[Buddha-l] demise in asia

Jayarava jayarava at yahoo.com
Tue Sep 2 02:16:28 MDT 2008

Hi Piya

> Anyway, FWBO has a good framework, but if they accept
> themselves as what they really are: 

As I understand the rules of engagement here this kind of thing is bordering on the unseemly... 

Is it not ironic however that you seem not to welcome Sangharakshita's criticisms of Theravada monasticism (Sangharakshita has seldom been critical of Theravada doctrine or practices, and is reverential towards Pāli texts) while in the same post pointing out that monks are buying lottery tickets in your country... Should we complain about monks who don't keep the vinaya? Or not? 

As the wonderfully iconoclastic Greg Schopen has pointed out - it's unlikely that the vinaya, in all it's long history, has been anything other than an ideal, and basically monks don't keep it. Monks of old not only handled money, but in at least one monastery in India they printed it. In Tang China the wealth of the temples was been described as "incalculable" - one donation of a billion copper coins was recorded. 

Would it not be more appropriate to call for traditional Buddhist leaders and full-timers, to accept themselves for what _they_ are - an outmoded and anachronistic medieval institution that is so failing to inspire people to practice in Asia that Buddhism is *dying out* and <gags> being replaced by Christianity. What an unmitigated disaster! (except perhaps that the hungry are no longer so hungry) Those leaders are in the words of the Buddha "ritto tuccho aparaddho". In the west we have been saying things like this about Christianity and economists for quite some time now. Nietzsche said that God was dead. I suspect that in East Asia the Buddha is dead and the monks just haven't realized it yet. Is it not bad enough that Buddhism died out in India, now it's going to die in Asia as well? Doesn't that just break your heart? 

I don't believe that the only choices are monk or layman (or forest dweller) - our society is not, Lord be praised, structured on a medieval Indian model. But if it were and I had to choose then, on form, I'd choose the lay-people. On the whole they are more true to their vocation and fulfil their side of the lay/monastic/forest-dweller bargain.

BTW: Have you read my paper on paṭikaroti yet? 

Dharmacari Jayarava
Full-time, non-monastic, Buddhist.


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