Thai Buddhist Monks Struggle to Stay Relevant

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iforgotmyname
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Re: Thai Buddhist Monks Struggle to Stay Relevant

Post by iforgotmyname » Sat Mar 09, 2013 4:55 pm

Let me tell you the same is true in Sri Lanka. Doesn't mean every monk is like that - but those who get all the attention (thanks to politics) tend to be the type of monk this article describes.

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Nyorai
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Re: Thai Buddhist Monks Struggle to Stay Relevant

Post by Nyorai » Mon Mar 11, 2013 2:41 am

gavesako wrote:Perhaps centers like this -- an oasis of spirituality and peace in the middle of Bangkok -- are an answer to the problem:

A Taste of Buddhism


http://www.bangkok101.com/2012/12/06/a- ... n-rot-fai/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
A center in Bangkok for both monks / nuns is a good recommendation. And this center ought to be an institution for Theravada studies / lesson / dharma talks accessible to laybuddhists. It ought to have a simple standard method of meditation hall for all schools to facilitate gradual focus of mind and into attainment. Hope this center will be a reality for everlasting common peace & bliss. metta :anjali:
ImageTo become vegetarian is to step into the stream which leads to nirvana.
If you light a lamp for somebody, it will also brighten your path. He who experiences the unity of life sees his own Self in all beings, and all beings in his own Self.Image

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gavesako
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Re: Thai Buddhist Monks Struggle to Stay Relevant

Post by gavesako » Thu Jun 27, 2013 10:24 am

This month the Thai media has been full of reports highlighting the inappropriate behaviour of the monks as captured on photographs and videos. Especially Thai monks going abroad (which the Mahathera Council tries to control but with little success) tend to lose restraint and freely spend the money which they get from laypeople:
:broke:

Nothing new about monks living it up

Monks living in a cocoon of luxury is not news. Just drop by the dwellings of any elders in the clergy to see how they live. Monks owning or commuting in luxury cars is not news either.
by Sanitsuda Ekachai
http://www.bangkokpost.com/opinion/opin ... ving-it-up


Thailand cracks down on monks living it up with luxuries


YouTube video of Buddhist monk sporting stylish aviator sunglasses and wireless headphones on a private jet prompts complaints. An administrative officer at Khantitham temple in Sisaket province, confirmed to AP that the monks on the private plane lived at the temple but refused to give details about the trip.
"We can explain this, but not now," she said, saying that the abbot, who appeared in the video, is currently on a religious tour in France.
The images from the video contrasted with the abbot's message on the temple's homepage that read: "The true core of those who preach Buddha's teachings is to not own any objects at all."
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/ju ... s-luxuries


It seems that the net around Luang Pu Nenkham is getting tighter:

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/nationa ... 08841.html
http://www.nationmultimedia.com/nationa ... 09116.html


These Dhammayut 'missionary' monks in America are nothing out of the ordinary, really:

The National Office of Buddhism has strongly criticised a group of monks who were photographed while apparently "out shopping" in the United States.
Two monks check out smart phones at a shop in the US. (Facebook photo)
Nopparat Benjawatananun, director-general of the National Office of Buddhism, rebuked such conduct after several photographs circulated through the internet on Tuesday, showing six Thai monks checking out brand-name products and smartphones, queuing to buy coffee, and dining at a steakhouse in the US.
"These activities should not be carried out by monks because they are indecent and not composed," Mr Nopparat said.
He said the activities were not serious offences. The country's administration of Buddhism will determine actions to be taken against the monks in the photos. Members of the National Office of Buddhism and the Sangha Supreme Council will meet on Friday to discuss the matter.
"If a monk repeatedly misbehaves and it has become a habit, the National Office of Buddhism may consider imposing a severe penalty on him, which means forcing him to leave monkhood," Mr Nopparat said.
http://bangkokpost.com/news/local/35703 ... criticised


A good analysis by Saksith Saiyasombut:

Thailand’s materialistic monks pose worldly problems
http://asiancorrespondent.com/109562/th ... -problems/
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Thanavuddho
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Re: Thai Buddhist Monks Struggle to Stay Relevant

Post by Thanavuddho » Thu Jun 27, 2013 11:04 am

Greetings,
GraemeR wrote:
Young monks want the use of technology, such as smart phones which their friends have. You can see them sending IMs to their friends outside their temples. Some have WiFi.

Thais love Temples to look big and colourful, the bigger, more golden statues the better. Personally I would rather give money for sanitation or education.

Forest Temples still maintain simple Buddhist teaching and practices, but I generally avoid urban temples because of the commercial aspects.

People are slowly loosing respect for monks who are seen behaving badly: smoking in Temples, asking for money etc plus the all too common scandals). Unfortunately as the urban monasteries seem to be the worst, they are seen the most. There are real gems, but rotten apples too.

Graham
What's the big deal with smoking? One monk told me yesterday that Sri Lankan Buddhist don't care if you eat at night or have committed a parajika offence, but they do care about smoking. I don't see the Internet as a big problem, either. If the number of monks is declining and the religion is in a bad state, so what? We can let the rotten part drop off naturally and see if anything genuine remains.

Metta,
Thanavuddho
“Tasmātihānanda, attadīpā viharatha attasaraṇā anaññasaraṇā, dhammadīpā dhammasaraṇā anaññasaraṇā.”(DN16)
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Anagarika
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Re: Thai Buddhist Monks Struggle to Stay Relevant

Post by Anagarika » Thu Jun 27, 2013 12:14 pm

If the number of monks is declining and the religion is in a bad state, so what? We can let the rotten part drop off naturally and see if anything genuine remains.
However, we can just let the apples with the fungus infect the other apples in the barrel, and soon the entire barrel is spoiled.

It falls to the Thai Sangha to crack down on these rogue monks. By doing so, some truly bad monks will be disrobed, and possibly the Thai young people will have some sense that when they pass a Bhikkhu on the street, he is deserving of a wai.

I'd also like to see more support in Thailand for Bhikkhunis. There are so many good Bhikkhus, especially in the smaller towns and forest areas, and in the Wats that train monks from the west. It may fall to the Bhikkhunis in the cities to set a standard, and crack the whip a bit at lazy and greedy young novices and monks. I have a sense that some women who ordain might carry a bit more discipline, and not be so drawn to some of the commercial attachments that young male monks might be. I'm stereotyping, but only to make a point. With some changes, the Thai Sangha could inspire more trust in the young laity, which will enable the Dhamma to thrive. The Dhamma, like medicine, is going to be needed for an increasingly sick commercialized Thai society. I'd hate to see Thai young people turn out like many in the US, where they get a big helping of selfishness, greed, anger and delusion with their morning coffee each day.

Coyote
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Re: Thai Buddhist Monks Struggle to Stay Relevant

Post by Coyote » Thu Jun 27, 2013 12:47 pm

For those who know about Buddhism in Thailand: Are the Patimokkha seen as relevant to monastics and lay people in Thailand, or are they thought of as old rules that are no longer needed (in the mainstream)? Are those who abandon them seen as modernising in any way? It could be that this is the reason behind a lot of the offences.
"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."
Iti 26

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Anagarika
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Re: Thai Buddhist Monks Struggle to Stay Relevant

Post by Anagarika » Thu Jun 27, 2013 12:58 pm

Coyote wrote:For those who know about Buddhism in Thailand: Are the Patimokkha seen as relevant to monastics and lay people in Thailand, or are they thought of as old rules that are no longer needed (in the mainstream)? Are those who abandon them seen as modernising in any way? It could be that this is the reason behind a lot of the offences.
Coyote, the Patimokkha are recited and are still expected to be followed in Thai Wats, at least the one I lived at. The erosion of the Bhikkhus precepts starts at the top...if the abbot is seen with women, or is seen driving his own Mercedes,what effect does that have on the young monks and their respect for the precepts? No, the monastic vows are still very much in place, and I would argue that as the world becomes more modern, that much more are the full precepts needed.

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GraemeR
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Re: Thai Buddhist Monks Struggle to Stay Relevant

Post by GraemeR » Sun Jun 30, 2013 10:20 am

Thanavuddho wrote:Greetings,

What's the big deal with smoking? One monk told me yesterday that Sri Lankan Buddhist don't care if you eat at night or have committed a parajika offence, but they do care about smoking. I don't see the Internet as a big problem, either. If the number of monks is declining and the religion is in a bad state, so what? We can let the rotten part drop off naturally and see if anything genuine remains.

Metta,
Thanavuddho
But what if the good bit continues to drop off and the rotten bit remains? :toilet:

With metta

Graham

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