Should abusive behaviour by monks and nuns towards lay people be public ally discussed on these forums?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
robbie77
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Should abusive behaviour by monks and nuns towards lay people be public ally discussed on these forums?

Post by robbie77 » Thu Jan 18, 2018 4:52 am

Basically what I’ve said in the title...
Last edited by robbie77 on Wed Feb 21, 2018 4:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Should abusive behaviour by monks and nuns towards lay people be public ally discussed on these forums?

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Jan 18, 2018 4:58 am

Greetings Robbie,

From a Terms of Service perspective, just be mindful of not making "Unsubstantiated allegations against individuals or traditions".

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: Should abusive behaviour by monks and nuns towards lay people be public ally discussed on these forums?

Post by SarathW » Thu Jan 18, 2018 4:59 am

My understanding is you are free to discuss those issues provided you do not mention peoples names.
I wonder these sort of post you end up with getting a defamation action from someone unless you are talking about public figures.
I am not fully conversant of defamation laws.
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Re: Should abusive behaviour by monks and nuns towards lay people be public ally discussed on these forums?

Post by robbie77 » Thu Jan 18, 2018 5:15 am

Thanks for your responses.
Last edited by robbie77 on Wed Feb 21, 2018 4:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Should abusive behaviour by monks and nuns towards lay people be public ally discussed on these forums?

Post by Dhammarakkhito » Thu Jan 18, 2018 5:17 am

yes
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Re: Should abusive behaviour by monks and nuns towards lay people be public ally discussed on these forums?

Post by DooDoot » Thu Jan 18, 2018 5:22 am

The suttas seem to promote a very open scrutiny of monks & nuns by laypeople.

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Re: Should abusive behaviour by monks and nuns towards lay people be public ally discussed on these forums?

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Jan 18, 2018 5:42 am

Greetings Robbie,

So long as you make clear that you're relaying your own personal experiences, it should be fine.

Do try however to avoid hearsay and gossip, sticking only to what you know first-hand to be so.

This may help...
MN41 wrote:"There is the case where a certain person, abandoning false speech, abstains from false speech. When he has been called to a town meeting, a group meeting, a gathering of his relatives, his guild, or of the royalty, if he is asked as a witness, 'Come and tell, good man, what you know': If he doesn't know, he says, 'I don't know.' If he does know, he says, 'I know.' If he hasn't seen, he says, 'I haven't seen.' If he has seen, he says, 'I have seen.' Thus he doesn't consciously tell a lie for his own sake, for the sake of another, or for the sake of any reward. Abandoning false speech, he abstains from false speech. He speaks the truth, holds to the truth, is firm, reliable, no deceiver of the world
Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: Should abusive behaviour by monks and nuns towards lay people be public ally discussed on these forums?

Post by Bundokji » Thu Jan 18, 2018 5:51 am

I think this should be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

More generally, i think one of the main features of our samsaric existence is that there is no purely beneficial or purely harmful actions. From a moral perspective, avoiding harm seem to more important than doing good.

Unless the abuse is really harmful and beyond reasonable doubt, i think remaining silent and/or speaking to the monk directly and in private to clarify any misunderstanding is a better choice. Keeping in mind the human tendency to generalize individual cases should also be taken into consideration in my opinion.

Please note that our respect and support of monastics as lay people is not because they are flawless humans, but because of what they represent, that is: dedication to the search of truth. Also remembering/reflecting on one's own abusive behavior would help make us more forgiving and more calculated when we decide to take action in relation to the abuse of others.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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Re: Should abusive behaviour by monks and nuns towards lay people be public ally discussed on these forums?

Post by DNS » Thu Jan 18, 2018 5:53 am

Personally, I think it's okay if spoken in general terms, not specifically calling out a certain monastic by name. It can be helpful in dispelling some romantic notions some might have of monasticism. For example, Ven. Dhammika's book Broken Buddha, did just that and that could be helpful to read, especially for any aspiring monastic, not to discourage them, but just to show the reality of how many monastics live (but not all).

An exception could be made for calling out a specific monastic, if one is reporting and placing a link to a scandal about a well-known monk, published in a reputable media (for example Sogyal Rinpoche and others who publicly admitted to wrong doing) and that way it avoids hearsay and gossip or worse; false allegations against someone. But in general, I'd prefer not to see specific monks mentioned by name, as it gives the appearance of gossip.

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Re: Should abusive behaviour by monks and nuns towards lay people be public ally discussed on these forums?

Post by Bundokji » Thu Jan 18, 2018 6:00 am

Note how Mahakasyapa dealt with the wrong behavior of some of his fellow monks in the following video

And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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Re: Should abusive behaviour by monks and nuns towards lay people be public ally discussed on these forums?

Post by Meezer77 » Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:07 am

robbie77 wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 5:15 am
It depends what is meant by making "Unsubstantiated allegations against individuals or traditions". I mean, how can people substantiate them? Further, allegation is too strong a word.

I just think people need to be made aware of poor behaviour, especially since these people are holding themselves up as pillars of virtue and are teachers.

My own bad experiences with one monastic in particular are not terrible;they haven’t acted in a criminal way. But they have been extremely rude and dismissive of me in a way that is not worthy of the robe, and talking with other lay people, others have had similar experiences. To see these monastics on YouTube speaking of the Dhamma is a bit sickening, when their own conduct stinks.

I’m not claiming they should be perfect, I just think the truth about them should be known. Further, if we don’t name them, then what’s the point?

You can look at the positives. You've seen through the nicey nicey facade and won't waste any more time or money on them. In a sense this monastic has done you a favour. Move on and listen to other talks or go to other retreats. You may learn more

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Re: Should abusive behaviour by monks and nuns towards lay people be public ally discussed on these forums?

Post by ieee23 » Thu Jan 18, 2018 12:56 pm

Absolutely yes.

If you don't talk about a problem, you can't fix a problem.

This couldn't be more true than with corruption and abuse.

Especially with religious institutions there are too many people willing to sweep things under the rug and willing to tell victims to just take it, all while wrapping it in piety or "Right Speech"
Whatever a bhikkhu frequently thinks and ponders upon, that will become the inclination of his mind. - MN 19

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Re: Should abusive behaviour by monks and nuns towards lay people be public ally discussed on these forums?

Post by binocular » Thu Jan 18, 2018 5:02 pm

robbie77 wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 4:52 am
Basically what I’ve said in the title... should we discuss more openly or through private messaging where monks and nuns have acted inappropriately or rudely etc. to laypeople or indeed where we have witnessed monastics being rude to / bullying monastics who are more junior to themselves? I think there’s a lot of it that goes on given the hierarchical structure of Buddhism as it is practiced.

Personally, I think it should be. Just because somebody is wearing a robe does not mean they are automatically holy because of it.
I think these things should be discussed openly -- but in general terms.
One can list dozens of grievances about monastics. But I think that talking about them won't help unless it is properly understood what the role of the monastic in a layperson's spiritual life is or should be.


I once started a thread about Pali terms for teacher and student, in the hopes that translating and understanding those terms would help to clarify the possible relationships and terms of communication between two or more people in the context of Buddhism and the Dhamma.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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Re: Should abusive behaviour by monks and nuns towards lay people be public ally discussed on these forums?

Post by dharmacorps » Thu Jan 18, 2018 5:54 pm

Also worth noting verbal abuse is fairly different than sexual or physical abuse. Words aren't so easy to interpret and monks, like all people, can be fierce or critical and have good motivations behind them. Or, your perception could be off. Their words may have not been as harsh as you thought. For example, sometimes people from New York are considered brash and have harsh speech-- this can offend but usually it isn't actually intended this way. It is just differences in styles.

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Re: Should abusive behaviour by monks and nuns towards lay people be public ally discussed on these forums?

Post by robbie77 » Tue Jan 23, 2018 7:41 pm

I agre, I have been convinced to address this with the Abbott of the monastery.
Last edited by robbie77 on Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

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