reflection wrote:Theravada is not one big group of people that all act the same. It is cluttered up and the boundaries are unclear. Some monks/nuns live a very renunciate life somewhere hidden in the forests, with only a bowl and robes. Others live a more westernized life, use money, things like that. But to me Buddhism, whether Theravada or Mahayana, is about looking at our own actions, our own thought patterns. It is not really about judging others. So what Buddhism is, is only what you make it. It doesn't really exist outside of you. Don't look for the Buddha outside of you, that kind of idea.
Buddhism is not about judging others but it is certainly about judging monks flying business class. Theravada's USP is simple living, high thinking.
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:The point is that wealthy donors can offer luxurious gifts to monks or the Saṅgha if they wish. If a wealthy business person or film-star wanted to invite a monk to give a blessing, would they buy them an economy class ticket or a business class ticket? If they themselves usually travel business class, to buy an economy class ticket might be regarded as mean.
They were on their way to attend some kind of conference of Buddhism in Gaya. So one might assume it is usual Buddhist work and not for a devotee. There were several monks. The two senior ones were seated up in business class.
I am not judging Theravada by the actions of these monks just like one does not judge Catholic Church by actions of pedophile priests. But I have been deeply disappointed and humiliated by the story. Theravada is my own belief and I will practice it correctly is one way of looking at it. But actions of a few tar all. If image of Catholic Church can be hurt by pedophile priests, then certainly fellow travelers will look down on a monk for travelling business class.
And I think if I was a Theravadan monk and a rich devotee invited me, I will have specified that he send me an economy class ticket and ask he send an ordinary sedan to pick me up and also ask the driver not to turn on the AC. If I am not going to do that then why on earth am I a monk. It is a lame excuse to say he gifted me riches and so I took it.
Further it breaks the 8th precept to travel in business class where seats van be converted into beds (not exactly but almost) Uccasayana-mahasayana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami (I undertake the precept to refrain from lying on a high or luxurious sleeping place.) Same may also apply to economy class but seats can be slightly extended there and after all there is no less expensive way to travel across oceans except via economy class. If there was, then a monk should have chosen that.