Imo,this is conversation about virtue and discernment. It is also about protecting something that we all have a stake in. The institution of Buddhism is charged with preserving the Dharma. How can we trust that it will remain preserved in a container that isn't effectively dealing with it's own creeping rot?Chris wrote:Talk on modesty, on contentment, on seclusion, on non-entanglement, on arousing persistence, on virtue, on concentration, on discernment, on release, and on the knowledge & vision of release.
What channels are these? The Thai Police? Those abbots who turn a blind eye to corruption?Chris wrote:My take is ~ If you personally observe wrong doing by a bhikkhu, which contravenes the law of the country, or breaches the vinaya ~ there are channels to take it further.
By labeling concerns about institutionalized corruption as "gossip" and "Oh, ain't it awful", and confidently naming it as akusala kamma, it seems as if you may be diminutizing and ridiculing the legitimate concerns that are shared by many Dharma practitioners where ever there are Buddhist institutions that are revealing corruption - particularly Thailand, Nepal, England, and the U.S.Chris wrote:Exactly what good do you think you are doing by anonymously gossiping about unknown bhikkhus on the internet for thousands to read, about supposed happenings mentioned in a newspaper of a country far away?
Would you prefer that I mention known bhikhus? I could, but I haven't finished thinking that through yet. I'd like to hear your thoughts on what kind of harm there is to the Dharma from wide-spread awareness of this institutional issue?
The country of Thailand isn't very "far away" for me, aand it will likely become "my" meat-space country in the not too distant future. It's arguable if there even is a "far away" on Planet Earth in the 21st century, especially here in the cyber-realm.Chris wrote:of a country far away
The Catholic Church also believes that the priesthood shouldn't suffer the eye of parishioner's scrutiny and commentary. A couple decades ago when evidence of corruption began to reach the public realm, the Vatican went so far as to covertly instruct the priesthood to tell their parishioners not to discuss the church's dirty laundry in public or even among themselves. Some priests were punished for not obeying. Some priests subtly or bluntly tied speaking out to the possibility of being divinely punished when talking with parishioners. Older parishioners tended to obey and attempted to silence others who spoke out. It's a good thing that many parishioners ignored them and refused to keep the secret.
Corruption festering in the dark become uglier over time. Why depend on the corrupt to bring light to the situation? It isn't as if the spread of monastic corruption in Thailand is in doubt - its been obvious and growing for a couple of decades. The mind state of "religiosity" is a defilement of the mind that aids and abets the corruption. The institution of Zen in the West (San Francisco Zen Center) also went down this path of denial, as did Trungpa Rinpoche's organization - but thankfully for both, the Sangha demanded accountability and transparency and went to the media to get it. Now the San Francisco Zen Center is a model of openness, and Vajradhatu institution (now known as Shamhala International) is making good progress that is still mired in stifling religiosity. It was a very difficult path, even painful for many - but it was necessary. What doesn't grow dies.
It's a new "open source" world - one that demands public accountability and transparency. Institutions that resist and refuse to become transparent will likely end up on the dust heap of history, filed under "obsolete, static religious institutions". I hope that the institution of Buddhism isn't one of them as a result of institutional denial, social habits that exempt monastics/monasteries from critical feedback, and practitioner's resistance to looking corruption spang in the eye and publicly acknowledging it.
I'm surprised that the Sangha even has to have this conversation in the 21st century.
A little more context:Chris wrote:"When you have gathered you have two duties: either Dhamma-talk or noble silence."
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"It isn't right, monks, that sons of good families, on having gone forth out of faith from home to the homeless life, should talk on such a topic. When you have gathered you have two duties: either Dhamma-talk or noble silence."
The roles, rules, and responsibility of those who have gone forth and those who are laity are different.