Governance of a Wat

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Governance of a Wat

Postby sol37 » Thu Jul 12, 2012 3:50 pm

Hello, I'm new and happy to be here. I have a question concerning governance of a Wat. My goal is to assist a Wat Lao in having a democratic rule that respects Theravadan tradition as much as possible.

My question is, who has the authority to invite or accept a new monk, the community at large, a board of directors, or the head monk at the Wat?
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Re: Governance of a Wat

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:21 pm

What country is this temple located in?

I believe it depends on how the by-laws were written for the organization, but I imagine in most cases it would be the head monk and/or Board of Directors. The community could have some input too, but the final decision would be by the Directors, in most instances.
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Re: Governance of a Wat

Postby sol37 » Fri Jul 13, 2012 12:56 am

Thank you for your response. The Wat is located in the U.S. and is going through a difficult transition. I will get more input from members and directors before finishing up the bylaws and submitting them to the board.
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Re: Governance of a Wat

Postby James the Giant » Fri Jul 13, 2012 10:13 am

My local wat recently had a power struggle, and the governance went from 95% Board, to 100% Head Monk. This made the both laypeople and monks happy. Everyone was happy except the board members, who resigned.
Now there's a new board to advise the Ajahn, who makes the final decisions. Now it seems to work well.

Here's a model which is more equal:
This is the Charter of Santi Forest Monastery near Sydney.
http://santifm.org/santi/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/sfmi-constitution-10.08.pdf
A lot of thought has gone into the writing of this, so it's a good read.
Basically, a Spiritual Director is nominated by the Sangha, then further accepted by the Board.
If the board rejects the Spritual Director, the matter goes back to the Sangha.
If there is a deadlock, the matter is referred to an external body for mediation.
The board is elected by a vote of the members of the wat association.
The Spiritual Director has power of veto.
Then,
saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.
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Re: Governance of a Wat

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Jul 13, 2012 8:35 pm

You may wish to talk to other Wat's in the US.
there are other considerations (such as the vinaya) which you may need help with.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Governance of a Wat

Postby sol37 » Sat Jul 14, 2012 6:58 pm

Good and useful information. I am grateful.
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Re: Governance of a Wat

Postby sol37 » Thu Aug 16, 2012 6:41 pm

Another question: who sets policy regarding the meh-tze, the nuns who live on temple property? Is it only the abbot, or the board of directors, or both? The policy involves their right --or conditions under which they leave the temple grounds (in their own privately owned mobile home) for more than a day, for extended periods such as three months to study dhamma elsewhere, or simply to visit other temples, in all cases using their own money. I would assume since their own money is involved, this is not a matter for directors to be concerned with. Is there a theravadan tradition regarding this matter?
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