Khmer Buddhism

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

Khmer Buddhism

Postby Raksha » Fri Sep 28, 2012 3:56 pm

:namaste: Although I understand and support the Theravada tradition's long defence of orthodoxy, I can't see the point in the case of Cambodia. This tension between unorthodox beliefs and practices and conservative tradition is an ongoing and major issue for both Burmese and Thai Buddhism. In Myanmar and to a lesser extent in Thailand there are innumerable amulet making, horoscope casting monks and innumerable superstitious laypeople to encourage them. These beliefs and practices, which are derived from Hinduism and fragments of the Mahayana are considered 'beyond the pale' and a serious threat to conservative inherited tradition. In part this threat is a myth invented by the state, and in Thailand by the monarchy, to suppress popular aspects of Buddhism that could feasibly develop into uprisings and revolts. In the past popular charismatic monks with a millennial agenda could indeed incite peasants into a revolt against the state. So any kind of popular, superstitious or unusually mystical monk had to be suppressed immediately by government forces. In practice this meant that the kings of Thailand and Burma would send an army to kill or permanently imprison the monk responsible. For all their failings the Dhammakaya monks are not stupid and so they put all their efforts into recruiting devotees from the Thai military and police. The result was a standoff on a highway near their temple between an army sent by the king and an army of temple supporters complete with TV cameras. In a time before global TV their temple would certainly have been obliterated. On the one hand there is the argument that such rigid control of Buddhism by the state, in which the monks are fostered by the state in return for doing exactly what they are told, has actually crippled Theravada Buddhism. On the other hand there is the argument that the purity of the inherited canon must be preserved at all costs. For my part, I wish to see the Theravada tradition preserved in its inherited form without being adulterated by folk religion. However in the case of Cambodia this tradition, which was already in a long decline, has been shattered by the genocide of the Khmer Rouge. Since it now has to be reconstructed why not rebuild it in a new form? The idea that herbal medicine, horoscopes, martial arts and so forth are inherently dangerous and incompatible with Buddhism is of course nonsense. Safeguards can easily be instituted to allow these practices to become safe and mainstream, much like Himalayan and Far Eastern Buddhism. Due to the legacy of the Hindu-Buddhist Khmer empire Cambodian Buddhism has always been deeply magical, indeed all the magic of SE Asia comes ultimately from their culture. So rather than fighting against itself Khmer Buddhism should not be ashamed of its differences and should instead glory in them. My suggestion is that young Cambodian monks should be covered with Khmer tattoos, and highly trained in ancient Khmer martial arts and Herbal medicine :jedi: . Instead of being underground, which has its dangers, these aspects of Khmer culture should be out in the open and trained to a high level of discipline. A sort of 'Angkor Dhammakaya', if you like... ;) In any event, if genuine Khmer martial arts and traditional medicine are not actively preserved then they will be extinct within a generation, and that would be a tragedy, IMHO :smile:
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Re: Khmer Buddhism

Postby Hanzze » Fri Sep 28, 2012 11:59 pm

Cambodia is a playfield for all crazy people in the world who like to mainifest there ego in an spiritual movement. A perfect country for such :alien: and a perfect battle field for a replacement war.

The confused people would love such people like you (actually there are already many). The thing is only that things always come back. So be carefull about your views. Even it seems to be secure while sitting in a far away livingroom.

I would even not wonder if you are one of this funny Cambodian "monks" which are Dhammakaya faszinated and Dali Lama crazy. That just comes from watchinh to much TV, in 20 years, it will be more relaxed again.
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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Re: Khmer Buddhism

Postby Hanzze » Sat Sep 29, 2012 2:15 am

I must admit that this thread was meant to be a little tongue in cheek (Khmer Jedi etc.)...mainly I wanted to discuss Stanley Tambiah's thesis. However your reply is offensive and personal again Hanzze, although admittedly it's hard it's to know what you are talking about through Google Translate. For the record, I am not a supporter of the Dhammakaya movement, but I do know their vice-abbot and many of their monks, likewise His Holiness the Dalai Lama, I haven't worked for him for many years but I remain very fond of him, however I am not 'crazy' about him.
R.


So why not provide "Stanley Tambiah's thesis" (what ever it might be), then we have a good base for a good discussion. We can compare it with Buddhas "thesis" and even find out if it would fit to it.

Actually, this Dhammakaya movement is not so different to the Angkor movement and you can be sure that is only a question of some years till Cambodian mainstream jumps on the train. You might be interested in his article: Tantric Theravada in Cambodia and you can be sure that SEAsian people are easy misuseable for such things again and again.
Maya and Satheyya does not disapear, as well as moha-carita does not diapear, actually they nurish each other and give their wandering on a reason. One can only free one self out of the stream of his past actions and Buddha provided the way out.
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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