Monks hugging kids...

Discussion of ordination, the Vinaya and monastic life. How and where to ordain? Bhikkhuni ordination etc.
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Ben
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Re: Monks hugging kids...

Post by Ben » Thu Jan 19, 2012 1:32 pm

Cittasanto wrote:it is canonical literature which spell out the rules it isn't really up for historicity debate!
I agree. Members please remain on topic.
kind regrds,

Ben
“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.”
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Learn this from the waters:
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but great rivers flow silently.
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Anagarika
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Re: Monks hugging kids...

Post by Anagarika » Thu Jan 26, 2012 6:38 pm

My own view is that it is very important that the Vinaya rules be followed, such that the concern that the Dhamma will erode over time is not realized.

I also feel that the Dhamma could be subject to erosion if the Dhamma is made so rigid and so colorless so as to not allow for basic human kindness expressed out of only the most positive of intentions. If a monk giving a hug to a lonely and hungry child is seen with shock, and perceived as an offense, my worry is that Dhamma will be left as the domain for only the strictest of views.

The Dhamma must be guarded carefully and the intent of Buddha must be followed, but not at the expense of making this living and breathing practice so inflexible that few choose its path.

Just as a Bhikkhu would not let a woman drown in a lake for fear of touching her, I believe that some latitude is required for (nonsexual) loving and compassionate acts. Again, the intent of the actor is paramount. I believe that the Dhamma will not only survive, but it will live and breathe with vibrancy for eons if some reasonable, ethical, and compassionate latitude is embraced by those lay and ordained that practice it.

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cooran
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Re: Monks hugging kids...

Post by cooran » Thu Jan 26, 2012 9:14 pm

Hello all,

The Vinaya must be kept strictly. One has only to consider the mess in the Roman Catholic Church with tens of thousands of once hidden offenses against children and women by ''celibate'' clergy. n.b. I am definitely not impugning our Sangha members whom I respect, but absolute adherence to the Vinaya is needed to prevent any rot setting in.

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: Monks hugging kids...

Post by Cittasanto » Thu Jan 26, 2012 9:49 pm

cooran wrote:Hello all,

The Vinaya must be kept strictly. One has only to consider the mess in the Roman Catholic Church with tens of thousands of once hidden offenses against children and women by ''celibate'' clergy. n.b. I am definitely not impugning our Sangha members whom I respect, but absolute adherence to the Vinaya is needed to prevent any rot setting in.

with metta
Chris
:goodpost:
I know of places (mahayana) who follow the Vinaya (I assume it is Dharmagupta) and have actually changed the sanghadisesa rule about touching women lustfully to a paccitia, I personally find that strange for somewhere to do that yet say they follow the Buddha as Mendicants.
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Kim OHara
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Re: Monks hugging kids...

Post by Kim OHara » Fri Jan 27, 2012 2:44 am

BuddhaSoup wrote:My own view is that it is very important that the Vinaya rules be followed, such that the concern that the Dhamma will erode over time is not realized.

I also feel that the Dhamma could be subject to erosion if the Dhamma is made so rigid and so colorless so as to not allow for basic human kindness expressed out of only the most positive of intentions. If a monk giving a hug to a lonely and hungry child is seen with shock, and perceived as an offense, my worry is that Dhamma will be left as the domain for only the strictest of views.

The Dhamma must be guarded carefully and the intent of Buddha must be followed, but not at the expense of making this living and breathing practice so inflexible that few choose its path.

Just as a Bhikkhu would not let a woman drown in a lake for fear of touching her, I believe that some latitude is required for (nonsexual) loving and compassionate acts. Again, the intent of the actor is paramount. I believe that the Dhamma will not only survive, but it will live and breathe with vibrancy for eons if some reasonable, ethical, and compassionate latitude is embraced by those lay and ordained that practice it.
Agreed - particularly the bit I have bolded. Compassion, care for those in need, is more important than legalism.

:namaste:
Kim

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cooran
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Re: Monks hugging kids...

Post by cooran » Fri Jan 27, 2012 5:23 am

This thread is not about saving a drowning person in a lake.

It is about males in authoritative positions touching very young helpless children.

It is not about legalism. It is about the First Basket of the Tipitaka, memorised from the time of the Buddha, and carefully followed by uncountable bhikkhus who are practising well from that time onwards.

It is not about prejudice or judgmentalism, it is being firm with those who would unwittingly remove protection from children while thinking they are the only ones being mature, open-minded and compassionate.

Why not work just a week or two in Child Health (anywhere, in any country) and come across many children who have been inappropriately treated sexually by someone viewed by others as a pillar of the community?

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---
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Kim OHara
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Re: Monks hugging kids...

Post by Kim OHara » Fri Jan 27, 2012 5:53 am

cooran wrote:This thread is not about saving a drowning person in a lake.

It is about males in authoritative positions touching very young helpless children.

It is not about legalism. It is about the First Basket of the Tipitaka, memorised from the time of the Buddha, and carefully followed by uncountable bhikkhus who are practising well from that time onwards.

It is not about prejudice or judgmentalism, it is being firm with those who would unwittingly remove protection from children while thinking they are the only ones being mature, open-minded and compassionate.

Why not work just a week or two in Child Health (anywhere, in any country) and come across many children who have been inappropriately treated sexually by someone viewed by others as a pillar of the community?

with metta
Chris
Hi, Chris,
With respect, can I suggest you re-read the OP? You have made six (by my count) statements about what the thread is/isn't about, only one of which (the one I have bolded) seems to relate directly to the OP.
The issue of "males in authoritative positions touching very young helpless children" is a real hot potato in our (Australian) society. It triggers all sorts of over-reactions (on both sides, from all quarters). Conflating our responses to that issue with vinaya issues isn't helpful, IMO, and, again IMO, drags the thread off-topic. Perhaps you would like to start a new thread about the issue you feel we should be talking about? I would happily contribute my perspective as a long-time primary school teacher.

:namaste:
Kim

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cooran
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Re: Monks hugging kids...

Post by cooran » Fri Jan 27, 2012 6:27 am

Hello Kim,

Respectfully, I disagree. The original photo in the OP showed a theravada monk (the OP) hugging a young girl. I agree with the immediate response of Bhikkhu Pesala.
(Other posts have wandered here and there - as happens in conversations. One or two completely off topic, or mentioning scandals within various traditions have been removed.)

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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Kim OHara
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Re: Monks hugging kids...

Post by Kim OHara » Fri Jan 27, 2012 7:00 am

cooran wrote:Hello Kim,

Respectfully, I disagree. The original photo in the OP showed a theravada monk (the OP) hugging a young girl. I agree with the immediate response of Bhikkhu Pesala.
(Other posts have wandered here and there - as happens in conversations. One or two completely off topic, or mentioning scandals within various traditions have been removed.)

with metta
Chris
Hi, Chris,
I also agree with Bhikkhu Pesala's response. But the generic 'males in authoritative positions' you introduced do raise more problems than I think we can deal with in a topic about 'Monks hugging kids': different cultures, different roles, different rules, different expectations.
Now, getting :focus:
If I were ordained (I'm not, and don't ever expect to be) I would try to keep both letter and spirit of the vinaya - but when and if they clashed, I hope I would have the courage and decency to follow the spirit rather than being bound by the letter. That was the point of DarwidHalim's zen anecdote and the point of my support of BuddhaSoup's post.

:namaste:
Kim

Bankei
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Re: Monks hugging kids...

Post by Bankei » Sun Jan 29, 2012 3:29 am

cooran wrote:This thread is not about saving a drowning person in a lake.

It is about males in authoritative positions touching very young helpless children.

It is not about legalism. It is about the First Basket of the Tipitaka, memorised from the time of the Buddha, and carefully followed by uncountable bhikkhus who are practising well from that time onwards.

It is not about prejudice or judgmentalism, it is being firm with those who would unwittingly remove protection from children while thinking they are the only ones being mature, open-minded and compassionate.

Why not work just a week or two in Child Health (anywhere, in any country) and come across many children who have been inappropriately treated sexually by someone viewed by others as a pillar of the community?

with metta
Chris
Wow, what a post. You have basically equated a man touching a child as paedophilia.

Paedophiles are men (mostly, there are woman paedophiles too) who touch children but not everyone who touches a child is a paedophile.

What would you think of a monk who was holding a male child?

Bankei
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Bankei

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cooran
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Re: Monks hugging kids...

Post by cooran » Sun Jan 29, 2012 4:19 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:I find the photograph quite shocking. It is such an obvious display of affection by a bhikkhu. I understand it to be an offence of wrong doing — one of the clauses to Sanghadisesa 2.
Intention. The Vinita-vatthu contains cases of a bhikkhu who caresses his mother out of filial affection, one who caresses his daughter out of fatherly affection, and one who caresses his sister out of brotherly affection. In each case the penalty is a dukkaṭa.
The other consideration is that of wrong livelihood as a corrupter of families under Sanghadisesa 13.
3) He lives in unbecoming association with householders.
You may think that affection is a wholesome dhamma, but if so, please explain how it could lead to grief and fear. Piya Vagga — Dhammapada.

Of course, there is no harm in loving-kindness (metta), compassion (karunā), or sympathetic-joy (muditā), which are wholesome dhammas, but there is no need to cuddle children to show them kindness and compassion. If a very young girl touches a bhikkhu, there is no need to push her away for fear of being accused of a Sanghadisesa offence, but there no reason to actively take hold of and hug a child. Perhaps there might be if a young child is very distressed or injured, and in need of reassurance. I take it to be self-evident that if a woman is drowning there is no offence in pulling her to safety.

Although the receiving cloth is not used in Burma, well-informed female lay supporters take care to avoid touching bhikkhus when offering things to them.

Even eye-contact is avoided — though we westerners find that very difficult when talking to people. While listening to the Dhamma, ladies sit with their hand in anjali, and their eyes downcast — not making eye-contact at all.

If you want further clarification, I advise visiting Sayādaw U Dhammānanda in Wat Tamao, Lampang, which is not far from you. I hope that the Sayādaw is still living — he is an exemplary Dhamma teacher. I don't think he speaks much English, but I assume he knows Thai quite well as he has lived in Thailand for many years.
Hello Bankei,

Please don't inject more into my post than was meant. I was agreeing with what Bhante said, and putting it in other words.

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: Monks hugging kids...

Post by Bankei » Sun Jan 29, 2012 4:57 am

The two posts don't look similar to me.

So, what would you think of a male monk holding a male child?

B
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cooran
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Re: Monks hugging kids...

Post by cooran » Sun Jan 29, 2012 5:24 am

My personal thoughts aren't the important thing in this discussion.

What does the Vinaya say?

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 ---

Bankei
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Re: Monks hugging kids...

Post by Bankei » Sun Jan 29, 2012 5:29 am

cooran wrote:My personal thoughts aren't the important thing in this discussion.

What does the Vinaya say?

with metta
Chris
The vinaya positions have been outlined above.

I was interested in your personal opinion because of your post above regarding child health services. I was wondering how that crept into the discussion.

Bankei
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Bankei

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Ben
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Re: Monks hugging kids...

Post by Ben » Sun Jan 29, 2012 5:44 am

Dear all,

I believe the usefulness of this thread has been exhausted and it will now be closed.
kind regards,

Ben
“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

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com..

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