"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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Ben
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Re: Surin monk accused of B56m fraud

Post by Ben » Wed Jul 17, 2013 12:49 am

forestmat wrote:Certainly no schadenfreude (which is what I think you meant to write)
Yes it was, thanks for the correction.
forestmat wrote:on my behalf Ben
Understood, I was not thinking of you. But in my experience, these sorts of threads tend to degenerate into negativity as they attract more contributors.
forestmat wrote:- but I do live in Thailand and these are currently big stories here.
I understand completely.
forestmat wrote:The development and practice of Mudita is a far more appropriate virtue.
I am glad to hear it, forestmat!
Personally, I am very appreciative of the presence of ordained members of the sangha here at Dhamma Wheel. They are indeed, a jewel.
with metta,

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

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BlackBird
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Re: Surin monk accused of B56m fraud

Post by BlackBird » Wed Jul 17, 2013 12:57 am

Maybe we could have a corruption mega thread, as a place to keep all these stories and discussions in one place, rather than having multiple threads per week discussing the same topic?
"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

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Dan74
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Scandals in the Sangha and the relevance to our practice

Post by Dan74 » Wed Jul 17, 2013 12:57 am

Last few years there have been some scandals in American Zen circles that I have followed to varying extent and now there are many threads about scandals and corruption in Theravada on this forum. So I wanted to explore the ramifications of these events to us, to our practice.

First I would like to invite you to pay attention to what resonates in you to these events. What are the reactions? I think it is worthwhile to stop and listen carefully before reacting and proceeding with further proliferations.

For me I had been puzzled how many years of practice do not guarantee basic morality, I wondered how and where one goes off the track and if indeed their practice was efficacious. I also wondered if the culture at the various temples and monasteries is conducive to cultivation.

These are good questions I thought and I do not advocate sweeping them under the carpet. But what I also noticed is when such doubts start to dominate then rather than being inspired and determined, I waiver in my practice and my own sila begins to decline. After all contemplating the qualities of the Buddha, being inspired by great teachers and indeed having contact with them, are fantastic motivators, whereas corrosive doubt is not.

I am wondering if people notice their attraction to these scandals, the inordinate amount of time (and forum space) given to them and the effect this is having on their practice. And then scandals are followed by anonymous accounts, anonymous accusations - 'Oh what a tangled web we weave!'

I am guessing many members have kept clear of all this stuff precisely because they see it as not conducive to good practice. Perhaps those of us without such clarity can reflect...
_/|\_

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BlackBird
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Re: Scandals in the Sangha and the relevance to our practice

Post by BlackBird » Wed Jul 17, 2013 1:20 am

I was just discussing this with another member.

I think we need to be really careful that these discussions do not devolve into a slandering of the Sangha in general, and our ordained members here at Dhammawheel. As others have said, the last thing we want to do is discourage the presence of our ordained members. I for one value their contributions so very much! The real issue here doesn't seem to be the topic at hand, but people's ability to maintain right speech in the face of a subject matter that encourages strongly held views.

Right speech here at Dhammawheel is something that I think is a concern, I have had multiple 'run ins' with certain members that has been in no uncertain terms: abusive, and I think it's a shame, because while it's human nature to an extent, I feel that Dhammawheel has always been a place where one can disagree with another member, and not have it become personal, or ad hominem. Ironically, some of the latest negative encounters have been with people who disapprove of my involvement in these threads.

Back to the topic at hand, I myself have been involved in a number of these discussions of late, and my reason for doing so has always been entirely that I feel honest and frank evaluations of the Sasana in terms of what we're dealing with are for the long term benefit of the Sasana. We need to investigate these problems, not sweep them under the rug. The important thing is our intentions in doing so, I know that my own intentions are not for slander, but for the purpose of allowing people who wish to ordain to make the right decisions about the places they go. Since my trip to Sri Lanka, I have received more PM's than I can count on two hands from different people looking to visit and potentially ordain in Sri Lanka, thus at least with the Na Uyana thread, my reason for involvement in these discussions is as much for their sake as it is for the sake of the Sasana. Finally, for those of us who have been 'around the block' so to speak as far as institutional Buddhism goes, we know these things exist - We don't need to always discuss them. But I remember when I first came into Buddhism I thought all monks were perfect, and that all Buddhists in general we're nice and friendly. These mistaken notions caused me no small degree of hurt when I had these ideas shattered by a number of encounters. I kind of wish I'd known in advance, it would have made these encounters a lot easier...

Even given my knowledge of corruption, and the warning I received from many people in advance of my trip, seeing it for my own eyes, especially from teachers who were held in very high esteem was a tough experience, and was no small part of my disillusionment and decision not to ordain while in Sri Lanka - If I can help ensure that those who also wish to ordain are more careful than I was with the places they visit, or at least are prepared to witness what I was not prepared for - Then they might succeed where I did not, by making it into the ochre robes.

I understand that some members are concerned that Dhammawheel is becoming a 'tabloid' in a sense what with all these threads about corruption recently, but I feel a middle way here is ideal - That is why I have suggested that perhaps a mega-thread, with strict rules and conditions to ensure right speech and that such discussions do not devolve into slander might be something worth pursuing.

I might add, that in spite of all my involvement in these threads, my meditation has never been better. So again, I think what's important is one's own intentions and self moderation of any possible passions.

With metta
Jack
"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

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SDC
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Re: Scandals in the Sangha and the relevance to our practice

Post by SDC » Wed Jul 17, 2013 5:14 am

Dan74 wrote:I am wondering if people notice their attraction to these scandals, the inordinate amount of time (and forum space) given to them and the effect this is having on their practice. And then scandals are followed by anonymous accounts, anonymous accusations - 'Oh what a tangled web we weave!'

I am guessing many members have kept clear of all this stuff precisely because they see it as not conducive to good practice. Perhaps those of us without such clarity can reflect...
BlackBird wrote:But I remember when I first came into Buddhism I thought all monks were perfect, and that all Buddhists in general we're nice and friendly. These mistaken notions caused me no small degree of hurt when I had these ideas shattered by a number of encounters. I kind of wish I'd known in advance, it would have made these encounters a lot easier...
It did hurt, but I am so thankful to have received such a humbling glimpse into this darker, seemingly inevitable, side of the monastic community when I did. Since then I have had a more realistic view of the situation and such scandals do not affect me in the least.

The way I see it, these scandals aren't anything new. What's new is that they are being exposed. Take the high demand for scandals from society, the ever increasing ability to communicate these scandals quickly to a global audience, the fact that it is becoming decreasingly taboo to go against religious organizations, and all the sudden we see corruption show up everywhere.

dagon
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Re: Scandals in the Sangha and the relevance to our practice

Post by dagon » Wed Jul 17, 2013 8:16 am

Dan74 wrote:Last few years there have been some scandals in American Zen circles that I have followed to varying extent and now there are many threads about scandals and corruption in Theravada on this forum. So I wanted to explore the ramifications of these events to us, to our practice.

First I would like to invite you to pay attention to what resonates in you to these events. What are the reactions? I think it is worthwhile to stop and listen carefully before reacting and proceeding with further proliferations.

For me I had been puzzled how many years of practice do not guarantee basic morality, I wondered how and where one goes off the track and if indeed their practice was efficacious. I also wondered if the culture at the various temples and monasteries is conducive to cultivation.

These are good questions I thought and I do not advocate sweeping them under the carpet. But what I also noticed is when such doubts start to dominate then rather than being inspired and determined, I waiver in my practice and my own sila begins to decline. After all contemplating the qualities of the Buddha, being inspired by great teachers and indeed having contact with them, are fantastic motivators, whereas corrosive doubt is not.

:goodpost:

I am wondering if people notice their attraction to these scandals, the inordinate amount of time (and forum space) given to them and the effect this is having on their practice. And then scandals are followed by anonymous accounts, anonymous accusations - 'Oh what a tangled web we weave!'

I am guessing many members have kept clear of all this stuff precisely because they see it as not conducive to good practice. Perhaps those of us without such clarity can reflect...

Thanks, i think many are thinking the same
paul

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Surin monk accused of B56m fraud

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Jul 17, 2013 8:55 am

Or, you could just close them because they mostly violate the principle of right speech.

It's OK to blame the blameworthy if one has a good intention to warn people of the dangers of associating with some wicked individual, or to blame directly in order to admonish someone for behaviour that is doing them harm.

However, these threads don't seem to have any good intention — and are really just gossip.
Disregard the faults of others, things done and left undone by others,
but examine the deeds done and not done by oneself. Dhp.v.50

Easily seen are others’ faults, hard indeed to see are one’s own.
Like chaff one winnows others’ faults,
but one’s own (faults) one hides,
as a crafty fowler conceals himself by camouflage. Dhp.v.252
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lyndon taylor
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Re: Surin monk accused of B56m fraud

Post by lyndon taylor » Wed Jul 17, 2013 9:09 am

The Catholic church said pretty much the same thing about pedophile priests, "we don't need to hear all that"
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community, sincerely former monk John

http://trickleupeconomictheory.blogspot.com/

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Aloka
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Re: Scandals in the Sangha and the relevance to our practice

Post by Aloka » Wed Jul 17, 2013 9:19 am

Dan74 wrote:Last few years there have been some scandals in American Zen circles that I have followed to varying extent and now there are many threads about scandals and corruption in Theravada on this forum. So I wanted to explore the ramifications of these events to us, to our practice.

First I would like to invite you to pay attention to what resonates in you to these events. What are the reactions? I think it is worthwhile to stop and listen carefully before reacting and proceeding with further proliferations.
There have also been many scandals and squabbles in Tibetan Buddhism and some I had experience of when I was involved with that tradition.

I think that the mistake lies in having expectations that ''Buddhists'' will behave like perfect Buddhas, when in fact they're probably just ordinary human beings like anyone else.

My personal opinion these days is that I'm responsible for my own practice and not for anyone else's.


:anjali:

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appicchato
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Re: Surin monk accused of B56m fraud

Post by appicchato » Wed Jul 17, 2013 9:34 am

lyndon taylor wrote:The Catholic church said pretty much the same thing about pedophile priests, "we don't need to hear all that"
Wow...

I (try to) ask myself before speaking or acting 'where is the benefit here'?, or 'what is the benefit'?...like right now, refraining from commenting on this association being made...'wow' works for me though...

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mikenz66
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Re: Scandals in the Sangha and the relevance to our practice

Post by mikenz66 » Wed Jul 17, 2013 9:37 am

Aloka wrote: I think that the mistake lies in having expectations that ''Buddhists'' will behave like perfect Buddhas, when in fact they're probably just ordinary human beings like anyone else.

My personal opinion these days is that I'm responsible for my own practice and not for anyone else's.
Very well put Aloka. A very sensible and positive post...

:anjali:
Mike

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lyndon taylor
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Re: Surin monk accused of B56m fraud

Post by lyndon taylor » Wed Jul 17, 2013 9:55 am

I was actually refering to all the recently discussed scandals, not this one scandal particularly, one of the other scandals did involve pedophilia, how are we better off not knowing about this stuff, its very important to pick which monks/temples you study with, and all this exposure should make you aware that you shouldn't blindly trust everyone that claims to be a monk, but we should all know that shouldn't we. A system that has to hide the truth in order to keep functioning is a bankrupt system to start with, transperency only helps us in the long run, in my opinion.
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community, sincerely former monk John

http://trickleupeconomictheory.blogspot.com/

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forestmat
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Re: Surin monk accused of B56m fraud

Post by forestmat » Wed Jul 17, 2013 9:58 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:Or, you could just close them because they mostly violate the principle of right speech.

It's OK to blame the blameworthy if one has a good intention to warn people of the dangers of associating with some wicked individual, or to blame directly in order to admonish someone for behaviour that is doing them harm.

However, these threads don't seem to have any good intention — and are really just gossip.
Greetings Bhikkhu Pesala,

not sure but perhaps you could clarify if your comment was directed at me seeing as I was the original poster of a news story (without additional comment from me) concerning an ordained member of the Bhikkhu Sangha in Thailand.

With metta

forestmat

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Re: Scandals in the Sangha and the relevance to our practice

Post by binocular » Wed Jul 17, 2013 10:12 am

What I find the most difficult to deal with is the way some Buddhists talk about those scandals, and what that implies. Because judging by how those discussions usually go and who wins, who gets on top, it seems that aggressiveness, violence, manipulation, lying, passive-aggressiveness, gossip, and ill will in its various forms are the proper way to be. And that goodwill, paying attention to what has actually been said and done, compassion and such are for losers, for weaklings, and that one is going to remain a loser and a weakling as long as one practices these.

Maybe ill will is the path to nirvana after all.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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Re: Scandals in the Sangha and the relevance to our practice

Post by reflection » Wed Jul 17, 2013 10:36 am

I kept myself out of those threads, because discussing such matters won't really help anyone. But since this thread has a more practical angle to it, I feel free to say some things. I'd say having confidence in the ordained sangha can be a good thing, but the confidence should be in the ideal of monks and nuns advancing along the path. It should not be confidence that a particular monastic is faultless or that in general putting on robes makes one virtuous, because obviously this is not the case. So what we can look at better, in my eyes, is not the scandals themselves but how we relate to them and if it hurts our confidence. To me those scandals don't do anything. There is some pity to those involved, but my practice and confidence is not hurt. I know people may be involved with Buddhism for decades but don't learn a thing, but I also know there are people who do learn. And when not learning anything, it is not necessarily their own fault; it may be that at certain places the teachings are just bad.

:anjali:

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