Ajahn Brahm for sale?

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Re: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun May 12, 2013 6:28 pm

Ajahn Brahmali wrote:
... but by no means do I say that money may be consented to or sought for in any way at all.

What the poster does not mention is that this concerns becoming the owner of money oneself. Clearly, this is not what Ajahn Brahm is doing.

The 10 points discussed at the Second Council included accepting money "for the Sangha," not for one's personal needs.

Whether, its for one's own needs, or for the Sangha's needs, asking for monetary donations is not allowable. If an invitation is made, one can say what the Sangha needs.

I don't think this would apply to urging people to donate to, e.g. victims of a cyclone or an earthquake, because it is neither for oneself, nor for the Sangha. Still, putting conditions on such donations, saying, “If you donate $100 to the relief fund I will give a talk would still be unsuitable for a monk.”

This is not going to cause the demise of the Buddhasāsana, but its worth reminding people that donations and teachings must both be given with no strings attached.
Last edited by Bhikkhu Pesala on Sun May 12, 2013 9:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby Mindstar » Sun May 12, 2013 7:51 pm

I remember Ajahn Brahm saying:

To baldly go where no man has ever gone before


I think it fits :lol:
Wherever he goes, there he is unafraid.. Wherever he sleeps, there he is unalarmed!
The nights and days does neither touch nor burn him. He sees nothing in this world
that is to be kept or lost.. Therefore his mind dwells in goodwill and gentle kindness
towards all beings until he falls asleep.
SN I 110
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Re: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun May 12, 2013 8:57 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:The 10 points discussed at the First Council included accepting money "for the Sangha," not for one's personal needs.

Whether, its for one's own needs, or for the Sangha's needs, asking for monetary donations is not allowable. If an invitation is made, one can say what the Sangha needs.


Hi Bhante,

Wasn't that the Second Council? And wasn't that when the monks were specifically going out on alms requesting money? At least somewhat different, if not completely different from what Ajahn Brahm is doing.

Also notable at the Second Council was the rejection of "Following a certain practice (which violates Vinaya) because it was done by one's tutor or teacher."
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Re: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun May 12, 2013 9:03 pm

Yes, of course, my mistake, it was the Second Council.

The monks put out a donation bowl and asked the devotees to donate money for the Sangha's needs:
Tena kho pana samayena Vesālikā vajjiputtakā bhikkhū tadahuposathe kaṃsapātiṃ udakena pūretvā majjhe bhikkhusaṅghassa ṭhapetvā āgatāgate Vesālike upāsake evaṃ vadanti — “dethāvuso, saṅghassa kahāpaṇampi aḍḍhampi pādampi māsakarūpampi. Bhavissati saṅghassa parikkhārena karaṇīya”nti.

I don't have time to look up a translation at the moment.
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Re: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby Alex123 » Sun May 12, 2013 11:14 pm

How will Theravāda survive with such strict rules regarding money, etc? This is not 5th Century BC India. What worked then and there might not work today.

Didn't the Buddha allow to remove minor rules? So what is the problem? These are not Pārājika or Saṅghādisesa offenses.
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Re: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby retrofuturist » Sun May 12, 2013 11:27 pm

Greetings,

Alex123 wrote:How will Theravāda survive with such strict rules regarding money, etc?

Generally speaking, bhikkhus receive more food than they could possibly eat. Materially they are substantially better off than they were in the past as well.

Bhikkhunis have a tougher time of things because the locations where the laity contribute more to the Sangha don't necessarily co-incide with the locations where bhikkhunis are situated or respected.

That said, what do they, or any monastics really need? They did not enter the Sangha to enter into a life of luxury. If they have the requisites they should feel blessed.

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)


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Re: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby Alex123 » Mon May 13, 2013 12:29 am

retrofuturist wrote:that said, what do they, or any monastics really need? They did not enter the Sangha to enter into a life of luxury. If they have the requisites they should feel blessed.


One needs to pay for the land as it is private property. One needs to pay for the building. In colder climates one needs to pay for gas/electricity to heat it. If a monk needs medical care, there is no king sympathetic to monks who can pay for physician that will do it for free to the monks. etc etc.
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Re: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby BlackBird » Mon May 13, 2013 12:34 am

What's the harm? It's for a good cause. A few people need to take a chill-sit instead of criticising Ajahn Brahm, their time would be better spent minding their own mind states. :juggling:
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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: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby Lazy_eye » Mon May 13, 2013 1:29 am

BlackBird wrote:What's the harm? It's for a good cause. A few people need to take a chill-sit instead of criticising Ajahn Brahm, their time would be better spent minding their own mind states. :juggling:

:goodpost:
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Re: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby Cittasanto » Mon May 13, 2013 4:26 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

Alex123 wrote:How will Theravāda survive with such strict rules regarding money, etc?

Generally speaking, bhikkhus receive more food than they could possibly eat. Materially they are substantially better off than they were in the past as well.

Bhikkhunis have a tougher time of things because the locations where the laity contribute more to the Sangha don't necessarily co-incide with the locations where bhikkhunis are situated or respected.

That said, what do they, or any monastics really need? They did not enter the Sangha to enter into a life of luxury. If they have the requisites they should feel blessed.

Metta,
Retro. :)

:goodpost:
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Re: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby marc108 » Mon May 13, 2013 5:26 am

retrofuturist wrote:Bhikkhunis have a tougher time of things because the locations where the laity contribute more to the Sangha don't necessarily co-incide with the locations where bhikkhunis are situated or respected.


do you really believe Bhikkhunis have a tougher time because of their location?
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Re: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon May 13, 2013 6:05 am

Greetings,

marc108 wrote:do you really believe Bhikkhunis have a tougher time because of their location?

You've oversimplified what I actually said, but the primary example that comes to mind is Thailand.

In Thailand, bhikkhunis are rarely recognised, but there are massive donations made to bhikkhus.

By contrast, in Australia the bhikkhuni movement is more likely to be recognised / acknowledged / accepted, but the dana culture isn't as strong here.

blackbird wrote:A few people need to take a chill-sit instead of criticising Ajahn Brahm

Once again there's this unjustified assumption that those who disagree are experiencing unwholesome mental states...

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


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Re: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon May 13, 2013 5:08 pm

I agree with retro that 'unwholesome mind states' do not come into play; regardless of which side you are on.

I think this issue comes down to 3 major positions:

1. That what AB is doing is a violation of the Vinaya, that it involves 'trade'. And that the end does not justify the means.
2. That the goal is so noble, that this is not a violation of Vinaya and that AB does not profit from this.

I think both positions make good points. While the goal is certainly noble, it is never the case that the end always justifies the means. To use an extreme example, if monks started stock brokering at their computers to raise funds for the Sangha, there would obviously be complaints from the community about the Vinaya violations (even though the funds obtained would all go to the Sangha and not the individual monks).

And then there is a third position, which I am leaning toward:

3. AB is offering his time for teaching, not anything else and he doesn't directly benefit. Although, there could be the argument that AB indirectly benefits as the 'spiritual head' over the bhikkhuni monastery to be built. The goal is noble and it is to benefit the bhikkhunis who are in need of housing. The effort pushes to a possible gray area, but the monastics are allowed to hint at the need for a dwelling and the funds obtained are just for that: housing; not any luxurious living arrangements.
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Re: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby Mr Man » Mon May 13, 2013 5:38 pm

Came across this yesterday: Cittaviveka Finances 2012/13 http://www.cittaviveka.org/files/CittavivekaFinances2012-13.pdf
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Re: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby BlackBird » Tue May 14, 2013 10:25 am

Well yes and no Retro. We're always filling in the blanks with our assumptions. Sometimes assumptions are not justified, and sometimes it's a fair cop of a guess.
Having observed the thread, I happen to be of the opinion that it's a fair cop of a guess (your posts excluded). Maybe I'm wrong, but even so it's not bad advice - A simple reminder for those who seek fault in the actions of others to pay attention to their own mindstates, as it is often possible when we find fault in others that our mind states aren't wholesome.

How often can you honestly say you go fault finding with a mind filled with compassion? In my case the answer is not often. Before you ask, In finding fault with fault finding - I have been careful of my own, as I'd hate to wind up a hypocrite ;)

But before this becomes overly meta in nature, I ought to reiterate it's merely a suggestion, nobody need listen to me or follow my advice.
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Re: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby gavesako » Tue May 14, 2013 3:07 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

marc108 wrote:do you really believe Bhikkhunis have a tougher time because of their location?

You've oversimplified what I actually said, but the primary example that comes to mind is Thailand.

In Thailand, bhikkhunis are rarely recognised, but there are massive donations made to bhikkhus.

By contrast, in Australia the bhikkhuni movement is more likely to be recognised / acknowledged / accepted, but the dana culture isn't as strong here.



I have just visited Nirotharam Bhikkhuni monastery at Chom Thong, near Chiang Mai, northern Thailand, where a beautiful large meditation hall with an adjacent Cetiya in Sri Lankan style has been built for them. It must have cost many millions of Baht, and was apparently all donated by a single woman sponsor from Bangkok. So I would not say that bhikkhunis in Thailand lack material support.
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Re: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby BlackBird » Wed May 15, 2013 12:55 am

gavesako wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

marc108 wrote:do you really believe Bhikkhunis have a tougher time because of their location?

You've oversimplified what I actually said, but the primary example that comes to mind is Thailand.

In Thailand, bhikkhunis are rarely recognised, but there are massive donations made to bhikkhus.

By contrast, in Australia the bhikkhuni movement is more likely to be recognised / acknowledged / accepted, but the dana culture isn't as strong here.



I have just visited Nirotharam Bhikkhuni monastery at Chom Thong, near Chiang Mai, northern Thailand, where a beautiful large meditation hall with an adjacent Cetiya in Sri Lankan style has been built for them. It must have cost many millions of Baht, and was apparently all donated by a single woman sponsor from Bangkok. So I would not say that bhikkhunis in Thailand lack material support.


This is very good to see Bhante, but I believe Retro was speaking in general.

Let's use another example to illustrate the point. The mahanikaya has something like 200,000 monks (correct me if I'm wrong). Of that, only one group - The Ajahn Chah forest lineage can reliably be expected to keep excellent vinaya and to meditate, while there are other monasteries and temples within the mahanikaya that most certainly do keep good vinaya and maybe some meditate too, you still have a minority of monks who do. Just so there is not a majority of lay people in Thailand that support Bhikkhunis, there may be groups that do - But nothing on the scale of the support Bhikkhu's receive.

metta
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Re: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby retrofuturist » Wed May 15, 2013 1:14 am

Greetings Jack,

BlackBird wrote:How often can you honestly say you go fault finding with a mind filled with compassion?

To me it's not "fault finding"... it's...

(1) respect for the institution of the Sangha,
(2) respect for the ideals upon which the Buddha founded the Sangha, and
(3) concern that both the institution and these ideals are being needlessly compromised by such fundraising activity.

There is no fault finding for the sake of finding fault, nor any enjoyment derived from it.

As Bhikkhu Pesala mentions above, a comparable situation was discussed at the Second Council and such behaviour was deemed inappropriate by the Sangha.

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


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Re: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby BlackBird » Wed May 15, 2013 1:28 am

Fair enough then, don't mind me :)
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'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: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby kilanta » Thu May 16, 2013 1:09 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:3. AB is offering his time for teaching, not anything else and he doesn't directly benefit. Although, there could be the argument that AB indirectly benefits as the 'spiritual head' over the bhikkhuni monastery to be built. The goal is noble and it is to benefit the bhikkhunis who are in need of housing. The effort pushes to a possible gray area, but the monastics are allowed to hint at the need for a dwelling and the funds obtained are just for that: housing; not any luxurious living arrangements.


This sounds like the most compassionate interpretation of the situation. And that's nicely in line with AB's own idea of always going along with the most compassionate interpretation. I'd vote for that.
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