Disappointment with sanghas. No refugee

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Disappointment with sanghas. No refugee

Postby suriyopama » Tue Jul 02, 2013 6:50 am

I have always been disappointed with all the sanghas that I have found so far (in Spain, France, and Thailand).

The reasons are multiple, like weird teachings, rituals, attachments to power and money, private jets…
Now I can understand why Ajahn Mun left everything behind and went to dwell alone in the forest!

I can not take refugee in something that I do not trust. I do not see the means of repeating “Sangham saranam gacchami”.

Can we do as the Dhammapada says?: “Be islands unto yourselves, be your own refuge, having no other; let the Dhamma be an island and a refuge to you, having no other.” ?
Last edited by suriyopama on Tue Jul 02, 2013 7:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Disappointment with sanghas. No refugee

Postby Ben » Tue Jul 02, 2013 7:01 am

I am sorry you feel that way, Suriyopama.
Still, giving dana to monks is a very meritorious act.
with metta,

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Re: Disappointment with sanghas. No refugee

Postby suriyopama » Tue Jul 02, 2013 7:07 am

Thank you Ben.

I wish that someday I can find a suitable Sangha, because I do not always have enough energy to practice by myself. I fall very easily into sloth and torpor.

I still offer food to the monks in the morning, but now I am reluctant about putting my money onto that big boxes at the Wat anymore.
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Re: Disappointment with sanghas. No refugee

Postby Aloka » Tue Jul 02, 2013 8:43 am

suriyopama wrote:I have always been disappointed with all the sanghas that I have found so far (in Spain, France, and Thailand).

The reasons are multiple, like weird teachings, rituals, attachments to power and money, private jets…
Now I can understand why Ajahn Mun left everything behind and went to dwell alone in the forest!

I can not take refugee in something that I do not trust. I do not see the means of repeating “Sangham saranam gacchami”.

Can we do as the Dhammapada says?: “Be islands unto yourselves, be your own refuge, having no other; let the Dhamma be an island and a refuge to you, having no other.” ?



Hi suriyopama,

I'm so sorry to read about your difficulties. I definately haven't experienced anything like that on my visits to Amaravati Theravada Thai Forest Tradition monastery in the UK. (The previous abbot there was Ajahn Sumedho and the present one is Ajahn Amaro.)

I hope that you will eventually find somewhere like that in your travels. Don't give up hope!

With metta,

Aloka
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Re: Disappointment with sanghas. No refugee

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Jul 02, 2013 9:03 am

Please read the Ledi Sayādaw's Manual of the Dhamma carefully. It may help you to resolve some of your conflicts.

It may be hard to find good monks in Bangkok, but I am sure there are some if you know where to look. If not, then head out to the forest monasteries.

Wat Tamao, in Lampang, was also a very well run Pariyatti monastery when I was there many years ago.
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Re: Disappointment with sanghas. No refugee

Postby nekete » Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:06 am

suriyopama wrote:I have always been disappointed with all the sanghas that I have found so far (in Spain, France, and Thailand).

The reasons are multiple, like weird teachings, rituals, attachments to power and money, private jets…
Now I can understand why Ajahn Mun left everything behind and went to dwell alone in the forest!

I can not take refugee in something that I do not trust. I do not see the means of repeating “Sangham saranam gacchami”.

Can we do as the Dhammapada says?: “Be islands unto yourselves, be your own refuge, having no other; let the Dhamma be an island and a refuge to you, having no other.” ?


Which Sangha have you found in Spain?
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Re: Disappointment with sanghas. No refugee

Postby Kare » Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:21 am

suriyopama wrote:I have always been disappointed with all the sanghas that I have found so far (in Spain, France, and Thailand).

The reasons are multiple, like weird teachings, rituals, attachments to power and money, private jets…
Now I can understand why Ajahn Mun left everything behind and went to dwell alone in the forest!

I can not take refugee in something that I do not trust. I do not see the means of repeating “Sangham saranam gacchami”.

Can we do as the Dhammapada says?: “Be islands unto yourselves, be your own refuge, having no other; let the Dhamma be an island and a refuge to you, having no other.” ?


Sangha has two meanings. It can be what we ordinarily understand as a Sangha: The group of ordinated monks (or nuns). But it can also mean the Ariya-Sangha, that is arahants, non-returners, once-returners and stream-enterers. And when you take refuge in the Sangha, it is the Ariya-Sangha you take refuge in.

This means that the Sangha you take refuge in, is the idealized group of Ariya-Sangha, not the physical group of people in yellow robes that you may see around you. So when you see some substandard monks, just ignore them. Forget the monks that do not keep up the noble standards. They are not the Sangha you are taking refuge in. Instead, think of the noble arahants etc., wherever they may be, and take refuge in them. And if they are not close at hand, follow the Dhammapada verse you quoted above.
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Re: Disappointment with sanghas. No refugee

Postby Dan74 » Tue Jul 02, 2013 11:05 am

suriyopama wrote:I have always been disappointed with all the sanghas that I have found so far (in Spain, France, and Thailand).

The reasons are multiple, like weird teachings, rituals, attachments to power and money, private jets…
Now I can understand why Ajahn Mun left everything behind and went to dwell alone in the forest!

I can not take refugee in something that I do not trust. I do not see the means of repeating “Sangham saranam gacchami”.

Can we do as the Dhammapada says?: “Be islands unto yourselves, be your own refuge, having no other; let the Dhamma be an island and a refuge to you, having no other.” ?


I have sometimes felt similarly myself but then I try to see if a Sangha or teacher have something valuable to share rather than wondering if I agree or approve of everything they do. If I am able to learn from them and progress in my practice, then it is a good Sangha, I think.
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Re: Disappointment with sanghas. No refugee

Postby Mr Man » Tue Jul 02, 2013 11:11 am

Kare wrote:This means that the Sangha you take refuge in, is the idealized group of Ariya-Sangha, not the physical group of people in yellow robes that you may see around you. So when you see some substandard monks, just ignore them. Forget the monks that do not keep up the noble standards. They are not the Sangha you are taking refuge in. Instead, think of the noble arahants etc., wherever they may be, and take refuge in them. And if they are not close at hand, follow the Dhammapada verse you quoted above.


:goodpost:
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Re: Disappointment with sanghas. No refugee

Postby Coyote » Tue Jul 02, 2013 11:16 am

My personal opinion regarding giving to "bad" monks: If you give, you lose nothing if the monk decides to inappropriately use his requisites. That is his choice, and not something you have a say in. I don't think you are supporting their immorality. You, however, only gain from the action of giving, which is wholesome. Unless you have another choice, perhaps focus on the wholesome act not on what is done with your gift?
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
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Re: Disappointment with sanghas. No refugee

Postby BlackBird » Tue Jul 02, 2013 12:13 pm

Funny isn't it, I was just reading a sutta passage tonight that I think is relevant.

"In future times, Ananda, there will be members of the clan who are 'yellow necks', immoral, of evil character. People will give gifts to those immoral persons for the sake of the Sangha. Even then, I say, an offering made to the Sangha is incalculable, immeasurable. And I say that in no way is a gift to a person individually ever more fruitfal than an offering made to the Sangha." - MN 142.

In other respects, I think it pays to keep some context to things, yes there is a lot of corruption in the Sangha, and yes it's important that we recognise it and bring attention to such matters. But let's not forget the countless thousands of ardent yogis still practicing meditation all those good monks still out there who are keeping good vinaya, all those good laypeople still keeping the precepts, those of us who are still intent on Nibbana. There are still plenty of good people on this Earth, and while that holds true, don't spend too much time focusing on those who aren't. Let be what will be and use your abilities to change what is within your reach :)

metta
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Last edited by BlackBird on Tue Jul 02, 2013 1:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Disappointment with sanghas. No refugee

Postby lyndon taylor » Tue Jul 02, 2013 12:23 pm

Do we really think the corruption among ordained monks and nuns is greater than corruption among lay followers?? Just asking??
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
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Re: Disappointment with sanghas. No refugee

Postby binocular » Tue Jul 02, 2013 1:03 pm

Kare wrote:Sangha has two meanings. It can be what we ordinarily understand as a Sangha: The group of ordinated monks (or nuns). But it can also mean the Ariya-Sangha, that is arahants, non-returners, once-returners and stream-enterers. And when you take refuge in the Sangha, it is the Ariya-Sangha you take refuge in.

This means that the Sangha you take refuge in, is the idealized group of Ariya-Sangha, not the physical group of people in yellow robes that you may see around you. So when you see some substandard monks, just ignore them. Forget the monks that do not keep up the noble standards. They are not the Sangha you are taking refuge in. Instead, think of the noble arahants etc., wherever they may be, and take refuge in them. And if they are not close at hand, follow the Dhammapada verse you quoted above.

In my experience and insight, one can apply the above only if one already has considerable faith and investment in Buddhism. Without sufficient faith and investment, one might not have the discernment that is necessary to apply the above instruction.
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Re: Disappointment with sanghas. No refugee

Postby purple planet » Tue Jul 02, 2013 4:06 pm

I think a good solution to this is : donate food to monks donate money to a charity organization
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Re: Disappointment with sanghas. No refugee

Postby suriyopama » Thu Jul 04, 2013 2:35 am

Thank you very much for all your kind responses.

kare wrote:Sangha has two meanings. It can be what we ordinarily understand as a Sangha: The group of ordinated monks (or nuns). But it can also mean the Ariya-Sangha, that is arahants, non-returners, once-returners and stream-enterers. And when you take refuge in the Sangha, it is the Ariya-Sangha you take refuge in.

This means that the Sangha you take refuge in, is the idealized group of Ariya-Sangha, not the physical group of people in yellow robes that you may see around you. So when you see some substandard monks, just ignore them. Forget the monks that do not keep up the noble standards. They are not the Sangha you are taking refuge in. Instead, think of the noble arahants etc., wherever they may be, and take refuge in them. And if they are not close at hand, follow the Dhammapada verse you quoted above.

:goodpost:

nekete wrote:Which Sangha have you found in Spain?


That one was not Theravada. Tibetan “weekend” monks that have a mundane Lay Life and business, and only dress the robes when they go to the temple during the weekend. Anyway, there is also a Theravada Association in Spain that requires to pay a compulsory fee in order to be a member.
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Re: Disappointment with sanghas. No refugee

Postby SarathW » Thu Jul 04, 2013 4:41 am

For me there is a wider meaning for Sangha.
Anyone who give me the right advise on the path is considered as Sangha.
This include my parents, teachers, monks (even non Buddhist) and good friends.
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Re: Disappointment with sanghas. No refugee

Postby suriyopama » Thu Jul 04, 2013 6:25 am

I have found a very inspiring teaching from Ajahn Lee:

A Refuge in Awakening
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai/lee/refawake.html

I do not quote it because I recommend to read it entirely and paying full attention, as if we were listening to Ajahn Lee himself.
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Re: Disappointment with sanghas. No refugee

Postby BlackBird » Thu Jul 04, 2013 7:31 am

Hi Surapanyo. Ajahn Lee has a fantastic autobiography on Accesstoinsight. He was a very inspirational monk. I think the book goes on abit too much about the strange psychic happenings, but otherwise it is very good :)

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai/lee/leeauto.pdf
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'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Disappointment with sanghas. No refugee

Postby SarathW » Fri Jul 05, 2013 3:20 am

§ 71. Now with what four factors of stream-entry is the disciple of the noble ones endowed? There is the case where the disciple of the noble ones is endowed with verified confidence in the Awakened One: 'Indeed, the Blessed One is worthy and rightly self-awakened, consummate in knowledge & conduct, well-gone, an expert with regard to the world, unexcelled as a trainer for those people fit to be tamed, the Teacher of divine & human beings, awakened, blessed.'

He is endowed with verified confidence in the Dhamma: 'The Dhamma is well-expounded by the Blessed One, to be seen here & now, timeless, inviting verification, pertinent, to be realized by the wise for themselves.'

He is endowed with verified confidence in the Saṅgha: 'The Saṅgha of the Blessed One's disciples who have practiced well... who have practiced straight-forwardly... who have practiced methodically... who have practiced masterfully — in other words, the four types of noble disciples when taken as pairs, the eight when taken as individual types — they are the Saṅgha of the Blessed One's disciples: worthy of gifts, worthy of hospitality, worthy of offerings, worthy of respect, the incomparable field of merit for the world.'
He is endowed with virtues that are appealing to the noble ones: untorn, unbroken, unspotted, unsplattered, liberating, praised by the wise, untarnished, leading to concentration.

— AN 10.92

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... part2.html
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