sorry for not answering for such a long time, but I really had a lot of things on my hands during the last two weeks. I occasionally looked into this thread but I was always too tired to reply.
Now so many things have been written here in the meantime that I cannot address everything in detail, sorry again. I have no intention to ignore any of you, but currently my time and energy ressources are limited. So I guess I'll just start with the first responses and see how far I get.
Blue Garuda wrote:
ToS would be a mile long if every example which upsets someone were to be included.
I'd like to think so, too, but if this rule is already implicit in TOS #2, I'm afraid to say so but I'm not really under the impression that the moderating team applies the rule in this sense ...
Obviously compared to most ppl on this forum I'm some kind of ultraconservative hardliner here, crying for law and order - what a funny new experience
Blue Garuda wrote:
One may as easily argue that some groups should be added to ToS no. 4 , referring to controversial practices and groups and thereby not permitted as topics for discussion at all.
I'm afraid, but I'm not sure if I can go with you on this one. I'd rather like to say the more controversial a group or practice is, the more neccessary is a discussion, unless of course the topic is already beaten to death and ppl are just repeating the same stuff again and again. (But maybe this is what you meant?) And, of course, unless the case is as clear as in the case mentioned by TOS #4. The Dalai Lama has made a crystal clear announcement and there is no further discussion needed. Case closed. I would, however, agree with a rule that certain cultish groups must not be proselytized here.
Teacher misconduct discussions are a grey area. Where there is clear evidence of misconduct or an admission of misconduct, the discussions are allowed to go forward for a time.
Agreed. I rather had discussions about the truth of teachings in my mind, as well as dubious claims to be enlightened, or to be a terton or tulku, or some late master's one and only true dharma heir and so on.
As to some teachers' bedroom stories and other allegations of personal misconduct, not only can it be difficult to establish if the accusations are true or not. (There is e.g. a current discussion about Ole Nydahl on the Rick Ross forum where I really have my doubts if the person who is charging Ole Nydahl and Thaye Dorje with abuse has actually performed a proper reality check.)
But even if in some cases it is established or at least likely that the accusations are true, IMO it also makes a big difference if the teacher's (alleged or actual) misconduct is (1.) still ongoing and (2.) harmful to other people and therefore (3.) there is a necessity of warning others.
If (1.) is not the case and the teacher has already changed his behaviour then there is no necessity of warning anymore, it's just water under the bridge. Unless maybe somebody would sociologically analyse the affair and point out a number of warning signals which make it easier to detect abusive structures and behaviour in the future, like Christopher Hamacher recently did in his excellent paper "Zen Has No Morals!" (see the article on Buddhist Channel
and Hamacher's full paper as PDF
.) In such cases even an ex-post analysis may be useful.
And if (2.) is not the case and the misconduct is not harmful to anybody, then it is also nobody's concern. For instance I know a case of a fully ordained monk who has a girlfriend - and I totally don't care. Personally on the one hand I don't think what he does is good, but on the other hand it's easy to see that he is under so many different societal restraints which make it impossible for him to give back his vows, that I would never judge his behaviour.
And most of all, since he is a simple monk (he is not teaching or claiming to be enlightened and so on, so he is not deceiving anybody), the relationship is not abusive, he is not harming anyone, therefore there is no reason to warn anybody. If the poor guy keeps his vows or not is entirely his own business. Making this public by posting his name and maybe a foto of him and his girlfriend on the internet would absolutely be a form of negative speech.
There always needs to be a certain weighting of the rights of privacy of the persons involved on the one hand, and the public interest to be warned of dangers on the other.
Simply unloading on a teacher because you disagree with his teachings is usually not allowed, although you are free to debate the teachings themselves.
Agreed again. I'd even go so far to say that simply unloading on anybody should not be allowed.
If a teacher is widely revered and admired mudslinging will be stopped in its tracks, unless unusually strong proof accompanies the argument. Maybe we should have a "Sacred Cow" list so people know who's who and who isn't...
lol, not sure how serious you are with the "sacred cow" list
Anyway I assume you're still talking about allegations of misconduct. As far as the teachings are considered, again, I'm a hardliner. IMO it should be allowed to question everything. (With sense, of course, not trollish just for the sake of having some fun by getting everybody excited.) Why should a vegetarian not be allowed to question what, for instance, the Dalai Lama says about eating meat? Or why meat and alcohol are offered in Tsok pujas? After all, Buddha Shakyamuni has again and again emphasised that nothing he teaches should be accepted without critical examination. So I guess teachingwise not even Buddha Shakyamuni should be a "sacred cow"
And that brings me back to my initial question: isn't it obvious that there are areas where questioning and critically examining the authenticity of a teacher and/or the truth of his or her teachings is legitimate? and that the above listed brainwashy pseudo arguments should be treated as disruptive behaviour by the moderators?