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

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Re: The Nude Monk's Burning Robes

Postby BlackBird » Thu Jun 20, 2013 7:30 pm

Dan74 wrote:
alan wrote:Sad, but true--all religions attract losers, those emotionally empty, and layabouts. It's even worse in cultures that encourage Monk-worship.
Take off your blinders, friends. We have a real problem here. Buddhism is dying because of people like these.


I am sure there are corrupt monks and even whole temples, Alan. Here in Australia, the temples I know a little about seem to be doing quite well. As for Thailand, Sri Lanka, etc, what can we do?

About this particular case, I have been around long enough to know that not everything that circulates around can be trusted and I would really hate for people to be unfairly depicted. These stories can spread very quickly and ruin people's lives, if the laity turns away from the temple due to rumours, for instance.

To give some context to my skepticism, just the other week I was visiting a prison here. A middle-aged respectable looking inmate came to the Buddhist service and proceeded to reveal horrific things about a respected Thai monk resident in Melbourne. He knew a lot about him, rolled off many details, but mixed in with the fact, what gradually emerged was nightmarish fantasy. Along with me, there was a Zen monk there who knew the monk in question quite well. Bit by bit it became clear that the inmate was not mentally sound and was likely there for stalking and harassing the poor bhikkhu.


It is entirely possible this text has be written by a person in a similar circumstance. For all we know the author could have been an absolute nut case, but obviously a very cunning one with a great imagination and attention to detail.

All the more reason to be having this discussion, because if enough attention is drawn to it, we might get an answer from someone who has personal knowledge of the veracity of these claims.

metta
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"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: The Nude Monk's Burning Robes

Postby binocular » Fri Jun 21, 2013 8:04 am

BlackBird wrote:All the more reason to be having this discussion, because if enough attention is drawn to it, we might get an answer from someone who has personal knowledge of the veracity of these claims.

And then we'd have to unconditionally trust that person ...


BlackBird wrote:Really, the reason is to let people who might be intending to stay there or ordain there (as I once was intending) know what might be taking place there. It's important that they know that this account exists, and there is a value in attempting to find out if there is any truth to the matter.

I would think that anyone who is interested in staying at a monastery would first check it out personally. Such as by first staying at a hotel and visiting the monastery for a week or so. And only afterwards, if everything seemed alright, go to stay at the monastery, if such accomodation is possible.

If something awkward is going on at a place, there are usually signs of it visible, even to the casual visitor.
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Re: The Nude Monk's Burning Robes

Postby householder » Sat Jun 22, 2013 12:17 pm

Haven't read yet, but do any of the allegations top evidence of certain Myanmar monks (ostenibly, at least, they're monks) running around with swords or preaching anti-Muslim hate speech?
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Re: The Nude Monk's Burning Robes

Postby BlackBird » Sun Jun 23, 2013 10:45 am

binocular wrote:I would think that anyone who is interested in staying at a monastery would first check it out personally.


People often travel great distances for the express purpose of staying at a particular monastery, to study under a particular teacher or method. So you would think wrong my friend ;)
"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: The Nude Monk's Burning Robes

Postby binocular » Mon Jun 24, 2013 1:58 pm

BlackBird wrote:People often travel great distances for the express purpose of staying at a particular monastery, to study under a particular teacher or method. So you would think wrong my friend

If people think that a Buddhist monastery is much like a tourist destination, and that if they're not happy with it they can demand some kind of refund or compensation for their dissatisfaction, that's their thing ...
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Re: The Nude Monk's Burning Robes

Postby EmptyShadow » Mon Jun 24, 2013 11:28 pm

Hi BlackBird,
I just noticed your post in this topic viewtopic.php?f=30&t=16995
BlackBird wrote:I've heard good things about Na Uyana.
and I couldnt help but think how easy our view is shaped by what we hear or read from other people. :smile:
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Re: The Nude Monk's Burning Robes

Postby BlackBird » Tue Jun 25, 2013 4:41 am

binocular wrote:
BlackBird wrote:People often travel great distances for the express purpose of staying at a particular monastery, to study under a particular teacher or method. So you would think wrong my friend

If people think that a Buddhist monastery is much like a tourist destination, and that if they're not happy with it they can demand some kind of refund or compensation for their dissatisfaction, that's their thing ...


You've arrived at a strange conclusion given what I said. Nobody said anything about tourist destinations. I've never heard of anyone demanding refunds or asking for compensation. But I've met plenty of people who have travelled great distances to practice meditation under a particular teacher of whom they have heard good things about. I did so myself, and if I had not come across the teachings of Ven Nyanavira I probably would still be there today.


EmptyShadow wrote:Hi BlackBird,
I just noticed your post in this topic http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=30&t=16995
BlackBird wrote:I've heard good things about Na Uyana.
and I couldnt help but think how easy our view is shaped by what we hear or read from other people. :smile:


Well yes

You're right. When I was in Sri Lanka, if you asked anyone about good meditation monasteries it was either Meetirigala, Na Uyana or Kanduboda. Having stayed at Meetirigala and Kanduboda, Na Uyana was the only one I didn't make it to. I visited a kiwi monk in the central highlands of Sri Lanka in Laggala who was quite insistent that he take me to Na Uyana and that I would be able to ordain there quite easily. He was full of praise for it, so naturally until I came across this I was full of praise for it also, not having any reason to distrust the views of the venerable Kiwi monk, who was rather famous in Sri Lanka as a yogi.

Nevermind such is the way of the world.

metta
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"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: The Nude Monk's Burning Robes

Postby robertk » Tue Jun 25, 2013 5:07 am

I found the book quite interesting. I guess after almost 30 years travelling in Asia such things are pretty much what I have seen for myself: although I must say it seems rare that others see it .
I remember when I knew the monk Phra Yantra quite well. He was a very friendly monk who I personally liked but I never had any delusions about his supposed 'arahant ' status. I even liked it that I had some reflected shine due to my knowing him.
He was so popular that on holidays one of his temples in kanchanaburi attracted so many pilgrims that the traffic jams built for up to 20 kms away..
then when the sex scandal broke his supporters and the majority of Thailand were in absolute hate against the women who accused him. It took about 2 years before it became clear that they were telling the truth. I was never surprised because he was simply a monk with no special status (IMHO) from what he said to me and from what I could see of his understanding. But for some Buddhist it was like he had taken away their faith in the Dhamma.

Th phrase in the book about "one month in kandabodha, 6 months in the mental institution ' is one I haven't heard for a long time but I think it is good the writer mentions it. So many new Buddhist have very unrealistic desires for attainments that can really screw them up badly. When I was staying at the Godwin Samaratne (sp?) meditation center near Kandy he told me how one of his main jobs is visiting the various mental institutions in the area to counsel the inmates who were there after doing intensive meditation courses. Some of then would shake in fear simply at seeing his white anagarika uniform - which reminded them of their time at the center apparently.
Which is worse : the ones who deludedly think they have made some special progress, or the despairing ones who think they can't make progress? Both of which we see the author mentions in his book. Anyway I think it can help the over confident, the one who wants attainments, to see some of the more obvious pitfalls.
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Re: The Nude Monk's Burning Robes

Postby BlackBird » Tue Jun 25, 2013 5:28 am

Thank you Robert, I very much enjoyed reading your response.
"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: The Nude Monk's Burning Robes

Postby Mr Man » Tue Jun 25, 2013 7:17 am

robertk wrote: When I was staying at the Godwin Samaratne (sp?) meditation center near Kandy

:offtopic:
Hi robertk
Not sure what (sp?) means but the centre is called nilambe.
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Re: The Nude Monk's Burning Robes

Postby robertk » Tue Jun 25, 2013 7:47 am

it means i wasn't sure of the spelling. i looked it up and found it is spelt Godwin Samararathne who has actually passed away since I was there. yes thanks the name was Nilambe, a very nice place high on a small mountain surronded by a tea plantation. Idyllic even.
i was there for 3 weeks in 1989
What did you think of it?

edit. i should add in case it wasn't clear that the people who Godwin counseled weren't from Nilambe retreats as far as i know. he took a relaxed style and only had a couple of set sitting periods a day, and those were optional..
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Re: The Nude Monk's Burning Robes

Postby Mr Man » Tue Jun 25, 2013 8:13 am

robertk wrote:it means i wasn't sure of the spelling. i looked it up and found it is Spelt Godwin Samararathne who has actually passed away since I was there. yes thanks the name was Nilambe, a very nice place high on a small mountain surronded by a tea plantation. Idyllic even.
i was there for 3 weeks in 1989
What did you think of it?


I was there in 1982 and did a retreat with Ven. S. Dhammika and stayed on for a few days. Godwin was also there at that time and was mentoring. It was a profound and intense experience.
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Re: The Nude Monk's Burning Robes

Postby robertk » Tue Jun 25, 2013 1:13 pm

nice to know that!
ven Dhammika has been around for a long time, although i never met him.

remembering all this makes me want to go back. i was in sri lanka last year with my wife and she wanted me to take her there but I wanted to spend the time in the ancient temples..

sorry for all the off topic posts everyone.
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Re: The Nude Monk's Burning Robes

Postby binocular » Tue Jul 02, 2013 12:47 pm

BlackBird wrote:
binocular wrote:
BlackBird wrote:People often travel great distances for the express purpose of staying at a particular monastery, to study under a particular teacher or method. So you would think wrong my friend

If people think that a Buddhist monastery is much like a tourist destination, and that if they're not happy with it they can demand some kind of refund or compensation for their dissatisfaction, that's their thing ...


You've arrived at a strange conclusion given what I said. Nobody said anything about tourist destinations. I've never heard of anyone demanding refunds or asking for compensation. But I've met plenty of people who have travelled great distances to practice meditation under a particular teacher of whom they have heard good things about. I did so myself, and if I had not come across the teachings of Ven Nyanavira I probably would still be there today.

I think that it is irresponsible to go merely by hearsay in one's choice of what monastery to stay at or what teacher to study with. Sure, some people go merely by hearsay. And often, it works out well. Other times, not so much.
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Re: The Nude Monk's Burning Robes

Postby BlackBird » Tue Jul 02, 2013 1:20 pm

binocular wrote:I think that it is irresponsible to go merely by hearsay in one's choice of what monastery to stay at or what teacher to study with. Sure, some people go merely by hearsay. And often, it works out well. Other times, not so much.


Really? Comon man...

Monasteries develop positive reputations, people write about their experiences, come home to their friends and share said experiences. People you have some measure of trust in give an account, and you've got no reason not to trust it.

Have you ever stayed in a monastery before, at all? Have you ever travelled at all for the purposes of Dhamma?

If not, I don't think you're qualified to get on your high horse and start criticising the decision making process of other people. Heck, I don't think you're qualified to do that in any case. Think and believe what you wish, there's nothing irresponsible about travelling to a place to stay without first having visited it.
Last edited by BlackBird on Tue Jul 02, 2013 1:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"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: The Nude Monk's Burning Robes

Postby binocular » Tue Jul 02, 2013 1:27 pm

Why did you start this thread?
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Re: The Nude Monk's Burning Robes

Postby BlackBird » Tue Jul 02, 2013 2:12 pm

binocular wrote:Why did you start this thread?


How about you answer the questions I posed to you first, namely:

1. Have you spent time in a monastery?
2. Have you ever travelled for the purposes of Dhamma?

Maybe then I'll chuck you the bait for your follow on.

It won't take a genius to spot that you've offended me with your criticisms of my decision making process, labelling it "irresponsible." But I figure you've never been in my shoes, or anyone remotely like me's shoes. In which case, I don't really need to be offended, and from here on in, I'll just let it go.
"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: The Nude Monk's Burning Robes

Postby binocular » Wed Jul 03, 2013 9:23 am

BlackBird wrote:It won't take a genius to spot that you've offended me with your criticisms of my decision making process, labelling it "irresponsible."


"So, as I said, Kalamas: 'Don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, "This contemplative is our teacher." When you know for yourselves that, "These qualities are unskillful; these qualities are blameworthy; these qualities are criticized by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to harm & to suffering" — then you should abandon them.' Thus was it said. And in reference to this was it said.

"Now, Kalamas, don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, 'This contemplative is our teacher.' When you know for yourselves that, 'These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to welfare & to happiness' — then you should enter & remain in them.



This is a Buddhist discussion forum, and I posted my opinion on going only by hearsay in one's committments. If you choose to feel judged by this opinion - that is your choice.



But I figure you've never been in my shoes, or anyone remotely like me's shoes.

I've been around enough and long enough to become more careful about my standards for making committments. And I've learned this the hard way, fortunately or unfortunately.

To each his own.
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Re: The Nude Monk's Burning Robes

Postby BlackBird » Wed Jul 03, 2013 10:05 am

You still haven't answered the questions. That's twice now you've neglected the opportunity to front up, and chosen instead to ignore my request for an answer.
"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: The Nude Monk's Burning Robes

Postby binocular » Wed Jul 03, 2013 6:20 pm

BlackBird wrote:You still haven't answered the questions.

Because they are irrelevant, only distract from the point.
Besides, I did address them when I said I've been around enough and long enough etc.

I had thought that with this OP, you'd be willing to explore the criteria by which to make committments, such as the committment to stay at a particular monastery or with a particular teacher, and how problems ensue if one isn't careful enough.
Which is why my first post in this thread was about abused students who, in most cases, saw it coming, but didn't do anything about it.

:shrug:
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