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

Post by Sobeh » Sun Mar 28, 2010 4:35 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:How many of these motives and strategies for reducing monasticism might be applicable in Theravadin countries in the next, say, twenty years?
A local version of the Protestant Reformation would need to happen first... and I think the drama surrounding bhikkhuni ordination might fit the bill over time. Dissolution by a king seems to run afoul of a conflation of church and state, however, instead of separation, which is not something I can get behind.

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

Post by DNS » Sun Mar 28, 2010 4:56 am

Kim O'Hara wrote: How many of these motives and strategies for reducing monasticism might be applicable in Theravadin countries in the next, say, twenty years?
http://www.sdhammika.blogspot.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; (March 27, 2010 posting) "Putting a price on the Dhamma" is somewhat related here and it is written by Ven. Dhammika.

I agree with Ven. Dhammika that the Dhamma should not be for profit or for a fee. And this is one of the reasons I hope the Buddhist monastic tradition continues. There may be some corruption and bad monks, but how much more so if we start getting into married ministers with exorbitant salaries, Mercedes cars, Rolex watches and a tv show.

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

Post by mikenz66 » Sun Mar 28, 2010 5:22 am

Hi David,
David N. Snyder wrote: I agree with Ven. Dhammika that the Dhamma should not be for profit or for a fee. And this is one of the reasons I hope the Buddhist monastic tradition continues. ...
I agree, and I find parts of this discussion about how "someone should fix it" rather strange.

Clearly there are all sorts of problems with the Sangha (as there were in the Buddha's time, which you can see by looking at the stories in the Vinaya), but it's from that Sangha (and specifically the Thai Sangha in my case) that I've actually had the good fortune to learn about the Dhamma.

In my opinion the most useful thing for us to do as individuals is put our money (or service) where our mouths are and make sure that the good parts of the Sangha have our support.

Metta
Mike

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

Post by Kim OHara » Sun Mar 28, 2010 6:48 am

mikenz66 wrote:...
Clearly there are all sorts of problems with the Sangha (as there were in the Buddha's time, which you can see by looking at the stories in the Vinaya), but it's from that Sangha (and specifically the Thai Sangha in my case) that I've actually had the good fortune to learn about the Dhamma.

In my opinion the most useful thing for us to do as individuals is put our money (or service) where our mouths are and make sure that the good parts of the Sangha have our support.

Metta
Mike
Agreed.
Unless we happen to be in a position where we can contribute to broader improvements, we can only do our best in our immediate environment - here and now is all we've got.
:namaste:
Kim

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

Post by DNS » Sun Jun 05, 2011 4:11 pm

I have moved this topic over to the Ordination sub-forum since there have been many questions and comments raised about ordination.

This book, Broken Buddha, although critical of much of what goes on in some Sanghas, could help provide some valuable information for some aspiring monks so that there are no unreasonable expectations.

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

Post by Jhana4 » Sun Jun 05, 2011 4:58 pm

Perry wrote:Hi everyone,

I've been interested in getting hold of the book The Broken Buddha by Venerable Shravasti Dhammika for a while now and finally found a copy on eBay the other day which was delivered to my house this morning.

I've heard it's a very controversial book that is quite destructive in regards to some of Buddhism's traditions, but I've also heard that it has built a large amount of support. Bhante Dhammika himself seems to express some regret for publishing it in the preface.

I'm yet to start reading it so I'm not aware of the exact content, but I have a lot of respect for Bhante Dhammika, his book Good Question Good Answer was what introduced me to Buddhism in the first place. I am also a follower of his blog, and he has treated me with great generosity and kindness in our correspondences together.

Has anyone here read it? What are your thoughts?

Thankyou.

I'm glad I came back to the first post in this thread. After I read the last post ( David Snyder's), I dropped the title into Amazon and came up with a book by a steroid abuser who got cured through Zen Buddhist meditation. Also interesting enough to get, but not the same thing.
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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Re: "The Broken Buddha" by Ven. S. Dhammika

Post by Jhana4 » Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:12 pm

I found a PDF of this book here:
http://www.theravada-dhamma.org/pdf/Dha ... Buddha.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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.

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

Post by Jhana4 » Sun Jun 05, 2011 6:45 pm

I hate reading PDFs, but I have to say I am about a half dozen pages into this book and I am finding it to be engrossing.
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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Re: "The Broken Buddha" by Ven. S. Dhammika

Post by BlackBird » Mon Jun 06, 2011 1:43 am

Jhana4 wrote:I hate reading PDFs, but I have to say I am about a half dozen pages into this book and I am finding it to be engrossing.
Scandal always is. Just remember there are still a lot of good monks out there.
"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. S. Dhammika

Post by retrofuturist » Mon Jun 06, 2011 3:48 am

Greetings,
BlackBird wrote:Just remember there are still a lot of good monks out there.
Yes, I think this work was put forward as a "counterpoint" to reports that gloss over the problems, rather than being a broad, balanced and accurate account, in and of itself.

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

Post by Jhana4 » Mon Jun 06, 2011 11:42 am

BlackBird wrote:
Jhana4 wrote:I hate reading PDFs, but I have to say I am about a half dozen pages into this book and I am finding it to be engrossing.
Scandal always is. Just remember there are still a lot of good monks out there.
A scandal is an uncommon incident that happens contrary to an expected norm. According to the author, the foolish, useless, and harsh orthodoxies ( some with no support in the suttas and some even contrary to the suttas ) he lists are long and widely established.
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.

Jhana4
Posts: 1309
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Re: "The Broken Buddha" by Ven. S. Dhammika

Post by Jhana4 » Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:43 pm

I am about 1/3 done with the book.

So far, I think it is one of the most valuable books I read on Buddhism. I has forced me to reevaluate my perspective on a number of people, books and practices. It has been very though provoking. I never would have come across this book on my own. This is one of the reasons why I read this board.
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.

Jhana4
Posts: 1309
Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:20 pm
Location: U.S.A., Northeast

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

Post by Jhana4 » Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:47 pm

I was fascinated to read that monastics began having heated disagreements, often leading to violence, about minutia ( one shoulder covered with the robes versus both ) and disputes about interpretation of the suttas, only a few centuries after the Buddha's death. Also that such deep divisions over small, small rules still exist today.

I used to think that the endless petty disputes I read on talk.religion.buddhism, various mailing lists and web boards was a major FAIL as far as people claiming to practice Buddhism went. Going by Venerable Dhammika's book the kind of nonsense and bad behavior on I see on Buddhist forums is actually a time honored tradition.
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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Re: "The Broken Buddha" by Ven. S. Dhammika

Post by morning mist » Mon Jun 06, 2011 5:19 pm

Hi poto,
poto wrote: Personally, even as a lay person I have been disillusioned and put off by some of the cultural traditions, rituals and ceremonies that I've encountered over the years. I've long felt that Buddhism in the West would greatly benefit if it were freed from Asian cultural traditions and customs that are irrelevant to the actual Dhamma.
If you look into the various rituals of Buddhism in each countries. They are different from one another. When people from one location adopt Buddhism, they also carry with them some practices from the culture that they grew up in. It is difficult to separate it out because it has became a part of them through conditioning while growing up.

When we look at the Buddha's teaching, non-attachment to rites and ritual is one of the requirement for Stream Entry. Very few rituals can be found in the suttas. A lot of the rituals are add on from the people from each culture.

In the West I notice that people don't practice a lot of rites and rituals. There is not a lot of rituals to add to the practice of the Buddha's teaching , so it is very compatible with the Buddha's teaching. People can have more time to focus on morality, meditation, and dhamma study. I don't see a need to adopt rites and rituals that originated from other cultures.

Since these are part of people's conditioning, it is very difficult to undo their conditioning. There will be much resistance. Rather than waiting for people to change, it would be faster if the Western lay practitioners refer to the Tipitaka to set up a sangha without a lot of rites and rituals that has no basis in the source and invite and invite monastics who keep the Vinaya, experienced in meditation and dhamma to practice and set examples for others.

In the sutta, there is mention of gathering with the sangha about once a week to listen to dhamma talk, offer dana, meditate, etc.. There is mention of lighting candles to commemorate the Buddha and as a gesture of showing respect ( Maha-parinibbana Sutta) . It also creates a peaceful atmosphere for group meditation. That's all I remember at the moment.

With metta,
with metta,

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

Post by BlackBird » Tue Jun 07, 2011 1:44 am

Jhana4 wrote:
BlackBird wrote:
Jhana4 wrote:I hate reading PDFs, but I have to say I am about a half dozen pages into this book and I am finding it to be engrossing.
Scandal always is. Just remember there are still a lot of good monks out there.
A scandal is an uncommon incident that happens contrary to an expected norm.
I don't enjoy semantics, but in the interest of clarity that is not what scandal means. A simple google search reveals that Scandal simply means an publicized incident that brings about disgrace or offends the moral sensibilities of persons or society. That's exactly what The Broken Buddha is all about. Yes, these things exist. Yes, moral corruption is widespread in the sangha at large. But just like in the world at large, there are still a lot of good people in robes. As Retro has said, T.B.B is not a fair a balanced account and was never intended to be.
"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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