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Research on The Integration of Foreign Monks into Thai Buddhism
Based on this model, Last offers examples of monks who fit the characteristics of integrationists, resisters, and separationists. Western monks are placed into these categories based on their reactions to three important aspects of Thai culture: hierarchy, indirectness, and non-confrontation.
“Westerners tend to come from an egalitarian viewpoint. So there tends to be at least more of an attempt to have a group process [at Wat Pa Nanachat] There’s a lot of discussing and explaining with Westerners.” The emphasis on democratic processes can also be seen in the leadership roles at Wat Pa Nanachat. Unlike in Thai monasteries, the abbotship is not a permanent position but rotates every five or so years.
Another reinterpretation has to do with hierarchy and Western monks favoring of self-authority rather than that of a specific teacher. “But such trust in exclusively one or even a few teachers tends to be difficult for Westerners . . . are much more apt to read the suttas and compare them with the teachings of contemporary teachers, compare contemporary teachers with one another, and even compare different Buddhist traditions with one another.” (p. 97). Therefore Westerners tend to rely on self-authority rather than following one teacher without question. http://www.wanderingdhamma.org/2010/01/ ... -buddhism/