The only farang (mae chi) in the temple

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The only farang (mae chi) in the temple

Postby gavesako » Sun Nov 03, 2013 7:56 pm

The only farang in the temple

Visitors to Ayutthaya may spy a white woman in robes. She is Margo Somboon, who feels she has found sanctuary from a troubled life

...But in spite of all her apologies - for Americans, for homosexuals and for women - Margo is an incisive straight-talker. She cares little about her appearance and what others think of her. "My tooth broke off about three weeks ago. I ate something somebody gave me and I thought, `What's that in my mouth? Oh, my tooth,"' she says nonchalantly. "But I'm 57 and I look like I'm 75, screw that, you know. It's all going to go to hell sooner or later anyway."

http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/investi ... the-temple

Maybe it follows the recent articles describing the "homeless farang" phenomenon in Thailand.
In the case of a woman, it is harder to find a place to live as a monastic, such as by joining a prestigious forest monastery where the living requisites will be provided by the laypeople. But this particular mae chi is a bit of a weird combination of American eco-activism and Thai superstition...
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: The only farang (mae chi) in the temple

Postby Dhammanando » Sun Nov 03, 2013 8:22 pm

:rolleye:

What a depressing article. The toe-rag of a journalist should be reprimanded for taking unfair advantage of the mentally subnormal.
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: The only farang (mae chi) in the temple

Postby Feathers » Sun Nov 03, 2013 9:25 pm

I'm not entirely sure where you get 'mentally subnormal' from, unless you feel the slight conspiracy fears are a sign of something amiss? I intensely dislike her views on women and gays, but I wouldn't say that makes her mentally subnormal, just that she thinks (very) differently to me.
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Re: The only farang (mae chi) in the temple

Postby Anagarika » Mon Nov 04, 2013 3:07 am

She seems to suffer a paranoid ideation or thought disorder, perhaps from years of alcohol abuse or early onset dementia. The hope would be that this article gives her some notoriety, so that when her health begins to fail and her delusions become more pronounced, there will be some effort to engage people to care for her. I looked at her Twitter account, and she posts frequently, mainly with links to other sites. She might be seen just as eccentric, but the NSA spying ideations seem like a paranoid pathology, along with some of her other comments. I wish her health and happiness, and hope she has people around her to care for her.
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Re: The only farang (mae chi) in the temple

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Nov 04, 2013 5:43 am

gavesako wrote:Maybe it follows the recent articles describing the "homeless farang" phenomenon in Thailand.


Dhammanando wrote:What a depressing article. The toe-rag of a journalist should be reprimanded for taking unfair advantage of the mentally subnormal.


From another thread:
Dhammanando wrote:Some wats will limit the number of homosexuals of the very flamboyant type; the presence of one or two such monks in a wat is no problem, but when you get a whole bunch of ‘screaming queens’ it becomes disruptive as they’re always competing with each other to be the centre of attention.


Venerables, all,

Isn't there some kind of interview or screening process before an abbot allows someone to ordain? It seems that those who are deliberately using the system for other than noble efforts should be denied access to ordination. While homeless people should certainly be given opportunities or programs to move to permanent housing, monasteries are not equipped to be quasi-homeless shelters. Imagine for example, if lay people go to the temple to give dana and one of the "monks" or "nuns" asks them for liquor.

And regarding the third quoted post above, when a monk has almost surely been committing a parakika offense (screaming queen or hetero-casanova), is it common for the monastery to not take action and disrobe the monk?
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Re: The only farang (mae chi) in the temple

Postby m0rl0ck » Tue Nov 05, 2013 12:04 am

BuddhaSoup wrote: She might be seen just as eccentric, but the NSA spying ideations seem like a paranoid pathology,


Actually, if you have been following the news lately, being an anti GMO activist and an american citizen living in a foreign country, its quite likely the NSA is monitoring her internet communications. After all, why should she be special? :)
"When you meditate, don't send your mind outside. Don't fasten onto any knowledge at all. Whatever knowledge you've gained from books or teachers, don't bring it in to complicate things. Cut away all preoccupations, and then as you meditate let all your knowledge come from what's going on in the mind. When the mind is quiet, you'll know it for yourself. But you have to keep meditating a lot. When the time comes for things to develop, they'll develop on their own. Whatever you know, have it come from your own mind.
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Re: The only farang (mae chi) in the temple

Postby lyndon taylor » Tue Nov 05, 2013 12:11 am

good point!!!
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
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Re: The only farang (mae chi) in the temple

Postby Dhammanando » Tue Nov 05, 2013 1:37 am

David N. Snyder wrote:Isn't there some kind of interview or screening process before an abbot allows someone to ordain? It seems that those who are deliberately using the system for other than noble efforts should be denied access to ordination.


In some monasteries —notably those of Ajahn Chah— the screening consists in the requirement that one spend a year or so as an 8-precept anagarika and then a samanera before being granted higher ordination. In most other wats in Thailand there is really no screening to speak of. All that most abbots require of a candidate is that there should some respectable person (a school teacher, civil servant, doctor, etc.) to vouch for his good character. If you have such a person most abbots will arrange for you to be ordained in a matter of days, with no questions asked. After that it’s trusted that the monastic training itself will weed out those who aren’t really monk material.

And regarding the third quoted post above, when a monk has almost surely been committing a parakika offense (screaming queen or hetero-casanova), is it common for the monastery to not take action and disrobe the monk?


It sometimes happens that no action is taken, but I don’t know if this is common or not.
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: The only farang (mae chi) in the temple

Postby Dhammanando » Tue Nov 05, 2013 1:39 am

Feathers wrote:I'm not entirely sure where you get 'mentally subnormal' from,


I meant ‘mentally subnormal’ in the strictly clinical sense. In my opinion it’s not possible for a woman raised in the west to adopt a set of beliefs like Margo Somboon’s unless her critical faculty has atrophied to the point where she has no more capacity for evaluating truth-claims than a wide-eyed six-year-old child.
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: The only farang (mae chi) in the temple

Postby lyndon taylor » Tue Nov 05, 2013 2:23 am

Is insulting women, even if it might be true, a form of right speech?????

The ideas she's expressing about female rebirth etc are actually pretty commonly held relatively mainstream views in Thailand, from what I've heard.
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
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Re: The only farang (mae chi) in the temple

Postby Dhammanando » Tue Nov 05, 2013 2:38 am

lyndon taylor wrote:Is insulting women, even if it might be true, a form of right speech?????


Words aimed at hurting another's feelings would be harsh speech (pharusā vācā), while those aimed at provoking disaffection in one person or group towards another person or group would be divisive speech (pisuṇā vācā). Both of these would be wrong speech. My own words, however, were intended as a diagnosis, and were not communicated with the aim of hurting anyone or provoking disaffection in anyone.
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: The only farang (mae chi) in the temple

Postby lyndon taylor » Tue Nov 05, 2013 2:40 am

Well I can pretty much guarantee her feelings would have been hurt, or have been hurt if she has read your comments and others.
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
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Re: The only farang (mae chi) in the temple

Postby Dhammanando » Tue Nov 05, 2013 2:41 am

lyndon taylor wrote:The ideas she's expressing about female rebirth etc are actually pretty commonly held relatively mainstream views in Thailand, from what I've heard.


They are common in Thailand, but not mainstream. It's chiefly among the urban Chinese commercial class that one meets with the belief that an adulterer or adultress will be reborn a fixed number of times in hell, then so many times as a ‘ladyboy’, then so many times as a woman, etc. A popular form of merit-making among these people is to publish free-distribution cartoon books illustrating this rather naïve conception of kammavipāka and appealing to readers who’ve acted immorally to repent, pray to Kuan Yin and perform deeds of merit (such as sponsoring more copies of the book!). Among elderly Thai ladies of little education these books seem to be roughly the equivalent of Mills & Boon and other chicklit romance stories in their popularity and addictiveness.
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: The only farang (mae chi) in the temple

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Nov 05, 2013 3:08 am

Dhammanando wrote:In some monasteries —notably those of Ajahn Chah— the screening consists in the requirement that one spend a year or so as an 8-precept anagarika and then a samanera before being granted higher ordination.


Thanks for the info. The procedure in the Ajahn Chah monasteries sounds like a good plan (to me).
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Re: The only farang (mae chi) in the temple

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Nov 05, 2013 3:12 am

lyndon taylor wrote:The ideas she's expressing about female rebirth etc are actually pretty commonly held relatively mainstream views in Thailand, from what I've heard.


Even if those views are common, that wouldn't make them true or dhammic (argumentum ad populum).

Senior monks are allowed to rebuke junior monks. It is one of the misconceptions that the Buddha never rebuked anyone. He admonished bad monks several times.
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