Monk Police in Thailand

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

Monk Police in Thailand

Postby gavesako » Tue May 12, 2009 7:58 pm

How fake monks are caught in Thailand and disrobed:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWbU8Ehj ... r_embedded
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

ajahnchah.org - Teachings of Ajahn Chah in many languages
Dhammatube - Videos on Buddhist practice
Ancient Buddhist Texts - Translations and history of Pali texts
User avatar
gavesako
 
Posts: 1378
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 5:16 pm
Location: England

Re: Monk Police in Thailand

Postby cooran » Tue May 12, 2009 8:29 pm

Hello Ven. Gavesako,

Absolutely fascinating! But how easy to become misused ...?

metta and respect
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
User avatar
cooran
 
Posts: 7508
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:32 pm
Location: Queensland, Australia

Re: Monk Police in Thailand

Postby pink_trike » Tue May 12, 2009 8:29 pm

Interesting, and a little disturbing.

When they're finished cleaning up the streets of fake monks, then they might want to start rooting out the fake monks within the walls of the monasteries, at all levels. That will keep them busy for a while.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.
User avatar
pink_trike
 
Posts: 1038
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 7:29 am

Re: Monk Police in Thailand

Postby forestmat » Wed May 13, 2009 1:35 am

pink_trike wrote:Interesting, and a little disturbing.

When they're finished cleaning up the streets of fake monks, then they might want to start rooting out the fake monks within the walls of the monasteries, at all levels. That will keep them busy for a while.


Hi pink_trike

do you want to elaborate a bit?

Metta

forestmat
User avatar
forestmat
 
Posts: 138
Joined: Wed Apr 15, 2009 9:50 am
Location: Northeastern Thailand

Re: Monk Police in Thailand

Postby pink_trike » Wed May 13, 2009 3:51 am

forestmat wrote:
pink_trike wrote:Interesting, and a little disturbing.

When they're finished cleaning up the streets of fake monks, then they might want to start rooting out the fake monks within the walls of the monasteries, at all levels. That will keep them busy for a while.


Hi pink_trike

do you want to elaborate a bit?

Metta

forestmat

Hi Forestmat,

I'm referring to the corruption inside the monastery walls, from drug/alcohol use and gang activity at the lower levels to quiet financial corruption, politics, and excess at the upper levels. Corruption = fake monks - as surely as drunk monks begging for money on the streets do. Now before anyone reacts, I'm not suggesting that the entire monastic system in Thailand is corrupt. But it is a a big white elephant in Thailand that well-behaved Buddhists like to pretend isn't there.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.
User avatar
pink_trike
 
Posts: 1038
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 7:29 am

Re: Monk Police in Thailand

Postby appicchato » Wed May 13, 2009 4:43 am

pink_trike wrote:I'm referring to the corruption...


Could you, possibly, name one institution (in the whole wide world), or one anything, that isn't corrupt?...it's basically the nature of the beast: human nature...
User avatar
appicchato
 
Posts: 1584
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:47 am
Location: Bridge on the River Kwae

Re: Monk Police in Thailand

Postby retrofuturist » Wed May 13, 2009 4:59 am

Greetings,

I like your thinking, bhante.

Better to address one's own defilements than to allow aversion towards the corruption of others to flourish.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14651
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Monk Police in Thailand

Postby thornbush » Wed May 13, 2009 5:01 am

Wow Bhante,
I wish there was something like that in my country...it was a huge problem here at one time and even now they are still all over the place...at one time limited to wearing Theravada Monastics' robes and then they started donning Chinese Mahayana Buddhist ones too...and yet some Malaysians being the generous ones that they are and despite awareness and campaigns to educate the public on such matters, there will always be the 'compassionate fool'.....
I guess karma will have to be their better teacher if humans can't educate enough such people from being monastic imposters... :shrug:
thornbush
 
Posts: 148
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 12:22 pm

Re: Monk Police in Thailand

Postby pink_trike » Wed May 13, 2009 5:41 am

appicchato wrote:
pink_trike wrote:I'm referring to the corruption...


Could you, possibly, name one institution (in the whole wide world), or one anything, that isn't corrupt?...it's basically the nature of the beast: human nature...

Hi Ven App,

Yes, you're quite right. I just think everyone benefits by looking our corrupt nature spang in the eye in broad daylight instead of politely and comfortably ignoring it (an aversive habit that is also part of our reactive human nature).
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.
User avatar
pink_trike
 
Posts: 1038
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 7:29 am

Re: Monk Police in Thailand

Postby forestmat » Wed May 13, 2009 7:27 am

pink_trike wrote:
appicchato wrote:
pink_trike wrote:I'm referring to the corruption...


Could you, possibly, name one institution (in the whole wide world), or one anything, that isn't corrupt?...it's basically the nature of the beast: human nature...

Hi Ven App,

Yes, you're quite right. I just think everyone benefits by looking our corrupt nature spang in the eye in broad daylight instead of politely and comfortably ignoring it (an aversive habit that is also part of our reactive human nature).


Actually Thai people in general prefer not to get involved with direct confrontation, in fact it can be sometimes rather "awkward" to do so when money, politics etc are involved. That doesn't mean that they don't know what is going on.

I prefer to look at my own vast array of defilements, just as Retro said.

When i suspect something is amiss at a temple, I tend to withdraw my support.

Metta

forestmat
User avatar
forestmat
 
Posts: 138
Joined: Wed Apr 15, 2009 9:50 am
Location: Northeastern Thailand

Re: Monk Police in Thailand

Postby pink_trike » Wed May 13, 2009 6:08 pm

Lay members of the Catholic Church and many in the general public were well aware of the corruption within the Church for decades before scandals finally started getting media attention. The belief that priests and the church were beyond criticism resulted in an absence of public dialogue which in turn allowed the corruption to continue and grow to massive proportions. As a result, countless children / adult survivors of abuse needlessly suffered. The corruption within Thaliand's institutional Buddhism has also been known for decades, and it too isn't discussed publicly because of the widespread belief that monks and monasteries are beyond criticism. Simply silently withdrawing one's support or reporting corruption to monastic leaders isn't enough to stop it's spread. This code of silence that exists to protect the reputation of the institution was, in both cases, taught by the institutions. The only way corruption stops is when the laity stops being the bearers of the secrets. When we turn a blind eye _we_ directly enable suffering.

If the institution of Buddhism in Thailand is so fragile that truth and daylight will cause it to crumble, then what good is it?
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.
User avatar
pink_trike
 
Posts: 1038
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 7:29 am

Re: Monk Police in Thailand

Postby gavesako » Wed May 13, 2009 7:14 pm

Chris wrote:Hello Ven. Gavesako,

Absolutely fascinating! But how easy to become misused ...?

metta and respect
Chris


Of course such a Monk Police force can be misused because it is under political control of the state:


In August, the police ordered all Asoke monks and nuns to gather in the Santi Asoke temple for detention. The next day the police arrested 106 monks and nuns and transported them to the Bangkhen police station. 26 monks were released, because they had originally been ordained within the mainstream. The rest, 60 monks and 20 nuns, had been ordained by Bodhiraksa and were thus regarded as "illegally wearing traditional Buddhist robes". The monks and nuns stayed in police custody for one night, and they were followed by some 200 lay supporters, who waited for them outside. The day after the whole group was released on bail for 200,000 baht. It was also officially announced that they would face one year in jail or a 2,000 baht fine if the court found them guilty of "imitating orthodox monks' dress".

http://web.abo.fi/comprel/temenos/temeno32/horn.htm


And the famous case of Phra Phimontham (sometimes also referred to as Phimolatham):

He was the Thai Minister of the Interior in the Sangha. He practised vipassana under the Mahasi Sayadaw. A member of the Mahanikay monastic sect and abbot of the Bangkok Mahathat Monastery, which historically lost out for the king's favours to the Thammayut monastic sect, he incurred the wrath of Prime Minister Sarit Thanarat for his independent views on Sangha reforms. In 1960, he was stripped of his titles on trumped up charges of sexual misbehaviour. In 1962, he was arrested on charges of supporting communism and as posing a threat to national security, disrobed and jailed.[70]

The underlying reason for this treatment was that he refused to be co-opted by the secular political authorities. Under pressure from reformist monks, the Thai government released him from prison in 1966, three years after Sarit's death, and cleared him of all charges. He became a rallying point for reformist monks who continued to exert pressure on the establishment. In 1975, this ensued in the reinstatement of his titles and finally in 1981, he was reappointed to his former position as abbot at Wat Mahathat. In 1985, he was reluctantly awarded one of the coveted six Somdet titles.

His decline and subsequent rehabilitation reflects national political developments. These developments were marked by the 1941 and the 1963 Sangha Acts, leading to democratisation, and the converse, hierarchization of the Sangha respectively. Thai politics had taken a dictatorial turn after a brief period of democratic reform in the 1940s and 1950s, largely initiated by the military in opposition to royalty, which came to power under Sarit Thanarat and Thanom Kittikachorn in the 1960s and early 1970s, which had come to arrangements with the monarchy and with the Thai middle class. However, rapid economic growth in the 1970s contributed to the diversification of the middle class, which had by then outgrown the old patronage relationships. These became increasingly influential in their own right, resulting in an increased pressure for the diversification of power.

In the open climate, as the result of the 1941 Sangha Act, Phimontham rapidly ascended in rank and in 1947 was appointed abbot of the influential Wat Mahathat – he was even regarded a contender for the highest position, namely of Sangharaja. However, he earned the label of being a communist supporter when he refused, on doctrinal grounds, to implement a directive to forbid ordination of Communists issued by the regime that came to power in the 1947 coup. He was a critic of the new regime's appointments in the Sangha hierarchy. This contributed to the final denouement unfolding of events, as the appointees schemed with the regime to have him disrobed.

Phimontham developed his interest in vipassana around 1955 as the result of connections with the Mahasi, and from around this time Wat Mahathat became the centre of the dissemination of vipassana. A programme was conceived that involved the setting up of many urban and village meditation centres country-wide for nuns and pious layman ‘to find relief from worldly cares and burdens’ instead of forest hermitages, populated by monks. It was in particular this lay participation that Tambiah isolates as the major threat the Sarit regime perceived in Phimontham.

http://homepages.tesco.net/~ghoutman/chapter_09.htm
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

ajahnchah.org - Teachings of Ajahn Chah in many languages
Dhammatube - Videos on Buddhist practice
Ancient Buddhist Texts - Translations and history of Pali texts
User avatar
gavesako
 
Posts: 1378
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 5:16 pm
Location: England

Re: Monk Police in Thailand

Postby Hoo » Wed May 13, 2009 8:36 pm

pink_trike wrote:Lay members of the Catholic Church and many in the general public were well aware of the corruption within the Church for decades before scandals finally started getting media attention. The belief that priests and the church were beyond criticism resulted in an absence of public dialogue which in turn allowed the corruption to continue and grow to massive proportions. As a result, countless children / adult survivors of abuse needlessly suffered. ....
This code of silence that exists to protect the reputation of the institution was, in both cases, taught by the institutions. The only way corruption stops is when the laity stops being the bearers of the secrets......


Sources please.......If this is your personal opinion, you're entitled to it, though a clear statement that it's your opinion would have been nice. Otherwise, a sweeping criticism of 60+ million lay American Catholics needs some substantiation. Example: someone I'm very close to is Catholic and was unaware of the sexual abuse by priests until it was made public and confirmed.

If you're only saying that some laity and some general public were aware, that's fine too. Then how about some documention of what percentage of the laity knew about abuse? But you should know very well the dynamics of vicitimization if you're a therapist (which I saw you mention in another post, I believe - correct me if I'm wrong). Victims don't go around spreading the word of their abuse - quite the contrary.

Please provide the numbers. Otherwise, opinions arent very useful.

Steve
Hoo
 
Posts: 189
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 2:24 am
Location: Missouri, USA

Re: Monk Police in Thailand

Postby pink_trike » Wed May 13, 2009 9:40 pm

Hoo wrote:
pink_trike wrote:Lay members of the Catholic Church and many in the general public were well aware of the corruption within the Church for decades before scandals finally started getting media attention. The belief that priests and the church were beyond criticism resulted in an absence of public dialogue which in turn allowed the corruption to continue and grow to massive proportions. As a result, countless children / adult survivors of abuse needlessly suffered. ....
This code of silence that exists to protect the reputation of the institution was, in both cases, taught by the institutions. The only way corruption stops is when the laity stops being the bearers of the secrets......


Sources please.......If this is your personal opinion, you're entitled to it, though a clear statement that it's your opinion would have been nice. Otherwise, a sweeping criticism of 60+ million lay American Catholics needs some substantiation. Example: someone I'm very close to is Catholic and was unaware of the sexual abuse by priests until it was made public and confirmed.

If you're only saying that some laity and some general public were aware, that's fine too. Then how about some documention of what percentage of the laity knew about abuse? But you should know very well the dynamics of vicitimization if you're a therapist (which I saw you mention in another post, I believe - correct me if I'm wrong). Victims don't go around spreading the word of their abuse - quite the contrary.

Please provide the numbers. Otherwise, opinions arent very useful.

Steve

Hi Steve,

I'm not aware of any statistical documentation of how many Catholics were aware of the corruption before it hit the media. Generally, well-kept communal secrets aren't polled. Having grown up in a small city with a huge Catholic population in the 60s and 70s, I know that the corruption was well known but not addressed directly. Instead, it was commonly addressed by adults through "jokes" about being careful around priests. Even comedians on tv joked about it in the 70s - it was that widely known. It was also widely reported among my peers which priests to stay away from. This type of prevalent, indirect communication was with purpose - to warn children. It was the only way that the issue could be widely addressed publicly - and this type of communication should be respected for what it was/is. Naturally, there are no statistics that document how prevalent this awareness was, or how extensive the denial was, but having lived all over the country I'm aware that my city wasn't unique in this respect at all. Communities of people are frequently much smarter and much more aware than they are given credit for - often knowing things very clearly that they aren't allowed to speak publicly - and devising work-arounds to make sure the info spreads anyway.

I disagree that "opinions" and observations aren't useful. They only become a problem when we believe they are solid and when we become attached to them too deeply (or react to other people's opinions too strongly). Our experiences as humans are all we have to work with as we attempt to manage human society. The more direct our communication is, and the less denial we engage in, the more effectively we work with circumstances. Publicly sharing our experiences and observations and by extension, our opinions, are a necessary part of life. I have opinions. So do you. So does everybody. They are valuable, particularly if they are held in the service of the larger community.

I do understand the dynamics of victimization, having worked with both child and adult survivors of abuse...the dynamics don't stop with the person who was directly victimized - they ripple out through the extended community and frequently the community will attempt to silence the victims in the interests of the institution's reputation or because of fear of punishment by the institution, or fear of punishment in some imagined next life. Denial and worship/fear of power results in a "don't rock the boat" mentality that enables more victimization and denial. The only way that entrenched corruption in the Catholic Church was at least partially stopped was when victims from all over the world started going to the press and retaining lawyers. Too bad it had to come to that, and too bad that we are still a culture of abuse and silence, even after all the exposure that has taken place in recent years.

Any monk in Thailand that is engaging in any corrupt activity is victimizing the laity and other monks, as well as damaging the institution. More exposure and dialogue, not less, is needed if the institution that was designed to contain and protect the Dharma is to remain viable and respected. Real respect is always earned, and not just a mere protocol that is concretized by power, fear, denial, community pressure, or blind religiosity.
Last edited by pink_trike on Wed May 13, 2009 10:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.
User avatar
pink_trike
 
Posts: 1038
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 7:29 am

Re: Monk Police in Thailand

Postby Dhammanando » Wed May 13, 2009 10:02 pm

Hi Pink Trike,

pink_trike wrote:The corruption within Thaliand's institutional Buddhism has also been known for decades, and it too isn't discussed publicly because of the widespread belief that monks and monasteries are beyond criticism.


Oh, but it is! There’s been a national obsession with discussing it since about the time of the Phra Nikorn and Ajahn Yantra scandals in the early 90’s. It’s a topic that crops up in the editorials of Thailand’s national newspapers about once a week and in the readers’ letters columns nearly every day. (I’m talking here about the Thai language press, not the Nation and Bangkok Post, though even in these papers the subject gets aired from time to time).

Simply silently withdrawing one's support or reporting corruption to monastic leaders isn't enough to stop it's spread. This code of silence that exists to protect the reputation of the institution was, in both cases, taught by the institutions.


Frankly, I don’t this “code of silence” has any existence outside of your imagination.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
User avatar
Dhammanando
 
Posts: 1265
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:44 pm
Location: Wat Pa Mieng Khun Pang, Chiang Mai

Re: Monk Police in Thailand

Postby pink_trike » Wed May 13, 2009 10:11 pm

Dhammanando wrote:
Frankly, I don’t this “code of silence” has any existence outside of your imagination.


Many of my Thai friends would disagree with you, if they weren't afraid to.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.
User avatar
pink_trike
 
Posts: 1038
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 7:29 am

Re: Monk Police in Thailand

Postby Hoo » Thu May 14, 2009 3:33 am

Frankly, I don’t this “code of silence” has any existence outside of your imagination.


I agree, which is neither here nor there. I'm sorry if your experience has been so, Pink Trike. But I've worked with abuse victims (and perps), and have not seen the wide conspiracy of the laity that you did.

There is certainly evidence that those involved in abuse can conspire for silence. And that can include family and friends of the abuser and the victim. We know that conspiracy by instutions to hide facts exists because it gets proven from time to time. But to paint with a broad stroke all of the members of a group carries at least that same burden of proof.

In a school where a teacher abuses a student, it does not follow that all of the children, teachers, parents and friends conspired to keep it quiet. Some of them may have, some members of the administration may have, it doesn't follow that the school district engages the whole community in a conspiracy.

I disagree that opinions are useful when entire groups of people are labeled.

On a Buddhist note (just to keep this sort of on topic), when "I" catch myself labeling "them," I've always stepped off the path and engaged in samsaric behavior. Somewhere in greed, anger or delusion, I usually find the answer to what I'm doing. But that's just something that helps me, your mileage may vary.

Steve
Hoo
 
Posts: 189
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 2:24 am
Location: Missouri, USA

Re: Monk Police in Thailand

Postby nomad » Sat May 23, 2009 10:47 pm

That’s an incredible story! Thanks for sharing it.

~nomad

:sage:
"I am because we are." -Xhosa Tribal Saying
User avatar
nomad
 
Posts: 52
Joined: Sun May 10, 2009 12:59 am
Location: Dayton, OH

Re: Monk Police in Thailand

Postby Individual » Sun May 24, 2009 1:25 am

gavesako wrote:How fake monks are caught in Thailand and disrobed:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWbU8Ehj ... r_embedded

It's a noble mission, but some of the monks might be extreme and misled by hatred.

The chief police monk said at one point in the video, "I really would like to kick your ass" to an offender. This is the Buddhist way?
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra
Individual
 
Posts: 1970
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 2:19 am

Re: Monk Police in Thailand

Postby Ben » Sun May 24, 2009 1:47 am

Individual wrote:The chief police monk said at one point in the video, "I really would like to kick your ass" to an offender. This is the Buddhist way?


Why not? All he is doing is expressing discomfort born from gross dhammas (frustration). By not following through with what he wants to do he is practicing restraint, patience, and compassion. Individual, being a buddhist doesn't mean that one no longer feels or is swayed by gross dhammas.
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."

- Hereclitus


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
 
Posts: 16059
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: Land of the sleeping gods

Next

Return to Theravāda for the modern world

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests