Should Buddhist monks involve with the climate change debate?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
SarathW
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Re: Should Buddhist monks involve with the climate change debate?

Post by SarathW »

Hi Calmoid
I understand your concerns.
There are many other factors affect humans.
-Mosquitos
-Bacteria
-Cancer
-war
-Atomic bomb
-Earthquakes
-Floods
- Political unrest
and many more to mention here.
Should monk be activists in all these issues?
In my opinion, the duty of a Theravada monk is to teach people the root cause of all these issues. That is to teach people how to eliminate attachment aversion and ignorance.
-
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
sentinel
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Re: Should Buddhist monks involve with the climate change debate?

Post by sentinel »

Monastic better off teach dhamma full time , that is dhamma awareness . Lecturing climate change is climate awareness .
You always gain by giving
Calmoid
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Re: Should Buddhist monks involve with the climate change debate?

Post by Calmoid »

SarathW wrote: Thu Dec 19, 2019 11:22 am Hi Calmoid
I understand your concerns.
There are many other factors affect humans.
-Mosquitos
-Bacteria
-Cancer
-war
-Atomic bomb
-Earthquakes
-Floods
- Political unrest
and many more to mention here.
Should monk be activists in all these issues?
In my opinion, the duty of a Theravada monk is to teach people the root cause of all these issues. That is to teach people how to eliminate attachment aversion and ignorance.
-
Sorry I didn't get it yet, with which monks actions do you actually have a problem with? B Analayo s? Do you have a link to his activism actions?

A monk is allowed and CAN ('should' is not the right word since it is neither against the vinaya nor something a monk is duty-bound to do) state his opinion on these issues or not if he thinks it is proper and beneficial.
In the same way he is not duty-bound to teach anyone anything, he CAN do so out of compassion if he thinks it is proper and beneficial. There is no offense in not teaching.

So we are talking here simply about personal preferences whether a monk should get involved in the climate change debate or not.

You obviously don't like it, I can feel your suffering.
I think it is B Analayo s business how he uses his spare time (I was told he said he practices 10h formal practice a day! Not many people can say that about themselves!).

I think maybe more useful would be for you to ask yourself: 'Are you not maybe influenced by Mara to open this and some other threads here?' Is this the teaching of the Buddha, posting here your critical opinions about actions of a 3rd party? Does what you say come from compassion? Do you really know what are you talking about? Right time and place to talk? Is what you say pleasing to us, the readers?
SarathW
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Re: Should Buddhist monks involve with the climate change debate?

Post by SarathW »

I am not talking about any particular monk.
My concern involves climate change action is the right livelihood for a monk.
In my opinion, this is a political action hence it is not the right livelihood for a monk.
I feel many monks are sidetracking. That is why Buddhism is at the current level of degeneration.
Monks are living from the food, shelter and the cloths supplied by the lay devotees.
So they should direct the lay devotees towards the Nibbana, not to save the world from an environmental catastrophy.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
sentinel
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Re: Should Buddhist monks involve with the climate change debate?

Post by sentinel »

similarly on hierarchy , patriarchy and equality .
You always gain by giving
Calmoid
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Re: Should Buddhist monks involve with the climate change debate?

Post by Calmoid »

SarathW wrote: Fri Dec 20, 2019 8:25 am I am not talking about any particular monk.
My concern involves climate change action is the right livelihood for a monk.
In my opinion, this is a political action hence it is not the right livelihood for a monk.
I feel many monks are sidetracking. That is why Buddhism is at the current level of degeneration.
Monks are living from the food, shelter and the cloths supplied by the lay devotees.
So they should direct the lay devotees towards the Nibbana, not to save the world from an environmental catastrophy.
Are you saying this is a purely hypothetical question? Did you open this thread out of boredom?

??? Of course most monks and most laypeople are sidetracked! As long as you are not an arahant you are sidetracked in one or the other form. That's no news.
SarathW
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Re: Should Buddhist monks involve with the climate change debate?

Post by SarathW »

??? Of course most monks and most laypeople are sidetracked! As long as you are not an arahant you are sidetracked in one or the other form. That's no news.
Agree.
But if very prominent monks such as Bhikkhu Bodhi, Ven. Analayo, Ven. Thanissaro, Ajahn Brahma or Bhikkhu Sujato are sidetracked it is worrying for a layperson like me.
I consider them as our guide and the leaders of Western Buddhism. (I do not say that any of these monks are sidetracked by the way)
What I am saying is if you are a monk with a big following, you have to lead the laypeople in the right direction.
Last edited by SarathW on Fri Dec 20, 2019 11:02 am, edited 2 times in total.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
Dan74
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Re: Should Buddhist monks involve with the climate change debate?

Post by Dan74 »

SarathW wrote: Fri Dec 20, 2019 10:43 am
??? Of course most monks and most laypeople are sidetracked! As long as you are not an arahant you are sidetracked in one or the other form. That's no news.
Agree.
But if very prominent monks such as Bhikkhu Bodhi, Ven. Analayo, Ven. Thanissaro or Bhikkhu Sujato sidetrack it is worrying for a layperson like me.
I consider them as our guide and the leaders of Western Buddhism. (I do not say that any of these monks are sidetracked)
The way I was taught was the more we practice, the more practice permeates all our activities, until there are no more 'sidetracks'.

A sidetrack is then not really a specific activity but when we act out of ignorance and delusion. Giving Dana could be a sidetrack, if our motive is to appear virtuous, if we do it without mindfulness, without care. And political activity can be practice, if done out of compassion, mindfully and with care.
_/|\_
SarathW
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Re: Should Buddhist monks involve with the climate change debate?

Post by SarathW »

And political activity can be practice, if done out of compassion, mindfully and with care.
I agree with this if you are a layperson.
If you are a monk I do not agree with you.
Politics is the wrong livelihood for a monk.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
SarathW
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Re: Should Buddhist monks involve with the climate change debate?

Post by SarathW »

“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
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Kim OHara
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Re: Should Buddhist monks involve with the climate change debate?

Post by Kim OHara »

SarathW wrote: Fri Dec 20, 2019 10:43 am
??? Of course most monks and most laypeople are sidetracked! As long as you are not an arahant you are sidetracked in one or the other form. That's no news.
Agree.
But if very prominent monks such as Bhikkhu Bodhi, Ven. Analayo, Ven. Thanissaro, Ajahn Brahma or Bhikkhu Sujato are sidetracked it is worrying for a layperson like me.
I consider them as our guide and the leaders of Western Buddhism. (I do not say that any of these monks are sidetracked by the way)
What I am saying is if you are a monk with a big following, you have to lead the laypeople in the right direction.
They are. They are teaching people to be better people (that's monks' core business) and they are incidentally helping people to make the world a better place (that's good dhamma and good kamma, too). What's wrong with that?

:coffee:
Kim
SarathW
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Re: Should Buddhist monks involve with the climate change debate?

Post by SarathW »

Kim OHara wrote: Fri Dec 20, 2019 11:34 am
SarathW wrote: Fri Dec 20, 2019 10:43 am
??? Of course most monks and most laypeople are sidetracked! As long as you are not an arahant you are sidetracked in one or the other form. That's no news.
Agree.
But if very prominent monks such as Bhikkhu Bodhi, Ven. Analayo, Ven. Thanissaro, Ajahn Brahma or Bhikkhu Sujato are sidetracked it is worrying for a layperson like me.
I consider them as our guide and the leaders of Western Buddhism. (I do not say that any of these monks are sidetracked by the way)
What I am saying is if you are a monk with a big following, you have to lead the laypeople in the right direction.
They are. They are teaching people to be better people (that's monks' core business) and they are incidentally helping people to make the world a better place (that's good dhamma and good kamma, too). What's wrong with that?

:coffee:
Kim
There is nothing wrong with it, this is what all other religions doing too.
Making merits is not the core objective of Buddhism.
In that regard, it should not be the core business of the monks.
Monks are trying to do the job of the laypeople.
Lay people like me are trying to do the job of the monk!
:mrgreen:
Now I see the same thing happen in children.
They are trying to guide the adults!!!!
Is there something wrong with this world?
:cry:
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
binocular
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Re: Should Buddhist monks involve with the climate change debate?

Post by binocular »

SarathW wrote: Fri Dec 20, 2019 10:43 amWhat I am saying is if you are a monk with a big following, you have to lead the laypeople in the right direction.
Fortunately or unfortunately, having a big following doesn't guarantee one will know the right direction!

I've learned that it is insane to expect from any religious/spiritual person (whichever religion/spirituality, whatever their status or station in it) to take any responsibility for what they teach. Religion/spirituality is strictly a caveat emptor kind of endeavor.
Which, in and of itself, wouldn't be a problem if all involved would be on equal standing, with equal power and equal resources. But when there is a gross power differential between those involved (such as between a monk and a lay person) and inequality of resources, a caveat emptor mentality is simply a way to excuse the misdeeds of the powerful, so that they get to be in position of power, have control over others, but at the same time, have no responsibility for those others.

"Yeah, well, if you don't like something, there's the door", goes the saying.
If you can't build with them, don't chill with them.
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mikenz66
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Re: Should Buddhist monks involve with the climate change debate?

Post by mikenz66 »

SarathW wrote: Fri Dec 20, 2019 10:43 am But if very prominent monks such as Bhikkhu Bodhi, Ven. Analayo, Ven. Thanissaro, Ajahn Brahma or Bhikkhu Sujato are sidetracked it is worrying for a layperson like me.
I consider them as our guide and the leaders of Western Buddhism. (I do not say that any of these monks are sidetracked by the way)
What I am saying is if you are a monk with a big following, you have to lead the laypeople in the right direction.
Since you have given no specific example of anyone doing or saying anything that is not in keeping with the suttas, it's a little difficult to take these worries seriously. You seem to have become very worried about straw people... :strawman: :strawman: :strawman:

As has been discussed on this thread, one of the useful things that a monastic can do is help people towards liberation. As far as I understand it, that includes helping people to develop such things as generosity, sila, compassion, and so on. According to the suttas, this development is a necessary condition for liberation.
SarathW wrote: Thu Dec 19, 2019 11:22 am In my opinion, the duty of a Theravada monk is to teach people the root cause of all these issues. That is to teach people how to eliminate attachment aversion and ignorance.
This is exactly what the monastics you mention appear to be trying to do. As you must know, if you have read, or listened, to his analysis, Ven Analayo specifically considers the role of greed, hatred and delusion. Can you point out some specific examples where you think that his analysis is mistaken?

:heart:
Mike
SarathW
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Re: Should Buddhist monks involve with the climate change debate?

Post by SarathW »

Thank you Mike
Perhaps we have talked enough on this subject in the past and it even forced Dhamma Wheel admin to create a new website Dhamma Wheel Engaged.
What this emphasize is discussing these topics such as climate change is not relevant even in a forum like Dhamma Wheel let alone for the monk's whos life is dedicated to practicing Buddha's teaching.
What is certain is that the climate is changing. We can experience this when we see the reports from all around the world. The latest I believe is the extream bushfire conditions in Australia due to the drought they experienced after many hundreds of years.
If all humankind follow the Buddha's path to the letter, will that stop the climate change?

What is sure for all of us is death by some means.
The puzzle we have to solve is whether Buddha had the answer to the deathless state.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
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