Western Monastic - reasons why she left

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Miroku
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Re: Western Monastic - reasons why she left

Post by Miroku » Fri Jun 15, 2018 12:52 pm

shaunc wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 12:20 pm
I personally feel that Japanese buddhism is a better fit for the west. With lay house holder priests rather than monks/nuns.
Self supporting with the lay sangha providing temple upkeep mainly.
I know that I can't speak for everyone but I also feel that guru devotion generally wouldn't be accepted by most westerners.
Good luck and best wishes.
Namu Amida Butsu.
Shaun.
In TB that is why we have yogis who often worked and supported themselves. Yogis don't only stay in retreat but many were/are very engaged with society. So the fit is the same. Not mentioning that monastics could support themselves a bit by providing rituals for westerners, like rituals for deceased, long life pujas, etc.. However, that is very unlikely to work in the west.

And lets be honest even Buddhism won't ever be accepted by most westerners. :D
Child, if you are not hypocritical and out of control, that is conduct.
~ Padampa Sangye

You say such clever things to people, but you do not apply them to yourself.
The faults within you are the ones to be exposed.
~ Padampa Sangye

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heart
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Re: Western Monastic - reasons why she left

Post by heart » Fri Jun 15, 2018 1:22 pm

Miroku wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 1:46 pm
Hi,
sorry about the strange title. But here is an interesting article http://thetattooedbuddha.com/2018/06/14 ... tradition/

What do you think about this. I would be quite interested where this happened. I cannot quite imagine this (leaving a monk without training completely) happening in my center. What is your experience?

Also do you agree that in the west there should be created an ordained community of westerners?
Weirdly she calls herself a boy and a monk all through the article.

"Before anyone complains that monks shouldn’t have student loans, without them I would just be an ignorant, bald, white boy running around in robes…or I would have long since quit monastic life altogether."

So probably someone else wrote it.

I recognize the complaint though, it is pretty normal that Westerners spend a very long time in Dharma and learn nothing or very little. You can't be passive when studying Dharma and you can't expect someone else will take responsibility for your intention to attain liberation for the benefit of others.

/magnus
"We are all here to help each other go through this thing, whatever it is."
~Kurt Vonnegut

"The principal practice is Guruyoga. But we need to understand that any secondary practice combined with Guruyoga becomes a principal practice." ChNNR (Teachings on Thun and Ganapuja)

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Aryjna
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Re: Western Monastic - reasons why she left

Post by Aryjna » Fri Jun 15, 2018 1:23 pm

Not that it makes a difference, but it's a man. The nun at the bottom of the article is just the owner of the blog it seems.

Edit: Didn't notice the previous post.

Miroku
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Re: Western Monastic - reasons why she left

Post by Miroku » Fri Jun 15, 2018 1:29 pm

Oh I see! Well I apologize for the mistake. :emb:
Child, if you are not hypocritical and out of control, that is conduct.
~ Padampa Sangye

You say such clever things to people, but you do not apply them to yourself.
The faults within you are the ones to be exposed.
~ Padampa Sangye

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Grigoris
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Re: Western Monastic - reasons why she left

Post by Grigoris » Fri Jun 15, 2018 2:01 pm

Miroku wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 12:52 pm
shaunc wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 12:20 pm
I personally feel that Japanese buddhism is a better fit for the west. With lay house holder priests rather than monks/nuns.
Self supporting with the lay sangha providing temple upkeep mainly.
I know that I can't speak for everyone but I also feel that guru devotion generally wouldn't be accepted by most westerners.
Good luck and best wishes.
Namu Amida Butsu.
Shaun.
In TB that is why we have yogis who often worked and supported themselves. Yogis don't only stay in retreat but many were/are very engaged with society. So the fit is the same. Not mentioning that monastics could support themselves a bit by providing rituals for westerners, like rituals for deceased, long life pujas, etc.. However, that is very unlikely to work in the west.

And lets be honest even Buddhism won't ever be accepted by most westerners. :D
I think this post is the first one to actually start to approach the core problem. The problem with funding is easily circumvented by focusing on lay clergy, whether in the Japanese or Tibetan style, but this does nothing to overcome the hurdle associated with the relevance of lay or monastic priests and clergy to the general community.

"Ethnic" monastics and lay practitioners have a role in their respective societies, but what role do western monastics and lay clergy have in western society?

Would it make any difference to funding if the monastic knew why certain things were placed on the shrine in a certain way? Somehow I don't think so.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
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Re: Western Monastic - reasons why she left

Post by javier.espinoza.t » Fri Jun 15, 2018 2:29 pm

Miroku wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 11:14 am
javier.espinoza.t wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 4:12 am
Too many lineages looking for their own center created too much fundrising. Sad history, we could be at least one vajrayana commumity compounded of different sanghas.
Heh that would be nice to be more rime or at least several sanghas use one center together (in one city here in Czechia it works like this DC, Kwan Um and some hinayana group use the same room), but just imagine all those fights. Lets be honest sectarianism did get to the west. Not as strong but it is here.
If "buddhist's" can't undestand between themselves... and it is imposible to share room(dana?), it means fund rising, it means lack of money, it means no development, it means no monks.

It is a common story, this "i dont like this system/community, i will make one in my own way".
Identities are false and not true

narhwal90
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Re: Western Monastic - reasons why she left

Post by narhwal90 » Fri Jun 15, 2018 9:03 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 2:01 pm

"Ethnic" monastics and lay practitioners have a role in their respective societies, but what role do western monastics and lay clergy have in western society?
I could see a general role similar to how some Christian congregations do it; service in hospitals/prisons eg chaplaincy.

I was recently in hospital recovering from a motorcycle accident, one of my roomates got very disturbed about what the hospital wanted vs what he wanted, and the hospital had their chaplain come visit and talk to him. He was from a Methodist/Lutheran tradition I think, an impressive looking guy, I would have liked to talk shop with him but the opportunity never presented itself. It would be neat to have the option of some form of Buddhist clergy to show up.

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Re: Western Monastic - reasons why she left

Post by mikenz66 » Fri Jun 15, 2018 11:02 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 2:01 pm
I think this post is the first one to actually start to approach the core problem. The problem with funding is easily circumvented by focusing on lay clergy, whether in the Japanese or Tibetan style, but this does nothing to overcome the hurdle associated with the relevance of lay or monastic priests and clergy to the general community.

"Ethnic" monastics and lay practitioners have a role in their respective societies, but what role do western monastics and lay clergy have in western society?

Would it make any difference to funding if the monastic knew why certain things were placed on the shrine in a certain way? Somehow I don't think so.
Yes, this relevance is a key issue for all flavours of Buddhism in the west, from Tibetan to the "insight" groups that are more Theravada based and, of course, follow a lay model. [Whether those should be called "Buddhist" could be debated, but I'm trying to be inclusive here, and they do have some relevance in that they are a "safe" option for people who are put off by "religious trappings" - and see below...].

In some cases, such as the Western Ajahn Chah Theravada monasteries it has been possible to support monasteries with primarily western monastics, but, in a large part, because they are (a) part of a large organisation, and (b) have support from Thai and Sri Lankan immigrants. Due to relative numbers of immigrants, support is much more difficult for aspiring Tibetan-Buddhism monastics, as has been noted.

Though it is Theravada-oriented this set of articles/book might be of interest:
American Folk Buddhism bu Bhikkhu Cintita:
https://bhikkhucintita.wordpress.com/ho ... -buddhism/
His argument is that a large number of "Folk Buddhists" are required to support "Essential Buddhism", and the latter is required to keep the former reasonably on track. The preservation of the Dharma has always involved such a symbiosis.
From the Conclusion:
A Western Folk Buddhism is wholesome or beneficial to the extent that it is friendly and not inimical toward Essential Buddhism. It is not necessary or desirable to preserve any particular Asian Folk Buddhism, which would be largely incomprehensible in a Western context in any case. It should be recognized that a pure Essential Buddhism goes “against the stream” in any cultural context and that the function of a Folk Buddhism is to carry the challenge of Buddhism into its cultural context, that is that it should make a real difference is people’s lives and attitudes in spite of the cultural context.
One could speculate that the current popularity of "mindfulness" is a form of Folk Buddhism. Unfortunately, contact with Essential Buddhists is rather tenuous in that case, and it's commodification means that we're not going to see thousands of mindfulness practitioners queing up to support monastics...

Even my "insight" friends (some of whom do identify as Buddhist) have little clue about and/or an aversion to monastics. Astonishingly, a couple of months ago the committee of my local insight group had a meeting in the cafe of our local Fo Guang Shan [Taiwan-based Humanistic Buddhism] temple on the very day of a major celebration ("Buddha's birthday"), not realising that (a) There was a celebration that day, and (b) that their passion for community engagement is exactly what FGS is about, and that a chat with the New Zealand Abess (all FGS monastics in NZ are female, but they didn't realise that either...) might actually be extremely interesting.

:heart:
Mike

shaunc
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Re: Western Monastic - reasons why she left

Post by shaunc » Fri Jun 15, 2018 11:36 pm

Aspiring.Monk wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 2:04 am
I have been thinking about this topic and agree that we need a better solution to Buddhism in the West.

Could "American Buddhism" be developed?

Generally, whenever Buddhism travels to a new land/country it is molded by that country and its culture.

I am wondering what "American Buddhism" would look like? Would there be a system of tantra? Would we adapt Tibetan Buddhism to fit our culture?

How would monastics dress? How would yogi's/ngakpas dress? How would they be supported?

Would mantras be translated for ease or would they remain in Sanskrit?

I think it could be something worth exploring.

What do you all think?

Also, if this should be discussed with a new thread, please let me know and Ill create a new one.
An American/western style of buddhism probably isn't a bad idea.
Translating mantras/sutras is also a great idea.
If something has to be read or spoken, either orally or silently it's a definite advantage if you understand what it is that you're reading/saying.

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Re: Western Monastic - reasons why she left

Post by shaunc » Fri Jun 15, 2018 11:46 pm

Miroku wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 12:52 pm
shaunc wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 12:20 pm
I personally feel that Japanese buddhism is a better fit for the west. With lay house holder priests rather than monks/nuns.
Self supporting with the lay sangha providing temple upkeep mainly.
I know that I can't speak for everyone but I also feel that guru devotion generally wouldn't be accepted by most westerners.
Good luck and best wishes.
Namu Amida Butsu.
Shaun.
In TB that is why we have yogis who often worked and supported themselves. Yogis don't only stay in retreat but many were/are very engaged with society. So the fit is the same. Not mentioning that monastics could support themselves a bit by providing rituals for westerners, like rituals for deceased, long life pujas, etc.. However, that is very unlikely to work in the west.

And lets be honest even Buddhism won't ever be accepted by most westerners. :D
There's a greek orthodox church where I live and that's pretty much how it works. The priest lives in a house on the church grounds with his wife and children and works to support his family.
He's paid to perform weddings, funerals and christenings etc.
The lay congregation provides a house for him to live in and upkeep of the church and grounds.
It's been running like that in my town for as long as I can remember.

Miroku
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Re: Western Monastic - reasons why she left

Post by Miroku » Sat Jun 16, 2018 12:19 am

shaunc wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 11:46 pm
Miroku wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 12:52 pm
shaunc wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 12:20 pm
I personally feel that Japanese buddhism is a better fit for the west. With lay house holder priests rather than monks/nuns.
Self supporting with the lay sangha providing temple upkeep mainly.
I know that I can't speak for everyone but I also feel that guru devotion generally wouldn't be accepted by most westerners.
Good luck and best wishes.
Namu Amida Butsu.
Shaun.
In TB that is why we have yogis who often worked and supported themselves. Yogis don't only stay in retreat but many were/are very engaged with society. So the fit is the same. Not mentioning that monastics could support themselves a bit by providing rituals for westerners, like rituals for deceased, long life pujas, etc.. However, that is very unlikely to work in the west.

And lets be honest even Buddhism won't ever be accepted by most westerners. :D
There's a greek orthodox church where I live and that's pretty much how it works. The priest lives in a house on the church grounds with his wife and children and works to support his family.
He's paid to perform weddings, funerals and christenings etc.
The lay congregation provides a house for him to live in and upkeep of the church and grounds.
It's been running like that in my town for as long as I can remember.
That would ideal. However, when such communities develop in the west is really a question. Well, we do have communities, but not the system and apparently not even an interest to develop in this way.
Child, if you are not hypocritical and out of control, that is conduct.
~ Padampa Sangye

You say such clever things to people, but you do not apply them to yourself.
The faults within you are the ones to be exposed.
~ Padampa Sangye

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Re: Western Monastic - reasons why she left

Post by PeterC » Sat Jun 16, 2018 2:19 am

Grigoris wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 2:01 pm

"Ethnic" monastics and lay practitioners have a role in their respective societies, but what role do western monastics and lay clergy have in western society?

Would it make any difference to funding if the monastic knew why certain things were placed on the shrine in a certain way? Somehow I don't think so.
Good question

There’s potentially three roles that a professional religious role can fulfil - a ritualist, a teacher of less experienced students, and as a propagator of texts and teachings through research, interpretation etc. Some would add therapy and social work to that, though I’m personally not keen on that idea.

Christian, Islamic and Jewish ministers combine these roles to differing degrees.

I don’t think it’s greatly different for professional Buddhists (I know that’s an ugly term but I can’t think of a more accurate one). However it’s not necessary that they be ordained to do that, except insofar as custom in their lineage requires it - you don’t see many Gelugpa lay teachers, for instance. But supporting a family is more expensive than being a nun/monk anyway.

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Re: Western Monastic - reasons why she left

Post by weitsicht » Sat Jun 16, 2018 5:37 pm

Right now, Tibetan monastics have employment status. They are granted income, bank account, car, mobile phone, pension.

But is monatsicism an aid anyways? - I am not too sure. I met so many monks already struggling with chastity and their view on females. What is that suppression for? And is it still comtemporary?

The Dharma is beyond Buddhism and it finds new ways of expressions.
Tradition must not be maintained by all means.
What is sure for me that there need be attained, skillful, and available gurus. How do they come to existence? Through karma and their own will.
What I am not sure is that the Dharma essentially needs a monastic culture in the west. Please convince me if you may.

I for myself see no contradiction between being a lay employee / wife etc. and a serious dharma practitioner. No problem with that.

I by the way had to abandon the support of many projects already because they were not capable to present accountability reports. I am investing my time and study such things because I consider it my duty (if bigger sums involved) to donate responsibly. Enough bogus rises already anyways.
Ho! All the possible appearances and existences of samsara and nirvana have the same source, yet two paths and two results arise as the magical display of awareness and unawareness.
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Aryjna
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Re: Western Monastic - reasons why she left

Post by Aryjna » Sat Jun 16, 2018 6:02 pm

weitsicht wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 5:37 pm
Right now, Tibetan monastics have employment status. They are granted income, bank account, car, mobile phone, pension.

But is monatsicism an aid anyways? - I am not too sure. I met so many monks already struggling with chastity and their view on females. What is that suppression for? And is it still comtemporary?
I think it can be an aid under the right circumstances, if the monks and nuns can spend all their time practicing and studying without having to work and bother with other things.

In practice, you cannot expect everyone to be perfect, but this is true everywhere, not only in monasteries.

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Re: Western Monastic - reasons why she left

Post by Ayu » Sat Jun 16, 2018 7:16 pm

Miroku wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 1:46 pm
...
Also do you agree that in the west there should be created an ordained community of westerners?
No, ordained should not seperate due to nationality. But desperately a system of financial support for western monks and nuns is needed.
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Hate is too great a burden to bear.
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Re: Western Monastic - reasons why she left

Post by heart » Sat Jun 16, 2018 7:33 pm

weitsicht wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 5:37 pm
Right now, Tibetan monastics have employment status. They are granted income, bank account, car, mobile phone, pension.
What? No, they don't.

/magnus
"We are all here to help each other go through this thing, whatever it is."
~Kurt Vonnegut

"The principal practice is Guruyoga. But we need to understand that any secondary practice combined with Guruyoga becomes a principal practice." ChNNR (Teachings on Thun and Ganapuja)

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Re: Western Monastic - reasons why she left

Post by Mantrik » Sat Jun 16, 2018 8:29 pm

heart wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 7:33 pm
weitsicht wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 5:37 pm
Right now, Tibetan monastics have employment status. They are granted income, bank account, car, mobile phone, pension.
What? No, they don't.

/magnus
Maybe the PRC is funding a few to sow discord around the world, but even the (nameless) cult I know does not treat monks as actual employees wiht pensions etc.
http://www.khyung.com

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Re: Western Monastic - reasons why she left

Post by Miroku » Sat Jun 16, 2018 9:26 pm

Ayu wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 7:16 pm
Miroku wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 1:46 pm
...
Also do you agree that in the west there should be created an ordained community of westerners?
No, ordained should not seperate due to nationality. But desperately a system of financial support for western monks and nuns is needed.
I didn't mean separating them by nationality. I meant bigger numbers of westerners in who took the vows. :) However, maybe since you have Gelug background you could tell us here more how it works as I believe Gelug has probably most focus on monastics.

I think this problem with western monastics not having funds, could be partly elevated if there were bigger organizations that would get funded by people and monastics would get money from that organization and maybe spend some time developing it and running it among other things. What would the organization offer in exchange for the money I don't know, maybe pujas, maybe ritual items, not sure. But there are ofcourse many problems with it.
I believe there would be need for either huge sangha running it or several smaller sanghas running it together with lay memebers as a part of the organization maybe as some sort of balance. Well enough of brainstorming. :D
Child, if you are not hypocritical and out of control, that is conduct.
~ Padampa Sangye

You say such clever things to people, but you do not apply them to yourself.
The faults within you are the ones to be exposed.
~ Padampa Sangye

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Malcolm
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Re: Western Monastic - reasons why she left

Post by Malcolm » Sat Jun 16, 2018 10:45 pm

weitsicht wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 5:37 pm
Right now, Tibetan monastics have employment status. They are granted income, bank account, car, mobile phone, pension.
No, this is paid for by their families and or patrons.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Re: Western Monastic - reasons why she left

Post by Wayfarer » Sun Jun 17, 2018 12:53 am

There seems to be some confusion in this thread concerning the author and even gender of the blog article in question. The article itself is credited to Ayya Yeshe, about which it is said at the foot of the article:
Ayya Yeshe is the Abbess of Dakini Bodhicitta Monastery, which is now forming in Australia. She is the director of a socially engaged Buddhist charity for ex “untouchable” Dalit Buddhists in Nagpur, India. Ayya is a contemplative, activist and a socially engaged Buddhist who travels internationally to teach. She is the author of Everyday Enlightenment by Harper Collins and her sacred chants on Youtube have 58,000 hits.
As it happens, I saw Ayya Yeshe present at the Mitra Conference in Sydney in March this year. She has not disrobed, or at any rate, appeared in robes, and spoke of the fact that of a number of people who had ordained at the same time as herself, she was the only one remaining. I was impressed by Ayya Yeshe's passion and commitment, although I noticed she also expressed frustration about the difficulties of the path she was committed to, not dissimilar to what she said in the blog post.

So the blog article doesn't appear to be about her disrobing, but about 'leaving Tibetan Buddhism', although it is rather vague on what exactly is meant by 'leaving'.

(Incidentally, I have known of several people who have joined and subsequently left Buddhist monastic orders. One is Indrajala, who is well known here. Another was Ven. Phra Khantipalo, who supervised the first meditation retreat I attended way back in the late 1970's - after a long career as a Theravada Bhikkhu, he disrobed and married, although the wikipedia entry on him says his marriage eventually dissolved. (He is in aged care now.) Another friend I did Buddhist Studies with went to Taiwan to study through Dharma Drum but left and returned to Australia. I also met Huifeng at the 2018 conference who likewise has returned to lay life, although still fully engaged as a dharma teacher and scholar. I think it would be a hard road.)
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki-roshi

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