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Re: Monastics & their family

Posted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 9:43 am
by Huifeng
I'm not sure how many "Vinaya purists" there are in Chinese Buddhism. And some of the strictest Vinaya upholders I know in the Chinese tradition would still really go out of their way to help their parents. I guess that in itself shows how the Vinaya in general does not prohibit this general range of behavior. eg. one of my senior Dharma brothers has been attending regular (weekly) services for his mother who passed away 4 weeks ago this Saturday. No other monastic (I know of) has been anything other than fully supporting of him in so doing. One would probably have to go into specific cases and details in actual cases, though, rather than just a general pov as I've stated it here. One of the few possible restrictions I could think of, from a purely Vinaya pov, would be the precept against staying in the some house as laity for more than a couple of days consecutively; though that could be easily overcome.

~~ Huifeng

Re: Monastics & their family

Posted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 9:56 pm
by Alfredo
Khedrup, J wrote:
In one temple in Taiwan (not FGS or Dharma Drum, but another large one) when the master ordained some monks and nuns without the permission of their parents, the parents came to the temple and tried to take them home.
This seems to be describing Zhongtaishan (aka ChungTai Shan, Chung Tai Chan Monastery, etc.), which in 1996 "ordained more than 100 [actually 132] young nuns without the prescribed one-year waiting period and without notifying their parents." (from" onclick=";return false;) As I recall, this happened in the wake of a retreat (a summer camp) in which the ordinands may have been swept up in religious enthusiasm. While this was some 16 or 17 years ago, Zhongtaishan has been criticized for directing its resources towards the construction of an elaborate temple complex (like a garish Taj Mahal), and for its strained relationship with the surrounding area.

Xingyun from Foguangshan (Buddha Light Mountain) got famous because of his good relations with the Guomindang (Kuomintang, the Nationalist Party of Chiang Kai-shek), which allowed him to have a radio show at a time when few monastics were allowed access to mass media. (Think American TV evangelists.) With this he built the following that supported his institution-building.

"Big Buddhism" (as I call such groups) is often said to be "humanistic," but this refers to their ambition to diversify their business beyond funerals, not to any benevolence on their part. In fact they are displacing (or at least predating upon) a whole range of Buddhist and folk Daoist identities that are arguably better integrated into the lives of ordinary people. Perhaps this was an inevitable result of Buddhism's encounter with modern consumerism and other social changes such as urbanization. Tibetan groups tend to be much smaller, but the flow of money from Taiwanese donors to Tibetan projects in places like India has resulted in severe inequalities (and here the FPMT is a prime example).

A basic question that arises is, who should have a voice in such institutions? Monks...? Members...? Other stake-holders such as local people? Who is Buddhism for? As perverse as it may be to say so, too often in Chinese history, the destruction of Buddhist monasteries has to be seen as a kind of economic reform.

Re: Monastics & their family

Posted: Sat Dec 22, 2012 4:17 pm
by purple rose
Topic locked at the OP's request