Alms-giving to what seems like a corrupt temple in my city

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dylanj
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Alms-giving to what seems like a corrupt temple in my city

Post by dylanj »

I live in San Francisco, California. The only Theravādin temple here is Wat San Fran Dhammaram, which was founded by Acariya Thoon Khippapanyo.

http://watsanfran.org/about-us/

There are a few resident monastics there. I went there a couple months ago to ask about alms-giving & had a short talk with one of the monks. He told me they don't meditate...I was taken aback by this...his explanation was that their teacher emphasized right view above everything else, that people apparently are rarely helped by meditation, & that many people in the suttas attained realization without meditating. I haven't gone back since & have not given alms, I do not feel like they are practicing as monastics should. But I am worried I am potentially creating unwholesome kamma by, as a lay person, judging them to not be 'real' recluses & monks...they were extremely kind & hospitable...the center seems like it's a Thai cultural center as much as or more than a Buddhist center but they give Dhamma talks & host the events you'd expect a temple to have...should I give them alms anyway?
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Bonded by decay and death – a nest for sickness, perishable
Produced by seeking nutriment – not fit to take delight in


Departure from this is peaceful – beyond reasoning and enduring
Unborn, unarisen – free from sorrow and stain
Ceasing of all factors of suffering – stilling of all preparations is bliss
Caodemarte
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Re: Alms-giving to what seems like a corrupt temple in my city

Post by Caodemarte »

maranadhammomhi wrote:I live in San Francisco, California. The only Theravādin temple here is Wat San Fran Dhammaram, which was founded by Acariya Thoon Khippapanyo.

http://watsanfran.org/about-us/

There are a few resident monastics there. I went there a couple months ago to ask about alms-giving & had a short talk with one of the monks. He told me they don't meditate...I was taken aback by this...his explanation was that their teacher emphasized right view above everything else, that people apparently are rarely helped by meditation, & that many people in the suttas attained realization without meditating. I haven't gone back since & have not given alms, I do not feel like they are practicing as monastics should. But I am worried I am potentially creating unwholesome kamma by, as a lay person, judging them to not be 'real' recluses & monks...they were extremely kind & hospitable...the center seems like it's a Thai cultural center as much as or more than a Buddhist center but they give Dhamma talks & host the events you'd expect a temple to have...should I give them alms anyway?
Your donations are entirely up to you and there may be other places you would feel more comfortable with. You may want to contact Bay area Theravada centers and ask them if they have San Francisco branches or know of local groups (I suspect they would also receive donations). I know nothing personally about them, but a quick internet search in the Bay Area shows:


Mettananda Vihara
4619 Central Ave., Fremont CA 94536
Tel: (510) 795-0405
Tradition: Theravada, Burmese
Vipassana Meditation-Mahasi Method
Spiritual Director: Ashin Dhammapiya
Teachers: Ashin Kawthida & Ashin Nyarnika


Theravada Buddhist Society of America / Dhamananda Vihara
17450 S Cabrillo Highway, Hal Moon Bay, CA 94019
Contact Person: U Osadha
Tel/Fax: (650) 726-7604
Email: [email protected]
Web site: http://www.tbsa.org
Tradition: Theravada, Burmese / Mahasi Vipassana
Spiritual Director: U Silananda
Teachers: U Sobhana, U Jotalankara, U Osadha, U Nandisena

Spirit Rock Meditation Center
5000 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, Woodacre, CA 94973
Tel: (415) 488-0164, Fax: (415) 488-0170
Email: [email protected]
Web site: http://www.spiritrock.org
Tradition: Mixed
Affiliation: Insight Meditation Society (MA)
Teachers: Jack Kornfield, James Baraz, Sylvia Boorstein, Anna Douglas

Theravada Buddhist Society of America / Dhamananda Vihara
17450 S Cabrillo Highway, Hal Moon Bay, CA 94019
Contact Person: U Osadha
Tel/Fax: (650) 726-7604
Email: [email protected]
Web site: http://www.tbsa.org
Tradition: Theravada, Burmese / Mahasi Vipassana
Spiritual Director: U Silananda
Teachers: U Sobhana, U Jotalankara, U Osadha, U

Wat Brahmacariyakaram
4485 South Orange Avenue, Fresno, CA 93725
Tel: (559) 264-5644
Tradition: Theravada, Thai

Wat Buddhanusorn
36054 Niles Boulevard, Fremont, CA 94536-1563
Tel: (510) 790-2294, Fax: (510) 796-9043
Email: [email protected]
Web site: http://www.watbuddha.iirt.net
Tradition: Theravada, Thai

Wat Buddhapradeep of San Francisco
310 Poplar Ave. San Bruno, CA 94066
Tel: (650) 615-9528, 615-9688
Fax: (650) 583-8083, 742-6657
Email: [email protected]
Web site: http://www.wat-thai.com
Tradition: Theravada, Thai

Wat Chaobuddha of San Bernardino
3495 Gray Street, San Bernardino, CA 92407
Tel: (909) 880-2762, Fax: 880-2762
Tradition: Theravada, Thai

Wat Mongkolratanaram
(Berkeley Thai Temple)
1911 Russell Street, Berkeley, CA 94703
Tel: (510) 849-3419, 840-9034, Fax: 845-8150
Abbot: Ajahn Manat
Tradition: Theravada, Thai

Wat Nagara Dhamma
(Wat Nakorntham)
3225 Lincoln Way, San Francisco, CA 94122
Tel: (415) 665-7566, Fax: (415) 665-9892
Tradition: Theravada
dharmacorps
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Re: Alms-giving to what seems like a corrupt temple in my city

Post by dharmacorps »

I am in Oakland and have seen this too. Nothing against these Wats, they can make for enjoyable visits. But if you are meditation minded and forest tradition oriented, you will probably want to make your way to Abhayagiri near Ukiah. They are also have a monthly visit of the monks from Abhayagiri at Berkeley Buddhist church.
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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Alms-giving to what seems like a corrupt temple in my city

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala »

Right-view is certainly vital, especially the right-view that realisation comes about through practising meditation, not without it. Those many people in the Suttas who gained realisation just by listening to a short or detailed teaching had practised meditation intensively in previous lives (like Bāhiya Dārucirya who gained it faster than anyone else), so they could gain insight and Path Knowledge rapidly.

Others, even during the Buddha's time, had to practice for half a day, one day, seven days, seven weeks, seven months, or seven years to attain the paths (as it says in the conclusion of the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta).

Of the Four Type of Capacity for Path Attainment, only the latter two are said to remain nowadays.
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perkele
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Re: Alms-giving to what seems like a corrupt temple in my city

Post by perkele »

The idea that one should not give to this temple, because the monks say that they don't practice meditation I think would be overly judgmental, and to even suggest that the monks seem "corrupt" because of that is akin to a very serious accusation.
maranadhammomhi wrote:But I am worried I am potentially creating unwholesome kamma by, as a lay person, judging them to not be 'real' recluses & monks...
Maybe you do. At least by insinuating that these monks are "corrupt" - without so far giving any compelling reason for this, it seems to me, you do.
maranadhammomhi wrote:they were extremely kind & hospitable...the center seems like it's a Thai cultural center as much as or more than a Buddhist center but they give Dhamma talks & host the events you'd expect a temple to have...should I give them alms anyway?
Why should you not? Did the Buddha say anywhere there is an occasion where you should not give, where it would be evil, unwholesome to give?

Sure, if they are corrupt, and you know they are, and that they would use your gifts, whatever they may be, for unwholesome purposes, that might be a good reason for concluding that giving anything to them would be wrong.

Maybe I don't understand the problem. But from what you wrote I don't see any hint to such possible assumptions.
Caodemarte
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Re: Alms-giving to what seems like a corrupt temple in my city

Post by Caodemarte »

You are not required to give donations to any specific temple or center. Give to who you like or to any charity.
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Re: Alms-giving to what seems like a corrupt temple in my city

Post by lyndon taylor »

The Cambodian temple I ordained at did not do much meditation, though they never discouraged it, mostly chanting, which is some form of meditation. They were a beacon of hope to a displaced refugee community, helped the homeless, gave food and assistance to the needy, so yes they were a temple that deserved charity, much as I suspect is the case with the one the OP mentions. Most Therevada temples, Thai Forest tradition exempted, focus much more on chanting scriptures than silent meditation, in fact emphasis on meditation is the exception for most Therevada practitioners, I believe.
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, sincerely former monk John

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Re: Alms-giving to what seems like a corrupt temple in my city

Post by bhante dhamma »

from what i've seen the dana system is a double edged sword, ideally its perfect, the laity get the opportunity to develop 'kusala dhamma's' and the samanas can uae it to develeop 'indriya samvara'. But as always it gets back to how its done, the intentions and mind states on both sides determines the outcome, in my case as a monk when someone does dana either to the wat or me individually its almost always beneficial in a number of different ways, as long as the 'cetana' before during and after (abhidhamma) is correct.

I just recently did a short tudong and ended up in a 'tiratana' place (sect from england) which doesnt have a monastic sangha and yes-the lack of dana practice - was apparant.....'here he makes the effort to abandon unwholesome states'

I guess my answer would be in the context of what is in my opinion the best sutta on dana (sappurisa danaA.N 8..giving gifts frequently) if the place is the closest near by then it would be good to keep going there as the act of offering is also good to repeat, much less giving at the right time, giving that which is excellent and so on..

hope that helped

namo buddhaya
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Re: Alms-giving to what seems like a corrupt temple in my city

Post by perkele »

bhante dhamma wrote:from what i've seen the dana system is a double edged sword, ideally its perfect, the laity get the opportunity to develop 'kusala dhamma's' and the samanas can uae it to develeop 'indriya samvara'. But as always it gets back to how its done, the intentions and mind states on both sides determines the outcome, in my case as a monk when someone does dana either to the wat or me individually its almost always beneficial in a number of different ways, as long as the 'cetana' before during and after (abhidhamma) is correct.

I just recently did a short tudong and ended up in a 'tiratana' place (sect from england) which doesnt have a monastic sangha and yes-the lack of dana practice - was apparant.....'here he makes the effort to abandon unwholesome states'

I guess my answer would be in the context of what is in my opinion the best sutta on dana (sappurisa danaA.N 8..giving gifts frequently) if the place is the closest near by then it would be good to keep going there as the act of offering is also good to repeat, much less giving at the right time, giving that which is excellent and so on..

hope that helped

namo buddhaya
Sadhu!
Thanks for sharing some practical experiences, Bhante.

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Re: Alms-giving to what seems like a corrupt temple in my city

Post by gavesako »

Beyond the Stream of the World
by Phra Acariya Thoon Khippapanno

Often when there is widespread interest in subject, there are also widespread misunderstandings. This is certainly true of the current interest in Buddhist meditation. Many different – and sometimes contradictory – methods of meditation are presently available, and the beginning meditator often finds it difficult to know which methods are partial or lopsided when viewed in terms of the Buddha’s path, and which are balance and complete.

The purpose of this book is to give the reader enough background in the factors of the Buddha’s path to make an informed choice in deciding which method of meditation to pursue. It emphasizes Right View – the first factor of the path – as having crucial importance, for without the development of Right View through reasoned investigation of physical and mental processes, no amount of concentration or mindfulness, bare awareness or "going with the flow" can lead to absolute freedom form suffering.

Included is an appendix, which suggests a number of beginning techniques in walking and sitting meditation for use in conjunction with the approaches for developing Right View, discussed in the body of the book.

The author, abbot of a forest monastery in northeastern Thailand, has written several Dhamma books, and is frequently invited to Bangkok to teach.

http://www.dhammatalks.net/Books/Acariy ... _World.htm
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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DC2R
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Re: Alms-giving to what seems like a corrupt temple in my city

Post by DC2R »

Phra Anandapanyo, one of the resident monks at Wat San Fran, has an account here on Dhamma Wheel. He has not been active for a while.

I regularly watch his "Buddhism class" videos; he is knowledgeable and understands that some groups practice meditation more than others. He even gave me advice in regards to my meditation practice through email correspondence. Like perkele said, I would not go as far as calling Wat San Fran a "corrupt" temple.
Notice
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Re: Alms-giving to what seems like a corrupt temple in my city

Post by Notice »

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote: Wed Mar 29, 2017 9:04 pm
Others, even during the Buddha's time, had to practice for half a day, one day, seven days, seven weeks, seven months, or seven years to attain the paths (as it says in the conclusion of the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta).
How is one to make sense of these seemingly arbitrary time projections? I know sayadaw speaks about it and prefacing that a buddha does not speak unambiguously and only speaks what is true. Therefore one of middling intelligence, wisdom or understanding would become an arahant or non returner within 7 days or a maximum of 7 years. There appears to be a rather significant contradiction with present reality seeing that there is no shortage of people who have been practicing diligently according to the teachings for far longer than 7 years and have not reached this destination. Are all these people of ‘low intelligence’ or wisdom or deficient in parami which apparently can take lifetimes? If the spectrum of predispositions and/or conditions can vary to such an incredible degree between individuals and span across multiple lifetimes then how is the initial statement of any true benefit or perhaps even justified in distilling it into the categories mentioned? To what category does the stream entrant belong that takes multiple lifetimes to complete the path? Is he or she not of middling intelligence?

In the case that all the above should not be taken literally but as an orientation or aspiration in practice then why the preface about ambiguity?
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Re: Alms-giving to what seems like a corrupt temple in my city

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala »

Notice wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 9:48 amHow is one to make sense of these seemingly arbitrary time projections?
It is not arbitrary. It all depends on causes and conditions. The perfection of individuals is far too complex for anyone other than a Buddha to fully comprehend.

You can find more in the Bodhirājakumāra Sutta.

The belief is that nowadays only two kinds of individuals can be found: those who have sufficient perfections to gain the path if they strive hard enough, and those who cannot attain the path however hard they try. During the time of the Buddha there were also those with sufficient perfections to attain the path on listening to a single verse, or those who can gain the path after listening to a longer discourse.
Mahāpadāna Sutta Aṭṭhakathā wrote:
(a) “Just as there are four kinds of lotus, there are four kinds of individuals (puggala), namely: ugghaṭitaññū, vipañcitaññū, neyya, and padaparama.

(b) “Of those four, he who can grasp the Four Noble Truths on just hearing the Dhamma in essence is called “ugghaṭitaññū.”

(c) “He who can grasp the Four Noble Truths on just hearing a brief exposition of the Dhamma, is called “vipañcitaññū.”

(d) “He who can grasp the Four Noble Truths gradually after being taught the text or the commentary thereon; and pondering on the Dhamma with proper attention; assisted by some competent friend in the Dhamma who teaches the practice and on whom he waits day and night; is called “neyya.”

(e) “He who, in spite of much learning the text and the commentaries, and the subcommentaries, much committing them to memory, much listening to expositions thereon, and much teaching and writing of them himself, cannot grasp the Four Noble Truths, is called “padaparama.”
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Re: Alms-giving to what seems like a corrupt temple in my city

Post by confusedlayman »

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote: Wed Mar 29, 2017 9:04 pm Right-view is certainly vital, especially the right-view that realisation comes about through practising meditation, not without it. Those many people in the Suttas who gained realisation just by listening to a short or detailed teaching had practised meditation intensively in previous lives (like Bāhiya Dārucirya who gained it faster than anyone else), so they could gain insight and Path Knowledge rapidly.

Others, even during the Buddha's time, had to practice for half a day, one day, seven days, seven weeks, seven months, or seven years to attain the paths (as it says in the conclusion of the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta).

Of the Four Type of Capacity for Path Attainment, only the latter two are said to remain nowadays.
That is scary.. 4th type is danger .. i think ordination is must at early age
I may be slow learner but im at least learning...
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