"The Broken Buddha" by Ven.Dhammika and other scandals

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
Jhana4
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Re: "The Broken Buddha" by Ven. S. Dhammika

Post by Jhana4 » Tue Nov 29, 2011 12:15 pm

I think you are right, I think different cultures should avoid judging each other. It is a waste of time. I also think you are right that a big part of the value of the book is showing Westerners a side of Asian Buddhism they aren't aware of so they can avoid going to the same place and make something new/better in terms of what western Buddhism will become.
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.

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pilgrim
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Re: "The Broken Buddha" by Ven. S. Dhammika

Post by pilgrim » Tue Nov 29, 2011 3:00 pm

TBB puts into words what many are already aware of. In this context it is useful to accurately identify the problems . Denying the problems won't make them go away.

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Re: "The Broken Buddha" by Ven. S. Dhammika

Post by Jhana4 » Tue Nov 29, 2011 3:52 pm

pilgrim wrote:TBB puts into words what many are already aware of.
Mabye "many" but not enough. A similar point is brought up every time this thread is bumped up with a new post. I don't believe it. Every time the "this is nothing people don't already know, can we sweep it under the rug?" point is brought up at least a few very well studied people come forward to say that they had no idea those issues existed until they read "The Broken Buddha" by the Venerable S Dhammika.
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.

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tiltbillings
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Re: "The Broken Buddha" by Ven. S. Dhammika

Post by tiltbillings » Tue Nov 29, 2011 3:58 pm

Jhana4 wrote: Every time the "this is nothing people don't already know, can we sweep it under the rug?" . . . .
Sweep what under the rug? Bad scholarship, clumsy ham-handed criticism?
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

Jhana4
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Re: "The Broken Buddha" by Ven. S. Dhammika

Post by Jhana4 » Tue Nov 29, 2011 4:05 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Jhana4 wrote: Every time the "this is nothing people don't already know, can we sweep it under the rug?" . . . .
Sweep what under the rug? Bad scholarship, clumsy ham-handed criticism?
You are welcome to your opinion.
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.

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pilgrim
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Re: "The Broken Buddha" by Ven. S. Dhammika

Post by pilgrim » Wed Nov 30, 2011 1:21 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Jhana4 wrote: Every time the "this is nothing people don't already know, can we sweep it under the rug?" . . . .
Sweep what under the rug? Bad scholarship, clumsy ham-handed criticism?
Dunnoo what your views are based on. I've read a few of his books and his blog and I think he is one of the more knowledgeable and informed western monks around.

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pilgrim
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Re: "The Broken Buddha" by Ven. S. Dhammika

Post by pilgrim » Wed Nov 30, 2011 1:23 am

Jhana4 wrote:
pilgrim wrote:TBB puts into words what many are already aware of.
Mabye "many" but not enough. A similar point is brought up every time this thread is bumped up with a new post. I don't believe it. Every time the "this is nothing people don't already know, can we sweep it under the rug?" point is brought up at least a few very well studied people come forward to say that they had no idea those issues existed until they read "The Broken Buddha" by the Venerable S Dhammika.
I guess I wasn't clear. I totally agree that TBB is a book that needs to be written. Knowing the problem is one thing, but articulating it brings these issues to the surface where they can be observed and perhaps remedies applied.

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manas
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Re: "The Broken Buddha" by Ven. S. Dhammika

Post by manas » Wed Nov 30, 2011 1:30 am

(I deleted what I had written here. Whenever I write something critical of others, even when it's seems quite true (from my pov), I often later on feel like it would have been better to have left it unsaid. Sorry folks - another terminated post. I should change my nick to 'arnie'.)

'how often we regret saying too much, and how seldom too little.'

:anjali:
Last edited by manas on Fri Dec 02, 2011 7:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
Knowing this body is like a clay jar,
securing this mind like a fort,
attack Mara with the spear of discernment,
then guard what's won without settling there,
without laying claim.

- Dhp 40

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retrofuturist
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Re: "The Broken Buddha" by Ven. S. Dhammika

Post by retrofuturist » Wed Nov 30, 2011 1:35 am

Greetings,

Which then leads us back nicely to the issues discussed recently in..

Richard Gombrich - Comfort or Challenge?
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=10426" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Metta,
Retro. :)
"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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tiltbillings
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Re: "The Broken Buddha" by Ven. S. Dhammika

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Nov 30, 2011 3:43 am

pilgrim wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Jhana4 wrote: Every time the "this is nothing people don't already know, can we sweep it under the rug?" . . . .
Sweep what under the rug? Bad scholarship, clumsy ham-handed criticism?
Dunnoo what your views are based on. I've read a few of his books and his blog and I think he is one of the more knowledgeable and informed western monks around.
Having knowledge and knowing how to use it are two different things. My views are based upon reading this wretched thing he wrote and what he said. I have given examples above of a couple serious problems that are indicative of what he says, and I'll be happy to discuss them at length, if you wish..
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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mikenz66
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Re: "The Broken Buddha" by Ven. S. Dhammika

Post by mikenz66 » Wed Nov 30, 2011 1:05 pm

manasikara wrote: But if you take a look at us 'Westerners', some sections of our culture are already either watering down, or even seriously distorting, the Dhamma and Discipline. Not all, but some. So, as to the question, "what will Western Buddhism become?", one wouid hope, "maintaining, and representative of, the Dhamma and Discipline". If we don't do that, then in less than a hundred years, we could unravel what the Asians managed to preserve for over 2000 years!
Precisely. A viable, sustainable, Western Buddhism which preserves the Dhamma and Discipline and the symbiotic relationship between lay and ordained that appears to have been a key design feature would certainly be nice to have.

:anjali:
Mike

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Re: "The Broken Buddha" by Ven. S. Dhammika

Post by Raksha » Wed Nov 07, 2012 2:11 pm

Sorry to recycle this ancient thread but I've only just read this book, and it made a big impression on me. I've discussed it with my old Professor who is an expert on this subject and he told me to read Justin McDaniels books on monastic education for a more optimistic outlook. We both agreed that Ven. Dhammika is clueless on the role of magic and the supernatural in Buddhism, and my old Professor also thought that he was rather naive and optimistic in his expectations. Even so all his criticisms are valid. Interestingly, these are criticisms that any educated Westerner could make. Partly this is due to our Christian background which emphasizes humility and service, and partly due to our exposure to other varieties of Buddhism, but mainly it is due to our scientific culture. Of course it doesn't go all one way, in respect of the supernatural we Westerners are infantile in our understanding. It may be that centuries of science and logic has gifted up with a sharper mindset but distanced us from these very subtle things. What is clear is that Western monks have an extremely important role to play in the future because if it somehow possible to apply the insights of our modern civilisation to the Dhamma, without sacrificing the magical, then the results would be truly wonderful.

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Sambojjhanga
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Re: "The Broken Buddha" by Ven. S. Dhammika

Post by Sambojjhanga » Wed Nov 07, 2012 5:51 pm

I read the book awhile back myself. I'm actually surprised that anyone is actually surprised by any of this. Afterall, the Buddha himself spoke of such things.

You know what this is:

It's called SAMSARA!

There is NO organization on Earth, religious or otherwise, that isn't infected by this. Industry, the military, education, etc. As for "unserious" monks, that was one of the main reasons Ajaan Mun and the entire Thai Forest tradition STARTED! Read some of the biographies of the serious Thai Forest monks such as Maha Boowa, Ajaan Lee, Ajaan Fuang, Ajaan Chah, etc., etc. and pretty much to a man, they all stated that their first experiences in the Monastery's were with less-than-serious monks and that they had to seek out serious teachers of the Dhamma.

All institutions suffer from this. Lots of people get caught up in power, prestige and status. As has already been stated, look at the super-wealthy Christian preachers. Oh yeah, they are REALLY emulating Jesus...NOT! This doesn't mean that there aren't good and serious Christians, because there are. I was raised Catholic and actually met some very fine priests and nuns...I also met some real stinkers.

As far as scandals, I think that the Mahayana Tibetan's have had more than their share. Again, there are some wonderful Tibetan teachers...there are also some really serious sexual perverts and drunks in these groups ("crazy wisdom" be damned.) We cannot judge an entire group of people or religious teachings based on the misdeeds of a few.

Having said all this, there is ONE person that we can work on and one person ONLY: Ourselves. Whenever I read stories such as these, I just want to redouble my effort to get out of Samsara.

Oh, and one final thing. Ven. Dhammika is wrong about: the lack of anomalous phenomena in spiritual practices. Just because HE hasn't personally experienced them doesn't mean they don't occur. I've experienced them personally, I KNOW they are real.

:anjali:
Sabba rasam dhammaraso jinati
The flavor of the dhamma exceeds all other flavors

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mikenz66
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Re: "The Broken Buddha" by Ven. S. Dhammika

Post by mikenz66 » Wed Nov 07, 2012 6:41 pm

Sambojjhanga wrote:I read the book awhile back myself. I'm actually surprised that anyone is actually surprised by any of this.
I agree, and I would encourage anyone with an interest in Buddhism to spend some time with actual Buddhist practitioners and institutions, which will very quickly give some valuable insight into the positives and negatives that reside in any particular institution.

I actually think there are some useful lessons to be learned from encountering the a large variety of people/skills/seriousness that is apparent in almost any monastary (or lay institution). As Sambojjhanga says, Samsara is a messy place, and anyone who thinks that any institution is going to be an idyllic paradise hasn't been paying attention. But rather than being depressed and bitter about this, I think the constructive response is to learn from the good practice that also does exist almost everywhere. Sometimes not always where you first think, I've actually learned a lot from interacting with (particularly being served by) some of the elderly lay people at my local Wat...

:anjali:
Mike

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mikenz66
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Re: "The Broken Buddha" by Ven. S. Dhammika

Post by mikenz66 » Sun Nov 11, 2012 6:35 pm

For discussion about:
Sambojjhanga wrote: Oh, and one final thing. Ven. Dhammika is wrong about: the lack of anomalous phenomena in spiritual practices. Just because HE hasn't personally experienced them doesn't mean they don't occur. I've experienced them personally, I KNOW they are real.
See this thread: http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=14899" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

:anjali:
Mike

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