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Alms Needed For Monks To Survive, Deputy Abbot Says


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Bankei...thank you for your generous attitude to my replies, which might have elicited anger in some people.

Tanaka... I feel sorry for you with your attitude. Being here in Thailand surrounded with the wonderful opportunties of the Dhamma, denied to many in the world, you choose to ignore them.

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Some people express their opinion/observation/take, on various religion in a way that some of those devoted to the way of that religion seem to be compelled to give a convincing counter presentation or express sympathy for that individual. Granted all religions seem to have their distractions pointed out by non practicing observers as well as rogue ex members, but I would doubt that many of these people expect, solicit, nor desire sympathy.

I remember a professed soul saver (my term) one time asking for the 10% commitment from members and others. In a face to face conversation, I asked him if he could assure me that he and the heads of his religious group, committed on a personal basis what they asked from their flock? The answer I received, seemed more a attempt to justify the thinking, action of the religious leaders, than real concern and subsequently physical help for those in dire need of same.

Politics and religion have a very distinct similarity. "the bad apple spoils the contents of the barrel". If all groups who receive public funding were to were to spend the effort in helping those in need and document same, instead of justifying their own dogma, and acquiring physical 'things', they might find less hostility in the world.

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Some people do more to help another cause/crusade by being overly/blatantly critical of same, either personally or generally.

I believe that I can honestly say, In the few years I have lived in Thailand, I have heard more vocal attacks by foreigners, against various religions, than I had heard in in the first few decade of my life. Maybe it the heat that affects those who move here, maybe it is a increase in intolerance to those whose opinion/thoughts do not mirror their own? An no, I cannot imagine fred sticking his head in the local pub and chastising the patrons by calling them stupid. He appears to control and present himself as a true Monk and a gentleman with the humility expected from both.

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While in general I agree with tanaka's assessment, he was quite callous in how he expressed it.

Having stated that it is understandable how that would raise the ire of professional Buddhists. A bit troubling that they would allow what they consider 'wrong thought' to upset them to the point that they would recommend that the poster should all but shut up, but one can not control their emotions all the time.

Even more interesting, to me at least, is the similarities between those poster's reactions and those of reactions from other, violent, religions. Refusing to debate the merits of one's beliefs, along with the attempted silencing of opposition would suggest that perhaps those religions could not stand the inquiry of critical thinking mind.

I wasn't raised Christian (went to their churches a couple of times though), but I don't remember any instances of everyone being equal stated as canon. The closest you could get in the (funnily enough considering the poster that started this storm) Tanakh is in Malachi 2.10 where it states:

Have we not all one Father? Did not one God create us? Why do we profane the covenant of our fathers by breaking faith with one another?

But that was directed towards Jewish people, specifically the priests, who were breaking the covenant (specifically divorcing their Jewish wives and marrying non-believers). Taken on its own it could be used to propagate the theory that it was advocating the fact that all are equal. So a fail on both Civics (was in the Declaration of Independence) and Religion (not in the Torah/Tanakh/Talmud/Christian Bible).

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I do not like drinking, but I do not stick my head in pubs and shout that those there are all stupid.

I don't think it's a question of like and dislike; it's a question of correct and incorrect. If you walked past a pub and heard the landlord claiming that drinking ten pints a night will make you immortal, I suspect you might be more tempted to put your head round the door and point out his errors. A lot of people feel the same way about Buddhism. It might be badly or rudely expressed and this forum might - for institutional reasons - be the wrong place to do it, but it's not just a matter of personal preference.

Edited by DanR
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This is the Buddhism forum....if he doesn't like it then he should stay out.

I do not like drinking, but I do not stick my head in pubs and shout that those there are all stupid.

How do you know Tanaka doesn't like Buddhism? It seems to me he was criticing lazy monks. Tanaka may be a devout Buddhist for all you know.

Also I should point out that I am a devout Buddhist myself. But just because you are a Buddhist doesn't mean you have to accept all the cultural baggage that has been added on over the centuries.

The situation with the Bhikkhu sangha today is nothing like it was at the time of the Buddha. It is now an institution. Corruption and decay have set in as well as natural change. Even the so called forest monks have changed since the time of Ajahn Mun - Jim Taylor has written about this in his excellent book Forest Monks nad the Nation State. Domestication starts when the monks started to settle down into temples. From wandering ascetics to domestic priests performing rituals.

There are probably monks out there practicing in the spirit of early Buddhism, but you are unlikely to hear or read about them.

Bankei

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That's the trouble...if you ARE a forest monk, enjoying the peace and solitude of a cave etc., as soon as the lay people find out about you they will assume you ahve attainments and beat a path to your door. Cut down the forest to build a road, build a Viharn to create a temple about you so they can come and give you all kinds of unnecessary things, ruining the very thing you sought. You then have to wait for some other monks to take your place before escaping again in search of peace....the available forest and empty caves getting less and less all the while.

Catch 22??

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Bankei's last paragraph and fred's last sentence probably sum up what a lot of us feel and observe. I think of chasing a rainbow, I may have even driven thru the end of one, one time. Of the various Monks I have met/visited, I may have met some who have attainments I am not sure I have the objectivity to define/recognize either case.

I do know I and many of the people I know, can recognize natural beauty and human need/poverty. The latter is where the individual can make a difference if he is so inclined. Many of us may get a warm feeling in our hearts when we do what we can for those less fortunate, unfortunately (some would say) I have never felt that feeling listening to sermons, chants, etc.

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That's the trouble...if you ARE a forest monk, enjoying the peace and solitude of a cave etc., as soon as the lay people find out about you they will assume you ahve attainments and beat a path to your door. Cut down the forest to build a road, build a Viharn to create a temple about you so they can come and give you all kinds of unnecessary things, ruining the very thing you sought. You then have to wait for some other monks to take your place before escaping again in search of peace....the available forest and empty caves getting less and less all the while.

Catch 22??

Yes, very true.

I recall hearing about a Western monk, (Dutch maybe) in Sri Lanka. He resides in the forest somewhere and only comes out for bindabart once per day before disappearing again. Doesn't give talks, or interviews, but prefers the solitude.

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