manasikara wrote:After I read 'The Broken Buddha' my relationship with the Theravada as an institution / religious organization was changed. My formerly rose-coloured glasses were well and truly broken. I found myself unable to attend Theravadan religious gatherings for quite a while, but I did not ever consider giving up meditation practice or accepting guidance from the pali canon. So it actually strengthened my conviction in the Teachings by making me see that they (Buddha's Teachings) are far greater than any one sect that might claim to best embody them (and does not every sect claim this?).
I have met Ven. Dhammika a few times when he visited Melbourne. I don't think he wrote TBB out of bitterness, he is just what is termed a 'whistleblower' and every organization needs one, even Theravada Buddhism (the institution).
Are you really that easily influenced by information at face value? When I read Dhammika’s rant I chuckled through parts of it because I have also seen such and more in the wats, temples and vihāras I have lived in. What is truly distasteful to me is not what the content is pointing to but that a bhikkhu has stooped to such scandal.
I should clarify that. Of course
my relationship with Theravadan Buddhism as a religious organization wasn't altered *just* by reading TBB. The book did, however, confirm and explain some of the suspicions I already had (from careful observations in real life), and although I have not been to Asia, I have been to Temples where I could see some of those issues playing out right here in Australia. (No, I'm not
going to give names and places, because that would be bordering on or might be taken as gossip etc, and I'm not going there!) Furthermore I actually met with Ven. Dhammika a few times, and although I'm not a follower of his by any stretch, I did get to ask a few questions and sound him out a bit. Let's remember that he remains quite enthusiastic about the Buddha Dhamma, and the Pali Canon as the most authoritative version of the Teachings.
I have to confess that apart from a few quite humourous bits (we all need a good laugh occassionally), I don't particularly like
the book (liking
something isn't the same as admitting that it might serve some useful purpose
despite it's unpleasantness), and I do agree that ideally it would only be read by those who, like most here, are already convinced enough about the Dhamma so as not to lose their conviction over one book. As i said, my conviction in the Dhamma was (ultimately) strengthened, not weakened, because I was able to separate the Buddha Dhamma out from the human organizations that attempt to represent it. The Dhamma is bigger than Theravada, Mahayana, Vajrayana or any 'Yana' you like. But I suppose that someone new to the Dhamma might get put off (Buddhism) by it.