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Friday, August 24, 2012

Another Look at Buddhism in Thailand by the Wall Street Journal

The Lead is "In Thailand Today, Teen Monks Express the Spirit to a Rock Beat" and the Wall Street Journal is not some hack rag while the subtitle "Elders Worry Buddhism Is Being Dissed; Modernism, Fewer Births Threaten Faith" I find a bit misleading. First of all there is no such thing as a teenage monk. In the Vinaya monastic discipline, a man under the age of 20 cannot ordain as a bhikkhu, but can ordain as a samanera. So my first question is are Upaciya, monks who ordain, disregarding the vinaya, or did WSJ get it all muddled?
Next question is if these are fully ordained monks over the older than 20 have they done their prliminary training as Pakow and Samana?
This statement "Besides rocking out to Mr. Malmsteen, who was born in Sweden and lives in Florida, some monks film themselves playing pranks on other novices...seems to indicate that they are talking about samana. So where are their Abbots and teachers. No big thing to take a ten precept samana out of robes.
'The purpose of 'going forth' (pabbajja) is to turn away from thoughts of sensuality (kilesa-kama) and objects of sense (vatthu-kama). It is, therefore, really a self-sacrifice, and the urge to do so should be a genuine one if it is to bear pleasant fruit. This is certanily not a path that all can follow: for to leave behind the world's attractive and sensuous life is no easy task. It is not possible for all to cut themselves off from the world with all its attraction. And the Buddha does not expect all his followers to become monks or ascetics'. Again the Dhammapada (302) says:
The above quote sounds a bit foolish or even impossible to those who follow Buddhism in Thailand.
In Sakon Nakhon I live next to a major site of worship? temple and at times get fed up with the noise, loudspeakers,gong, bells whistles and traffic. Actually it became an outstanding object of meditation when looking at my thoughts being born, living and dying. Luckily I have plenty of choice as far as Kammathana Dhutanga Monasteries in the lineage of Ajahn Mun to spend time and to support.
The article's subtitle mentions the elders worries, while it is the elders that are the cause of many of todays problems. Perhaps they know the Vinaya, but they do little or nothing to see that it is followed.
Pie in the sky outfits like the Knowing Buddha bunch whinge about having Buddha images in bars and restaurants in a country where every bar and restaurant has a Buddha Image. The complain that Buddha Images should not be used as merchandise in a country where Buddha Images and paraphernalia are one of the biggest businesses.
"His superiors gave him a two-week suspension, and Phra (Phra is a religious title) Klairung is back collecting food offerings and other alms from the local community each morning." This about the monk "filmed performing suggestive dance moves, known here as coyote dancing after the film ..."
There is such thing as "a time out" in Buddhism, the vinaya clearly lays out what is to be done for each offense.
And as far as the number of roly-polies sitting on their asana just how many does a country need?
Yes there are Buddhists in Thailand in spite of the fack that the country in no way promotes moderation, simplicity or honesty.
And there are monks who keep the Vianaya and see Greed, Hatred and Delusion for what they are.