed? Since it's on a private website and all.
done


My apologies for the inclusion of the bidder's name. I should have been a bit more careful.
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Re: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby Anagarika » Thu May 09, 2013 9:49 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:
Paribbajaka wrote: and hanging around listening to music.
This is obviously in addition to the widespread market of monks selling amulets, selling blessed bracelets, telling fortunes and giving lucky lottery numbers, etc. etc. etc.
Why is no one decrying their vinaya offenses?


Maybe someone should. I might understand why some monks might need to handle some money and drive cars in a modern city, for example to get to the hospital to visit and chant for a sick community member. Or to have a refrigerator since fresh lunch dana may not be available on all days in a modern Western city.

However, hanging around and listening to music? That is totally inappropriate; violation of Vinaya and unseemly for a monk while lay people go off to work and don't even have that luxury in most cases.


A good friend of mine who was a Phra farang in Thailand once said "if you want to know the best cell phone to buy, ask a young monk." I keep in mind that many of these men that come to the Wat and ordain are just looking for an education, so that they can then disrobe and go to the city to work. Some are even dropped off by their families as the families cannot afford to keep and educate them. So, amongst the crop of young monks, you're not always getting the most committed class of students of the Vinaya rules. It's part of one reason why among the Thai people there has been an erosion of confidence among the lay people for the bhikkhus. The young monks are sometimes goofing off, and the elder monks have TVs and nice cars.

I'd like to think this is the exception and not the rule. When I was in Thailand, there were a number of very good and dedicated young men at the Wat who I expect will be very good monks if they stay in robes. The abbot of the (my) Wat is a fine scholar and an amazing community organizer. He's is doing all of the right things, and for the right reasons. It was he that had a monk assistant chase me (the temporary samanera) down in the street because I had worn my watch by mistake one day. He is a young abbot, but he is strict about Vinaya for all of the ordained at his Wat. For this reason, I have hope that for the Thai Sangha, the good monks will inspire the lay people to not give up on the Wat and the Dhamma.
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Re: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu May 09, 2013 10:19 pm

And to tie this discussion back to the topic, I have seen (and I believe others have too) that the monks and nuns of the Ajahn Chah tradition are very good on following Vinaya. When Ajahn Brahm was at my place, he did not accept any cash or even checks from any lay people. He just informed people who wanted to donate to him to his website where online donations can be made through lay stewards.
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Re: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Fri May 10, 2013 5:45 am

Lay people often don't know the difference between a minor offence and a more serious offence. They may be shocked when a monk drives a car (dukkata, or no offence depending on your POV), yet willingly donate cash to that same monk, which enables him to buy one (nissaggiyā pācittā) or run it. Receiving money is an offence for the monk and donating it is akusala kamma for the donor.

It is true that most monks nowadays accept and use money, only well-trained monks avoid it, as do all the western disciples of Ajahn Chah that I know of. This is why it is so shocking to see Ajahn Brahm engaging in trading his time in return for monetary donations to the Sangha.

Hinting is allowed for one who has nowhere to live,¹ but it is entirely the lay community's responsibility to raise funds for building monasteries if they wish to support monks and nuns. If lay people invite a monk in general terms to ask for whatever he needs, he can say that the Sangha needs a new Dhamma hall, or whatever. The lay community can then organise Dhamma talks or retreats, or entertainments, and use the donations thus received to build the Dhamma hall.

¹ Visuddhimagga — 113. As to the robe and the other requisites, no hint, indication, roundabout talk,or intimation about robes and alms food is allowable for a bhikkhu who is purifying his livelihood. But a hint, indication, or roundabout talk about a resting place is allowable for one who has not taken up the ascetic practices. [41]
114. Herein, a “hint” is when one who is getting the preparing of the ground, etc., done for the purpose of [making] a resting place is asked, “What is being done, venerable sir? Who is having it done?” and he replies, “No one”; or any other such giving of hints. An “indication” is saying, “Lay follower, where do you live?”—”In a mansion, venerable sir”—”But, lay follower, a mansion is not allowed for bhikkhus.” Or any other such giving of indication. “Roundabout talk” is saying, “The resting place for the Community of Bhikkhus is crowded”; or any other such oblique talk.
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Re: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby Anagarika » Fri May 10, 2013 12:50 pm

I think Ajahn Brahm would do nearly anything (within reason and ethics) to help build a home for the Bhikkhunis. I admire him for that, and just like the Bhikkhuni ordinations, he knew he was going to take some hits, and he did. No pain, no gain. I look at his intention, and the end result, and feel that a strict application of Vinaya law is not necessary to these unique facts. The law is the law, but sometimes the law does not anticipate unique facts. I do not advocate bending the Vinaya to fit mundane facts, or to permit unwholesome or unskillful behavior, but in this case, I have a sense (hypothetically) that the First Council might not be offended. My projection for the day.
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Re: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby Paribbajaka » Fri May 10, 2013 12:56 pm

BuddhaSoup wrote:I think Ajahn Brahm would do nearly anything (within reason and ethics) to help build a home for the Bhikkhunis. I admire him for that, and just like the Bhikkhuni ordinations, he knew he was going to take some hits, and he did. No pain, no gain. I look at his intention, and the end result, and feel that a strict application of Vinaya law is not necessary to these unique facts. The law is the law, but sometimes the law does not anticipate unique facts. I do not advocate bending the Vinaya to fit mundane facts, or to permit unwholesome or unskillful behavior, but in this case, I have a sense (hypothetically) that the First Council might not be offended. My projection for the day.

:goodpost: I feel that there are many Bhikkhus in the world today who commit Vinaya offenses but because their offenses are so entrenched and instituionalized they are ignored. What Ajahn Brahm is doing is not orthodox by any means, but it is clearly in good humor and is being done for a very good cause. I wonder what later generations will think of him? The bad monk who told corny jokes and thumbed his nose at tradition, or the corageous monk who would stop at nothing to serve his community with love and compassion.

It's important to remember that the Buddha routinely advocated not clinging to views, not being inflexible, not looking at his teaching as an unchanging dogma. Would he approve of Ajahn Brahm's actions? I don't know, and unless someone in this thread personally met him, I find their opinion highly suspect as well.
May all beings be happy!
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Re: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby James the Giant » Sat May 11, 2013 12:05 am

Even if Ajahn Brahm was committing an offense, it would be a nissaggiya pacittiya offense.
That is, an offence of Confession with Forfeiture.
So he confesses to his brother monks, and forfeits the money to the community (but how can he forfeit money that is already with another community?)
And then he's all good again. A one minute job.
A one minute confession, balanced against a whole monastery for bhikkhunis.

Besides, he is not even in breach of this rule, as Ajahn Brahmali showed us in a previous post.
Then,
saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.
SN 9.11
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Re: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby reflection » Sat May 11, 2013 2:50 am

We could say it's bad or it's good. Argue whether it's an offense or it's not. Fact is, the site is online and it is going to happen anyway. So why worry? I say just relax whatever one may think about it. People do much more stupid things in the world - myself included. Much better to spend my energy there.

Just my two cents. I just hope he makes lots of money for the bhikkuni monastery.
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Re: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby Anagarika » Sat May 11, 2013 1:53 pm

I just hope he makes lots of money for the bhikkuni monastery.


I agree. That's why I posted above the current status of the bids. If he raises in total from the auction subscription fee and final high bid, let's say, A$75,000, that would seem to be enough to purchase materials, some expert labor, and along with monk and lay labor, build a sizable building for the Bhikkhunis.

see http://youtu.be/L3J_n02nfLg
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Re: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby suceta » Sat May 11, 2013 4:21 pm

The first reaction I felt when I saw Ajahn Brahm for sale was how could I help.

In another incarnation as a forest monk (some 20 years ago) imbued with knowledge of the Vinaya, I would have criticised him much like some who already have.

But now with more wisdom, knowledge and preference to judge my own mental formations that the deeds of others, I would really have to say this:

1. The world and the Sasana would be a better place if there was much goodwill towards one another.

2. That forgiveness and kindness go hand-in-hand with our progress on the path.

3. That all this public hand-wringing does nothing but much more damage than Ajahn Brahm would do in two lifetimes.

I must confess that I am no fan of Ajahn Brahm. By the same token, I am more concerned of what I can do to help the Sasana and not overly hung up on the nuances of the Vinaya. Mind and intention is more important than following rites and rituals.
He should develop [contemplation of] the unattractive so as to abandon passion.
He should develop good will so as to abandon ill will.
He should develop mindfulness of in-&-out breathing so as to cut off thinking.
He should develop the perception of inconstancy so as to uproot the conceit, 'I am.'
For a monk perceiving inconstancy, the perception of not-self is made steady.
One perceiving not-self attains the uprooting of the conceit, 'I am' — unbinding right in the here-&-now.

Meghiya Sutta (ref: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html)
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Re: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby Sekha » Sun May 12, 2013 2:30 am

If I am permitted to give my opinion, I agree with Cittasanto, Retro and Thanissaro Bhikkhu, not because I am a "dour face" conservatist but because of what is written in the Vinaya:
Nissaggiya Pācittiya: Rules entailing forfeiture and confession wrote:18. Should any bhikkhu accept gold and silver, or have it accepted, or consent to its being deposited (near him), it is to be forfeited and confessed.

20. Should any bhikkhu engage in various types of trade, it (the article obtained) is to be forfeited and confessed.


Vinaya-samukkamsa: The Innate Principles of the Vinaya wrote:Bhikkhus, whatever I have not objected to, saying, 'This is not allowable,' if it fits in with what is not allowable, if it goes against what is allowable, this is not allowable for you.

I consider obvious putting oneself "for sale" to the highest bidder and then use the money for one's projects (whatever they are) fits in with "having money accepted" and engaging in "various kinds of trade" (trading one's time, as any consultant does).
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Re: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun May 12, 2013 2:35 am

Naughty bhikkhu!!!
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: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby Sekha » Sun May 12, 2013 2:43 am

tiltbillings wrote:Naughty bhikkhu!!!

I don't know to which extent you are aware that this kind of behavior only discredits the pow you stand for, as it makes it sound like you are short of arguments and have no other option than resorting to emotional reactions.
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Re: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun May 12, 2013 2:49 am

Sekha wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Naughty bhikkhu!!!

I don't know to which extent you are aware that this kind of behavior only discredits the pow you stand for, as it makes it sound like you are short of arguments and have no other option than resorting to emotional reactions.
Naughty me!!!
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: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby Sekha » Sun May 12, 2013 3:18 am

:roll:
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Re: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun May 12, 2013 3:31 am

Poor Ajahn Brahm. Not a very good teacher, all those scandals, not knowing the Vinaya very well, and now this. {{{sigh}}}
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: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby Anagarika » Sun May 12, 2013 12:38 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Poor Ajahn Brahm. Not a very good teacher, all those scandals, not knowing the Vinaya very well, and now this. {{{sigh}}}


Yeah, and that Mahatma Gandhi fellow was a real troublemaker, too,
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Re: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby Sekha » Sun May 12, 2013 5:51 pm

This is about whether a particular action fits in what is allowed by the Vinaya or not.
I see no reason to take it as a personal attack against AB.
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