Alobha wrote:Just like a doctor who is sick, can still prescribe medicine and tell patients how to get healthy again, so can an unawakened person encourage the practice that leads towards awakening.
There's a huge difference between being unawakened and being actively, unabashedly preoccupied with activities that make awakening impossible. I agree that we should not be the moral police, handing out decrees on who is or isn't Buddhist. However, we also cannot risk letting Buddhism become a social club with no restrictions, no requirements, and no ultimate goal. What is the point of Buddhism, especially in the West, when you can ascribe to the path with one breath and drink, smoke, lie, cheat, kill, and otherwise muddle the mind in the next? No one should be "disqualified" by anyone for slipping up in their practice, but there is quite the difference between occasionally faltering on the path and accepting with open arms thoughts, words, and deeds that are completely opposed in every way to the Buddha's teachings.
I think Western Buddhism has lost quite a bit of moral authority when we can't make a judgement about an alcoholic philanderer who passes his teachings to a man who sexually solicits students despite having AIDS. If we as a community cannot point at that trail of actions and say, "You know, that person is not following the Buddha's path," then we're no longer just non-judgmental and tolerant - we're descending into total spiritual anarchy, so to speak. The Buddha's teachings need to be protected, and while we can't achieve that with witch hunts or needless criticism, we absolutely can have high standards for those in power who claim to be teaching the Buddha's Dhamma.
Just my two cents.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.
Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.
His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti SuttaStuff I write about things.