JKhedrup wrote:I am not sure what to think. Obviously any possible argument I make could be construed as biased because I am a monk.
Though I might not agree with or even be disturbed by some of the things said in this thread, I am still glad they are being said because if we never have an open discussion even the tiny itsy bitsy sliver of hope I have for monasticism (and it really is a sliver, equal in weight to a teaspoon full of dandelion fluff) would be unwarranted.
There is some type of emotion AGAINST monasticism in Simon B.'s post rather than the indifference from many Westerners (which comes from our cultural conditioning and is impersonal). I would guess either he has had some sort of rotten experience with monastics in the past or feels that monks think they are "better" than lay practitioners, and is offended by the premise, though that is just a guess.
For the record (again-perhaps the 3rd time altogether- I think it needs repeating as people seem to be super-sensitive about this point), I have no problem admitting that there are probably many laypeople with a more stable practice and sounder understanding of the teachings than I have.
At the same time, in my experience with the exception of one lay master (Khamtrul Rinpoche (the elderly one) in Dharamsala) all the lamas in my life are monks and they have been shaped by their training in a way that inspires. So if monasticism is lost something truly unique will be lost- and that is a pity because the broader the selection of methods available the more beings cross the ocean of samsara.
A big part of HHDL's cultivation and impact is his monastic training and aspect as a monk. As an enlightened master, he must take the aspect of a monk because he realizes it is more beneficial than that of a layperson. Perhaps he understands his impact to benefit others would not be as vast if he was wearing Calvin Klein jeans.
I have had no negative experiences with the ordained Sangha. Quite the reverse.I met HHDL I met the 16th Karmapa. I met Ajahn Chah. I have no negative emotional residue.
I also have no reasoned argument.
My ' argument ' is of the same order as my observations when I look out of the window and see the Autumn foliage.
I think that the Ordained Sangha is in the Autumn of its life collectively..which does not mean that it will not continue to produce women and men of real stature..but it will continue to dwindle.
Call it the Kali Yuga, or simply a different age needing different solutions, but my strong suspicion is that it is in slow terminal decline. This fact is obscured slightly by the transient phenomena of westerners becoming ordained.
Time will tell. If my thoughts are not acceptable..ignore them.