"The Broken Buddha" by Ven.Dhammika and other scandals

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: The Nude Monk's Burning Robes

Postby Nirosh » Tue Jul 16, 2013 7:00 pm

Dear perkele, thank you for your kind and emollient comments. They prove a firm maturity.

And Rob1980, it must have been painful, bringing those memories back. But you did so not to make another goes through the same suffering. Thank you.

perkele wrote:And thank you Rob1980 in the same vein, for contributing with consideration to such an important dialogue.


Yes BlackBird, when the intention is pure it creates good and beneficial results. We felt that you are genuinely seeking answers, that’s why my friends informed me and I decided to give. Sadhu! Sadhu!

Rob1980 wrote:As you can imagine there was a bit of witch hunt to find who was responsible, but the problem was they didn't know who was behind it.


Since you mentioned “witch hunt”, Ven. Ariyananda said that he and Ariyadhamma Mahathera went to several fortune-tellers for this purpose. What an embarrassment! Soon after the book became public, Ven. Ariyananda knew this time there is no escape and wrote a letter to send to donors admitting guilt for the things mentioned in the book. Unfortunately, couple of his companions encouraged him not to do so. If he admitted guilt publicly at that time and left the robe, it would have been a loss for his henchmen (as mentioned in the book), but surely a great benefit for Na-Uyana and good monks. And Rob1980 may have been a 5 vassa bhikkhu.

Rob1980 wrote:Anyway, it was enough for me to be extremely disillusioned with monasticism in general and I disrobed in August 2011, just before the end of the vassa.


It’s always good to break harmful cultural trances. If take this break skilfully with a still mind growth is assured.

Rob1980 wrote:The only viable option I saw was to live alone in the forests, as do a quite a few forest monks away from all the politics, but I did not have a strong enough foundation in meditation.


I know you had good friends who left Na-Uyana at the same time, should have asked their help without disrobing. At times oceans can be very rough, but not difficult to find a safe boat. Anyway, the situation would not have been ideal for the proper decision-making.

Rob1980 wrote:I felt slightly hesitant to give my pali name, as I have friends at Na Uyana, and I thought if the elders read what I have said, perhaps I may not be able to go back to Sri Lanka to visit them. But there is nothing that I have said which is harmful to the sangha and not true, therefore I don't mind giving my name... I was given the name 'England Sumana'.


I remember you, the tall Englishman from London. And the other monk who disrobed with you was Ven. Yogananda, who was labelled as a heretic by the elders due to his admiration towards Ajahn Sujato as a scholar.

Unlike Lord Buddha’s time, nowadays monks tend to hide the filth or even try to rationalize it. Actually, this is rejoicing the evil deeds of another and not the way Lord Buddha reacted in such situations. It is brave for you to raise the voice, even though you are safe in UK, far from Na-Uyana thugs.

Rob1980 wrote:What years were you at Na Uyana? Did you not think about reporting the incident to the police? Do you have any friends still at Na Uyana?


Since several years before you I was in Na-Uyana and left just before 2011, during that period I stayed in other monasteries too. As I mentioned earlier, I was a very virtuous monk, and did not want to engage in legal battles. As Ajahn Brahm says, “no need to take revenge, kamma will get the bastards anyway.” I do have a few friends there. Many of my good friends left Na-Uyana already. Actually good monks don’t stay in Na-Uyana in the long run.
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Re: The Nude Monk's Burning Robes

Postby Rob1980 » Tue Jul 16, 2013 8:23 pm

Dear Nirosh

Thank you for your comments.

I wasn't aware that Ven. Ariyananda was about to send a letter to reveal his guilt regarding the incidents in the book, how were you able to come by such information?

I am curious as whether you went to Australia as a monk, and if so, why did you decided to disrobe?

Did you ever stay at Ajahn Brahm's monastery as a monk? If so, would you recommend it?

And finally, what keeps you in Australia?

With metta

Rob
Last edited by Rob1980 on Tue Jul 16, 2013 9:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Nude Monk's Burning Robes

Postby Mr Man » Tue Jul 16, 2013 9:22 pm

Enough is enough.
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Re: Surin monk accused of B56m fraud

Postby appicchato » Tue Jul 16, 2013 11:42 pm

Dhamma Wheel turning tabloid?...why not stick to the good stuff...
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Re: Surin monk accused of B56m fraud

Postby Ben » Tue Jul 16, 2013 11:43 pm

appicchato wrote:Dhamma Wheel turning tabloid?...why not stick to the good stuff...


Indeed.
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Re: Surin monk accused of B56m fraud

Postby forestmat » Wed Jul 17, 2013 12:12 am

Apologies Ven Appicchato and Ben,

have I posted something that I shouldn't have in the Lounge forum? - "Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends"
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Re: Surin monk accused of B56m fraud

Postby Ben » Wed Jul 17, 2013 12:20 am

Its ok, forestmat.
My concern is that threads like this can degenerate into shaudenfreude and we've had a few threads of late that have focused on the alleged indiscretions of some monks.
I am sympathetic to the fact that we have ordained members here and the last thing I want is for them to feel uncomfortable or unwelcome here.
kind regards,

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Re: The Nude Monk's Burning Robes

Postby BlackBird » Wed Jul 17, 2013 12:24 am

Rob1980 wrote:
BlackBird wrote:Eventually it would be nice if the parajika men were to be investigated and forcibly disrobed (given their reluctance to remove themselves from the robes that they have no right to wear)


I would not be too quick to judge everyone who had a parajika offense levelled against them in the book as 'parajika men'. It may well be that they are parajika, in which case they are no longer Bhikkhus anyway. But it maybe that some of the incidents reported may come from a misunderstanding or might not be entirely accurate. In a monastic community which doesn't have access to worldly news, there is a tendency for rumours and stories to take on a rather too fanastic turn. I am not denying what the author in the book wrote but I would say there is one inaccuracy that I am aware of, and there may be more. For example, the monk that Ven. Ariyananda beat with a stick was not a senior monk, but was actually a samanera. Though it could be argued that he was a senior monk, as he had taken pabbaja before Ven. Ariyananda. But he was not a bhikkhu, yet by saying he was a senior monk gives the story more weight. Though that is not to excuse beating another human being with a stick.

I should also add that although Ven. Sanghasobhana did have a bit of a temper, he has a very good heart; I found the comments about him in the book quite childish and naive. He worked tirelessly for other monks and for the sangha when I was there. It was sad to see the book portraying him in such a negative light.


Right, this is why I did not give a specific name of those who may or may not be parajika. What I am saying is if there are parajika men (and it would seem given the account of Nirosh that that is the case), then in an ideal world, these former monks would be stripped of their robes, and forced to stop being imposters. If a former monk is parajika and is pretending to be a monk he is bringing harm upon the Sasana and an incredible amount of harm upon himself.

I'm sure that some of the monks mentioned in the book are nice people, but I am also aware (given my own long history with akusala acts) that good people can do bad things.

I hope that clarifys things somewhat Rob :)

metta
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'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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Re: Surin monk accused of B56m fraud

Postby forestmat » Wed Jul 17, 2013 12:25 am

Certainly no schadenfreude (which is what I think you meant to write) on my behalf Ben - but I do live in Thailand and these are currently big stories here.

The development and practice of Mudita is a far more appropriate virtue.
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Re: The Nude Monk's Burning Robes

Postby Ben » Wed Jul 17, 2013 12:29 am

Dear all,

This thread is closed until further notice while the mod/admin team review the content.
kind regards,

Ben
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Re: Surin monk accused of B56m fraud

Postby 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
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

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Re: Surin monk accused of B56m fraud

Postby 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?
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'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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Scandals in the Sangha and the relevance to our practice

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

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

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

Postby 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
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Re: Surin monk accused of B56m fraud

Postby 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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Re: Surin monk accused of B56m fraud

Postby 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 that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
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Re: Scandals in the Sangha and the relevance to our practice

Postby 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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Re: Surin monk accused of B56m fraud

Postby 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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