"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?
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Anagarika
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Re: "The Broken Buddha" by Ven.Dhammika and other scandals

Post by Anagarika » Thu Jul 18, 2013 10:47 pm

In the past, I have spoken out against corruption when I knew from direct observation that it was going on, and got expelled from my last residence for my efforts. I have left another monastery of my own accord for the same reasons, and got thrown out of another because others didn't agree with me.
Reviewing this entire thread with interest, for some time I felt as though Bhante Gavesako was being too passive (censuring was the word he used in one post) with respect to the reporting of alleged corruption that had occurred in a Sri Lanka monastery. With his recent post, I see the courage and internal fortitude he possesses in having to be sanctioned in the past for speaking out in his own home wats against corruption that he himself witnessed. I cannot imagine how difficult it must have been to be thrown out because other brethren in the temple would not validate the corruption. Anumodana sadhu for your courage.

I am glad the moderators took the position that some reporting of alleged corruption can take place here at DW. I've seen what conspiracies of silence have done in terms of damage at other institutions (Buddhist and otherwise), and I guess as a former prosecutor there's a part of me that relishes seeing people doing damage to others held to account. Dhamma Wheel, I hope, remains an open forum for sober and sensible discussion of what is good within the Sangha, as well as what might be amiss. I am glad this vehicle for various voices exists, and it falls to the rest of us not not let it become "tabloid,'" but at least exist as one vehicle for publishing issues of concern. I am glad the moderators took the middle path on this issue, and their temperance is one more validation of the value of Dhamma Wheel to serious members of the sangha.

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

Post by perkele » Thu Jul 18, 2013 10:48 pm

For what it's worth, yesterday I wrote this:
But other things get in between, so I waited.
Ben wrote: Hi Forestmat,

For what its worth - I don't consider what you were doing as intentionally trolling.

However, we do need to be mindful that many of the things we come across be they publications, newspaper articles or news stories on TV or radio are at best a version of the truth. At worst - little more than unsupported allegation. Because something gets published or is aired by the BBC or some other authority - it doesn't mean that its representative of the truth or correct. Quite often, it is incomplete, biased and one-sided. Be sure that many issues whether they relate to events within a monastery or in the secular world are far more complicated than what is presented in the press (or other publications).

All of us need to be careful that we do not pour petrol on the fire by propagating untested allegation as fact or participating in trial by popular opinion. While Dhamma Wheel is a discussion forum devoted to the Dhamma of the Theravada - no one here has an absolute right to discussion. All of us have a responsibility to ourselves and to protect the Dhamma and the best way we can do that is by devoting ourselves to walking on the path. If we personally know of misdeeds - then your concerns should be lodged with the relevant authorities.
The moderators, administrators and I will be reviewing our terms of service with regards to right speech in light of recent discussions.
kind regards,

Ben
Sadhu, Ben!

We all need to calm down a bit and be more patient.
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:In the past, I have spoken out against corruption when I knew from direct observation that it was going on, and got expelled from my last residence for my efforts. I have left another monastery of my own accord for the same reasons, and got thrown out of another because others didn't agree with me.
Sadhu, Bhante Pesala!
It is important to keep such integrity and very admirable.
Idle gossip is not wholesome, and keeping even problematic situations for oneself as long as one does not know how they help anyone, requires very much sacrifice and patience and a strong heart.
In the Na Unaya thread we had a very painful glimpse into the difficulties with corruption in monastic life. One could see how these ex-monks from Na Unaya were very cautious and concerned not to unduly slendour the sasana, and not to harm the even very little good conditions that may still be left somewhere and not to endanger others, even giving considerate and compassionate advice to laypeople who would like to consider staying at Na Unaya, saying that it might nevertheless be a good place for them, really totally coming only from a place of giving. Because they have been "invited" so to speak by a very circumspect person. And that even after being poisoned and having friends killed! They had concern even for the Parajika monks, but of course mostly and importantly for the sasana, really knowing their way well! They really had a lot of compassion and were very circumspect. There was no lynching mentality or anything. Being caught in such a dangerous situation is heavy to bear with such heavy knowledge on one's heart, and being able to speak out skillfully where even someone might have a bit of understanding to learn from it wisely and considerately, can be such a great relief. Then one has given and shared something valuable and can move on with more peace. In fact, this is important for us, too! Really, Nirosh was clearly completely coming from a place of giving and integrity. And for Rob1980 it must have surely been such a great relief to be able to come into contact with him here and get some helpful, wholesome and encouraging advice and new strength, and he was very considerate for none of us to accrue wrong ill-will towards his endangered friends! So one should at least rejoice in this! Really, there is great reason to rejoice, that he may find new peace now, and courage!
And we should really have much gratitude here for BlackBird's compassionate act of investigating with sincerity!
Of course, this should not degenerate into a sensationalist gossip story, as is generally most often the case with the casual news-spreaders here and everywhere in the world. But it was not the same underlying intention as those more common. In fact, I cannot see this would have been possible to happen with this story here, had it been left open after these ex-monks came here and spoke with consideration. But of course I understand Ben's great responsibility, and he is really doing a good job! So he should rejoice likewise in having patiently provided those noble ones hospitality for long enough to have some reconciling, healing discussion between noble friends, while at the same time sharing awareness for those who might see clearly. The awareness should not be spread and directed to the whole crowd in a gossiping way. People who have no interest will leave it, and it's better. But actually now this happens by suppressing things which should not have been suppressed.
As one could see there was a lot of danger they were aware of, much more than we can fathom, and they had to be very careful. It must be such a horripilating heavy burden to bear, having been with others in such corrupted situations and seen them suffering, and always having to be aware not to put them in danger, yet they spoke very considerately, really sharing a gift for all of us, because there was a window of wholesome opportunity of sharing awareness. Even though it may be heavy to take. One does not have to take what is given if one cannot accept it. There is no fault in it. It is wholesome to abstain. That is one's own responsibility. But one should not be angry at someone who gives with compassion and even slander it as unwholesome. It was given, because there was an "invitation" so to speak, by a person acting considerately. So one should always stick to just that what is given. If it was not given for you, then leave it. We are very hungry indulging in such things and getting paranoid and angry of what other poor people might think. Actually it's our own thinking. It is hard to take it with consideration. But some can. So you should let them.
So as you also know of corruption by own experience, you certainly might have some imagination how heavy it might have been for those monks.
And you really should have at least some compassion for your good fellow ex-monks who bravely endured so much suffering. And you should really consider whether you would have been able to cope so well and with honor in such a heavy situation.
Please be considerate.

This:
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:In the past, I have spoken out against corruption when I knew from direct observation that it was going on, and got expelled from my last residence for my efforts. I have left another monastery of my own accord for the same reasons, and got thrown out of another because others didn't agree with me.
I wrote yesterday to put you at ease and able to rejoice in the wholesome, and not for the sake of feeling wrongly honored.

Being wrongly honored is a heavy burden. I know this from experience.

It is important to learn right honor.


What you wrote here...
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:Should One Criticise Shameless or Immoral Monks?
“When a person, knowing a monk to be shameless or immoral, speaks ill of him or condemns him, either directly or indirectly, does he attract the ten evil results? (Dhp v 1237) By doing so, is he free from evil or not?”
Right Speech (Sammā Vācā).
"And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech."

— SN 45.8
... is not very considerate. It invites to ambiguous allusions. You are not clear about what you want to convey.

A quote from the text Should One Criticise Shameless or Immoral Monks?:
Those who slander or condemn others with harsh words commit serious evil only if a Buddha, Pacceka Buddha or Noble One are objects of their condemnation.
So, what is it then, have you slandered a noble one?
Please be considerate.

It can invite some other allusion: that you have not done wrong. If it was for this purpose, to prove that you have not done wrong, quoting ambiguously, allusively, this is not the right way.


Recently you have given this advice:
In a higher sense, we all have to "die" to remove our clinging to self-view. Without seeing things as they really are no one can relinquish their views — specifically, one imagines things to be permanent, though they are not, to be the source of happiness, though they are not, and as belonging to a self, though they do not.
It is very timely advice. Please take it, with compassion and consideration. And don't get me wrong. Don't kill yourself.



So, what do you think is right speech, people?
If it hurts it is not right speech?
Please be considerate.



It is important to point out faults, especially heavy faults, out of compassion, not anger.
But it is not like this: that the greater the anger one feels, the more right it is to accuse of wrong. Actually the own anger is wrong.

Here we have to keep in mind what binocular taught us again and again.

Please take it with consideration. No need to react quickly. I will go to sleep now.

And remember Bhante Gavesako, who skillfully left the situation with proper shame and consideration reflecting alone for himself. Of course he will come back gladly, having done well.
Sadhu!

No need to fear.
Good friends will always reconcile.

:anjali:

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

Post by BlackBird » Thu Jul 18, 2013 11:41 pm

I have had a bit of a personal change of heart regarding my involvement in these topics. I asked myself last night: What would the Buddha say to me about all this? I think he would ask me:
------------------
Does all this lead to passion or to dispassion?
It leads to passion Bhante.

Is what leads to passion to be cultivated or abandoned?
Abandoned Bhante.

So do not involve yourself in these things, for progress in this Dhamma is achieved by cultivating dispassion, not by cultivating passion.

------------------
That's how I think the Buddha would council me about this.

That's not to say I believe we should not speak about these things as a community from time to time. As others have said a 'conspiracy of silence' I believe could be quite damaging, and I am never in favour of censorship where it is not absolutely necessary. I think it's also necessary to reiterate one final time, because clearly there are some people and Venerables who think my intentions are unskillful: My intentions were almost always for the purposes of trying to improve the state of the Sasana, to help rid it of detritus and to help prevent people from winding up in monasteries that might lead to their disillusionment, where they otherwise might have ordained.

I would caution everyone, lay and ordained too, against projecting intentions onto people. We are not mind readers. If we make judgements of people's intentions without actually knowing them, we run the risk of making them feel bad. Those kind of judgements are never skillful.

I thank the moderation team for a reasoned and moderate decision that takes into account the merits of both sides of this argument.

And finally, I think now might be a good opportunity for me to ask for forgiveness from any persons whom I may have offended by my speech here. I have never intended to offend anyone or to ever make anyone feel unwelcome. So I am sorry if that has ever been the case. I would hope that any further interactions between us might be amicable.

metta
Jack
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'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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Anagarika
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Re: "The Broken Buddha" by Ven.Dhammika and other scandals

Post by Anagarika » Fri Jul 19, 2013 12:02 am

Having said what you said, Jack, I have always thought you come from a good place with your insightful comments and observations. In other words, http://youtu.be/iDPwBN_IKxs

Metta,

Mike

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

Post by SarathW » Fri Jul 19, 2013 12:48 am

:goodpost:

Great discussion.

Quote for the day from my desktop calendar:

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world"
Mahatma Ghandi
:)
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Re: "The Broken Buddha" by Ven.Dhammika and other scandals

Post by Ben » Fri Jul 19, 2013 1:02 am

BlackBird wrote:I have had a bit of a personal change of heart regarding my involvement in these topics. I asked myself last night: What would the Buddha say to me about all this? I think he would ask me:
------------------
Does all this lead to passion or to dispassion?
It leads to passion Bhante.

Is what leads to passion to be cultivated or abandoned?
Abandoned Bhante.

So do not involve yourself in these things, for progress in this Dhamma is achieved by cultivating dispassion, not by cultivating passion.

------------------
That's how I think the Buddha would council me about this.

That's not to say I believe we should not speak about these things as a community from time to time. As others have said a 'conspiracy of silence' I believe could be quite damaging, and I am never in favour of censorship where it is not absolutely necessary. I think it's also necessary to reiterate one final time, because clearly there are some people and Venerables who think my intentions are unskillful: My intentions were almost always for the purposes of trying to improve the state of the Sasana, to help rid it of detritus and to help prevent people from winding up in monasteries that might lead to their disillusionment, where they otherwise might have ordained.

I would caution everyone, lay and ordained too, against projecting intentions onto people. We are not mind readers. If we make judgements of people's intentions without actually knowing them, we run the risk of making them feel bad. Those kind of judgements are never skillful.

I thank the moderation team for a reasoned and moderate decision that takes into account the merits of both sides of this argument.

And finally, I think now might be a good opportunity for me to ask for forgiveness from any persons whom I may have offended by my speech here. I have never intended to offend anyone or to ever make anyone feel unwelcome. So I am sorry if that has ever been the case. I would hope that any further interactions between us might be amicable.

metta
Jack
:anjali: :candle:
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: Scandals in the Sangha and the relevance to our practice

Post by binocular » Fri Jul 19, 2013 9:28 am

Dan74 wrote:Of course ill will is a fault, but not being able to know the minds of others, I prefer to give people benefit of doubt unless conclusively proven otherwise.
When the scandals in Burma have come out, how have many Buddhists reacted? By declaring the actions of those "radical Buddhists" in Burma as hateful, ill-willed etc, repeating how hostilities are not appeased with hostilities and so on. These Buddhists have proposed to know the intentions of others.
And these same Buddhists are in some position of power, such as moderators here. Per default, these people win, get ahead, come out on top.
When I called for a more careful evaluation of the situation, I was accused for supporting a pogrom and such, and how I need an attitude adjustment.

I don't consider myself a Buddhist. I am still trying to decide whether to take up this path or not.
When I look at who gets out on top in conflicts: yes, it is indeed the ill-willed Buddhists. This is the kind of role-modeling that takes place among Buddhists. Not always, but certainly often enough to give me the impression that the Buddhist sangha is yet another installment of the gladiator arena that life generally is.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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

Post by Dan74 » Fri Jul 19, 2013 10:56 am

Binocular, many here were saddened at the news coming from Burma. Some actually have connection to the place. I spent only two weeks but there were amazing two weeks and Ben, I believe, has been a number of times.

Some people may have been angry at what they understand to have happened. While anger is not a wholesome response, we are human beings here and I am fairly certain everyone here gets angry on occasion.

I don't recall much ill-will, if any, but this just underscores how different people's perception are. What I do recall is you trying to excuse the events by arguing that the Muslims in Burma were a threat. They may well have been perceived to be a threat, but I am yet to see any evidence that they were. Whenever such events happen, whether in Yugoslavia, Rwanda or indeed to the Jews in Europe, the minority is perceived to be a threat, but that doesn't excuse it. In any case broadbrushing the people and killing innocents is murder plain and simple, nothing there that can be whitewashed or excused, though of course it is understandably human.

So to be frank, I think you got off lightly. What you were putting forward in that thread I found completely off the mark and inappropriate.
_/|\_

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

Post by cooran » Fri Jul 19, 2013 10:58 am

Well said, Dan.

With metta,
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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

Post by perkele » Fri Jul 19, 2013 12:43 pm

binocular wrote:I don't consider myself a Buddhist. I am still trying to decide whether to take up this path or not.
When I look at who gets out on top in conflicts: yes, it is indeed the ill-willed Buddhists. This is the kind of role-modeling that takes place among Buddhists. Not always, but certainly often enough to give me the impression that the Buddhist sangha is yet another installment of the gladiator arena that life generally is.
You don't see the good intentions of others, friend.
Our perceptions are also intended, on a very deep level that is hard to access. And the more we get hypnotized into them the more difficult it is to let go.
Take this not as an attack, but as a hint.
Then you will already make some valuable change.
:anjali:
Don't be buddhist or anything. Disengage, disinvolve. That is really the path to peace.

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Re: Scandals in the Sangha and the relevance to our practice

Post by daverupa » Fri Jul 19, 2013 12:49 pm

binocular wrote:When I look at who gets out on top in conflicts: yes, it is indeed the ill-willed Buddhists.
'Gets out on top' means something different for me, I think. How do you define "success", in other words? Reference to social standing and access to social power aren't a part of how I see it.
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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

Post by BlackBird » Fri Jul 19, 2013 1:47 pm

Imo nobody wins in conflicts. Everybody wins with harmony though.
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta

Path Press - Ñāṇavīra Thera Dhamma Page - Ajahn Nyanamoli's Dhamma talks

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

Post by perkele » Fri Jul 19, 2013 2:28 pm

BlackBird wrote:
Imo nobody wins in conflicts. Everybody wins with harmony though.
Sadhu!
:anjali:

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Re: Scandals in the Sangha and the relevance to our practice

Post by Alex123 » Fri Jul 19, 2013 3:18 pm

binocular wrote:And these same Buddhists are in some position of power, such as moderators here. Per default, these people win, get ahead, come out on top.
...When I look at who gets out on top in conflicts: yes, it is indeed the ill-willed Buddhists. This is the kind of role-modeling that takes place among Buddhists. Not always, but certainly often enough to give me the impression that the Buddhist sangha is yet another installment of the gladiator arena that life generally is.
Life is imperfect. Strong survive, weak die out. In business, sharks seem to get ahead. Would be strange if it were different. Unfortunately as "Broken Buddha" has shown, Catholic church isn't the only one with problems. People are imperfect and can ruin a perfect sangha.
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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

Post by Alex123 » Fri Jul 19, 2013 3:20 pm

BlackBird wrote:Imo nobody wins in conflicts. Everybody wins with harmony though.
No. In business it is the sharks that win. Good will is sign of weakness that sharks exploit to their benefit. You try to be nice and give them their fair share only to result that they grab it, and demand "give me more!!!" and then treat you like a rug to walk on, and after all of this they treat you like "it is your fault!". People pretend to be best friends, and then at the first opportunity stab one in the back and try to fleece you as much as possible. Why?
Because as someone who pretended to be "almost like a family member" has said "because I can".

I had seen bad experience of others...

Real life is tough... Either you take your piece from others or they take yours. The resources are limited. We can't just create stuff out of nothing. The $100 that you have, means that someone else didn't get this $100. The food that you ate means that someone else didn't get to eat this... Etc.
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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