Monks and Nuns cohabitating

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Re: Monks and Nuns cohabitating

Postby Annapurna » Wed Jun 09, 2010 9:13 am

Thank you, Bhante. Always refreshing to hear you.


PS: Mike, I see only questions in the OP...? :shrug: I don't think I could have asked in any other way! :embarassed: :toilet:
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Re: Monks and Nuns cohabitating

Postby Sheranne » Wed Jun 09, 2010 11:37 pm

Hi everyone:
I asked the question, because I was considering a teacher. I have not known of Theravada monks and nuns living together; I thought that they are always separate. I don't have many examples, and I thought historically it was possible that nuns helped out the monks and acted as assistants. The example I am aware of is in the US, and so I thought possibly this is more common in the US.

I have found people on this list to be confrontational, reactive, and mean-spirited. Everyone so ready for a fight. I came back to the list, because I know there is a ton of experience and intellectual understanding here. But people lacking in ability to give someone a tiny benefit of doubt.

I was uncomfortable asking outright of this teacher, but I will do so now, because I really do not understand what I am seeing, and you all are not helpful but jump to the wrong conclusions and are quick to think the worst of the question asker. Sher
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Re: Monks and Nuns cohabitating

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Jun 10, 2010 12:38 am

Greetings Sheranne,

Sheranne wrote:I have found people on this list to be confrontational, reactive, and mean-spirited. Everyone so ready for a fight.

I think some are only trying, out of respect and deference, to defend what they think is under attack. It is worth trying to see things from other people's perspectives, even if we don't agree with them. I can understand the defensive reaction, but don't find it useful personally, as I think a less emotive approach is more conducive to dispassionately addressing the issues at hand. People ask questions with all kinds of different motivations, and it is good that you have gone to the effort to clarify yours so that they needn't be second guessed. Hopefully now the questions can be answered in a satisfactory way, with relevance to your situation.

As for myself, I would not accept an ordained Theravada teacher who had poor compliance with the Vinaya. As pointed out earlier, there's different shades of 'co-habitating', so I would endeavour to find out whether the teacher's action were compliant or not. I think the Vinaya should be the benchmark in these circumstances.

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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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Monks and Nuns cohabitating

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Jun 10, 2010 1:22 am

Hi Sher,
Sheranne wrote:I was uncomfortable asking outright of this teacher, but I will do so now, because I really do not understand what I am seeing, and you all are not helpful but jump to the wrong conclusions and are quick to think the worst of the question asker. Sher

I am sorry that you find the reactions unhelpful. Personally, I try to maintain a respectful attitude towards the Sangha, and your questions made me feel a little uneasy, and were hard to address without being extremely speculative.

From my point of view, the problem with the question was that it was neither completely direct, and un-suggestive, e.g.:
"Do you know Venerable X and how his monastery is arranged? I'm thinking of approaching him as a teacher.",
or a general question about the Vinaya, etc:
"Are there some monasteries where there are monks and nuns? How does that work?"

If you asked the above direct question then someone might well have given you some very good feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of Venerable X. As it is, I think I can guess who you are talking about, but I am not completely sure, and I don't have any direct experience with him, apart from listening to his recorded talks. So what you've done is raise in my mind questions that really didn't occur to me before: "Is there some problem with this Venerable?", "Can I trust the teachings that I've read or listened to from him?", "Just what is his relationship with Sister Y?"

I hope that makes my reservations clearer.

Metta :anjali:
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Re: Monks and Nuns cohabitating

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Jun 10, 2010 1:35 am

Greetings,

"Can I trust the teachings that I've read or listened to from him?"

I'll be honest, I have no idea precisely who we're talking about here, but if such a person didn't live in accord with the doctrine and the discipline, it would certainly impact the extent to which I feel I could trust their teachings. Mind you, I compare everything to the doctrine and the discipline anyway as my frame of reference so perhaps it wouldn't have such an impact with regards to my own understanding, but if we're at risk of being steered in the wrong direction by someone it would be better to know about it (as uneasy as it might make us) than to be blissfully ignorant of the true situation. Not gossip or speculation of course, but the true situation, whatever that may be.

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: Monks and Nuns cohabitating

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Jun 10, 2010 2:36 am

Hi Retro,
retrofuturist wrote:I'll be honest, I have no idea precisely who we're talking about here, but if such a person didn't live in accord with the doctrine and the discipline, it would certainly impact the extent to which I feel I could trust their teachings.

I agree. The problem is that this vague talk about co-habitation does not actually allow us to address whether Venerable X is, or is not, living in accordance with the Vinaya. As Ven Paññāsikhara and others have pointed out, there may be perfectly good arrangements that are in accord with the Vinaya.

And some of these rules are not completely straightforward. As far as I understand it, the rules regarding Monks being alone with Women depends on the place. Talking with a woman in our mediation hall is fine, whereas in a small room is not (as I understand it, perhaps someone can clarify).

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Re: Monks and Nuns cohabitating

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Jun 10, 2010 3:05 am

Here are some of the relevant rules regarding a Bhikkhu's interactions with women.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... ti.html#pr
6. Should any bhikkhu lie down together (in the same dwelling) with a woman, it is to be confessed.

7. Should any bhikkhu teach more than five or six sentences of Dhamma to a woman, unless a knowledgeable man is present, it is to be confessed.

44. Should any bhikkhu sit in private on a secluded seat with a woman, it is to be confessed.

45. Should any bhikkhu sit in private, alone with a woman, it is to be confessed.

67. Should any bhikkhu, by arrangement, travel together with a woman, even for the interval between one village and the next, it is to be confessed.

Most of those are easily dealt with by having someone else present.

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Re: Monks and Nuns cohabitating

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Jun 10, 2010 3:43 am

Greetings Mike,

Thank you for bringing some Vinaya to the discussion - it is most appreciated.

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: Monks and Nuns cohabitating

Postby gavesako » Thu Jun 10, 2010 5:20 am

It is normal for example in Thai forest monasteries to have several mae chees (white robed nuns on 8 precepts) staying in the same compound and mainly looked after the kitchen, as well as doing some other chores. They would be under the supervision of the abbot and receive some instructions from him, both practical and regarding Dhamma. Their living quarters would be some distance apart from the monks. In the Ajahn Chah tradition there are some extra rules about this, only more senior monks can have mae chees in their monasteries.

However, I see the potential for problems to arise. The more innocent ones are stories abour rivalry among the mae chees competing for the abbot's attention ;) but it can get even worse. I just heard about one case in Thailand where an abbot (an ex-prisoner who got ordained quickly but obviously was not trained well) killed a mae chee because of jealousy! :o
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Re: Monks and Nuns cohabitating

Postby Annapurna » Thu Jun 10, 2010 7:10 am

Sheranne wrote:Hi everyone:
I asked the question, because I was considering a teacher. I have not known of Theravada monks and nuns living together; I thought that they are always separate. I don't have many examples, and I thought historically it was possible that nuns helped out the monks and acted as assistants. The example I am aware of is in the US, and so I thought possibly this is more common in the US.

I have found people on this list to be confrontational, reactive, and mean-spirited. Everyone so ready for a fight. I came back to the list, because I know there is a ton of experience and intellectual understanding here. But people lacking in ability to give someone a tiny benefit of doubt.

I was uncomfortable asking outright of this teacher, but I will do so now, because I really do not understand what I am seeing, and you all are not helpful but jump to the wrong conclusions and are quick to think the worst of the question asker. Sher


This reaction is exactly what could be expected.

Wouldn't it be far better to ask what was meant before jumping to conclusions ?

"Hey, I'm in doubt how you meant this, and before I jump to conclusions, please explain more."


It's one of the most valuable lessons I have learned from some fellow Buddhist members here!

The problem is, probably, that is goes by unnoticed, when we assume.

Metta,

Anna
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Re: Monks and Nuns cohabitating

Postby Mukunda » Thu Jun 10, 2010 6:27 pm

Annapurna wrote:
Sheranne wrote:Hi everyone:
I asked the question, because I was considering a teacher. I have not known of Theravada monks and nuns living together; I thought that they are always separate. I don't have many examples, and I thought historically it was possible that nuns helped out the monks and acted as assistants. The example I am aware of is in the US, and so I thought possibly this is more common in the US.

I have found people on this list to be confrontational, reactive, and mean-spirited. Everyone so ready for a fight. I came back to the list, because I know there is a ton of experience and intellectual understanding here. But people lacking in ability to give someone a tiny benefit of doubt.

I was uncomfortable asking outright of this teacher, but I will do so now, because I really do not understand what I am seeing, and you all are not helpful but jump to the wrong conclusions and are quick to think the worst of the question asker. Sher


This reaction is exactly what could be expected.

Wouldn't it be far better to ask what was meant before jumping to conclusions ?

"Hey, I'm in doubt how you meant this, and before I jump to conclusions, please explain more."


It's one of the most valuable lessons I have learned from some fellow Buddhist members here!

The problem is, probably, that is goes by unnoticed, when we assume.

Metta,

Anna


Far too many people would rather address what they are INFERRING is written than what actually IS written. But there's no way you'll get them to either see or admit this.

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