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

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: Surin monk accused of B56m fraud

Postby Ben » Thu Jul 18, 2013 5:36 am

Thank you, Bhante.
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Re: Surin monk accused of B56m fraud

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu Jul 18, 2013 5:49 am

forestmat wrote:Feel free to take whatever you believe is the correct course of action with this thread.

I am not a moderator here. I already took what I believe to be correct course of action by airing my opinions. However, you didn't answer my question about your reasons for posting these stories. Are you a non-Buddhist who is just trolling, or do you have some other motivation? Do you honestly think you're doing us all a favour by highlighting these scandals? What could it possibly achieve?
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Re: Surin monk accused of B56m fraud

Postby Ben » Thu Jul 18, 2013 6:10 am

forestmat wrote:
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:No one's trying to sweep things under the carpet, but repeating scandals from public newspapers on a Buddhist discussion forum is a waste of everyone's time — I regard it as trolling. We can all find those articles ourselves if we're interested in such tittle-tattle.


Greetings Bhikkhu Pesala,

apologies if you feel that my post in the Lounge forum was 'trolling'.

Feel free to take whatever you believe is the correct course of action with this thread.


Hi Forestmat,

For what its worth - I don't consider what you were doing as intentionally trolling.

However, we do need to be mindful that many of the things we come across be they publications, newspaper articles or news stories on TV or radio are at best a version of the truth. At worst - little more than unsupported allegation. Because something gets published or is aired by the BBC or some other authority - it doesn't mean that its representative of the truth or correct. Quite often, it is incomplete, biased and one-sided. Be sure that many issues whether they relate to events within a monastery or in the secular world are far more complicated than what is presented in the press (or other publications).

All of us need to be careful that we do not pour petrol on the fire by propagating untested allegation as fact or participating in trial by popular opinion. While Dhamma Wheel is a discussion forum devoted to the Dhamma of the Theravada - no one here has an absolute right to discussion. All of us have a responsibility to ourselves and to protect the Dhamma and the best way we can do that is by devoting ourselves to walking on the path. If we personally know of misdeeds - then your concerns should be lodged with the relevant authorities.
The moderators, administrators and I will be reviewing our terms of service with regards to right speech in light of recent discussions.
kind regards,

Ben
"Only those who take to meditation with good intentions can be assured of success. With the development of the purity and the power of the mind backed by the insight into the ultimate truth of nature, one might be able to do a lot of things in the right direction for the benefit of mankind."

Sayagyi U Ba Khin


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Re: Scandals in the Sangha and the relevance to our practice

Postby Mr Man » Thu Jul 18, 2013 7:26 am

I think it is important moment when you realise your teachers aren't what you would like them to be. Buddhism as it "is" is not what I want to be. Monks behave in a way that "I" don't think is appropriate & it goes on - this is the world.
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Re: Surin monk accused of B56m fraud

Postby BlackBird » Thu Jul 18, 2013 7:33 am

I don't consider what you have done trolling, forestmat, and I don't think you should be subjected to such criticism, I find the fact that you have been, quite an unjustified judgement and quite ironic given the sentiments expressed in this thread. I hope your experience in this thread has not discouraged you from participating on these forums, it shouldn't.

I''ll just leave it at that.
"And so, because this Teaching is so different from what Westerners are accustomed to, they will try to adapt the Teaching to their own framework. What they need to learn to do is not to adapt the Teaching to their own point of view but to adapt their own point of view to the Teaching. This is called saddhá, or faith, and it means giving oneself to the Teaching even if the Teaching is contrary to one’s own preconceived notions of the way things are."- Ven Bodhesako

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Re: Surin monk accused of B56m fraud

Postby forestmat » Thu Jul 18, 2013 11:18 am

Clearly I misunderstood the meaning of ''Lounge" - Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.

Bhikkhu Pesala - forgive me for not answering your questions...

I am a Buddhist - have lived in Asia for the best part of 20 years, including for some several years of my life in various monasteries in Thailand, Nepal, India, Sri Lanka and four years in the UK.

I am also married to a Thai and live in the northeast of Thailand where I now work as a registered photojournalist.

My motivation was nothing more than posting an article on Thai Buddhism in the Lounge forum of Dhamma Wheel of news that involved a fairly large amount of misappropriated money, coming as it does hot on the heels of the recent Luang Pu Nen Kham story. I see now that perhaps I shouldn't have posted, despite having checked first to see that other members had started similar threads by posting 'news' items.

Ben and BlackBird, thank you both for your comments.

Apologies to all for having posted - I will endeavour to be more mindful in future and may I take this opportunity to ask for your forgiveness.
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Re: Surin monk accused of B56m fraud

Postby perkele » Thu Jul 18, 2013 11:32 am

forestmat wrote:Clearly I misunderstood the meaning of ''Lounge" - Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.

No no, you did not misunderstand. It feels only maybe for some a bit "hot" at the moment. No need to apologize.
And one other very important thing that some here have noticed lately, is that sangha scandals are not really good for "casual discussion".

Although what you said was certainly not harmful.

Thank you very much for being so considerate, circumspect and patient. It seems really quite needed at this time.

:anjali:
Those who are ashamed of what they should be ashamed of, and are not ashamed of what they should not be ashamed of -- upholding true views, they do not go to states of woe.
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Re: Surin monk accused of B56m fraud

Postby BlackBird » Thu Jul 18, 2013 11:53 am

You need not apologise for posting, your intentions were clearly not as some would like to make out. And as has already been stated, had this thread not being one among many lately in the same vein, you would probably not have been criticised for posting this. Your presence here at the board is valued forestmat, do not be discouraged.

But your humility given the nature of the posts in this thread speaks volumes about yourself, I wish I could be more like you in these situations.

metta
Jack
"And so, because this Teaching is so different from what Westerners are accustomed to, they will try to adapt the Teaching to their own framework. What they need to learn to do is not to adapt the Teaching to their own point of view but to adapt their own point of view to the Teaching. This is called saddhá, or faith, and it means giving oneself to the Teaching even if the Teaching is contrary to one’s own preconceived notions of the way things are."- Ven Bodhesako

Nanavira Thera's teachings - An existential approach to the Dhamma | Ven. Bodhesako's essay on anicca
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Re: Scandals in the Sangha and the relevance to our practice

Postby perkele » Thu Jul 18, 2013 11:58 am

Mr Man wrote:I think it is important moment when you realise your teachers aren't what you would like them to be. Buddhism as it "is" is not what I want to be. Monks behave in a way that "I" don't think is appropriate & it goes on - this is the world.

There are still good monks. We must learn how to support the sangha. Of course it is a question of culture. When in the culture over there all breaks down, still some noble ones search for other shores.
But the noble ones have their own customs, namely: any old lodging will do, etc...
So they will even go quite unsupported and endure much hardship.

We also have some good monks and monasteries in the West (and nuns of course, not to forget). It's a question of generosity, providing the means.

But of course also in Asia there are still good monks. We can't be so prejudiced and think we know all, only because we like to indulge in slander. Of course it's probably true, there's quite a lot of corruption. But this low mood actually comes from rejoicing in such in some subconscious depressed way. Advocates of the apocalypse can do much damage. But when really things break down we must be circumspect and also have to see how to support the noble ones that are left, if we want to benefit from the continued existence of the Buddha Sasana. I think the reason lies very much in that in our consumer culture, generosity and gratitude are mostly forgotten. So good things break down. Everyone wants to "get". But where does it come from?
Conditions must be supported.

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:In the past, I have spoken out against corruption when I knew from direct observation that it was going on, and got expelled from my last residence for my efforts. I have left another monastery of my own accord for the same reasons, and got thrown out of another because others didn't agree with me.

Such integrity must also be supported.


Of course, everyone in their own sphere, how they support and where they support and if they support, all in line with their own good intentions.
Step by step good conditions grow from good intentions.
"The giving of gifts is good", said the blessed one.
From giving, everything grows.
Those who are ashamed of what they should be ashamed of, and are not ashamed of what they should not be ashamed of -- upholding true views, they do not go to states of woe.
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Re: Surin monk accused of B56m fraud

Postby appicchato » Thu Jul 18, 2013 12:57 pm

Perhaps I'm the one that should be apologizing, I'm the one that lit the match...sorry...
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Surin monk accused of B56m fraud

Postby GraemeR » Thu Jul 18, 2013 12:59 pm

forestmat wrote:Clearly I misunderstood the meaning of ''Lounge" - Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.

Bhikkhu Pesala - forgive me for not answering your questions...

I am a Buddhist - have lived in Asia for the best part of 20 years, including for some several years of my life in various monasteries in Thailand, Nepal, India, Sri Lanka and four years in the UK.

I am also married to a Thai and live in the northeast of Thailand where I now work as a registered photojournalist.

My motivation was nothing more than posting an article on Thai Buddhism in the Lounge forum of Dhamma Wheel of news that involved a fairly large amount of misappropriated money, coming as it does hot on the heels of the recent Luang Pu Nen Kham story. I see now that perhaps I shouldn't have posted, despite having checked first to see that other members had started similar threads by posting 'news' items.

Ben and BlackBird, thank you both for your comments.

Apologies to all for having posted - I will endeavour to be more mindful in future and may I take this opportunity to ask for your forgiveness.


Personally I can't see any reason why anyone could object to passing on a news article related to Thai Buddhism such as this

We ought to be mature enough to face up to criticism and discriminate news reports

With Metta

Graham
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Re: Scandals in the Sangha and the relevance to our practice

Postby Mr Man » Thu Jul 18, 2013 3:27 pm

This is taken from Ajahn Sumedho -

Having found a teacher like Ajahn Chah, I remember wanting him to be perfect. I'd think, 'Oh, he's a marvellous teacher -- marvellous!' But then he might do something that would upset me and I'd think, 'I don't want him to do anything that upsets me because I like to think of him as being marvellous.' That was like saying, 'Ajahn Chah, be marvellous for me all the time. Don't ever do anything that will put any kind of negative thought into my mind.' So even when you find somebody that you really respect and love, there's still the suffering of attachment. Inevitably, they will do or say something that you're not going to like or approve of, causing you some kind of doubt -- and you'll suffer.

At one time, several American monks came to Wat Pah Pong, our monastery in Northeastern Thailand. They were very critical and it seemed that they only saw what was wrong with it. They didn't think Ajahn Chah was a very good teacher and they didn't like the monastery. I felt a great anger and hatred arising because they were criticising something that I loved. I felt indignant -- 'Well, if you don't like it, get out of here. He's the finest teacher in the world and if you can't see that then just GO!' That kind of attachment -- being in love or being devoted -- is suffering because if something or someone you love or like is criticised, you feel angry and indignant.

http://enlight.lib.ntu.edu.tw/FULLTEXT/JR-MISC/misc139982.pdf
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Re: "The Broken Buddha" by Ven.Dhammika and other scandals

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Jul 18, 2013 4:33 pm

Moderator note:

Lately there have been several threads relating to scandals in the Sangha. Too many threads relating to this subject gives the appearance of a tabloid. Not allowing such threads would give an appearance of hiding the truth. Therefore, we will allow the posting of scandals, as long as it remains in the frame of Right Speech, not gossiping and as long as such posts are placed into this thread. Do not make any new threads relating to Sangha scandals. Thank you for your cooperation.
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Re: "The Broken Buddha" by Ven.Dhammika and other scandals

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu Jul 18, 2013 4:44 pm

Should One Criticise Shameless or Immoral Monks?

“When a person, knowing a monk to be shameless or immoral, speaks ill of him or condemns him, either directly or indirectly, does he attract the ten evil results? (Dhp v 1237) By doing so, is he free from evil or not?”


Right Speech (Sammā Vācā).

"And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech."

— SN 45.8
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Re: "The Broken Buddha" by Ven.Dhammika and other scandals

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Jul 18, 2013 5:43 pm

Thank you, Bhante.

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:Should One Criticise Shameless or Immoral Monks?

“When a person, knowing a monk to be shameless or immoral, speaks ill of him or condemns him, either directly or indirectly, does he attract the ten evil results? (Dhp v 1237) By doing so, is he free from evil or not?”


Right Speech (Sammā Vācā).

"And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech."

— SN 45.8
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: "The Broken Buddha" by Ven.Dhammika and other scandals

Postby Anagarika » Thu Jul 18, 2013 10:47 pm

In the past, I have spoken out against corruption when I knew from direct observation that it was going on, and got expelled from my last residence for my efforts. I have left another monastery of my own accord for the same reasons, and got thrown out of another because others didn't agree with me.


Reviewing this entire thread with interest, for some time I felt as though Bhante Gavesako was being too passive (censuring was the word he used in one post) with respect to the reporting of alleged corruption that had occurred in a Sri Lanka monastery. With his recent post, I see the courage and internal fortitude he possesses in having to be sanctioned in the past for speaking out in his own home wats against corruption that he himself witnessed. I cannot imagine how difficult it must have been to be thrown out because other brethren in the temple would not validate the corruption. Anumodana sadhu for your courage.

I am glad the moderators took the position that some reporting of alleged corruption can take place here at DW. I've seen what conspiracies of silence have done in terms of damage at other institutions (Buddhist and otherwise), and I guess as a former prosecutor there's a part of me that relishes seeing people doing damage to others held to account. Dhamma Wheel, I hope, remains an open forum for sober and sensible discussion of what is good within the Sangha, as well as what might be amiss. I am glad this vehicle for various voices exists, and it falls to the rest of us not not let it become "tabloid,'" but at least exist as one vehicle for publishing issues of concern. I am glad the moderators took the middle path on this issue, and their temperance is one more validation of the value of Dhamma Wheel to serious members of the sangha.
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Re: "The Broken Buddha" by Ven.Dhammika and other scandals

Postby perkele » Thu Jul 18, 2013 10:48 pm

For what it's worth, yesterday I wrote this:
But other things get in between, so I waited.

Ben wrote:Hi Forestmat,

For what its worth - I don't consider what you were doing as intentionally trolling.

However, we do need to be mindful that many of the things we come across be they publications, newspaper articles or news stories on TV or radio are at best a version of the truth. At worst - little more than unsupported allegation. Because something gets published or is aired by the BBC or some other authority - it doesn't mean that its representative of the truth or correct. Quite often, it is incomplete, biased and one-sided. Be sure that many issues whether they relate to events within a monastery or in the secular world are far more complicated than what is presented in the press (or other publications).

All of us need to be careful that we do not pour petrol on the fire by propagating untested allegation as fact or participating in trial by popular opinion. While Dhamma Wheel is a discussion forum devoted to the Dhamma of the Theravada - no one here has an absolute right to discussion. All of us have a responsibility to ourselves and to protect the Dhamma and the best way we can do that is by devoting ourselves to walking on the path. If we personally know of misdeeds - then your concerns should be lodged with the relevant authorities.
The moderators, administrators and I will be reviewing our terms of service with regards to right speech in light of recent discussions.
kind regards,

Ben


Sadhu, Ben!

We all need to calm down a bit and be more patient.

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:In the past, I have spoken out against corruption when I knew from direct observation that it was going on, and got expelled from my last residence for my efforts. I have left another monastery of my own accord for the same reasons, and got thrown out of another because others didn't agree with me.


Sadhu, Bhante Pesala!
It is important to keep such integrity and very admirable.
Idle gossip is not wholesome, and keeping even problematic situations for oneself as long as one does not know how they help anyone, requires very much sacrifice and patience and a strong heart.
In the Na Unaya thread we had a very painful glimpse into the difficulties with corruption in monastic life. One could see how these ex-monks from Na Unaya were very cautious and concerned not to unduly slendour the sasana, and not to harm the even very little good conditions that may still be left somewhere and not to endanger others, even giving considerate and compassionate advice to laypeople who would like to consider staying at Na Unaya, saying that it might nevertheless be a good place for them, really totally coming only from a place of giving. Because they have been "invited" so to speak by a very circumspect person. And that even after being poisoned and having friends killed! They had concern even for the Parajika monks, but of course mostly and importantly for the sasana, really knowing their way well! They really had a lot of compassion and were very circumspect. There was no lynching mentality or anything. Being caught in such a dangerous situation is heavy to bear with such heavy knowledge on one's heart, and being able to speak out skillfully where even someone might have a bit of understanding to learn from it wisely and considerately, can be such a great relief. Then one has given and shared something valuable and can move on with more peace. In fact, this is important for us, too! Really, Nirosh was clearly completely coming from a place of giving and integrity. And for Rob1980 it must have surely been such a great relief to be able to come into contact with him here and get some helpful, wholesome and encouraging advice and new strength, and he was very considerate for none of us to accrue wrong ill-will towards his endangered friends! So one should at least rejoice in this! Really, there is great reason to rejoice, that he may find new peace now, and courage!
And we should really have much gratitude here for BlackBird's compassionate act of investigating with sincerity!
Of course, this should not degenerate into a sensationalist gossip story, as is generally most often the case with the casual news-spreaders here and everywhere in the world. But it was not the same underlying intention as those more common. In fact, I cannot see this would have been possible to happen with this story here, had it been left open after these ex-monks came here and spoke with consideration. But of course I understand Ben's great responsibility, and he is really doing a good job! So he should rejoice likewise in having patiently provided those noble ones hospitality for long enough to have some reconciling, healing discussion between noble friends, while at the same time sharing awareness for those who might see clearly. The awareness should not be spread and directed to the whole crowd in a gossiping way. People who have no interest will leave it, and it's better. But actually now this happens by suppressing things which should not have been suppressed.
As one could see there was a lot of danger they were aware of, much more than we can fathom, and they had to be very careful. It must be such a horripilating heavy burden to bear, having been with others in such corrupted situations and seen them suffering, and always having to be aware not to put them in danger, yet they spoke very considerately, really sharing a gift for all of us, because there was a window of wholesome opportunity of sharing awareness. Even though it may be heavy to take. One does not have to take what is given if one cannot accept it. There is no fault in it. It is wholesome to abstain. That is one's own responsibility. But one should not be angry at someone who gives with compassion and even slander it as unwholesome. It was given, because there was an "invitation" so to speak, by a person acting considerately. So one should always stick to just that what is given. If it was not given for you, then leave it. We are very hungry indulging in such things and getting paranoid and angry of what other poor people might think. Actually it's our own thinking. It is hard to take it with consideration. But some can. So you should let them.
So as you also know of corruption by own experience, you certainly might have some imagination how heavy it might have been for those monks.
And you really should have at least some compassion for your good fellow ex-monks who bravely endured so much suffering. And you should really consider whether you would have been able to cope so well and with honor in such a heavy situation.
Please be considerate.

This:
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:In the past, I have spoken out against corruption when I knew from direct observation that it was going on, and got expelled from my last residence for my efforts. I have left another monastery of my own accord for the same reasons, and got thrown out of another because others didn't agree with me.

I wrote yesterday to put you at ease and able to rejoice in the wholesome, and not for the sake of feeling wrongly honored.

Being wrongly honored is a heavy burden. I know this from experience.

It is important to learn right honor.


What you wrote here...
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:Should One Criticise Shameless or Immoral Monks?

“When a person, knowing a monk to be shameless or immoral, speaks ill of him or condemns him, either directly or indirectly, does he attract the ten evil results? (Dhp v 1237) By doing so, is he free from evil or not?”


Right Speech (Sammā Vācā).

"And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech."

— SN 45.8

... is not very considerate. It invites to ambiguous allusions. You are not clear about what you want to convey.

A quote from the text Should One Criticise Shameless or Immoral Monks?:
Those who slander or condemn others with harsh words commit serious evil only if a Buddha, Pacceka Buddha or Noble One are objects of their condemnation.

So, what is it then, have you slandered a noble one?
Please be considerate.

It can invite some other allusion: that you have not done wrong. If it was for this purpose, to prove that you have not done wrong, quoting ambiguously, allusively, this is not the right way.


Recently you have given this advice:
In a higher sense, we all have to "die" to remove our clinging to self-view. Without seeing things as they really are no one can relinquish their views — specifically, one imagines things to be permanent, though they are not, to be the source of happiness, though they are not, and as belonging to a self, though they do not.

It is very timely advice. Please take it, with compassion and consideration. And don't get me wrong. Don't kill yourself.



So, what do you think is right speech, people?
If it hurts it is not right speech?
Please be considerate.



It is important to point out faults, especially heavy faults, out of compassion, not anger.
But it is not like this: that the greater the anger one feels, the more right it is to accuse of wrong. Actually the own anger is wrong.

Here we have to keep in mind what binocular taught us again and again.

Please take it with consideration. No need to react quickly. I will go to sleep now.

And remember Bhante Gavesako, who skillfully left the situation with proper shame and consideration reflecting alone for himself. Of course he will come back gladly, having done well.
Sadhu!

No need to fear.
Good friends will always reconcile.

:anjali:
Those who are ashamed of what they should be ashamed of, and are not ashamed of what they should not be ashamed of -- upholding true views, they do not go to states of woe.
(suggested by SamBodhi)
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Re: "The Broken Buddha" by Ven.Dhammika and other scandals

Postby BlackBird » Thu Jul 18, 2013 11:41 pm

I have had a bit of a personal change of heart regarding my involvement in these topics. I asked myself last night: What would the Buddha say to me about all this? I think he would ask me:
------------------
Does all this lead to passion or to dispassion?
It leads to passion Bhante.

Is what leads to passion to be cultivated or abandoned?
Abandoned Bhante.

So do not involve yourself in these things, for progress in this Dhamma is achieved by cultivating dispassion, not by cultivating passion.

------------------
That's how I think the Buddha would council me about this.

That's not to say I believe we should not speak about these things as a community from time to time. As others have said a 'conspiracy of silence' I believe could be quite damaging, and I am never in favour of censorship where it is not absolutely necessary. I think it's also necessary to reiterate one final time, because clearly there are some people and Venerables who think my intentions are unskillful: My intentions were almost always for the purposes of trying to improve the state of the Sasana, to help rid it of detritus and to help prevent people from winding up in monasteries that might lead to their disillusionment, where they otherwise might have ordained.

I would caution everyone, lay and ordained too, against projecting intentions onto people. We are not mind readers. If we make judgements of people's intentions without actually knowing them, we run the risk of making them feel bad. Those kind of judgements are never skillful.

I thank the moderation team for a reasoned and moderate decision that takes into account the merits of both sides of this argument.

And finally, I think now might be a good opportunity for me to ask for forgiveness from any persons whom I may have offended by my speech here. I have never intended to offend anyone or to ever make anyone feel unwelcome. So I am sorry if that has ever been the case. I would hope that any further interactions between us might be amicable.

metta
Jack
"And so, because this Teaching is so different from what Westerners are accustomed to, they will try to adapt the Teaching to their own framework. What they need to learn to do is not to adapt the Teaching to their own point of view but to adapt their own point of view to the Teaching. This is called saddhá, or faith, and it means giving oneself to the Teaching even if the Teaching is contrary to one’s own preconceived notions of the way things are."- Ven Bodhesako

Nanavira Thera's teachings - An existential approach to the Dhamma | Ven. Bodhesako's essay on anicca
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Re: "The Broken Buddha" by Ven.Dhammika and other scandals

Postby Anagarika » Fri Jul 19, 2013 12:02 am

Having said what you said, Jack, I have always thought you come from a good place with your insightful comments and observations. In other words, http://youtu.be/iDPwBN_IKxs

Metta,

Mike
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Re: "The Broken Buddha" by Ven.Dhammika and other scandals

Postby SarathW » Fri Jul 19, 2013 12:48 am

:goodpost:

Great discussion.

Quote for the day from my desktop calendar:

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world"
Mahatma Ghandi
:)
SarathW
 
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